Well, it has been a little over a week since we ran the "Trot", but life around here has been as busy and hectic as ever so I'm just now getting around to posting my "run report"!
We got up VERY early on Thanksgiving morning to meet everyone at the train station so we could use the train to get to the race - parking downtown is scarce and we knew it would be ugly around there with the expected 37,000 runners! Cotton and Angel came on over to the house and rode to the station with us. We were getting ready to make the turn into the parking lot when the car behind us started honking....at first we were all surprised (read that annoyed), but it was all good when it turned out that it was Clint, Jennifer, and Bella! Meeting there first was looking better and better!
We walked over the the station and everyone bought their day passes for the DART train, finishing up just in time to board the train for downtown Dallas. The ride itself was pretty uneventful, other than watching Bella's face as we emerged from a tunnel and she realized she could see "outside" going by really fast!
After a quick walk, we looked at some of the big jump houses - Bella actually jumped on one and slid down the small slide - but then she was ready to go back to mommy and daddy. It was about time to head to the start area. Rick brought a backpack to put our wind suits and sweats in since they didn't have a bag check at this race, so we all slipped those off and stashed them in the bag, passed out GU packs, and got ready to run.
Cotton and Clint were going to really run - so they went off towards the front of the line. They have markers set up with pace times you are supposed to go by...for example you go to the sign for the 7:00 if you run a 7 minute mile. These appear to be suggestions only as both Cotton and Clint advised us later that even that close they were still dodging walkers at the actual start line!
Rick and I opted to stay back a little farther with Jennifer, Bella, and Angel. We knew we weren't going to set any speed records, but we figured we could still beat my time from last year. We were being chip timed so it shouldn't matter how long it takes you to cross the start - YOUR time doesn't start until you cross the start line...they just keep up with how long it takes you to finish. It turns out that it DOES matter how far back you start - more on that in a minute.
We waited patiently as the warm up portion of the program finished and they announced the start of the wheelchair race. Then finally the countdown and the gun - the race started promptly at 9:00. It turns out it takes a LONG time for 37,000 people to cross the start line. We finally got the to line at 9:32! We were so far back that we had to just walk in fits and starts before we finally got to the line. We honestly thought that once we got there that people would start running - at least a little. Boy were we wrong!
They were trying to make some running "lanes" around the outside edges of the street - some even on the sidewalks, but there was no guarantee that by the time you got to the little opening that some walkers wouldn't decide to walk side by side and block that lane so you would have to make a fast stop to avoid running into them - wait for an opening to get around them and then try to take off running again. I never realized how much this "start and stop" action wears on a person...I guess because I'd never had to run like that before, but it really tires you out and makes your legs feel like you are running on tree trunks after a while! To let you know how bad it was - it took us over 12 minutes to run the first mile! This is usually our fastest mile - and we normally do the first mile of a race in under 10 minutes....this was NOT good!
Somewhere between the start and mile 1 Rick and I got separated....I was running in front of him and I guess a group of walkers got between us and he got caught. I stopped at the top of a hill and tried to find him in the crowd, but it was impossible...if you can believe that! I couldn't spot him at all! So I took a deep breath and figured I would find him at the finish line - and off I went. I continued the start stop running pattern until the 5K turnoff. This is where the majority of the walkers make their turn to get to the 5K finish line. Unfortunately it is nearly 3 miles into the race! By this time my Garmin was telling me that I had been "slogging" along for 35:24. My slowest 5K time is about 32+ minutes, so I knew this wasn't going to be a pretty time today! Mile 3 was also one of the fastest miles I ran all day - a 10:37 pace....all I could say was WOW! (and not in a good way.) I saw the sign for the turnoff and noticed the measurably thinner crowd ahead when what to my wondering eyes should apper, but a runner carrying a bright red backpack!!!! I sprinted ahead and caught up with Rick and we were able to stay together from that point on! YEAH!
The rest of the race was pretty uneventful, we ran along but had to walk a couple of times - much less than at the beginning. Finally at mile 6 we had to take a break. The backpack was much heavier than we thought at first, and it was taking a toll on Rick - I was hurting from all the stopping and starting - like I said - it felt like I was running on two sawed off logs. We walked at a pretty decent clip through the residential section of the race - our average pace here was a 13 minute mile, so we weren't just strolling, but we were certainly not going at our normal run pace either. We finally caught our breath and started running a bit again. This is where we got our one big laugh of the race. As we were nearing the turn to leave the neighborhood and go towards the viaduct overpass we passed a couple on the corner waiting for someone else. He saw the backpack and hollered over to Rick, "What's in the pack?". Of course Rick has his iPod headphones on and can't hear, so I hollered back the answer, "All my clothes!". The couple cracked up and the laughter caught Rick's attention. He pulled out his headphones to find out what was so funny, and laughed along with us when I told him of the exchange.
Now we got to look ahead to the viaduct! This is probably the hardest part of the race, and the part that took me down last year! I was determined that wasn't going to happen this year. I ran the entire thing at about an 11:10 pace. For this race, on this day - it was pretty darn good for me! I did NOT WALK ONE STEP OF THE VIADUCT!!!! That alone was a major victory for me. In fact, after our short walk through the neighborhood we didn't walk again at all!
We ran well right up to the last .2 miles...the finish of the race is uphill and it is a killer...it was wonderful though as we started up the hill to hear "Go BOALES'!" To glance over and see Clint and Cotton by the rail cheering us on! Rick ran on over to the rail and gave them the backpack and then joined me to finish the race. As we neared the finish line we again hear a distinctive "Whoo - hooo!" and look over to see Angel, Jennifer, and Bella waving and cheering us on. It was just enough encouragement at just the right time to pull us on up and over the hill to the finish. We finished together holding hands. An awsome finish to a horrible race!
My time last year was 1:25:51 - this year 1:35:09! When we do this again next year we WILL be starting much closer to the start line - it isn't worth the 10 minutes it cost starting that far back! My pace last year was a 10:33 minute mile average - this year, an 11:33 average. Lesson learned ... again, but even though it wasn't what we expected going in, we both finished, we weren't injured, and we will be back!