A lot of my friend signed up for this race and it seemed like a pretty good deal: hat, finisher’s shirt, and finisher’s medal for $35 before the scheduled price increase. With the price, the number of friends running this, and being a distance I’ve never raced before (instant PR), I figured I’d go ahead and sign up. My training calendar had me running 13 miles so a couple of us decided to park further away and run to the start and run back to our cars after the race to get the extra mileage in, which worked out perfectly!
Race Day Weather
When I pulled up to our meeting spot at the Bath House, the sky was overcast and the temperature wasn’t too miserable; 74 degrees.
I hoped it would stay overcast for the race to keep the temperature down. We don’t have a ton of overcast days in Dallas, but when we do, I’ve noticed those days are particularly more humid than if we have clear skies, so it’s a trade-off.
It stayed overcast during our entire “warm up” and once we got to the start area, we began to feel a few sprinkles. According to my phone, it wasn’t supposed to start raining until 8:30 AM, but we were already feeling the drops come at 7:00 AM.
The rain definitely picked up during the race and by the end, it was coming down in a steady stream. I forgot to take a picture of the weather immediately after I finished and didn’t think about it until I was driving home, but I’m pretty sure not much changed from when I finished until I was at a stop light and able to take a screen shot as I made my way home. It actually cooled down! A brisk 72 degrees! But the humidity went up.
Feelings Going Into The Race
I wasn’t feeling nervous. Most of my race nerves are gone these days. Instead, I was feeling ready to have the race over with. I’ve been feeling this way a lot recently. I don’t know what it is. I enjoy racing, but I want the races to be done before I even start. Maybe my race nerves have changed form into race-be-done feelings. On the up side, a lot of my friends were running in this race as well, so having company made the event seem more social.
Meals Before The Race
Nick and I spent quite a while on Saturday out house hunting (more on that later this week) and he decided to decompress by hanging out with a friend for the evening. I didn’t have the energy to cook for myself so I ordered Pei Wei.
It’s probably not the best choice to have pre-race, but I haven’t had Pei Wei in a while and it’s easy and affordable. I ordered the Pei Wei Spicy Chicken Salad, my personal favorite from their menu.
Of course, I had to eat my fortune cookie, too. “You will soon be surrounded by good friends and laughter.” Fitting, since I would be seeing several good friends in the morning!
Breakfast was my usual: a Central Market multi-grain English muffin, with homemade almond butter and the last of my peach preserves.
What I Wore
My outfit nearly matched what I wore for the Jalapeño Half and the DRC Independence 10K, with some change in color. I wore my C9 white sports bra, as usual. On top, I had a white Nike Racer tank top and on bottom I wore a pair of blue, green, and pink Nike Tempo shorts. I also wore my raspberry Features socks with my brand-new (only been worn twice before) Brooks Glycerine 11 running shoes.
I also wore my grey Flip Belt, a pink Under Armour headband, my Garmin Forerunner 610, and my RoadID bracelet. I carried my Camelbak and I also brought three Clif Shot Bloks, two in Margarita, and one in Cran-Raz. I brought my Mission Enduracool towel with me and put it around my neck, tucking the ends into my sports bra. I used this same technique on a run earlier in the week when it was over 100 degrees and it really seemed to help keep me cool.
Jackson wanted to be a part of my wardrobe as well. (He FINALLY got his summer hair cut just over a week ago. He might look ridiculous, but he enjoys the short cut and I’m happy he is no longer matted.)
At the very least, he was interested in playing with my shoe laces.
This is a nearly out and back race, starting at Norbuck park and running along the east side of the lake down to Garland road. The “out” part ran along the hike and bike trail on the stretch from Winfrey Point until Garland road, and the “back” portion ran on the road on this same stretch until we cut through the parking lot at the base of Winfrey Point and got back on the same path as the “out”.
The course was fairly flat, except for three hills by the Bath House. But let’s be honest, these are more like little ant hills than real hills.
Water stops were plentiful at a total of 9 over the entire 9.3-mile course. I didn’t take any water or electrolytes from any of the stations since I had my Camelbak, but the stops seemed to be well-staffed and had cold, wet towels to grab, as well as sprinklers spraying the runners (even though it was raining).
