Pros and Cons of Downhill Marathons.

There are so many different types of marathon courses these days. As some runners get more serious about their training, whether you are going for a PR (personal record) or want to run Boston (the super bowl of marathons) the option to run a downhill marathon comes into play. There are different types of races nowadays that actually specialize in the concept of running DOWNHILL, but will that actually provide you with a faster race time? Here are some pros and cons to signing up for such a race in hopes of achieving PR success.

Pro- the concept of running a downhill race, in theory, does seem like a sure shot. I mean, you are bombing down a hill (or a mountain) and you WILL be moving faster. For a significant amount of time. Hold onto that for miles and miles at a time and you just may get the time you desire. Definitely work on your downhill running in training, and this concept just may work for you.

Con- Running downhill for an entire marathon distance (26.2 miles) will do a number on your body. Although it does seem fun, running down a mountain for a significant amount of time IS hard on your body. And you WILL pay for it later. But…it will be fun while it lasts! Just be sure to take care of your body and get rest and recovery soon afterwards.

Pro- It is definitely something different than your humdrum flat course. I don’t know about you but I actually love and look forward to running hills. To me there is nothing more boring than a pancake flat course, and actually I’ve done better in years past running courses that included more of a decent elevation profile. Take RnR San Diego for instance. Not an easy course by any means and a killer climb on a highway at the very end but something about that course made me want to work harder.

Con- The downhill marathon does not equal instant success. Don’t expect to roll up on one of these bad boys if you aren’t fully prepared. So many other factors go into these type of races, such as getting acclimated to the atiltiude changes (if you’re a Texan like me- we are not used to the mountainous terrain at all) and what have you. Take it from me, someone who has gotten altitude sickness, that is something you DO NOT want during a race. Here are some good tips to being prepared to face those type of crazy changes.

What are some more pros and cons to downhill marathons? What is your favorite type of race course?
I actually do like looped courses, definitely some hills in there. Point to point ain’t bad either.

2019 DanMan Challenge Recap.

So I believe in previous years I have skipped doing a recap on this race (because hey, no time cutoffs, no medal…NO RECOGNITION?!) What can I say, I am a millennial and I like to be recognized from time to time. But since this race has become a staple on my race calendar I figured hey, why not? This is the third year in a row that I’ve done the DanMan and I absolutely love it every year. Even with the usually very unpredictable weather! This year I signed up for the marathon distance and it proved to be quite the adventure.

So the DanMan Challenge is a race that my trail run group, the Dallas Dirt Runners, do every year…some years we camp out there and other years we drive up the morning of. It is just under a 2 hour drive outside of Dallas, and the run starts at 8 a.m. We sign up online, and Jackie who is Dan’s assistant (Dan owns the ranch property and is basically the big wig of this country Oklahoma town) sends you an email of confirmation that you are in the race.

The race has a 10k, half marathon, full marathon as well as a 50 mile option! Since the marathon distance is right on par with my back to back long run training for Hachie 50 I was all in for 26.2. My friend Lisa and I drove out EARLY on Saturday (5 a.m.) and made the trek. We were quite concerned about the weather, as there were thunderstorms in the forecast for the morning.

We drove up there and got there about half an hour early, parked on the ranch and met up with some good buddies also doing the race. Dan’s camp provides a pancake breakfast, and lets you inside of his home to hang and get your things ready for the race. It really is one MASSIVE party. And one that I super enjoy. Dan actually just completed the World Marathon Challenge (7 marathons in 7 continents in 7 days) and had all of his swag and pictures up on the wall. I thought that was pretty cool and fun to show off to inspire all of the runners.

We line up and of course with it being an untimed, no cutoff type of race…we start around 8:20 ish. Dan made a quick speech and we were off. The race has 2 loops, a 6 mile loop and then a 7 mile loop- the marathoners do each loop twice. Which is great because it gives you a chance to get back to the main ‘aid station’ which is his house/back patio area where they had a TON of snacks, treats, and hydration. So you could fuel up before heading back out for the next loop.

The race started out with a bit of drizzle which was quite pleasant and felt nice out there, fairly decent temps in the 60s with a solid amount of humidity. I wore a light jacket but instantly got warm and had to shed that. There were also a fair amount of climbs on the 6 mile loop trail..then the 7 mile one to me was a tad more runnable. I felt excellent the first two loops, chatting with my DDR friends and rocking and rolling along.

