Monday, October 28, 2013

Race Report: Allstate 13.1

4:30 am came bright and early on Saturday!   The night before Brandon and I had all of our stuff laid out, post race bags were packed, and we got about 6 hours of sleep.  We rolled out of bed race morning, ate the usual peanut butter bagel and out the door we went.   First lets talk about the logistics of the race site first shall we.  Having run several races I start to look for the "little things" that really can speak volumes about a race and if I would sign up again...

PROS:
  • Since this is still a relatively small race, the race site is easily accessible from 75.  We waited to get into the parking garage where to our surprise we had VIP parking because of it being the Lexus parking garage.  Front and center parking, bonus!  Since the parking is so close to the race we were able to hang out there for a bit, eat our VO2 Prime Bars and just relax. 
  • The saving grace to the race site is that the race is still small so there's minimal wait for the potties and plenty of spots to just hang out.
  • I was able to swap my race shirt for a larger size on site, which is the pro....more about this in the cons...

CONS:
  • The shirts...oh the shirts.  Not all shirts are created equal when it comes to sizing, and that never proves to be more true than with race shirts.  I realize every race uses different manufacturers and I'm totally cool with that, especially if a sizing chart is provided.  However, when my size "medium" is truly the equivalent to a size "small" and tinkering on the brink of an XS I have to say that's a bit ridiculous.  I tried on the Medium at home and lets just say it was comical.  I was able to swap at the race site for a Large and it's still too small, and I don't even think I'd feel comfortable wearing it around my house.  I have a billion race shirts so I don't care that much, but when you pay $90+ for a race entry you expect to at least be able to wear your shirt.  At least once.  Eh well....
  • The start of the race went smooth except for one minor detail, from what I could see (it was dark out and the site wasn't well lit) there were two entrances into the starting corral.  Entrance #1 was way at the back behind the 3 hour pace groups.  Entrance #2 was up towards the front right by the 1:40 pace group.  Soooooo, I opted to hop in at the 1:40 pace group and just stay out of the way when the race started.  Myself and several others were walking up and down the outside barriers going "How in the heck do we get in there?"
Now on to the race!  I don't know that either of us really had high expectations for this race.  Brandon and I were a little mentally defeated after The Showdown Half.  The brutal heat and humidity took a toll and while we knew the conditions were a huge factor, it still kind of gets you down ya know?  The weather race morning was pretty darn close to ideal.  Overcast and temperatures hovered in the mid to upper 50's.  I got to see Brandon in the corral right before we took off and before you know it, we were off.  Brandon ran this course last year so he was aware of how flat, fast, and smooth sailing the course was.  I started the race and paced based on feel.  I wasn't going to focus on what the ol' Garmin had to say until mile 3. 

 *This is where I was planning on posting a picture of my splits from Garmin Connect.  However, once again my Garmin has failed me.  After having to do a master reset and losing ALL MY RACE DATA FROM THE LAST 4 MONTHS, I have nothing to post here.  I've only had this Garmin since February so to say I'm upset is an understatement.  I pity the fool that answers the phone at Garmin tomorrow morning when I call.  I hope they know it's not personal, but they're going to wish they had called in sick.*

I digress.  Back to the race.....

When I hit the Katy Trail two things happened:
1) I knew that if I kept this pace I would end with a PR today.
2) I had to pee.  Like really really had to pee.

Every potty that I passed was a moral dilemma.  "Do I stop?"  No.  "Maybe I should stop at the next one."  No.  WWJD?  I knew that if I missed a PR by 30 seconds because of a potty break I would hate myself.  So instead I distracted myself for the next several miles and used water sparingly.  Luckily, it worked!  For the record, I'm not above having to pee on myself to hit a PR but thank God I was able to avoid it at this race.  Don't think it didn't cross my mind several times though...

I found the photographer and had a little fun!  I wish I could run without my water belt because they're incredibly unflattering, but I suppose passing out on the course from lack of water or GU is even more unflattering.  If you can't laugh at yourself you aint living right!  ;)

Who's a happy camper on race day?!  This girl right here.


Two thumbs up for knowing I was only a couple of miles away from a PR.  #lovetherun
Approaching Mile 12 I knew this was where the "big hill" of the race was.  Honestly, it's long but it's not a steep hill.  Once you run a full marathon through the hills of San Francisco, everything else gets put into perspective.  I made the climb up mile 12 and saw 2:09 on the Garmin.  I knew I had a PR but more importantly (I know it sounds silly) but I wanted a PR of 2:09:XX instead of 2:10:XX so I just booked it in.  This PR honestly took me by surprise.


Over the last several weeks I had lost a lot of confidence.  I was putting in the miles and the work but when I backed out of the full and had a really disappointing finish time at The Showdown, I was bummed.  I crossed the starting line at Allstate 13.1 with little confidence and just wanting to have a "decent" race.  This race validated that I wasn't crazy.  All of those early morning runs in the miserable heat and humidity were worth it.  My fitness was improving and the results finally showed up on the course.  Whew.

The icing on the cake?  Brandon PR'ed his race too!  A 1:40 finish time was something he thought wasn't possible.  He thought he had peaked.  I'm not going to pat myself on the back or anything, but my coaching techniques that he has actually implemented over the last month or so (slowing down long training runs, implementing tempo runs....aka the right type of pacing is IMPORTANT) might have had a little something something to do with it.  I'm just sayin'.

PR 1:40:25




Half Marathon #13 ended up much better than expected!  Overall, I like this race.  I think there are a lot of little things that need to be improved on but I would sign up again.  The course is a little different than most of the Dallas races and with the structure of the course, there's a good chance to PR.  I'm sure the race is going to continue to grow and with that comes new challenges, so we'll see what next year looks like!   

Next up on the list is the DRC Half Marathon on Sunday, November 3rd!  No PR seeking at this race just looking for an easy breezy training run around our normal stomping grounds of White Rock Lake.

Happy running friends!