Saturday, December 29, 2012

Recap of 2012

January 1
Started the year off with a bang by completing a 20 mile solo run.  Only the 2nd time I had ever run that distance before.  I would have a few more of these over the next 12 months.

Week of January 30 thru February 4.  I had just completed a long run of 18 miles the Saturday before and felt really good until the last couple miles of the run I started feeling funny.  The next day I got hit with the flu and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I hadn't had the flu in maybe ten years, much less had really ever been sick.  I never get sick.  It would prove to be a blessing as I had some nagging knee and hip pain that was crying out for rest, possibly the beginning stages of an I.T. band issue, however I was too hard headed to rest them.  That flu put me out for almost a week and I believe helped my wheels heal up.  Good thing because my marathon training was about to become very vigorous.

February 5.  DRC North Dallas Runners group created.  Created for the folks in the DRC who could not make it to White Rock Lake for thursday social runs.  This would become a weekly staple.  Most runs started in Addison or Richardson.

DRC North Dallas Runners before a hot summer run in late July 2012.

The Month of March
Ran for more miles (218) than I ever had before in one month.  Still my highest monthly total to date.  And I'm still not sure how in the hell I did that and don't remember much about that month except for the two races below.  It was a total blur. 

March 3 - Trinity Levee Run - Didn't really prepare for this run, but gave it all I got and finished with an 8:14 average pace.  What I remember most about this race was the festivites afterward.  Had a ball drinking several cold Michelob Ultras and later ate barbeque with the rest of the DRC family and for the first time was referred to by other runners as 'fast'.  I really don't think so compared to others that I'm trying to chase but, it was nice to see that my improvement was being noticed.  This would also be the last time I ever ran with, ate and drank beer with DRC buddy Bob Philpot who I had just really gotten to know, but would later lose a battle with cancer on Thanksgiving day.
Enjoying free beer after Trinity Levee Run 03/03/2012.  The late Bob Philpot is to my left.

March 25 - Rock N Roll Dallas Half Marathon
My best race to date.  Was told by my marathon pace leader/coach Steve Griffin that the best way to train for a half marathon was to train for a full.  He was dead on.  Only a couple weeks away from completing training for the Big D Marathon, I couldn't beleive how comfortable I was at some points of the race running at or around an 8min/mile.  A couple times I dipped sub 8 and had to slow myself down.  Caught my traditional leg cramp at mile 12.5 but still managed to P.R. at 1:50:07.  Without the cramp I know I would have gotten around a 1:47.

Dallas Rock N Roll Half 03/25/2012.  Left:  Me getting my traditional cramp at mile 12.5.  Right:  Me and DRC Member Amy Z posing just after finishing.  We passed each other several times during the last quarter of the race.  She blew past me right at the finish.

April 15 - Big D Texas, Marathon - My first full on the books.  I never really had that "fullfilling" feeling after getting a full marathon under my belt or got too excited about it.  I was a little dissapointed, hoping I would sub-4 it.  I was on track to do that until mile 22 things went south.  Still grinded it out and ended up with a decent time 4:13:09.  After really bombing in the Dallas Marathon six months later, I now appreciate this one even more.
Big D Marathon 04/15/2012, somewhere around mile 17 or 18 just as it started to rain.

June 9 thru July 7 - El Scorcho training -  I consider this training, the start of my fall marathon training.  I didn't know it at the time.  But my fitness was at a very good level by the time the end of August came around.  Every friday night at 11:00 pm, a group consisting of me and other fellow DRC members would meet up at the Farmers Branch Police department and run from there around the Brookhaven College area and into the wee hours of Saturday morning.  This in preparation for the El Scorcho midnight 25k/50k run.  Special thanks to whom I consider my coach, Steve Griffin for coming up with the most monotonous, but most awesome course to train on.  It was almost a perfect simulation of the course we would race on.

 July 15 - El Scorcho - The funnest race I have ever participated in.  Maybe because I only did the 25K which consisted of five 5k loops around Trinty Park in Fort Worth, then sat drank beer and watched the looks on the faces of the 50Kers who had to run out their additional five 5K loops for for the rest of the night.

