I signed up for the Dallas Allstate 13.1 back in March and was pretty excited about it then. Late October tends to bring cooler weather and hype around this race seemed to make it a bigger deal.
Race Day Weather
As I’d hoped, the weather was on the cooler side. Not cold, by any means, but definitely cooler than the weather all early-fall long. At the beginning of the race, the temperature was 56° F and overcast. Rain was predicted for the day and there were a few sprinkles as I made my way to the start corral, but other than that, the rain held off for the duration of the race.
When I crossed the finish line, the temperature warmed up by two degrees, bringing it to 58° F and still overcast.
Feelings Going Into The Race
Meh. Like I said above, I was looking forward to this race earlier in the year because I anticipated it to be the first cooler race since the summer months, but after the Chicago Marathon, the luster wore off and I was no longer looking forward to it. In fact, I was kind of dreading it. Well, I wasn’t dreading the race so much, but I was more dreading running any sort of distance. My body (and mind) are very fatigued right now and all I want to do is sleep, but I signed up, so I was going to do it. Also with my “meh” feelings, I’m not one to bounce right back after a marathon and maintain the speeds my body could hold prior to the marathon. After my first marathon, it took me about a month to get back to where I was before the race. With the second marathon, I got injured, so I was out for a while and that threw everything off. With the latest marathon, I’m predicting about a month again before I’m back up to where I was. It’s frustrating, especially when I’m a pace leader for my training program leading up to the Dallas Marathon in December and I’ve been struggling to keep up in our speed work the past two weeks. Anyway, that’s something else all together entirely different, but my point is; my body is tired.
Meals Before The Race
I had dinner with my pace group at Campisi’s as they were preparing to do their first 20-mile run the next morning. I was taking the easy route and only running 13.1! 😉
I ordered the shrimp scampi with spaghetti. Probably not the best choice the night before a race, but whatever!
In the morning, I had my usual; a whole wheat English muffin (from Central Market this time), nut butter (homemade almond butter) and jam (Trader Joe’s Blackberry preserves).
What I Wore
I wore my newer C9 yellow sports bra. On top, I had on my new Dallas Running Club New Balance singlet and on the bottom I wore a pair of black on black Nike Tempo shorts. For socks, I wore a pair of blue-ish Features. I wore those with my new Brooks Glycerine 11 running shoes and a pair of Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles to help with my recent arch pain. I also wore my grey Flip Belt, my Garmin Forerunner 610, and my RoadID bracelet. I carried four Gatorade Endurance Chews in my Flip Belt. Since rain was in the forecast, I wore my Too Hot To Handle hat.
What kept me motivated about this race was the course. The beginning is somewhat similar to the Dallas Marathon and the Rock n Roll Half Marathon, but instead of running into the M-Streets and Lakewood, the course turns south before crossing over 75, and runs down the Katy Trail. The course starts and ends in the Arts District in Downtown Dallas, winds through Uptown and Turtle Creek before entering into Highland Park. Then, as I just mentioned, it turns south and runs the entire length of the Katy Trail all the way to the American Airlines Center. It crosses back into downtown at the West End and runs back up to the Arts District.
I think it is a really great course and I wish I was more in the mood to run it because, in my opinion, it is one of the best Dallas-based half marathon routes. While the race website claims that this is a flat, fast route, it is actually a gradual rolling course. It’s the type of climb that you don’t really notice when you are going down, but you do notice when you are going up. To me, those type of grade changes are more torturous than clearly seeing the hill and knowing that there is a defined top to it. The minimum elevation on this route is 410 feet and the maximum elevation is 569 feet. The total elevation gain was 259 feet.
The Race Organization
From the name, it should be pretty obvious that Allstate puts this race on. It is one race in a series of races that hit various cities across the US. I anticipated this race to be big like Rock n Roll, but the Dallas Allstate race was actually quite smaller in the number of participants.
There wasn’t an expo. Instead, packet pickup was held at the Dallas Luke’s Locker. I headed over there on Friday afternoon and got my goods.
There wasn’t any line at all, which was nice.
And I entered to win some trip… I can’t even remember where to now that I think of it. My mind is in other places these days. Anyway, they gave me a wrist sweat band in exchange for entering the giveaway.
