Monday, December 10, 2012

Dallas Half Marathon

Race Report:

The Dallas Mayor's 5k

If this past weekend of December 8 and 9 could be summed up in one word, I would say "unorthodoxed". Starting from Saturday morning with the Dallas Mayor's 5k. Going into this weekend with all of the activities, I decided to challenge myself, so I ran the 5k on Saturday followed by the Half Marathon on Sunday. Off to a good start, ended with a bang!

The 5k was utilized as a warm up before Sunday. My whole idea of doing it was to just "jog" the 3.1 mile "fun run". Didn't happen. Before the start of the race, I met up with a fellow Dailymiler and good friend Bal aka "MoFo". Funny how a lot of my DM friends all have nicknames. We've earned them. Bal brought his two youngest kids Diego and Sophia, and also another friend of his Rudy to walk all walk the 5k. Bal has the fortunate privilege to work for Oncor, which is a co-corporate sponsor of the Race, along with Cigna who also sponsored the race as well. I even got the privilege to meet in a small world kind of way, the VP over a department of Oncor, Mark Carpenter. When I say small world, I've known Mark and his family for 15 years. As I was growing up in Irving, I went to his church and school with his kids. Like I said, small world. Very appreciative of what this race is encouraging for today's youth in regards to getting fit and being healthy. I honestly wish I had something like this when I was a youngster. I also had the pleasure of "briefly" meeting the former mayor of Dallas, Laura Miller who started up this organization that has been going on for the last couple of years as part of the Dallas Marathon, formerly the White Rock Marathon.

The Mayor's Race consisted of a 1 mile fun run or walk, and the 5k run/walk. I opted of course to run the 5k. In my experience before in running another 5k, and it being a kid friendly environment, 9 times out of 10, it can be a challenge at times. Don't take this as a complaint, but when I'm in my "zone" and being surrounded by kids that are walking or run/stop/run/walk motion, you almost trip over them at times. This year's race was the first year to utilize the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge, which is a new addition to the Dallas area. It almost replicates the Big Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, but a lot smaller. The race itself kicked off at 9:00 am with the 1 mile fun taking off first. Once completed, the 5k runners and walkers took off. It was like playing the "waiting game" almost with getting the 1 milers to come back and then the 5ker's take off. Standing around for almost 30 minutes (what felt like) was playing hell on my hips and feet. I wanted to run already. Again, I'm not complaining, but there were some things about this race that could've been done better to make this race a lot smoother. Just saying. After the 1 mile runners and walkers came back, it was time for the 5k to start. As the race directors and Laura Miller herself  were making the anouncements over the loud speakers, I think one of them blew because it was hard to hear. LOL!! At that point, I was like screw this, just shoot the gun off and go run.

Gun goes off, and it was like opening the doors at the department stores on Black Friday. Kids, parents, teachers, runners, etc were swarming out like bees. It was a little crazy. It took the first mile to get passed the biggest part of the crowd that started out by walking or going out too fast then stopping. Pace yourself, kids... Pace yourself. I heard the whining about sides hurting, I saw other kids being pushed down, and one favorite, an adult walking up the hill to the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge, then turning around and coming back. Again, these are just occaisional flaws that happen sometimes with 5k races. Not that I'm saying I'm better than those people, because I'm not. In fact, I was "them" 3 years ago, so in a way I have sympathy for them. Like any 5k fashion, you start, you warmup, you peak, then you gun it home. My best non-race 5k has been around 25 minutes, which was on a treadmill, so I didn't have the luxury of kids getting in front of me and slowing me down. Like I said, beautiful scenery from the MHH bridge, and slight little tour of Dallas. On the loop back to the finish line, I saw Bal, and he gave a smack on my ass as a motivator. Hey, football players do it, why can't us runners? hmmm?!?!?!After that, it was back up the hill on the MHH bridge again and back to the finishline. Followed by a nice little party afterwards with some grub and fellowship with Bal, his friends, family....good times.