Picture collage from El Scorcho 07/25/2012.  Clockwise from top:  Me flanked by my inspiration Blanca G and her friend Kelley / Me enjoying a post run beer after finishing the 25K in 2:14:59 / Bal B and I before the start of the race / Finisher's Medal

July 21 - First run with the 2012 DRC fall 3:50 Marathon Group - Running late and almost missed the first ever run with the greatest team that I have ever worked or played with, period.

DRC 3:50 Marathon Group before start of 5 Mile Breakfast Bash race on 09/01/2012
  July 29 - First ever trail run - First ever trail run at the LB Houston Nature Preserve.  Loved every minute of it and got hooked.  A whole different kind of running which I beleive helped with my overall training in general.  Also to date, my first an only trail run fall happened on this run.

Picture collage- Trail runnin' 2012. Clockwise from top:  On my first ever trail run at LB Houston / At Northshore Trails led by Jackie C / Trail running friends at the mid point of a 9 miler / Down and dirty after the end of a trail run.
September 19 - First stint at coaching (C25K training) - Having the reputation of being an advanced runner at work, I was to help train a couch to 5K group as a leadership project.  I didn't realize how much of an influence I would have on this group and just the same they had a great influence on me.  Successfully trained maybe a dozen folks to complete their first 5k race.  And a couple of them seem to be on their way to be serious runners.  It don't get no better than that.

Cigna GO YOU Couch to 5K Training project 2012

September 30 - 55 mile week - My largest pile up of miles for one week to date.

October 21 - Honored Hero Run and the discovery of mustard - Signed up to run the Honored Hero run with my freind Tim.  My strategy was to use it as a training run and keep my pace at about a 9min/mile throughout.  For the most part I did that in hot humid conditions.  I took a hand full of mustard packet with me as I was told they help for cramps which I have had a history of during races.  The mustard did work as I felt crampy from 15 miles on in.  I popped a couple packs every mile and it kept the cramps from coming.

November 4 - My full marathon group ran in the DRC Half, I chose to skip the half and get in some more long milage.  I got in a 23 miler and it may have been the thoughest run I had ever done.  It mad me appreciate group runs as I know it would have been a lot easier if I had 15-20 people running along side me.
December 9 - Dallas Marathon.  I have mixed emotions about this one.  All the long hard training from July to December and a 5:40:57 finish due to shitty weather.  On the other hand, I received I beleive the best and funnest training I could have possibly got.  As I sit here in this chair, I'm confident that I have the fitness level to complete a marathon in or around 3:50.  This will happen I beleive sooner than later. 

2012 Metro PCS Dallas Marathon me and Pace Leader Steve Griffin

December 22 - Surpassed 2,000 running miles in one year for the first time.

December 26 - Added to pace leader lineup for DRC Spring training.  If you had told me three years ago when I first started running, that I would be co-pacing a group and training them to run a marathon in 3 hours and 50 minutes do you know what my reply would be?  "What's a pacer?"  lol.  Exactly.  Paired up with the only pace leader I've ever had since I've been training with the DRC, Steve Griffin, I can't lose.

What's up for 2013? 

Well of course I have some unfinished business.  I still have a marathon P.R. of 4:13:06 dangling out there just begging to be shattered.  When it happens, it will happen.  I know of 3 marathons that I will be running for sure, that's the Cowtown in February and Tulsa Route 66 in the Fall.  My half P.R. is 1:50:12 and that is going down soon as well.  My focus however right now is to be the best pace leader that I can be and improve my skill in that area.  I have people depending on me now.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dallas MetroPCS Marathon 12/09/12.  Official time  05:40:57

