Since February 10th, I have run 801.934 miles; a little over 400 miles of that was in preparation for the last 26.2, better known as the Wellstone Dallas White Rock Marathon.
My second marathon in my relatively short career as a runner (and I use the term loosely; despite my low mileage for the year, I still consider myself a cyclist), White Rock was also the second marathon for which I trained this year. After the debacle of Tri101, I refocused my training efforts on the San Antonio Marathon, but an injury sidelined me, and I did not think I would be able to be ready for it. So, White Rock it was to be, as a few folks from Steele were also running it. Misery, after all, does love its company.
Come race day, I was, indeed, miserable. The same injury that sidelined me from San Antonio continued to nag at me, though became somewhat migratory, moving from the lower ab area to the glutes, then to the hamstrings and knee area, before settling, in all places, in my neck & shoulder. Truly, I am at a loss for explaining any of it. I just suffered through the pain...probably better than what I did the weather.
The final email from the organizers of the Rock said to plan for "hot and humid" weather on race day. Come Sunday morning, it was anything but hot, anything but humid. Temperatures hovered in the low 40s and radar showed thundershowers scattered all over the Dallas metroplex. Joy.
With a slight change in apparel for the race, N--- & I headed off for the AA Center (um, that's American Airlines Center...where the Stars play) and the start of our respective races (she was running the half, again as a training run for the Houston Half). I did decide to don my SportKilt (worn with tri shorts this time -- I learned my lesson on traditional Scottish styles [use your imagination] at the SkirtChaser 5k), and I'm glad I did, for the kilt helped shield my legs from the bitter cold. Movement was not at all inhibited, and commentary from racers & spectators alike helped keep me motivated. However, I was not the most uniquely dressed runner on the course: A group of relay runners were wearing identical "Stewie" costumes, confirming that runners are a truly unique breed.
Okay, the nitty gritty.
My cohorts from work all finished within their target times, and I did too: My official finish time was 3:28:55 (hours:minutes:seconds), a new personal record, bettering my time from San Antonio 2007, by nearly three minutes. It wasn't quite the 3:20:00-ish finish I was shooting for, but for that, I blame my myriad injuries and my less-than-smart decision to chuck my gloves before making it to the lake. In reviewing my splits, I can see how my times started going down within a mile or two of confronting the whipping, chilling winds of White Rock Lake. I somewhat recovered the last few miles of the marathon, but by then, it was too late; my target time was shot. All the same, I am happy, for two reasons: 1) I set a new PR; 2) I can quit running so #(*& much and start riding my bikes again.
The 2007 competitive season is more or less at an end, so I can start thinking about 2008. In all honesty, I don't think I'll be racing much, but, as I am considering a run at IMAZ in 2009, a few key races will be necessary for fitness tests only. Up for consideration are at least two HIM distance triathlons, Tour de Gruene, San Antoino Marathon (now the "San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon"), and the SunMart 50k trail race. Already set in stone are the Texas Independence Day Relay and Beach to Bay Relay Marathon. Providing I can keep constant with training for all three disciplines through the year (running will not be a problem, save continued injury), I should be in good shape for my sub-12 finish goal for IMAZ a year from April. If not...well, stay tuned to find out how all that goes.
For the "Thank Yous", it's the usual cast of characters, with a few new faces: D--- & K--- for inspiring me to "tri" and run in the first place; N--- for unbelievable support that would make even a pro envious; the R---s, for wonderful accommodations & hospitality; the Steele crew for keeping my psyched about the race as training dragged on; and, of course, my own family, both locally and in Dallas. The latter made the weekend every bit as memorable as crossing the finish line.
Winding down what will likely be the final posting for this year (unless I get SEVERELY bored during the winter holidays), I wish you a happy holiday season and thank you for reading.