The third loop is where things got a little more real. We headed back out onto the 6 mile slightly more technical loop and it that is when the storm moved in. We had it all…wind…lightning (and yeah RUN AT YOUR OWN risk cuz they ain’t cancelling the race plus you’ve signed a waiver, etc) and heavy downpour for a good hour. The third loop was VERY intense and muddy and almost made me want to throw in the towel. This was where I had wished I downgraded to the half because I was ankle deep into the mud. I circled back onto the jeep road which led back to Dan’s house and really was ready to call it a day as I hit mile 19. I’m thinking okay…I ran 15 miles yesterday…19 miles today…that is some dang solid training! I would be super happy ending it there. But you know…the inner coach in my mind stepped in and just was not having it. I’m like…okay really Chelsea…7 miles to go…the 7 mile loop is the one you like, remember? Just crank your tunes up and freaking rock.IT.OUT. So that, my friends, is what I did.

I was literally jamming out to Spotify and at some point the rain just completely stopped. I was oh so happy!! I got separated from my friends (some slowed down, others sped up) so I was basically on the LAST 7 mile loop all alone. But I had my music and my crazy hard headed self that just would not let me quit. With the sun coming out I picked up the pace and felt freaking great. The shuffling picked up and I started climbing those muddy hills with a vengeance. Eventually I caught up to some friends that had sped up and we all kind of finished together. I finished that darn muddy tough trail race in 5 hours and some change and really felt good about it. Great day, strong trail run and got some kickass training in.

After the run we all grabbed some phenomenal BBQ- smoked brisket, homemade catfish and potato salad, baked beans, and even pie. And the best sweet tea you will ever have in life. I also brought a honey pear cider from home as my reward- from my favorite cider place in Ft. Worth. It was the icing on the cake for sure. And all was well in the world.

Overall I absolutely LOVE this run and highly recommend it if you are a short drive away from North Texas/Oklahoma! Great way to run and enjoy a very laid back spring trail race with good people. And get some SERIOUS grub that is all freaking free.

How was your weekend? Anyone else participate in the DanMan Challenge?

Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon Recap.

Picture this…you’re running a marathon while surrounded by big, majestic trees…on a canyon…with waterfalls sprinkled throughout. It’s fairly quiet, and everywhere you look just takes your breath away. You’re literally flying down the canyon for miles and miles and your feet just cannot stop going. Sounds incredible, right?! Sounds like simply the most PERFECT race scenario. Right? Well, in theory…absolutely. So, allow me to tell you about my experience running the Revel Big Cottonwood marathon. Grab a seat, and a snack and I shall tell you the tale.

I arrived to Salt Lake City on Friday night…the night before my race. I stayed at a beautiful AirBnB…a historic cottage in downtown Salt Lake. This was probably one of the most eclectic AirBnBs I’ve stayed at, and I’ve stayed at a few across the U.S. The bathroom had a clawfoot tub and a shower with shower heads that came out from different directions. To say I took the most heavenly shower that evening is just an understatement. The host even had epsom salt bath products and all kinds of lovely amenities. It was the most perfect situation after dealing with a flight delay and long travel.

I woke up SUPER early Saturday morning feeling relaxed and rather well rested. I grabbed my things and headed over to Cottonwood Heights, where the race was held. Thankfully since I arrived late Friday, the race staff so graciously let me pick up my race packet the DAY of. This was so awesome and I was so very grateful for their kindness. I got in the shuttle with my things and took a quick pic of my race bib for social media since I knew my friends would be tracking my progress.

Just after 6 AM we arrived to the top of the canyon where the race would start – at over 9,000 feet of elevation! There were tons of folks lined up fired up and ready to go. The gun took off, and we were off down STEEP canyon as we watched the sun rise.

The first few miles were quite lovely…I enjoyed bombing down the hill and it felt like that first drop of a roller coaster. There was a quick incline up mile 3-4 or so that sorta kinda slowed me down…but then we continued firing down the canyon. Man…this is awesome…I thought to myself. I turned my music up as we continued on down the drop. This continued on and I continued feeling alright towards the half marathon mark. I finished the half at 1:56 and felt okay. Not amazing, but okay. I also kind of felt like the altitude was starting to do something to my body. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was happening. But…at a few points it felt like it was a struggle to get my breathing straight and I just felt winded. Like my mojo was slowly slipping away. And that, it was indeed.

We reached about mile 16 or so, continuing to bomb down this same mountain. My legs started talking back to me angrily. Calves, hamstrings…everything just started to NOT feel good. I never had them seize up or anything. It actually just got to a point where I didn’t feel like I could go any further. This was here that I wanted to find a sag wagon and for real call it a damn day. Why was this happening? It made me mad. It made me feel defeated. I had trained my tail off for this race. Granted…we have no real mountains in Dallas and training for altitude changes is not really an option. But. This year, I took a different strategy. I focused more on the marathon distance (as opposed to my usual ULTRA stuff), speed, hill repeats. Everything a good lil marathon runner is supposed to do. Rest. Recovery. Cross training. A tad…less mileage. Last year around this time I was running 90-100 mile weeks. It was starting to feel like I did the hard and fast work for nothing. As I watched pace group after pace group pass me…I knew that this wasn’t going to be my best day. We kept bombing down the hill until we reached mile 18. And then. This was where it got REAL.