The packet included a nice draw-string back pack, a T-shirt, a gift card to Luke’s Locker, and my bib. There was also some Allstate paraphernalia in there too, but I tossed that.
They clearly recycle the shirts from city to city, since all of them are listed on there and the back packs are Dallas specific. Oh well, I have way too many running shirts as it is to care too much about what this one says or doesn’t say.
The race also had a 5k associated with it, but the 5k started after the half marathon and their route was basically the last mile and a half+, out and back, of the half marathon route.
For a change, I actually used the bag check since it was cool enough to need a zip-up while standing around, but way too warm to run with one on. The bag check was fairly well streamlined, inside a little glass building.
I actually hung out in there for a while before the race started.
Along the half marathon course, there were 10 water stops. If I remember correctly, I skipped the first one, but I imbibed at all the rest of them. I noticed that one of the water stops did have water in the Gatorade cups and Gatorade in the water cups. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed this, but it threw me off since the order had been very consistent up to this point.
Again, I thought this race was bigger like Rock n Roll Dallas, so I expected a decent amount of crowd support, but to be honest, there was very little crowd support. There were a few groups- drum players, cheer leaders, dancers, etc., out supporting the race, but not many. As for fans, I saw a majority of them multiple times since the course was tight enough together that spectators were easily able to get from one point to the next and cheer runners on.
There was one woman who I saw about three or four times. She was clearly cheering on her daughter who was right by me almost the entire race. The woman was a little too enthusiastic for my liking (you know the type, yelling, “you’re almost there” at mile 7), but I’m sure it was helpful for her daughter to see a familiar face so often.
Being so close to Daylight Savings and starting at 7 AM, it was very dark. I expected a lot of traffic and planned accordingly to get to downtown, but I zipped into one of my secret parking spots without any trouble and sat in my car for 20 minutes, killing time. (I love secret parking spots… it means I can easily get a parking space without having to pay or valet! I have three of them in the Uptown/Downtown area.)
As the time got closer to the start of the race, I headed out of the enclosed bag check area and made my way to the corral. Everyone was packed like sardines in the corral and I couldn’t make my way up very far before the race started. I ended up starting behind the 2:40 pace leaders.
After the national anthem, we were off! Since I was so far back, I was stuck behind the slower pack for a while, but soon enough I was able to get past the 2:40, 2:30, and 2:20 pace leaders. We ran in the dark for the first 40 minutes or so, which was kind of fun. I love running when the sun isn’t out. I know I’ve said it about a dozen or so times before, but the sun is one of my main enemies in races. I HATE the sun! So not only were the first 40 minutes or so ran before the sun came up, the day was overcast, so I hardly had to deal with any sunshine at all! YAY!!
As I mentioned before, part of this route is very similar to the Dallas Marathon and Rock n Roll Dallas, so it was 1.) good practice; and 2.) a lot harder than my past experiences running this same stretch. Normally the gradual incline on Turtle Creek to Highland Park doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve hardly noticed it during either of the other two race (a total of two times each), but this time I REALLY noticed the gradual incline. I didn’t quit, though. I kept plugging away, slowly, but surely.
Around mile 6, I could feel the insole in my right shoe start to flick up. It didn’t hurt, but it was definitely a nuisance! My left arch has been giving me some trouble for the past few weeks, a delayed “injury” from the Dallas Marathon, but during the race, it wasn’t bothering me too badly. I could feel it, but it wasn’t pain, per say.
Once we got to the Katy Trail, I knew we were going down hill, although it is hard to tell. I hoped I’d be able to pick up some speed here to make up for some of my sluggish uphill miles, but my body didn’t seem to want to go any faster than what it had been doing all along, so it was what it was.
The girl who’s mother was out cheering for her was by me for almost the entire race. She was running with a very supportive friend. The daughter-girl was struggling, huffing and puffing, and moaning and groaning forever, which I find very annoying to hear, especially for at least 3/4 of the race, but her running buddy kept encouraging her to keep it up and that they’d be done and enjoying drinks before they knew it. I really wanted to get away from them- really, just the huffing and puffing girl- but like I said, my body wasn’t having a faster pace that morning.
