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Posts Tagged ‘white rock marathon’


After several months of training, I ran my second marathon this past Sunday in the 2012 MetroPCS Dallas Marathon.  This marathon has been run since 1971 in Dallas.  I have now been a participant three times, one half and two fulls.  I finally decided this year to run it again, partially to get redemption over last year’s really crappy weather.  In addition, I wanted to end my year on a strong note and a hopefully improved time.

The race this year was new and old in many respects.  When I ran this marathon last year, it was still called the White Rock marathon, so named because it used to be run just around White Rock Lake in Dallas.  This year’s course moved to downtown Dallas, but still retained  a leg around the east portion of White Rock Lake.  There were also other new additions to the route as well.  So, I ran my first marathon at the last White Rock marathon and my second at the first Dallas marathon.

All the runners gathered downtown Dallas on Main Street before sunup.  Yep, that’s runners.  Ready to run well before dawn.  The streets were decorated for Christmas and it added to the atmosphere.  The weather this year was going to be really different.  I was glad there was no rain forecast, but instead of cool weather that we usually have, it was in the low 60’s and humid–really humid.  Before the day was over, the temperatures would climb up into the lower 70’s.  Not really great running weather for this distance and my build.

The start was arranged in three corrals this year and it helped get us out fairly quick.  Some years folks in the back (like me) had to wait 40 minutes to get out on the trail.  Our first section out took us into West Dallas.  This was the first year that West Dallas had a part in the race.  I think they were thrilled and we enjoyed running through their part of town.  The motorcycle club revving their Harleys was a great part.  Upon leaving West Dallas, we ran over Dallas’ newest bridge.

The Margaret Hunt Hill bridge is a new one placed over the Trinity river and connecting West Dallas with Woodall Rogers and downtown.  It’s a suspension bridge designed by a Spanish engineer by the name of Santiago Calatrava.  I’m pretty sure the idea was to make it like the NYC marathon run over the Verrazano Narrows bridge.  It was a cool part of the race.

Once over the bridge, we took a swing through the Design district in an old industrial part of town, then up Oak Lawn for a ways to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for children.  They are the primary receivers of the funds from the race.  Scottish Rite serves children with many different orthopaedic medical needs, all at no cost to the families.  The race had never been run by the hospital itself, until this year.  We turned at Maple Street and headed through part of the Uptown district and down to Turtle Creek, a mainstay of the marathon course.

On Turtle Creek, I saw the best sign of the race.  Luke’s Locker mans an aid station about six or seven miles out.  This year, they had some signs placed before the aid station and one read something like, “There ain’t no app for this.”  I think I’m going to have to remember that one.  It ranks right up there with “Run Forrest Run.”

During the early part of the race, I tried to keep my running comfortable, but I made the decision that I would stop for a walk only when I really felt I needed to slow down.  I kept looking around for the 5:00 hour and 5:30 pace groups, but never saw them.  I did see the 2:40 hour half-marathon group close and thought I’d stay close to them.  That would be a 5:20 marathon pace.  Little did I know I was soon to become the poster child for what not to do in running a marathon.

My first real break came at 9 miles when we were about to cross Interstate 75 and head towards White Rock.  I probably could have kept going, but it was time to find a short line at a port-a-potty and this was it.  Someone in front of me forgot to latch the door on theirs and I saw the green indicator.  I quickly found out that the lady forgot to latch it.  No harm.  Nothing seen.  Move along.  After eating a bit and drinking some Gatorade, it was off again.

There were a lot more hills in the race than I remember and more than I run on my training runs.  But, I was doing them pretty well so far.  However, when we were on Mockingbird, I finally realized I was running too fast.  When I slowed for a walk, the 5:30 pace group passed me at about the 12th mile.  Uh-Oh.  I had been running ahead of them all this time.  Time to slow down.

I tried to stay with the pace group around White Rock, but about half way, I could no longer keep up.  I was starting to lose energy.  And, the wind was getting annoying off of the lake.  I forgot to mention that shortly after the 9 mile mark, I got tired of my sweaty tech-T rubbing certain parts of my anatomy that it shouldn’t (and doesn’t usually).  It was either run in pain or lose the shirt.  I ditched the shirt under my hydration belt and ran without it.  Much better, even though I was breaking my daughter’s rule about old men and no shirts.  Precisely why the wind off the lake was now getting annoying.