     I understand now why my locals prefer to run marathons in other states as you never know what you will get in North Central Texas.  It's like that box of chocolates that Forrest Gump referred to.  A week ago it looked as if we would have perfect weather with at temperature range of 55-60 degrees. Nope.  The weather was similar to the weather in my first Marathon, warm and humid.  I felt that I had improved fitness wise to handle this now.  My goals for 2012 are as follows:  A: Crack the 4:00 mark in my 2nd marathon, B: Not be dying when I complete it C: Have fun training for it.  Well I got C covered as it was the most memorable training I have ever had and with one of the closest tight knit groups I have ever worked with, the 3:50 BMFers, where the BMF stand for "Big Marathon Finishers".  And all of us were that yesterday.
     Training went perfectly leading up to this week, I just knew I "had" this.  I had went five consecutive weeks with a 20+ miler before starting the taper process.  The last one a 22 miler which I felt I could have easily run 10 more miles when we were done.  I felt amazingly well.  As I would find out later sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you train if the conditions of the race are crazy.
DRC 3:50 Marathon Group "BMFers" before the start of the race.
     I started out with the dailymiler meetup, but things were so crazy that morning I was only able to meet one person there, my DM bud VK.  We chatted for a minute and she volunteered to take the group pic of the BMFers who were meeting in the same place. (see the photo Gallery).  We then walked on to the corrals with the rest of the 25, 000 other runners. 
     The first few miles was unnerving, very congested as many walk-runners were in the way.  Trailing pace leader Steve Griffin, we kept it at an easy 9:20-9:30 pace the first mile and the plan was to keep it at about 8:58 until mile 17 and then adjust the plan depending on what the conditions were and how everyone was feeling.  Some of the crew took off after mile 3 or 4 at a faster pace, I chose to keep the pace with Steve as we both knew the weather would more than likely make things ugly.  We had a sign that had "BMFs" on it, but the wind took the sign, only leaving the green hanky that was tied to it.  Steve and I swicthed on and off carrying the flag.   Along the way, we had countless folks ask "What pace group it this?" some would run along with us once they determined we were pacing around 4:00.  So I kind of unofficially helped partially pace a marathon.  
     After the course split with the Marathoners going to the left and the halfers to the right at mile 8, congestion lightened up.  Steve and I had only one BMFer with us, Vinh until we caught up with some other BMFers around the lake area who got ahead of us then fell back.  Steve asked how I felt about mile 17 and I told him I was good, I had a few small pains in my quads, but nothing big.  We kicked the pace down a notch.  The support was great on the roadside as always.  Saw a lot of Dallas Running Club members who either did not participate or were injured but stll showed up to cheer.  Heard a lot of chants "Go DRC!".
Mile 17
     So we rounded the lake and at mile 19, caught up with another BMFer, Jackie who was feeling the bite of the humidity. She had dropped back and hung with us.  Just as I passed the spillway, Steve handed me the flag.  All of a sudden I felt like things were starting to go south, it came out of nowhere.  I handed the flag back to Steve and told him that I wasn't sure I was going to make it through the next mile.  I slowed up to about a 9:30 pace then that's where it came, my right calf totally cramped up and contracted and I immediately went to the ground.  Then my left quad cramped up.  A by stander ran over and knew exactly what was going on.  She and another guy helped rub out my cramp and helped me stretch.  Another person came over with electolyte pills and another fella with pickle juice.  After about 10 minutes being 'serviced' I was feeling better so I thought and was on my way.  I started running slowly rounded the corner approaching the infamous "Dolly Parton" hills.  And yes they are exactly what you think they are.  Right when I got to the waterstand where several men dressed in Dolly Parton drag were handing out water and Gatorade, EVERY muscle from my legs to my back contracted and I went down right in front of the water bench.  Two of the guys came and helped, they were able to get a medic over who then asked me a few questions and tried to get whatever was around into my body.  Water, Gatorade, sugar, mustard while also trying to help rub out the cramps.  I was thinking the worst had already happened, all I needed to do was let all of the supplements I had just taken in about 15 minutes before set in and I would be good.  Nope.  The contracting would not stop and got worse to the point where I was trembling.  One of the waterstop volunteers goes "Dude, you aren't sweating, that is not good".  I knew it was serious then.  I told them to get an ambulance to me as quick as they could.  I knew they would give me an IV and get me what my body needed, then I would be on my way.  They must have fed me 50 cups of water and Gatorade.  I knew I was looking at a possible DNF, if it didn't work.  It took about 30 minutes and them carrying me about 100 yards to the Ambulance because the ambulance could not get into the area of the crowd.  The medics asked me a few annoying questions over and over then stuck me and got the nutrients I needed in me. I told the medic attending to me that once they were done I would finish the remaining six miles.  He was like "You are going to finish?" Heck yes I was.  I thought I would have to deal more with the humidity.   Not sure what the weather was to start, but it got to 72 degrees and 90% humidity. A cold front came thru while I was being rebooted and I could feel it when I got out of the vehicle.  By the way as I type this the next morning, it is 34 degrees, snowing and 55% humidity.  Only in Texas. Whatever they pumped into me made me feel much better.  I stepped out of the ambulance and my legs felt like stilts.  I couldn't bend them.  Started out walking like Frankenstein for a few feet then I was able to walk normally.  If I had to walk the remaining 6.2 miles I was going to do it.  Right at the 20 mile marker, I came across fellow DRCers Carrie and Rosalyn.  Walked very fast with them for about a mile or so then we picked it up to a slow run and I was off from there.  Very sore, but could still run between a 9 to 9:30 pace, sometimes doing sub 9 down hills.  I'm passing walkers and runners as if they were standing still and they were giving me dirty looks.  I tried to pass as many people as I could.  Felt really good, and hydrated at every water station along the way.

