Monday, October 14, 2013

Race Report: The Showdown Half Marathon

2012 was the inaugural race for The Showdown and after running that one, I knew I had to come back for the next!  The Showdown is located in Fairview, TX (way out yonder for some) but for us it is right in our backyard.  With 95% of races taking place through the same streets of Downtown Dallas, it is SO nice to have a race with a change of scenery.  Instead of skyscrapers, sewage smells, and running the same streets through hoity-toity Dallas neighborhoods, you get to run the long windy roads of the countryside.  The overall vibe of the race is different.  It's more laid back and friendly.  Along the course you'll pass cows, horses, alpacas and wind your way through some of the most breathtaking neighborhoods.  Neighborhoods where the houses are actually spaced out and have huge front yards and long driveways, remember those?  While the scenery is spectacular, the rolling hills are a beast.

After making the decision to opt-out of another full marathon for the year, The Showdown would be the first of four half marathons over the next 8 weeks.  Or what I'm calling, The Half Marathon Extravaganza.  Since it was going to be the first, and the most challenging course, I decided to approach this race with a laid back approach.  No time goals, no expectations, just looking to finish and have some fun along the way!  Kind of a "practice run" if you will.  Saturday morning we woke up to a temperature of 74 degrees, 95% humidity and a dew point of  71.  So that pretty much says, it's going to feel like running through soup today - embrace the suck.  More so than ever I was telling myself "today is just about having fun, today is just about having fun...."

As always, The Active Joe races go off without a hitch.  The starting area was cool calm and collected, I got to chat with a few our fellow NTX Runner friends, and made the usual visit(s) through the port-o-potty line.  Speaking of, how do you know the race director is actually a well seasoned runner themselves?  They tape off arrows to indicate which port-o-potties belong to which lines.  Brilliant!   I'm just waiting for the day at one of my other races (that aren't so organized) where a full blown riot breaks out over the smuck who goes into the port-o-potty that "wasn't for his/her line".  People are rude.  Especially when they have to pee.  So if you're new to racing, don't be that guy.  Karma will find you, and it will likely find you on the course when you desperately need a potty, and there's not one for another mile or so.  Karma karma karma.

Brandon and I before the race aka Honeybadger and LovePepper (you probably shouldn't Google that at work)
The gun went off at 7:30 on-the-dot and we were off.  It was only about two miles into the race and I was already dripping in sweat.  I'm a sweaty/hot nature person anyways, but you throw that humidity and dew point on top and it's disgusting.  I cruised along and held a comfortable 10:40-10:45 pace through the first 8 miles or so.

Apparently something to my left had my attention....which I'm thankful for because typical race photos make me look like I have a confused look on my face:  "Why am I doing this? >sees finish line<  "Ok, now I remember"
 That was when the heat started to get to me.  I was feeling a little woozy and then the cold chills started to hit.  Since this wasn't my first rodeo, I knew that if I didn't get this under control we'd have a problem.  I slowed to a brisk walk to catch my breath and get some water and gel.  About a mile down the road a lady with a big bucket of ICE cold water bottles was standing there.  Oh I wanted to hug her neck!  She wasn't part of the race but knew the conditions and those cold water bottles were a welcomed site for myself and a couple of guys I was running with, who were hurting as bad as I was.  I poured that bad boy on my head, down my back, and down into the sports bra to get my core temp down.  Heyo!  Pouring ice cold water down your bra is also a really quick way to find out where you forgot to put BodyGlide, feel the burn!   The cold water did the trick and I was able to pick back up again.  (If you are that lady or if you know her, please tell her I said THANK YOU!  I thanked her on the course but seriously, thank you.)  About another mile or so down the road there was ambulance on the road treating a runner who was out cold.  It was another reminder that the Texas weather is a force to be reckoned with.  You can never emphasize enough to new and even experienced  runners the importance of hydration.  Not just hydration immediately before and during the race, but DAYS before the race start hydrating.  Heat exhaustion is no joke and will take you out quickly if you're not careful.  It's also important to know the first signs and symptoms and be able to get it under control quickly before it's too late.  The gentleman who was out cold on the road was being handled by the professionals and had a friend with him, I said a prayer for him and his family and kept going....
Race photos are always terrible so I've learned to appreciate the ones that make me laugh and for whatever reason this one makes me laugh.  I actually have a quad muscle, hello quad muscle (as tiny as you may be)!  These pictures also make me think I should consider spray tanning, yikes. 

Finally the end was near and the finish line was in site.  13.1 miles of rollings hills (lots and lots of them) humidity and heat that made you just plain sad, and the fun of running with a sinus infection were all about to come to an end.  Half Marathon #12 was in the books with a finish time of 2:27:32.  Certainly not my best but I wasn't looking for a PR.  All conditions considered, I'll take it.  It goes down as another chapter in the adventures of running.  Every race serves a purpose, the good the bad and the ugly all happen for a reason.  

The course is hard, for two years now the weather hasn't cooperated, but I'll be back next year.  It wouldn't be fun if it was always easy  :)

Bling bling!


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