This video was actually taken during the Half I ran, part of the same route.
View of the bridge from the parking lot of the race.
Me and Bal aka MoFo actin' a fool!! That's how we roll!
Bal and his two youngest kiddos, Diego and Sophie. They are awesome. His lil homies!!
The Bling!! Actually, it was Rudy's bling. I just did the traditional "bite" after finishing a race.

The Dallas Half Marathon
Part two of the race! I don't know really where to begin with this other than, I showed up, and I finished it. On a serious note, I went into this race with a huge chip on my shoulder. Ever since last month, the weekend before Thanksgiving, my wife and I lost our baby that we were expecting via miscarriage. It's been hard for me to talk about it, but it's just an everyday thing where we just take it one step at a time. As a sense of pride and humor, we had planned to make a race shirt for me to wear that said "future dad" on the front with a arrow pointing up at me. Aside from this unplanned event, 2012 has seen the worst of me in my running. From ITBS to PF, and lots of missed training runs and races that I really wanted to do. Through recoveries and massage therapy, I managed to get back on my feet and completed some other redemption races. The only complaint I have for those races was the weather, which in fact was a problem yesterday with the half and full marathon runners.
Saturday night, I met up with Bal again, and also another good DM buddy of mine Clay, aka "The Nite Train". Again, we all earned our nicknames. This was a chance for DM members to meet up and carb load as we usually do the night before races. It was just the three of us along with Bal's two youngest kids, and also his oldest daughter Eva. Lots of laughs, good pasta, and good times. I think me, Bal, and Clay have been officially dubbed, "Larry, Curly, and Moe"... not all in that order, per Bal. LOL. We all gave each other encouragement and bottom lined it by saying if we don't get the PR's we want, then let's just go out and run our race, and have fun.
Sal's Pizza and Pasta. Thanks Bal for introducing this restaurant to me. Loved this place. Great food and friendly atmosphere!
The three of us. (L to R) Me, Clay, and Bal
Race Day!
Got up at 530 and got ready, which included taking my 2 dogs out, feeding them, crating them, and then out the door by 6. I had originally thought of the driving out the American Airlines Center, park there and then catch the DART rail to the Dallas Convention Center where the race started. Didn't happen. Stacie and I decided to play it safe, and just drive out to the DCC and park there. Aside from sitting in the parking lot of traffic, this was the better idea to do. Paid the $12 for parking and not even a 10 minute walk to the starting line. PERFECT!!
I missed the meetup Clay had actually put together on DM, so I missed out on meeting anybody else I had planned to meet. I had also coordinated somewhat with my dear friends the Parker's, Bill and Lynn. Lynn was on tap to run the Full marathon as well, and we had worked out a way to see if we could meetup. AND, we actually did later when she crossed the finishline. Great run Lynn!! :) As I've mentioned before in previous blogs, I've known the Parker's for 10 years and counting. Lynn was actually my inspiration to get into running. She's my "honorary" coach so to speak.
Inside the DCC. Where's my DM peeps? LOL
All by my wonesome!! No DM buddies :( I has a sad. Ok, I'm being a dork!!
Staring Line!
In true fashion, we had the National Anthem sung, then the elites, wheelchair runners, and the first corral runners go, then the next corral, and so forth. As the corrals were moving up, I actually ran into one DM friend. Same friend I met at a race last year, Chris B. Last year, he PR'd in the DWR marathon, and now recently, he got in to run the WS (Western States) 100 miler. It's like the Boston Marathon of Trail Running. WTG, Chris. We said our hellos, best of lucks, and then off we went.