     I was a little bummed out that all of my BMF buddies finished so far ahead of me, not because they had better finish times than I, but because I wanted to finish ahead and see every one else come in and celebrate with them.  They had already left the building.  I would find later that most of us did not meet our goal and struggled through the race.  Even though the results of this race were not favorable to me, what counts is the fitness level that I have acheived.  I know what I did wrong in this race and you learn from experience. I won't make the same mistake twice. I'm primed to get the sub 4 marathon eventually as one of my top motivators told me.  And when I do it will be oh so sweet.  This marathon however I will always be proud of.
Avg Pace
19:23.3 1.00 9:23
28:55.4 1.00 8:56
39:01.8 1.00 9:02
48:56.1 1.00 8:56
58:58.5 1.00 8:59
69:08.3 1.00 9:08
78:59.6 1.00 9:00
89:17.4 1.00 9:18
99:11.5 1.00 9:12
108:57.4 1.00 8:58
118:59.3 1.00 8:59
129:03.8 1.00 9:04
139:11.3 1.00 9:11
149:00.5 1.00 9:01
159:00.4 1.00 9:00
169:00.4 1.00 9:01
178:52.4 1.00 8:53
188:54.2 1.00 8:54
199:10.5 1.00 9:11
2057:21.9 1.00 57:23
2156:10.8 1.00 56:12
2213:05.1 1.00 13:05
239:35.7 1.00 9:36
249:21.9 1.00 9:22
259:13.5 1.00 9:14
269:01.8 1.00 9:02
275:12.3 0.60 8:42

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Question

The question I get from most non-runners that knew me before I started running is "What made you get into that?"  I really have not been able to answer that question.  It just happened.  I guess that's like asking why are bananas yellow or why is water wet.  A better question is one asked by a friend of mine who just got the running "bug".  She asked me "Why do you run?"  She asked me, seemingly knowing why she does, but wanted to hear my reason. .
Why do I run?  Why not.  Am I running from something?  Not necessarily.  Maybe I'm running to something.  What am I running to?  Do I really know why I run?  Is it really for staying fit?  What is "fit"? Am I?  I sat and thought about it and there are so many reasons that I do what I do.  What is running to me?