Just after 19 miles, we ran by a group that was actually handing out beer.  I later found out they not only had beer, but also jello shots for the runners!  I passed up the alcohol and kept going.  Never take in something you aren’t used to on your runs, which is why I also passed up the guys handing out FRS energy drinks.  The biggest hill in the race was right here just before 20 miles.  I was glad to get it over with and get on passed 20. I’ve said before, the first 20 is just a training run, the last 10K is the race.  Now, it was the race.

By this time, I knew I was in trouble.  My feet began to really hurt and it was hard to keep it up.  The marathon is the only place I know where we count up to 20 and down to 26.2.  I was actively counting down at this point.  We were on Swiss Avenue and headed to downtown when I really noticed the wind picking up and it getting a little cooler.  We were due a cold front in the afternoon that would take us down to freezing overnight.  Looks like it was getting here a little early.  By the time I was near 24 miles and downtown, it was time to put the shirt back on.

My last few miles was just gutting it out.  Everything below the waist was starting to hurt.  I crossed the line with a gun time of 6:15:00.  If it had taken longer than 15 minutes to get out, I had broken 6 hours.  We had a new tech feature this year.  A QR code on our bibs allowed volunteers to read us our time almost immediately.  6:01:52 was the actual.  I was still happy.  I had taken more than 25 minutes off last year’s time and considering my mistakes I did alright.  I learned later my 10K time was 1:15 and my half time was 2:45:45.  I ran a great 10K and massively PR’ed my half marathon time.  Yet, it took me 1:36 to finish the last 10K.

I guess I did something right because it sure hurt worse than last year.  It’s Tuesday and my quads are still barking.  Now for three weeks off of running and then to rebuild for next year’s adventures.  I think I’ll work on half marathons for a while.  I seem to run them well now.  My weight is less.  My speed is up some.  The marathon is still a brutal race, but it’s great to have both on mylist and more to come.  Lesson learned and a great race also.

Yes, on Monday morning there was snow on the ground.  Just a little and it left after sun up. Happy running!

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2012 MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Finisher's medal

2012 MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Finisher’s medal

Yep, here it is folks.  Another runner that I follow on Twitter posted this pic of the finisher’s medal for this year’s MetroPCS Dallas Marathon.  I finished my last long run yesterday for my training plan and only have a few short easy runs and some rest days before race day on December 9th.

In addition to getting ready for this race and thinking back over all the training I’ve done, I thought some this week about my cross-training.  After having several injuries mostly relating to over-used or inflamed muscles and tendons, I learned about cross-training.  Of course, as a cyclist, I was cross-training already, but since then, I’ve added in swimming as well.

My cross-training with running really helps with my muscles.  I can always tell after riding, spinning, or swimming how much looser my muscles feel.  This has to be good for my running and I think it has helped.  Along with remembering to stretch after long or hard runs, I haven’t (knock on wood) had any issues this year after my swimming injury healed.

I’m getting just a little bit excited to run come Sunday.  Now the really obsessive part of racing takes hold.  Checking on the weather every five minutes.  Pouring over the race map to visualize the race neighborhoods and where I’ll be at about what time.  Figuring out six days in advance what I’ll wear and need, then changing it several times. Fretting over meals and calorie counts.  If I forget anything to be obsessive about, please send me a comment and remind me.  I don’t want to miss even the smallest obsessive detail you know.

I pulled the marathon card on my algebra teacher this week.  I signed up to take college algebra this semester as I need more discipline hours in order to be able to teach on the college level someday.  Wouldn’t you know I’d pick math, right.  I have this saying, “Dave always has to do it the hard way.”  And, I’ve proven it with math.  I’ve really struggled this semester with this course, which shouldn’t be all that hard.  I took algebra in high school, right; thirty something years ago.  Mostly, I seem to have some kind of numerical dyslexia.  My difficulties are often in getting all the numbers written down without transposing something.  In any case, I spent all day yesterday doing two tests, and I do mean all day.  I’ve been close to giving up and withdrawing.  Instead, I sent my teacher an e-mail and told her I was a marathoner.  We don’t give up.  And, I wont’.  Might go down in flames, but I wont’ give up.

If you already have a follow for me on Twitter, I’ve set up tweets while I’m running next Sunday.  If you haven’t and if you’re really that bored for tweets on Sunday, I’m @abigmanrunning over there.  Strangely enough I do have followers on Twitter as well as here on WordPress.  I thank you for that.  I started writing this for practice, but I realize it’s writing and we do like for folks to actually read what we’ve written.  I found out how important that was this week when I helped out another writer.