I was in corral B, so I didn't cross the starting line until about 8 minutes into the time of the race begining. Started out with an easy 10 minute mile warmup for the first couple of miles, and then my plan was to progress my pace after the 5k mark. As luck wouldn't have it, mother nature had a better plan.Temps were in the low 60, but the humidity was at 93%. Not a good mixture when running a race, no matter what the distance. The idea of my initial PR went out the window immediately. Plus, the unfortunately discomfort of running faster than I should have at the 5k the day before didn't help either. I started having some soreness in my quads after mile 4, but at the pace I was at (10:00ish), I felt ok if I could just maintain that. By mile 6, and after crossing over the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge which had a hill at the beginning, then a downward slope, plus a couple of other hills I went up and down on, my legs were on fire. the humidity didn't help much either. So at mile 6, just before the 10k mark, I stopped to stretch, and find the nearest waterstop which was no where in sight. The thing I didn't like the most about this particular race was that it had some turnaround points instead of loops, which I personally prefer. From about mile 5 to 7.5 was a long stretch of that seemed like it took forever before a waterstop or a turn at some point. Such a tease at one point when I saw a sign that said mile 8 when I was just crossing mile 6. UGH!! By then, I was at the point of dehydration, and mental exhaustion, or so it felt like it anyway. I'm not a fan of running in humid weather. So, the walk/jog combo came into effect. In a way, I feel as if KARMA was playing a role after I was complaining about the Mayor's race the day before. I deserved it.
Miles 8-10 were a bit of a blur, after I came back from the turnaround which was where the Full marathoners split and went on towards White Rock Lake and on the way to the finish line. I think it was around mile 10.5 or 11, I met up with another DM friend Keisha, aka move4ward...still amazes me of our DM nicknames. Again, much earned. She did an awesome job pacing the 2:30 group for the half runners or as she calls it the "half-assers". We chatted, and she encouraged me just as I needed it. Thanks Keisha. :)
Miles 11 - Finish were met with yet some ups and downs. Again, with exhaustion setting in, my memory was fuzzy by then. I do recall at around mile 11 as we were yet going up another dreaded hill, there was a cop directing traffic who let a couple of cars drive by which led some of us to stop for a brief moment. Really had to do that? As one runner stated "we worked hard to get here, they didn't" Amen to that! Then, coming to the home stretch, another young lady who was running doubled over and puked a couple of times. Her mother, I assume was helping her move and keeping her focused on finishing. I encouraged her that a good puke is all you need to keep going. AND, she did. Mile 12 and going to the finish met with a tease via another fricking turnaround that seemed like it took forever to finish. Usually at the point where I see the finish line, I get that burst of energy to give it the last bit of gas to cross and finish strong. Didn't happen. Just the fact that I finished at that point was enough for me.
After I crossed the line, my lovely wife was standing at the spot she said she would be at. She hollered got my attention and got a little video of me with a smile of a victory cuz I finished my race. I had to take that dreaded walk all the way around and up a flight of stairs and to the recovery area where I toasted with a cold MGD 64, a banana, and even some chocolate milk. At that point, I just wanted to hurry back to the other side of the DCC was where my wife was at. I quickly texted her and told her sit tight and I would be right there. Got my finishers tee, and went back around and thankfully down an escilator to where Stacie was and got that sweet hug and smooch I had been waiting for.