As we turned to run up Ross Ave, I saw a lovely little hill. Ugh. At least I could see it instead of the annoying gradual incline, but at that point, I was pooped. I didn’t walk once, even through the water stops. I ran and drank; a skill I’m starting to perfect. I wasn’t about to walk now. My pace slowed significantly, but I made it over the hump and knew the end was within a half of a mile. I didn’t want the huffing and puffing girl to beat me, so I tried as hard as possible to pull ahead. I turned the corner onto Routh Street, seeing the 13-mile marker sign. I picked it up as much as I possibly could, but there she was, huffing and puffing girl, right at my heels. She was significantly taller than me, with longer legs, and she was able to stretch her stride far enough to pull past me. Damn it! She beat me. Ugh, oh well. My body just wasn’t having it today. C’est la vie.
Post Race Food And Vendors
I pretty much booked it out of the finish area after I finished. I was eager to get home. But before I left, I did take some pictures of the post race food and vendors. I didn’t take anything to eat or get any information/samples at the vendor booths. For food, they had bananas, Oreos, muffins, oranges, and pretzels.
Sorry for the blurry pictures. I was rushing through there!
As for vendors, Michelob Ultra was the beer sponsor.
They had a massage area, but I wasn’t about to get in the long line. (No line in the VIP area at the Chicago Marathon!!)
Muscle Milk was handing out their drinks.
And last, but not least, the main stage. They were announcing the winners as I was walking by.
No Pain No Gain
During the race, I didn’t have any noticeable pain. My left arch was bothersome, but not painful. I walked the quarter-mile or so back to my car and the second I got settled in to the driver’s seat, my calf cramped up. A few days later, I couldn’t tell you which leg it was, but my best guess is that it was my left leg. I usually don’t get killer cramps like that from running, but man, it was intense! Once the cramp loosened up, I headed home. Getting out of the car at home, the outside of my left foot was aching. I’d probably unintentionally ran with more pressure on that side of my foot to alleviate the pressure on my arch. My calves were pretty tight and swollen, which I discovered when I put my boots on to go out after I’d cleaned up. It wasn’t until I pulled off my shoes and socks to jump in the shower that I discovered my right foot was covered in blood.
Remember how the insole kept flipping up in my right shoe from mile 6 on? Yeah, somehow it cut my toe and caused me to gush blood all over my sock and the inside of my shoe.
Other Random Thoughts
I really wanted this race to go better. It is so frustrating looking at my times from January through May and know I’m not where I was then. Grr. But 1.) I’m two weeks off of a marathon, so I can’t be too hard on myself; and 2.) I only have myself to blame for dropping the strength training from my routine, which, in my opinion, is the key factor that helped me go faster then.
I loved the route of this race, but I was disappointed in the crowd support. Normally, for all the random half marathons I do, I don’t expect much crowd support, but for whatever reason, I was lead to believe this race was a “bigger deal” than it really was. With that expectation, I was pretty disappointed. The weather was on the nicer side as far a running is concerned and this time of year, while it is always a gamble, the odds are in favor of having good weather. The only major hangup I have with this race is it is smack-dab in the middle of the major marathon season, which makes it difficult for me to do and do well. But, I would definitely recommend this half marathon to others who want a fun route to run on!
Bib Number: 437
Division: Female 30-34
Official Chip Time: 2:11:11
Official Race Distance: 13.1 miles
Official Average Race Pace: 10’00″
Overall Rank: 938 out of 1760
Gender Rank: 408 out of 1007
Division Rank: 91 out of 186
10k Split: 1:02:22
Garmin Time: 2:11:15
Garmin Distance: 13.16 miles
Garmin Average Pace: 9’58″
Mile 1: 10’08″
Mile 2: 9’58″
Mile 3: 9’42″
Mile 4: 9’45″
Mile 5: 10’05″
Mile 6: 10’05″
Mile 7: 10’10″
Mile 8: 9’55″
Mile 9: 9’48″
Mile 10: 9’53″
Mile 11: 9’49″
Mile 12: 10’06″
Mile 13: 10’29″
Mile 13.16: 8’35″