Discovered a new app to use this week.  Another friend messaged me about using Strava for cycling and running.  My garmin has been broken for all of this Fall.  I just haven’t wanted to spend the money on a new one nor mess with it while training.  Mostly, I just need an easy way to record my miles, times, and paces.  I’ve been using another app on my android phone, but it’s really a power hog.  Strava so far doesn’t seem to be.  I’ve only gotten to use it once, but it’s really simple.  It works while my phone is in airport mode.  The GPS signal still receives during that mode, but it really lowers power usage.  I’ll keep everyone posted on it.

Well, I told you it was going to be a bit random.  It happens every now and then.  I just heard today there are chances of rain showers for next Sunday.  I don’t need to hear that after last year’s race.  I sure hope that goes away.  I’ll be updating on the post race recap next week, after I rest up a bit.  Remember, the first 20 miles is a training run.  The last 6.2 miles is the race.  I think I said that somewhere before.  Merry Christmas, and Happy Running!

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Yep, it’s that time again — randomness.  A day when writing is just a collection of what’s going on rather than any coherent topic.  It also means I have lapsed too much time between posts.

On the triathlete front, I have started some ride/run bricks on Saturdays.  Or should I say run/ride since the heat is just getting too intense to run at 10:30 AM even.  They didn’t start on purpose, but I added a run one Saturday when I couldn’t get in a 50-mile ride and it not only stuck but allowed me to get back to 20-mile weeks in running.

Which segues nicely to running.  I have almost finished a six week stint at 20 miles per week.  Just two more short runs tomorrow and Saturday.  That’s pretty significant since I haven’t been able to consistently get over 20 miles a week.  Also, I have been able to run five days a week without any real problems.

While I’m talking running, I signed up for Mizuno’s Mezamashii Run Project.  It seems that Mizuno is proud enough of how well runners will do in their shoes that they are giving out shoes to lots of runners (through a weekly drawing).  Ostensibly, it’s to get runners connected with Mizuno’s philosophy on running, and also to sell more shoes.

Now, I am perfectly happy with my ASICS gel-Nimbus, but it’s important to have a second option.  Single sourcing anything is not a good idea.  Case in point that I had to wear a lesser brand last Winter as I wasn’t able to get a pair of Nimbus.  I thought that the gel-Cumulus would be almost as good and they were serviceable.  However, they kind of hardened up quicker than I’d liked.  So, we’ll wait to see if I get picked or not.

Also on running, I thought I’d add in a couple of tips this post.  I have been plagued a bit by catching my foot on uneven ground when running lately.  I’ve noticed that this often happens when I run over a rough spot where the ground is higher under one foot than the other.  Watch out for these little changes in elevation and go around.  If not, you might fall.  Also, if you have to run a lot of sidewalks, it’s better on driveway approaches to run up near the driveway side of the approach.  This is the side closer to the house/building than to the street.  Running this way keeps you almost on the same level with the sidewalk and you can avoid some of that up and down and slanted running you get from the angled driveway approach.

Hotter-n-Hell Hundred will be here in a few weeks.  I am looking forward to that ride this year.  I will try to finish the 100-mile route again and this year, it’s a new route.  Usually, all the routes less than 100-miles go through Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, but the century riders didn’t.  I have heard that the AFB rest stop is a real highlight and a thrill to the riders.  This year, the organizers altered the 100-mile route so that we will all get to go through the AFB rest stop.

Yep, that was cycling again, but I said it was random.

I will also start marathon training right after HHH in preparation for the first Dallas Marathon.  OK, it’s still really the White Rock, but they changed the name.  It also has a new route for this year and we’ll get to cross the new bridge over the Trinity River a la NYC’s Verazzano bridge.

Random is just that — random.  However, I have been having a really good time since I put together this new schedule in June.  I am getting to run more and with better quality than before.  I am riding consistently on Saturdays and not having to worry about whether or not I’m getting enough long runs or long rides.  I put my long runs on Wednesdays and stuck them at 8-miles, which is the longest I’ve run on a mid-week run since I started.  Though it’s hot outside (and here, I do mean HOT) I am happy with where I’m at right now.  I certainly hope that your Summer is going just as smoothly and consistent.  Happy running/cycling!

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I’m not going to make this a long post today.  I already spent most of it writing up a post on my “geek” blog; the T.A.R.D.I.S. Server Project about a perl script I put together to fix a problem with my tunes.  However, that blog post did relate to running and riding since it did involve my music on my Android smart phone and how long it’s taken to get everything moved away from iTunes.  Even as I sit writing this post, I am still working on downloading the converted songs from my Amazon Cloud Player so I can have all my old songs back for running.

