March 27, 2012

Rock 'N' Roll Dallas Half Marathon

Despite it only being 2 weeks since the marathon, I had another race yesterday! I've not been able to put in a lot of training as my muscles were fatigued but I did get a few 4-5k runs in just to loosen up. I knew that I had trained hard for the marathon so was not too worried about cramming in miles and focussed more on recovery. By the end of last week I was feeling good and was confident I'd be ok to run the race. I really wanted to run one of the Rock n Roll series and it was a good excuse to go to Dallas for a long weekend so I was excited about the trip
We set off on Friday with a car full of puppies, bikes and supplies... again! Luckily Paul's sister lives in Dallas and was kind enough to let us stay at her house for the weekend
On Saturday we went to race expo to pick up my packet and number. It was great to get to look around the exhibition with all the gadgets, clothes, nutrition and latest in running technology... a dream for a running geek like me plus lots of freebies! We spent a while at the expo before spending the rest of the day sightseeing and relaxing.
It was only when we were getting a map of the city and advice on where to park that it hit me how early we were going to have to be up for the race. It didn't start until 8am (which isn't early compared to some) but unlike every other race I've been in, the start line wasn't at the same place as the finish. We would have to make our way to the finish line at Fair Park, which is about 40 minutes drive from Josie's house, then get a shuttle bus to the start line in downtown Dallas. 'No problem' you might think... until you add another 14000 people who plan to do exactly the same thing! We were advised to arrive at Fair Park at about 6am as they reckoned after that traffic would be really bad and there'd be queues for the shuttle. I got up at 4am. 4AM!!! so that I could eat and be ready to leave at 5. The traffic wasn't as bad as we'd expected and we got there a little before 6... but even then there was a steady stream of people making their way to the bus. I was thankful we'd been early as by the time I got on the bus at about 6.15 we set off to see that the roads into the fairground were ridiculously busy and the queues were huge.
Downtown Dallas before the start was beautiful. I sat on a step watching the sun rise at 7am as the crowds built around me. I wish I had my phone with me to take some photos as it was so pretty but I didn't want to run with it so hadn't taken it with me to the start line. As soon as the sun come up the chill was out of the air and I could tell it was going to be another great day (I was really thankful at that point that I'd remembered to put sun block on before I left the house!)
The start line was right by a beautiful area called Pioneer Plaza where I'd visited while sightseeing on Saturday. Unfortunately watching the world go by on a step near a line of bright blue portaloos was probably the highlight of my morning... well almost. I got off to a great start... there's nothing quite like being in the middle of a crowd full of people racing to make you feel good. I was feeling comfortable and relaxed even though I was running at a decent pace, reaching the 10k mark in 54 minutes. If I'd been able to carry on at that pace I would have been close to a personal best.
So far so good eh? However just as I was reaching 10k something started to go wrong with my left knee. Soon after that the pain was getting worse and I had to do something I've never done in a half marathon... I had to walk. Not only did I have to walk, I was having to stop, so when I saw the medic tent at around 13k I asked them for help. They taped above and below my knee pretty tight and I hopped along for a while longer. I was still struggling and kept having to stop because of the pain from moving but that would just make it hurt more. I was offered a lift to the finish line from police officers who could see I was hurt but I was determined not to quit. I stopped at another medic tent and got my knee fully bandaged to see if that worked better. I also iced it for a few minutes before setting off again.
I was finding the race incredibly difficult but people are awesome! Spectators and other racers made me smile so much with their encouragement and support. Also a couple of runners stopped or slowed to check on me which was so thoughtful when I know they had their own goals to focus on. Having a band every mile around the course didn't have as much of an affect on the race as I thought it would as you can only hear them for a minute or two before you pass but it was still great to hear some live music! It was also great to see some more of Dallas, although I think I would have taken more in if I'd not been so focussed on my knee.
Somehow my stubborness prevailed (I knew it would be a good thing one of these days!!)... I was not going to give up however much my knee hurt so I managed to get a bit of a walk/hop going and got myself through the last few miles and over the finish line! The medics once again grabbed hold of me and took me in to wrap ice around my knee before I could collect my medal and find Paul.

There was live music at the finish line and just thousands of runners and supporters just enjoying the day which was awesome. I was so disappointed with how my race had gone, I had to take some time and console myself with a free beer and ice-cream before feeling well enough for a photo.
I'm not going to lie, this race sucked for me. I have never felt like crying during a race before but yesterday I really could have! Not even at my lowest part of the marathon did I feel anywhere near that bad.
My ambitious side felt like I'd really let myself and others down but now I'm getting over the initial disappointment I'm realising that perhaps I haven't. The difference is that instead of being proud of an awesome finish time, I should be proud that, despite everything, I didn't quit!
I always thought my marathon medal would be the one to remind me that I'm stronger and tougher than I give myself credit for... but in reality I think it's going to be this one!


  1. Congratulations for finishing! I hope your knee is alright now and not over-stressed. Take care of yourself!

  2. Oh, dear! I am so sorry to hear you had so many knee issues! I am really impressed with how you pushed on, and on, and on. I had to do the run/walk/hobble rotation too, and it made the race seem so dreadfully long. Unlike you, I wasn't as smart to put on sunscreen and my shoulders are paying for it now. :( When I have a less than stellar race time, I always feel like I'm going to let someone down. In reality, you aren't. Most people are just impressed that you finished!! :)

    So what the plan with your knee? Will it require any rehabbing?

  3. Congrats on finishing such a tough race and I hope your knee is feeling better soon!


Please leave a comment :)