Here's me at the finishline.
Me and Stacie reunited. And I gots some bling
Timmaay was hongree. That sammich was good!! Nom Nom Nom

One tired Timmaay!! I has a sad from not getting a PR, but I'm happy I finished and didn't DNF.
Silly pose with the bling again
And our buddy Lynn and her bling. She finished in 3:56. Wtg Lynn! :)
I could real easily make a long list of excuses of why I ran lousy yesterday. Then I realized it wouldn't do me any good. I could blame the weather, but I've trained and ran in worse conditions for longer distances. I could blame poor nutrition, but I've ran faster and better on a much poorer diet than what I've had this week to prepare for this race. Again, won't do me any good. I just realized going into this race with that chip on my shoulder, and not feeling the excitement I had when I ran my first race, even last year when I did my first marathon. Yesterday was just a mere "off" day for me, and for some of my other friends that ran yesterday. I'm taking this with me as I prepare for the next race. 2 months from now when I toe the line at the Cowtown marathon, this will be a faded memory. Here's to a better recovery and a new lease on my prespective. Time to get the love back that I have lost.
Official Chip times
Mayor's race 5k 29:15
Dallas Half Marathon 2:43
I'm not finished yet!! Next race please

Sunday, December 2, 2012

30 Days!`

November 1-30. Thirty days where people have made an often fun and rewarding challenge of saying one thing everyday for the month of November of what they are thankful for, and post it via Facebook. Better known as the "30 Days of Thankfulness". I myself participated in this last year, and then decided not to do it this year. Unfortunately with this challenge, I heard complaints from family because I never mentioned certain family members of why I was thankful. Some people just complain because they complain. Oh well, deal with it!! So. I decided this year I wasn't going to justify myself and let others win, so I participated. To make everyone "happy", I showed my grattitude to certain individuals first just so they can get their spotlight and be done with. Didn't happen. Still heard the complaints. As I pondered about it, I realized I am thankful for those complaints as well. I say that because it made me appreciate the negativity in my life and how much I needed to get rid of it. So I did!!

This month, started out very exciting as I was thankful for changes of the season, friends, family, the basics at first. As the challenge continued, I was trying so hard not to repeat myself, and luckily I didn't. As many of my close friends know, my wife and found out back in mid October that we were expecting our first baby. Knowing that I was a proud father to be, I was beyond excited. The first couple of weeks after us finding out about our pregnancy, we were met with some complications early on, and weren't for sure what was happening. Started with us not knowing exactly how far along Stacie was, and blood levels not "jiving" with how far we thought she was, etc. etc.. So thankfully, one week in early November, we met with the OBGYN and we determined we were roughly 4 weeks. Ultrasound even indicated the baby was doing great and I was very thankful for that. Thankful that my future baby was healthy and mommy to be was doing good too. As the 30 day challenge was going on, I indicated how extremely thankful I was for that.

That little dot was mine and Stacie's precious angel growing. Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but I was grinning from ear to ear that day. As the weeks passed by, mommy to be was having difficulties. From spotting and bleeding almost everyday. Started out little then slowly got heavy by the following week after this U-Sound pic was taken. We made the decision to visit the ER to see what was going. Sparing the details, I'll make it short, we had an unfortunate miscarriage. That night was one the most difficult nights of my life to ever experience. To make a positive notion out of this, we decided to not let this get us down, and that there will be another chance for us to try for another baby when the time is right.

As unfortunate as this was, that particular day, I notated on FB that I was indeed thankful for my loving wife, Stacie. For 7 years roughly, including the time when we were just friends, to when dated, got engaged, and now married for the past 4 of those 7 years. She is my soulmate, and as emotionally painful as it was for us to go through what we went through, this brought us closer together. We spent a good time in grief, which slowly led to anger, and how now ended with a sense of peace and yet closure as well. We believe wholeheartedly, there will be another chance, and I'm sure by then, this memory of our first pregnancy being a loss, will be a distant memory.

As the month of November continued, I soon felt like there was no point to continue this challenge. I stated up above that we felt some peace, but there is still pain there. As other friends were thankful for the lives they had, I suddenly felt like I saw nothing else to be thankful for. Who wouldn't? We had our moments of tears and sorrow, just giving it time as all have said to do. So we are.

In other news, I'm a week away from running my 4th half marathon at the Dallas Marathon, formerly known as Dallas "White Rock" Marathon. I'm not going to mention my goal, as I've done in my passed blogs, and I wind up choking on my words. So, with that, I'm just going to show up Sunday, as I do for every race and just RUN. If I set a PR, it's set. If I finish in under 2 hours, then I do. Throughout the course of my training, this race is actually a training run in itself. In February, I plan to attempt my 2nd full marathon in Fort Worth at the Cowtown Marathon. This half I'm rolling out next Sunday will be a mere jump start for me to get a baseline going and get more distance runs in as part of my training. I'm confident this will all pay off in the end.

Now that December is upon us and the season is Tising to be Jolly, I am looking forward to a wonderful Christmas. More to come next weekend when Sunday the 9th becomes an EPIC day in itself.