Last Saturday, May 19th, I made my fourth run of the Head for the Hills Rally in Cedar Hill, Tx.  I was hoping for two good things.  First, don’t get lost on your own this year.  Last year, I missed a turn and ended up in Mansfield.  It’s not on the route, no.  That day, I got almost all my 60 miles in without every crossing the finish line.  I had sweetie pick me up in Midlothian after I managed to get back that far.  Second, I was hoping for a good ride for my upgraded Fuji to see how it might do for the Hotter-n-Hell ride this year.  It did well, after I spent about 10 miles with a frustrating-ly loose crank bolt.  My left crank bolt kept coming loose and wouldn’t you know that Campagnolo doesn’t use metric and doesn’t use a common English bolt either.

I had first thought it was a loose cleat, which wouldn’t have been good news either.  I pulled over when I saw the B&B Cycles van to see if I could get help.  I had put the bolt back somewhat tight with my screwdriver on my Swiss Army knife.  This was the first ride I ran with my Victorinox in the bag and I am glad I did.  The mechanic didn’t have any English allen wrenches so I was going to have to look for a garage or hardware store on the way.

About this point, we see the whole peloton coming back at us complaining about being on the wrong route.  It appears that one of the police officers had set up the turn underneath US67 the wrong way and led us back to town instead of out.  It turned a 64 mile ride into 69 miles for me.  But, at least “I” didn’t get lost this year.

Once back on the road, I had to stop several more times to re-tighten the bolt.  I finally spotted a guy out in his large garage at this house.  I turned around to see if I could borrow a wrench.  Anyone with that large of a garage and a truck that says, “Daves Appliance Repair” on the side has got to have what I need.  He did.  I gronched on the bolt as tight as I could and thanked  him for being there.  Then I got back into catchup mode.

I wasn’t trying to catch up with anyone.  I just knew I was behind my pace.  The Fuji certainly got a workout and so did I.  The rest of the ride was uneventful except for some light rain about 30 miles out.  Everyone I saw coming back had a mud strip on the back of their jersey, just like me.  What fenders!  We don’ need no stinkin’ fenders!

My catchup work had done well.  However, it cost me in the last 15 miles or so.  I had lost much of the gained time when I didn’t have enough left to hold up the pace.  However, I still came in at just under five and half hours for a 69 mile ride.  Not too bad.  But, the Fuji is now awaiting new brakes.

After braking problems with this ride and others, my old Dia-Compe brakes are just not going to last.  It takes way too much pressure on the handles to get a good stop.  I have great pads, but the Dia-Compe’s just aren’t strong enough.  New Tektro R559’s are on their way as we speak.

In two weeks, I’ll ride one that I haven’t been at yet.  It’s the Tour DePepper ride in Dublin, Tx.  I got an e-mail on it this week and it looks good.  In addition, it’s a ride that has something for sweetie to do while I am out.  It’s during Dublin Days and there will be lots going on for her to see as well.

One final note: I also received an e-mail this week that the Dallas White Rock Marathon will become the Dallas Marathon this year.  Who knew that when I ran my first marathon it would be the last White Rock.  So, I am definitely signing up for this year’s FIRST Dallas Marathon.  Then I’ll have that whole first-last-first thing worked out.

Well, I did say I’d keep it short.  But, that didn’t seem to happen either.  Summer is here in North Texas.  Look for the temps to go up along with our minutes per mile paces.  Fortunately, that’s not a problem on the bike.  Happy cycling folks..or running!

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Nasty.

That’s what one of my friends that ran the White Rock Half Marathon had to say about the weather this past Sunday.  He was right, and for me, running the full marathon that day, he was doubly right.  While my friend got to finish in 13.1 miles, I endured the weather for another 13.1.  Yet, I wouldn’t trade this run for any other. (more…)

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Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving for those of us in the good ‘ol US of A.  We will celebrate our nations humble beginnings, our connection to our families, our thanks to our God, and some among us will also deign to worship at the altar of football.  So it is appropriate on this occasion to note what I am thankful for in this past year.  However, before I get to all that, it is important to note that it was somehow comical to someone to place a marathon at just such a date as to cause its runners difficulty.  Why?  Because we must go through taper at Thanksgiving. (more…)

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OK, maybe I might lose a few of you on this one, but that may just be too bad.  I have watched and listened over the past few weeks about the Occupy Wall Street movement.  I have listened to the derision of the protesters from the politicians and the pundits.  And, I am ashamed.  I do not completely know how the protests will turn out, but as I recall, our forefathers fought a war over just this issue, the idea of being able to redress grievances.  In case anyone forgets, our nation was born in revolution, and as a good submarine captain once quoted, “A little revolution now and again is a good thing.” (more…)

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