The Race Organization
This race is put on by Project Run which is owned by Racing Systems, one of the major race timing companies in the Dallas area and is a sister company of Run On!, one of the major running stores here in North Texas. I haven’t done a ton of Project Run races, but those that I have done in the past seemed to be very popular and well-organized.
Packet pick-up was held the Tuesday through Saturday before the race at the various local Run On! stores. I actually happened to be at Run On! on both Sunday and Monday before packet pick-up purchasing a new pair of shoes. The location closest to me didn’t have the color I wanted so I had to go to the location that is on my way to the office to get the right color (because that is super important)! Anyway, I made my third and final trip on Tuesday to Run On! to pick my packet up.
It was an efficient system. They guy clicked on my name in the database and scanned a bib, handed it to me, along with a race hat and a couple of coupons and I was off.
I was actually pretty excited about this race swag. I’m getting tired of all the tech shirts. I’ve become very particular on how they fit and half the races I’ve done lately don’t have shirts that fit me the way I like (Mellew races, for example). But, while I have a zillion tech shirts now, I don’t have a real running hat. I don’t typically wear a hat of visor when I run, but on the rare occasion that it is raining, a hat is super-duper helpful to keep the rain out of my eyes. I’ve been using a Michigan hat up to this point, but I’m excited to finally own a light weight, breathable running hat!
A few days before the race, I received an email with the virtual goodie bag for this race, so I have a bunch of coupons sitting in my inbox waiting for me to check them out as I type this.
As usual for the races I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks, there wasn’t a ton of crowd support. Only a few family members came out to cheer their loved ones on. The volunteers were awesome, though, and super enthusiastic!
As I said above, I met up with a couple of my friends and we parked at the Bath House and ran to Norbuck park to get a few extra miles in.
I’m actually really glad we decided to do this because parking was a disaster at Norbuck. After we arrived at Norbuck, we met up with a few other friends and walked around for a few minutes before heading over to the corral.
I know there is a whole section on this later, but I was blown away by how many vendor booths there were for this race! Run Project sure knows how to put on a show!
Anyway, as my friends and I gathered in the corral, sprinkles started to come down. I hoped that any steady stream would stay at bay until we were done with the race for the sole reason that I didn’t braid my hair and the rain would turn it into a HUGE rat’s nest. Well, my hope didn’t come true and I spent at least 30 minutes brushing the knots out when I got home!
Okay, back to the race. We were off!
I started out running with my friends, Shea, Jessica, and Alyson. None of us were too keen on going all out for this race and it definitely showed in the first mile as we dodged people to get into a nice groove. A few minutes after we started, our other friends, Jacki, came up from behind us. I guess she got confused or was in the bathrooms when we started, but she ended up starting with the 5k race instead of with the 15k race. Oops. She figured it out quickly and made the appropriate turn to get on the 15k course. The five of us stuck together for quite a while. At points one or two of us was ahead while one or two fell back and we kept flip-flopping our spots. I never looked back, so if someone fell back, I couldn’t see when it happened or how far back they were. Somewhere along the way, Shea implemented a run-walk strategy that she is moving towards for training and the last time I saw her was when she started her first walk cycle. Jacki was trying to catch up to another friend, so she pushed forward. I have no idea when we lost Jessica, but I’m pretty sure she was with us for a while on the “out” portion of the race. Alyson and I stuck together for almost the entire race; again one of us would be a little bit ahead at times and then we’d switch.
We passed through all the water stops and while I didn’t take any liquid, it seemed as though they were well-stocked with both water and electrolytes. The sprinklers were raining on runners as we passed through each water station. I actually just commented on another blog last week that I try to avoid sprinklers during races because it adds to the humidity I feel while running, but in this case, it was already raining out so, while I didn’t run straight towards the spray, I didn’t avoid it. I noticed on the way back that the volunteers at the water stations were handing out wet towels to help cool participants off. How nice! I already had my wet Mission Enduracool towel around my neck, but it’s nice to be in a race where the production team thinks of things like this (unlike Mellew Productions).
We wound our way down the east side of the lake and somewhere along the way, maybe around mile 4, I started to have some mild hip irritation. Luckily it wasn’t painful, just more of an awareness and annoyance than anything, so I was able to push through without needing to take a walking break.
