Dallas Whiterock Marathon 12/13/09

It was a long four weeks between San Antonio and Dallas.  I needed to get the stink of the DNF in SA off of me but the days seemed to just crawl by.  I spent the final 10 days anxiously watching the weather forecast that was shaping up to be, well, borderline crappy.  While the temperature was looking good (mid 40s), the humidity was looking to repeat SA’s near 100% reading.  WTF?  Seriously.

My friend Corey agreed to make the pilgrimage north to pace me to what I hoped would be a 3:40…or something reasonably close.  Though he was fresh off a sub 10:30 effort at Ironman Arizona, he felt recovered enough to do it.  For those who are unfamiliar with Ironman distances, it goes something like this; 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run.  For the record, his marathon split at Ironman was a 3:45…AFTER swimming for almost an hour and a half and biking for a little over five hours!!  Amazing…and impossible for me to wrap my brain around.

Saturday morning we hopped in the truck and knocked out the 200 mile drive to Dallas.  It was uneventful, for the most part, with the possible exception of several cars pulled over heading both north and south whose occupants were handcuffed just off the shoulder while DPS officers performed thorough searches of their vehicles.  The first in the series being a south bound Mini Cooper with a middle-aged yuppie looking couple.  Who mules drugs in a Mini?

The host hotel was the Hyatt Regency…I never knew that big ball in the Dallas skyline was their restaurant:

Every hotel employee that I could see had on a Dallas Whiterock Marathon shirt AND they were giving automatic late check-out the next day of 4:00 PM!  Awesome!!  Very nice touches.

Packet pick up was a short walk to the Dallas Convention Center.  There were no lines and we zipped in and out in no time flat.  Very cool for a race of 20,000…especially after my last couple of large races (both Rock & Rolls) had lines just to get in line!

On the way back to the hotel we made a quick detour through Dealey Plaza where JFK was assassinated.  They have Xs painted in the road where both shots made their impact.  I waited until traffic cleared, stood on the second X, and snapped a photo of the window from where the shots were fired.

The actual window is the second from the top on the far right.  Morbid.

From there we met up with Al & Sandy and headed over to Scott’s for a pre-race pasta party.  Scott has a great house and it was PACKED with shipmates who were in town for the race.  The food was excellent!!  Salad, lasagna, pasta, bread, and dessert.  Way to host, Scott!

The race had an 8 AM start time…which was kinda late but did allow for a no alarm wake up on Sunday morning.  The temp/humidity was about as forecasted (mid 40s/100%).  The race started and finished at American Airlines Center (where the Stars and Mavericks play) which made for a nice place to hang out before the race and a good place to meet up after.

There is usually a fly over by some fighter jets just prior to the start but it was too foggy so, without much ado, the gun fired and off we went.  As mentioned, I wanted to take a shot at a 3:40…which requires an 8:23 pace.  I set the Garmin virtual partner at that mark and started banging out the miles.

Mile 1 = 8:43 (not bad considering the traffic)
Mile 2 = 7:57 (I’ll be paying for that later)
Mile 3 = 8:13 (coming back down to earth)
Mile 4 = 8:27 (better)
Mile 5 = 8:27 (metronome)
Mile 6 = 8:24 (I pass C/M and Allegra)
Mile 7 = 8:27 (metronome)
Mile 8 = 8:16 (down hill)
Mile 9 = 8:19 (more down hill)
Mile 10 = 8:25 (beginning the loop around the lake)
Mile 11 = 8:26 (keeping the heartrate @ 140 around the lake)
Mile 12 = 8:31 (so far it’s working)
Mile 13 = 8:21 (even at this pace)
Mile 14 = 8:28 (passed the half in 1:51:30…not bad)
Mile 15 = 8:45 (dialing it back a little for the climb out of the lake)
Mile 16 = 8:38 (steady)
Mile 17 = 8:57 (steady)
Mile 18 = 9:25 (rock band playing Helter Skelter…max age = 12)
Mile 19 = 8:53 (C/M passes me)
Mile 20 = 9:46 (Jesus  H, whose idea was that hill??)
Mile 21 = 9:47 (please don’t break 10, please don’t break 10)
Mile 22 = 9:24 (finished climbing)
Mile 23 = 9:46 (I’m officially toast)
Mile 24 = 9:54 (it’s only a matter of time before I break 10)
Mile 25 = 10:12 (told ya)
Mile 26 = 9:28 (I start thinking Sandy is right behind me)
Mile .2 = 4:14 (Garmin showed .44 of a mile not .2)

Total Time = 3:54:46  (not a 3:40 but (a) a sub 4:00 and (b) my third fastest time ever).

The minute I stopped running I knew I was in for some nasty treats.  I was quite ill and couldn’t walk through the finish area very well at all.  I headed over to the post-race area for a bagel, banana, breakfast bar, and some water.  I was fighting the urge to sit down but ultimately lost the battle.  As soon as I sat my right calf and left shin cramped simultaneously…my right foot was cocked to the right and my left foot was pointing straight up at my face.  The good news was it wasn’t the type of cramp that hurt.  Eventually they released and both calves started spasming aggressively.  It was like an alien v predator battle going on between the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius…while the soleus spectated.  Frank and Corey helped me up and my right quad cramped immediately.  The bad news was this was the type of cramp that hurt.  I walked it out and headed inside for some ice cold beer.

From there we caught the shuttles back to the hotel.  Most showered (I’m not naming names) and we headed to Twisted Root for some burgers and beer.

Any place that advertises a “slap yo mama good burger” better deliver and I wasn’t disappointed.  The Western Burger (jalapeno, jack cheese, bacon) rocked!  Thanks for the recommendation, Scott!!  After washing it down with a Shiner it was time to hit the road.  Corey bought my lunch AND agreed to drive home!  Nice!!

All in all a good experience.  I’m happy to have knocked almost 15 minutes off my most recent time.  I’m looking forward to another shot at 3:40 in Houston…in 5 short weeks.

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