It is my therapy, it is my destressor.  It is my buddy at the end of the day or my companion in the morning.  It's my homie that I hang out with on the weekend.  It doesn't talk back, disagree, vent or whine, but it does listen to me. It is my nourishment. It feeds me pavement or dirt trails and I stay healthy in mind, body and spirit. It helps me solve world problems.  Well maybe not world problems but I have come up with many solutions to issues I've had while on a run.  It keeps me confident.  Most runs I feel crappy at the start but feel a sense of accomplishment at the finish.  But I always know I will finish.  It is my entertainment.  No need to plug in anything or travel anywhere.  All I need are my sneakers and the front door exit.  There is always the "next run", therefore I always have something to look forward to.  And life is all about having something to look forward to, right? And It is my life, it is me.  Just as my body needs food, water, sleep and rest, it needs to run.  It wants to run.  It has to run. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Each one, Teach one

As I sit here anxious to get going with my 2nd Full Marathon, confident that I will shatter my previous personal record, can't help but be grateful for the folks that got me here.  I know I had some of the best training that you can get, lots of great advice from other runners both on line and off line.  And if I just so happen to "bomb out" on December 9, 2012, it would be painful but still all good because I know that I prepared well.  It would take me doing something really dumb or some outside force like crazy weather to keep me from performing well.  That's how confident I am.  But you know what, this blog is not about me, it's about the folks who got me here and me getting others to their optimum fitness level.  Now I know why my coaches do what they do.  Recently I had my own coaching experience when coaching a group of people to run a 5K.  I was a little nervous at first when asked to take on this task.  But upon completion, seeing those folks go from couch to completing a 5K may have made me even prouder than completing my first ever race. 
And a couple of them still look to me to advice.  I guess it's the 'teacher' in me.  I went to college for 3+ years and was on the way to get my teacher certification but got sidetracked and didn't finish because of family stuff I had to take care of. At my full time job somehow became the department "trainer" and trained some 300 or so employees over 5 years even though I wasn't even hired for that.  I guess if you have it in you, you just have it.  I certainly enjoy sharing the knowlege that was shared with me and seeing others use what I teach them.  It don't get no better than that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Whole New World

Well today I finally did my first ever trail run.  Before today I didn't understand what all the hype could be about wanting to run on an uneven nonuniform surface with the risk of falling on my head, getting bitten by a snake or stung by a hornet vs running on a  nice smooth street and just having to watch out for traffic and the occasional crack in the concrete.  I had been always wanting to trail run, but waiting around and hinting for someone to invite me along on one as I didn't want to intrude on anyone's private party.  Found out that the regular peeps I run with at the DRC do trails regularly, inquired on it and they sucked me right in.  I didn't realize there were so many nature resorts with natural trails in the metro area, thought I would have to drive to the country.  In fact, there is one less than 15 minutes away from my home.  Today we ran at the LB Houston Nature resort which is about 20 minutes away from me.  Here are some observations I made.

1.  Gotta get me some trail shoes.  For now I'll use my beat up runners until I find what I like.  I fell once and stumbled twice.  Once when trying to take a drink from my bottle and the other two times I'm not sure what I was looking at.  What's funny is the shoes I went in with were white, but after I was done they were grey. Trail shoes I"m told will help with balance.

2.  Be attentive to what you are doing.  That was a challenge to me especially since I am ADHD.  This trail running I think, will help me and could end up being a good source of treatment for that ailment.

3.  I was told that this was an 'easy' trail.  I can see how because there were no hills and the only obstacles were tree roots which were raised higher out of the ground than others.  I can see how other trail locations can be more difficult.  I am going to bet that the crazier ones have more uneven terrain, hills and places where you would have to walk rather than run.  Not to mention muddy or wet trails.

4. This is the best for summer runs.  It was so cool in there.  And I mean 'cool' as in temperature.  There was one point where the trail took us out of the woods and into an open field.  We were quickly reminded that this is summer and this is Texas.  

5.  Workin' those muscles.  I've always known all along that you will work muscles that you don't normally use on trail runs.  I didn't feel that today, but I think only because I had been running on all kinds of surfaces like rock, gravel and grass when I prepared for El Scorcho.  I do feel my toe that I stubbed on a tree root though :/ 

6.  I"m not going to set any pace records here.  That forces me to slow my roll which is my philosophy in the first place.  Most of the run was between a 10:45 and 11:15 min/mile pace.  I never looked at my Garmin anyway, only once or twice to see how much time we had been running.  I could not have cared less.  And maybe that was it too.  Away from everything almost like an escape from the world.

