I took the train downtown and arrived at the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot around 7:30 am. Hung around the Community Coffee stand trying to warm myself up with coffee. The weather was very chilly around 45 degrees and foggy. So foggy that you couldn't see past maybe the 20th floor on most of the skyscrapers downtown. I hung around there for a few and ran into Cynthia, a good buddy of mine who was running the 5K. We shivered and chatted for a minute or two over coffee. Then around 8:15 I noticed the crowd thickening and figured I'd better make my way to the start line. As I weaved my way to the front of the crowd who most was warming up to the music that the DJ was playing, one of Dallas' Finest at the far barricade spotted me and noticed I had a blue bib on which means I'm a timed runner. She summoned me to come through the barricade since I was timed. I didn't know that the timed runners had that privilege. I was able to walk right up to the start line. I wish I had known that last year. After a couple minutes, one of my runner buddies, Vonnie from the Dallas Runners Club (DRC) tapped me from behind. I was happy to see her because I had gotten to be lonely standing there by myself. Everything was perfect so far, the weather, the atmosphere... except one thing. I had to go to the restroom. Badly. Vonnie suggested since I still had about 25 minutes before the start of the race I make a run for it but I decided to just tough it out. I could probably hold it for the entire 8 miles. Uhh... no.
As soon as the race started, I had issues. My aunt loaned me a fanny pack which I put my belongings in but it was flopping everywhere and on top of that I was really needing to relieve myself. Vonnie was a few steps ahead of me and I was trying to keep up with her while fumbling around with the strap on my pack attempting to tighten it but unsuccessfully. The good thing was I didn't have to worry about running around walkers like last year. About 2 miles in I spotted a port-o-potty, so I dove in and figured I would give myself a maximum of 1 minute to take care of my business and adjust my wardrobe. After I was done with that I shot out of there like a torpedo. I thought could see Vonnie way up the street thanks to her hot pink shirt that she had on. So I set out to catch her. That never happened. I forgot how she was always at the front of the pack in our DRC training runs and often on the verge of leaving us behind. After about mile 3 she was out of sight. I knew this route had a couple of crazy hills, so I decided to prepare myself mentally to be ready for those. Run and race experience helped me today. When I got to those hills, I tackled them with ease, passing a lot of other runners who were gassed and walking. I got recovery on the downside of the hills. After the Jefferson Street Viaduct hill (mile 7), I noticed that this race was about to be over with very quickly. Last year's race seemed like forever. At that time I remembered that I said I would take it easy in this race, but my competitive instincts had kicked in. So much for that. I run 8 milers for breakfast now.
I ended up officially with a 1:10:29 finish and an 8:41 average pace compared to last year where I finished in 1:22:25 a 10:10 pace. Of course last year was the very first race I had ever run in, so I didn't know what to expect. Next weekend, the White Rock Half Marathon. I hope I can duplicate this effort.