The rain started to pick up as we turned around at Garland Road and made our way back to the start/finish line. The road was feeling a bit slippery. I’m not sure if that was because I was in new shoes or if everyone else was feeling slippery pavement too. I was drenched at this point and I knew my hair was hopeless of being knot free. It’s funny. I thought to myself, “ugh, I wish I’d known it was going to rain. I would have worn a hat. Yeah, like the hat I got for this race.” Ha, I guess Project Run giving out hats as race swag was foretelling!
At about mile 8.5, I saw Jacki up ahead and I picked up my pace to catch her. Alyson was right there with me. The three of us hit the 9-mile mark and Jacki and Alyson said they didn’t have anything left in them for a fast finish. I didn’t have much in my either, but I was ready to be done, so I did my best to pick my pace up and get to the finish line.
Jacki and Alyson were just a few feet behind me. After we were done, Alyson commented on how she had been pacing off of me the entire time and how I said I wasn’t really trying to race it hard at the beginning. I told her that I felt like I was pacing off of her and that I figured she wanted changed her mind during the race about the speed as well. Haha, we were pushing each other, I guess! But the perk of “blindly” pacing each other was Alyson set a new personal record for the 15k distance! As I said before, this was my first 15k, so it was a PR for me as well!
Post Race Food And Vendors
Oh my gosh, there were SO many vendors at this race! But before I get to that, immediately after finishing, I was handed my finisher’s medal and directed to ice-cold towels, followed by water and bananas.
I had two cups of water and a banana right then and I grabbed a bag of Gardetto’s which I stuck in my Camelbak for later.
I lost Jacki and Alyson briefly as I was snapping pictures. I picked up my finisher’s shirt and headed over to some of the booths, stopping at the Muscle Milk booth to grab a Chocolate Muscle Milk to bring home to Nick (he usually gets a lot of my post race food and drink perks) and another ice-cold towel (you can never have too many).
After scarfing that down, I grabbed some pasta salad from the Lake House booth. It tasted so good, but then I realized I still had to run a mile and a half back to my car.
At some point while I was standing around, I ran into my friends Rebecca and Brandon and then Jessica found us as well. We wandered around for a little bit and just as Jessica and I were about to run back to the Bath House, I ran into another friend, Suzanne, who I haven’t seen in a while.
We talked briefly (which gave us time to have our food digest) and then Jessica and I were FINALLY off.
No Pain No Gain
Like I said, I was having some hip irritation, but it wasn’t bad and I was able to push through it. I’m not sure what is triggering this hip issue. I’m wondering if my lack of strength training/going to BodyPump class lately has something to do with it.
Other Random Thoughts
There was only one spot that I felt this race could have been improved. On the return route, we cut through a parking lot to get back onto the trail. In order to get back on the trail, we had to jump up on the sidewalk from the street, which I saw as a little bit of a danger. Obviously, this step had to happen in order to get on the trail, but I think Run Project could have spray painted the step so it read clearly as you approached it. In my opinion, that was the only down fall of this entire race from packet pick-up through post-race festivities.
This was well-run race! Run Project did a great job making this race all about the runner instead of lining the pockets of the race director. The fee was very reasonable, the food and vendors were plentiful, and the hot-weather amenities like the sprinklers and cold towels on and after the race were greatly appreciated (even though it really wasn’t too hot out). While I don’t know if I have many more summer races in my after this year, I would definitely recommend this one to anyone looking to participate in a summer race! And maybe, just maybe, if all my friends are running this race again, I would do it too!
Bib Number: 1568
Division: Female 30-34
Official Chip Time: 1:32:53
Official Race Distance: 9.3 miles
Official Average Race Pace: 9’59”
Official Rank: 733 out of 1526
Sex Rank: 278 out of 838
Division Rank: 49 out of 143
5K Split: 31:30
10 K Split: 1:01:53
Garmin Time: 1:32:56
Garmin Distance: 9.49 miles
Garmin Average Pace: 9’48”
Mile 1: 10’25”
Mile 2: 9’53”
Mile 3: 9’37”
Mile 4: 9’30”
Mile 5: 9’35”
Mile 6: 9’42”
Mile 7: 10’01”
Mile 8: 9’48”
Mile 9: 9’49”
Mile 9.49: 9’25”