Overall a very pleasant experience.  I will be incorporating bi-weekly if not weekly trail running into my training or just do it to 'get away'.  I'm a little hesitant to do a solo trail run though, for fear of getting lost or hurt and no one finding me lol.  I have to familiarize myself with these trails first.  For now, i'm like a kid in a candy store.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

La Scorchita

El Scorcho 25K run .A.K.A "La Scorchita"
Official Time 2:14:59       
Official Pace 8:38/min mile

     Hands down, the most enjoyable race I have had up to this point.  For those of you who aren't familiar, El Scorcho is held during the start of the usually hottest part of the summer for North Texas in Ft. Worth and starts at midnight in mid July.  There is an option of 25K (la Scorchita) and 50K (El Scorcho).
     The day before was murder for me having to wait all day for a race.  I woke up that morning at 6am as my body usually does since that's what time I usually get up for work.  Carb loaded all day long and actually I had been carb loading two and three days before.  I think I may have eaten 5-6 six small meals the whole day, with my last one being around 7pm.  I was paranoid of having an upset stomach as during my late night training runs I had been having an issue there.  I figured it was due to the Powerade or Gatorade I was drinking.  So I decided to get my electrolytes in all day long and stop around 6 or 7 then only drink water thereafter.  Turned out to be a good idea I think.  I only drank water during the race, never drank the other stuff and my belly was fine.  Race anxiety started to set in late afternoon.  Midnight couldn't have gotten there soon enough.
     This year the weather was favorable.  Just two or three hours before, there was a weak cold front that blew through the area, dropping the temps down 10 degrees.  Usually the temps would be in the upper 80s or low 90s at race start.  We got a break this year.  Humidity wasn't all that bad.  Not really any breeze at all.  
     It didn't feel like a race when I got there, more like a big ol party.  I went there just with the intention on completing it, drinking a beer or two and then and getting the heck out of there.  I was already sleepy as it was past my bedtime.  I had been carb loading for 3 days as if I was running a 50k instead of the 25k.  Found my friend Blanca who was so nice to pick up my race packet for me, spoke to a few other dailymile folks and then hooked up with my "family" the Dallas Running Club.
     I had no race strategy going in.  The race started, I just went out, not sure what pace to even commence with.  I figured my body would tell me what pace to settle in to and I was right.  The course was well lit in some places, but a few places was really dark.  Thankfully I brought my headlamp and turned it on in those dark places to keep from falling on my ass since I'm blind as a bat.
    I was able to keep it steady for 3 laps.  Felt really good.  Then I remembered and said to myself "This is a RACE".  Which means you are supposed to be exhausted and give it your everything.  Right about then my Garmin told me it was full and stupid me didn't delete my previous data, so it was stuck and wouldn't go further.  So I would have to rely on my body to tell me what to do.  The best thing to ever happen.
     I decided I WOULD have negative splits, even if I passed out doing it and I was determined to not let anyone pass me (but they did anyway but I kept it at a minimal LOL).  I just listened to my heart rate and ran at the edge of it blowing up, but knowing just about how much take without letting it get to that point.  The support on the course was superb with there being water/refueling every 1.5 miles so that really helped out as well.
     It was a great atmosphere all around.  Once I was done, I stuck around to support and cheer the other runners completing their laps.  Was like one big party.  I plan on participating in this every year in the future, even if I'm not running I'll be there for some type of support.  Great race, great support, well organized.  Post race food could have been a little better but hey I'm not complaining.  Most folks brought ice chests full of stuff and snacks.  I'll make sure to do that next year.  Job well done El Scorcho.  I will be looking forward to you next year.  50k?  We shall see.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon.  2012 Edition/Running Smart

