It seems like weeks since I ran the Allen, TX New Years Double Day Half Marathon, but really it was just two days ago. Having New Year’s fall in the middle of the week sure has thrown me off (and I’m not even employed at the moment)! Well, with a new year, I thought I’d start a new structure for my race recaps, so I hope you readers out there like it.
RACE DAY WEATHER
Cloudy, chance of morning showers (didn’t happen during the race), in the high 30’s at the start of the race, and windy at about 12-15 miles per hour in the middle of the race (making the temperature feel much colder).
I’d say it was pretty ideal running weather! Well, minus the wind that started to pick up in the middle of the race. In fact, as I was walking by a couple, the woman said to the man, “This is great weather!”. As I passed them, I said, “Only a runner would say that about this weather!”
FEELINGS GOING INTO THE RACE
Pretty nervous. It was ideal weather to set a new personal record, but I did not feel prepared for this race at all. What’s that you say? “You just ran a marathon about 3 weeks ago so you should be well prepared for a half!” Ha, no. While I’ve run some since the marathon, I haven’t been running consistently and my longest distance since that run was 7 miles. Plus my runs have been really slow (for me) since the marathon.
MEALS BEFORE THE RACE
Sushi! Nick and I went out for sushi on New Year’s eve. We had two spicy tuna rolls, a rainbow roll, and a california roll. I also had miso soup, hot tea, and we shared green tea ice cream. On the morning of the race, I had my usual; whole wheat English muffin with nut butter (almond) and jam (apricot preserves).
WHAT I WORE
My white, comfy cheap-o Target/Champion sports bra, my purple long-sleeve Nike dry-fit shirt, and my new Nike Element’s Thermal Tights. Also, I had on my new Brooks Glycerin running shoes with my new Aline inserts (which I’m not liking). Oh, and how could I forget, I also had on my nice, thick pink wool running socks, my Michigan hat (because a chance of morning showers were in the forecast), and my water/fuel belt.
ABOUT THE RACE
The New Years Double is a two-day race in Allen, TX (just up the highway; a second-ring suburb of Dallas). There are three different divisions for both days: a 5k, half marathon, and a full marathon. This is the third year of the race was capped at 1,000 runners total for each day. I dilly-dallied on registering and ended up on the wait list, but was invited in just before Christmas. With my dilly-dallying, I was going back and forth on if I should run this race or not. On the plus-side, it is close by, just a 20-minute drive away, but on the down-side, the course wasn’t my cup of tea (more on that in a minute). Being close by won me over in the end. A perk about this race is that EVERYONE who finishes gets a finisher’s medal and if you run both days, you get a third (ginormous) medal that holds each of the two race medals. Talk about race bling!! And everyone gets a dry-fit shirt, which is awesome. I’m totally over cotton T-shirts for shorter races.
Like I said, the course isn’t exactly my cup of tea. While it was very flat (which I did enjoy), it is an out-and-back race, starting in Celebration Park. The half marathon runners did the out-and-back twice and the full marathon runners did the out-and-back four times! Can you imagine running a course four times on one day and then getting up and doing it again for four more times the next day? No thank you! Two times were enough for me. And only on one day! I should add here that way back in the summer, when I first started to think about running this race, I considered running the 5k on New Years Eve and the half on New Year’s Day. Well, by the time I actually got on the wait list for the half on New Year’s Day, they weren’t letting anyone in for the 5k on either day any more. So the race ended up being just a one-day race for me. Almost all of this race was on a hike and bike trail, so it wasn’t particularly wide and a maximum 2-runner’s-wide was enforced. The 5k race ran along the same course for the first 1.55 miles, and then turned around, so as I was returning from my first loop, I ran into a lot of 5k walkers and slow joggers.
THE RACE ORGANIZATION
Packed pickup was held on the two days leading up to the races. A couple of vendors were at the packet pickup but I didn’t end up spending much time there to see what all they had. The “loot” bag contained my bib number and long-sleeve dry-fit race shirt. Among the various flyers they had from race sponsors was a travel size Dove deodorant (score!) and a trial size of some sort of shaving oil. I threw away the pamphlet on the shaving oil, but kept the sample. Now I wish I kept the pamphlet because, after using the sample, I want to get more, but I have no idea what the brand was. Oh well.
On race day, I arrived about 30 minutes early to get a parking spot- and there were plenty of spots! It was rather cold out so I hung out in my car for a few minutes before making my way over to the start line. On the way to the race, I was feeling rather thirsty and dehydrated. Certainly they’d have some bottled water they were handing out before the race, right. Nope. I wandered around for a while to try to find a water fountain in the park and when I eventually did, it was turned off for the season. Ugh. So thirsty!! While I was at the water fountain, I went in the bathroom to go one last time. While it was a flushing toilet, it smelled way worse that a port-o-pottie!! Yuck!
After I went to the bathroom, it was time to head back to the start line. The half and full started together at 8:15 in the morning. The 5K started at 8:40 AM. The starting area was very small and everyone crowded around the sides. The announcer called for the corrals to come up one at a time and each were off, about a minute apart. I was in corral D. Before I knew it, I was lined up and off and running!
Being such a small race, there wasn’t a ton of spectators. But the few out there were very supportive. I assume the people who were out there were family members of runners. The people at the three water stations were enthusiastic and eager to hand out water/Gatorade.
I started out strong, but being cold, I had my sleeves over my Garmin so I had no idea how I was doing. I passed a lot of people right away, but the miles didn’t tick by quickly like I hoped they would. We ran through Celebration Park for about the first two miles and then took a ramp under a road that lead us to a trail, which was basically a straight-away for almost 1.5 miles. My Garmin buzzed pretty accurately for the first three miles and then it was randomly right on or 0.25 miles off from then on.