Everything about this day was good.  I didn't change anything during the week that I usually do.  I prepped the same as I had for my previous 3 halves.  I hydrate like crazy all of the time, so I knew I had nothing to worry about knowing the day would be warm.  I'm no stranger to running in heat, I did it all last summer and had it all figured out.  I had a dailymile meetup planned and was about to meet some of my favorite dailymile peeps for the first time.  I think I may have been excited about that more than anything else.  As usual I had the pre-race anxiety.  I went to be at around 10:30-11:00pm the night before, but couldn't sleep a wink.  I think I got in maybe 4 hours of sleep.  Woke up on time, just caught the train on time and got to the race site just before the meetup. I did some meet and greet with the dailmilers which was awesome for those few moments.  My running 'mentor'  Blanca said it best when she said seeing another dailymiler is like seeing a movie star in person.  I would see a couple more along the route as well as some fellow members of the Dallas Running Club.    

Smart move #1 

At the start of the race I could tell the heat would be a factor, so I had to play it smart.  I forgot to bring my hydration with me like a dumbass.  So I planned to stop at as many water stands as needed and walk through them to make sure I got every drop that was handed to me.  During a long run with the marathon group I'm in at the DRC, we had recently discussed how walking through a water station has little affect on your overall finish time, in fact it should help it.  

Smart move #2
The start of the race was crowded, more crowded than last year.  I found myself weaving some but being mindful to not get excited and start out too fast, because  that's how I'm finding folk blowing themselves up at the end.  Since I have been training for a full marathon, I had no idea what my 'new' half marathon pace was.  My heart rate monitor on my Garmin wasn't working so I just went by what my body told me to do.  I ran at the fastest speed I could run and be comfortable.  I would do this for the first 3 miles. I knew it would be especially important today, with the temps probably shooting toward 70F by the end of the race and the sun was shining brightly.  Most of the first part of the race was through heavily shaded Highland Park.  I knew once we got out in the open on the busier streets of the commercial areas on Mockingbird, Skillman etc, the sun would be at a high angle.  

Smart move #3 
The other thing I decided to try that I never thought about until my last half is running the tangents.  That means when making a turn, measuring prudently close to the curb or edge of the roadway to ensure running the shortest distance.  I think some folks may have gotten mad at me for cutting them off trying to get to the curb  LOL!  I heard someone say once during a half marathon that they came to run 13.1 miles, not 13.2.  Well it worked because my Garmin was tracking notably close to each mile marker that the marathon crew laid out.  In previous races it had been way off

Smart move #4 
This course was not hilly at all, but there were a couple mild upgrades.  I have learned to take those slow instead of trying to gun up them and on the inverse side of that, when I'm going downhill I run faster than usual.  We'll see if that works out in my full marathon in 3 weeks.  The course is VERY hilly.  

Dailymiler friend Jen to my left who I met in person for the first time. Posing with her friend and dailymiler Victoria
So with all that in mind, it provided for a fun and almost easy race.  After mile 8 I actually felt myself getting stronger.  I was able to pick my pace up to about 8min/mile pace and some instances sub 8.  I was feeling pretty good, but in the back of my mind thinking about a leg cramp.  Why?  I don't know.  My legs felt fine at that point.  I thought I was hydrated enough.  Maybe I shouldn't have thought about it, I may have willed it to happen.  The Rock N Roll I ran last year I got a calf cramp and in the White Rock Half in December which follows the last part of the same course as RnR I got a calf cramp as well.  All 3 instances it happened on the same street at almost the same place.  I can't figure it out.  This time it wasn't too much of a factor because I had learned what to do when that happens.  Now it did come from out of nowhere and I stopped down and someone behind me almost ran up my back.  So I found myself to the curb to rub it out and another runner comes by and says "Come on let's go!"  He lifts me up, I'm running with my arm around him, limping but it did the trick.  He got me kick started again and I was on my way.  It was just enough to get me to the finish line.  I just don't understand what it is about 12.5 miles where I always get a cramp.  
Dallas Rock N Roll Half dailymiler meetup

Dallas RnR 2012 Finish line in sight

So now what?  I have 3 weeks to my goal race, the Big D Texas Marathon.  If the weather is like it was today, I think I'm good.  I have no other choice but to be, I've spent 511 miles so far this year getting ready for it.  Bring it on.

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