As I looped back for the first time, I synced up with two women. They were going a nice pace so I was hoping I could stick with them for the duration of the race. But that only lasted for about two miles. As we looped back through on the ramp they stopped at the water stop at the top of the ramp and I kept going. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to fuel up. I had a pack of Gatorade Energy Chews left over from some other event, so I dug into those, pulling out one very sticky chew. I felt my body slowing down as I attempted to each my energy chew and i was starting to feel lost without those two women I was following. Being back in the wide-open Celebration Park, I noticed how windy it was getting. Initially I thought it was because it was a wide-open field and once I got back to the trail, the wind would subside, but I was wrong. I finished my first loop relatively strong and headed out for the second loop, fighting the wind. People I’d passed on the first loop were now passing me on the second loop. Based on my assumption, I was eager to get back on the trail to avoid the wind, but as soon as I got there, the wind didn’t let up as I’d hoped. I felt like I was running into the wind for almost all of the second loop.
I was planning on waiting until mile 10 to eat another chew, but I ended up having my second one closer to mile 9, right around the same time those two ladies who I was initially pacing with in the first loop passed me. I tried to speed up and stick with them, but my body was starting to go numb from the wind and I couldn’t pick up my pace.
There was a small bridge right before the turn-around loop that, due to the previous day’s pouring rain, was extremely muddy, especially by my second loop. I was rather cautious crossing it, as it looked extremely slippery. Up until this point, I ran through the water stops and sipped on my water bottles, but I was starting to feel burned out so I grabbed a water and a Gatorade at the mile 10-ish water stop and walked until the last trash can. I started to run again and made it a mile or so before I took a pretty small walking break. My butt was super sore. I started back up again and told myself, make it to the next (and last) water stop and then I can walk through it, which I did. That was the same water stop I’d ran through when I lost those two women on the first loop. After I walked through that last water stop, I ran until I hit this slightest mole hill. Ugh, I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the energy in me to serge over this teeny-tiny hill, so I walked up it; probably 10 feet in distance, total, but mentally, I just didn’t have it in me. I rounded the corner and I knew there were just three more turns and I’d be done. But I needed one more short walking break, so I took it. Still running into the wind, I had my hands covered by my sleeves so I had no idea what my pace was or how my overall time looked. Rounding the second to last turn, out of curiosity, I pulled up my sleeve. Ugh, I’d just missed beating my first half marathon time. My watch buzzed for the 13-mile mark well before I hit the 13-mile sign, but I picked it up. Almost done!! I definitely did not do an all-out sprint, but I was going much faster compared to the last three or four miles. I crossed the finish line and I was done! Immediately, I had a medal around my neck and a space blanket wrapped around me.
POST RACE FOOD
There was a nice assortment of granola bars at the end of the race. I grabbed two (the maximum limit) for Nick and a bottle of water for me. I was quickly ushered out of the post-race food/medal area. With nowhere else to go, I walked back to my car. I didn’t even realize it until I was 3/4 the way to my car, but I’d been walking on the race course. Oops! No marathon runners passed me though.
OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS
So a day or two before the race, I was online searching for something totally unrelated and I randomly ended up on the 50 Half Marathons in 50 States blog. It just so happened that this particular blogger was running in the New Years Double too! She was doing the marathon on both days (major props to her!). She also had a drawing going on for a Road ID gift card giveaway. I commented on her post saying that I’d be in the New Year’s Day race and that I’d like to go in for the drawing. Come race day, I tried to search for her, but being brand-spanking-new to her blog, I wasn’t quite sure how to spot her out in the crowd. Oh well. I didn’t think much more of the giveaway, since I never win anything, but while I was looking at my google reader yesterday I saw that I actually won her drawing!!!! Yay Oh, and thank you Your Sporting Image for the photo proofs!
The race was fine and fairly well organized. I wish I was able to get water at the beginning. I think that is my biggest complaint for the entire event. People out there were very friendly. Some random guy let me wear an extra shirt he had while we were waiting for the race to start so I wouldn’t freeze my butt off. I thought that was very kind of him! I’m not a huge fan of multiple out-and-back races and I prefer the excitement of a large race over feeling so lonely in a small race. Oh, and with that said, I should mention that the past few races I’ve done, I ran without music. Being such a small race with the out-and-back course, I definitely needed the music for this one. At one point I was singing out loud, but there wasn’t anyone around me to hear me so I never felt awkward about it! Haha. So would I do this race again; maybe. The flat course and potentially ideal weather conditions would draw me back again next year. So we’ll leave it at, we’ll see.
Bib Number: 2327
Division: Female 30-34
Official Chip Time: 2:12:44
Official Race Distance: 13.1 Miles
Official Average Race Pace: 10’08”
Overall Rank: 154 out of 446
Sex Rank: 81 out of 281
Division Rank: 13 out of 31
3.6 Mile Split: 35:18 (9’48”)
6.55 Mile Split: 1:03:05 (9’38”)
10.15 Mile Split: 1:41:15 (9’59”)
Garmin Time: 2:12:48
Garmin Distance: 13.37 Miles
Garmin Average Pace: 9’56”
Mile 1: 9’15”
Mile 2: 9’13”
Mile 3: 9’32”
Mile 4: 9’25”
Mile 5: 9’22”
Mile 6: 9’51”
Mile 7: 9’34”
Mile 8: 9’50”
Mile 9: 9’51”
Mile 10: 10’29”
Mile 11: 10’54”
Mile 12: 10’56”
Mile 13: 11’18”
Mile 13.37: 9’04”