The course kind of bottoms out to the canyon floor and then starts going through the city. We do this out and back that is in the straight up SUN. Temps were close to the 90 degree mark that day and the sun was in absolute full effect. The out and back apparently is where everyone just kind of falls apart. It becomes a walk-a-thon of sorts. I have honestly never seen SO MANY people start walking during a marathon like I did here. And also it was here that I started walk/run/shuffling. I stopped to use the restroom twice and really just tried to keep my legs going as much as possible. The legs were toast after flying down the canyon.

I reached mile 23, I started wagering with myself. From now on…don’t stop running. Even if the run is slow. Go. It’s a 5k to the finish and you have no excuse. I also knew that I would never forgive myself if I let my marathon time creep to the 5 hour mark. You are not a punk ass. You are not a quitter. Go and when you see the finish. Go harder. Relentless forward motion.

When I saw that finish I was overjoyed and relieved. It took me back to the days where, when I would see a finish line, I would literally start crying as I ran towards it. It was a somewhat emotional finish. NOT because I ran a PR. Not because it was some strong monumental finish time.

Because I talked myself out of quitting this race. Because I traveled all the way to Utah from Texas, alone.

I did not have a cheer section or a husband that greeted me with flowers at the finish line. I did not have a pacer or someone on the course kissing my ass and telling me how amazing I am. I did what I went there to do. I gutted it out. I finished a hard ass race. At high elevation and altitude. Something I’ve never done before. I’ve run 50ks, I’ve done 50 milers, 100k. 100 miles. None of these races took out of me, what Big Cottonwood did. And, it truly gave me the mental fortitude to know that when the chips are down- when shit falls apart, that I can tough it out and finish what I started. Even if it hurts. Even if the outcome is NOT AT ALL what I expected. There will be another day for a PR and a chance to brag to my friends and social media about what happened. And when that comes, it will be lovely. The rough days are what makes the good days even better.

There I am, smiling when I felt like absolute shit. Sometimes you have to smile, through the bullshit.

So. Thank you, Revel Big Cottonwood! Thank you for showing me what I’m made of. And thank you running, for continuing to show me that I’m stronger than I think I am. Hey Revel. I can’t say I’ll be back for your race anytime soon. But you did show me what you needed to show me at the time and for that – I am absolutely grateful.

So now, it’s time to go back into the ULTRA training trenches. Brazos Bend 100 miler. Get ready. I’m so coming for you in December.

How was your weekend? Is anyone else running a hundo/mountain race/ultra this year?! Tell me about it!

Personal Running Pet Peeves.

So it is probably something not a lot of people talk about in the realm of running since the sport is really mostly a positive and encouraging one. But I am here to talk about it. Why? Because we can! Runner pet peeves…I am here for it. Allow me to give you a few of mine in no particular order. Of course, with gifs very much included. 

Oh, how I miss me some RHOA a la Phaedra.

Non-runners thinking a 5k is a marathon. Actually to me this is more funny than anything else. Come on people. Marathons are so common now. Really…26.2 miles is quite the feat but let’s be honest. A lot of people do it. So, you should know by now. Stop asking how many miles it is. Thanks.

Just people at random honking at you in their cars while you run. Same goes for cat calling. It’s just not cute. I just want to get through this last mile without you annoying the crap out of me with these noises. Peaceful. That is how I like it.

People that join run groups and leave their headphones in the entire social run. I wanna get to know ya, okay?! At least keep an earbud out so you can be safe. Don’t come to the social run and be anti-social. You won’t be invited to the cookout next time. 

Another FAQ by the non-runner- Doesn’t running BOTHER YOUR KNEES?! Actually, no it doesn’t. Sometimes other things but damn I’ve got some pretty strong knees. I must say. Thank you baby Jesus for that. 

People that stare you down as you pass them while running. I know, you wish you were running with me or something like that. Okay. Join me next time? I don’t bite. Usually. 

Runners that run a little too close to you when you are running together. Okay, bud. We are both super sweaty and your arm keeps rubbing up against mine and I kind of need some personal space?

Maybe you just like affection!? This is not the time for that. Let me have my runner bubble. 

What are some of your personal running pet peeves? 

7 Ways to Slash an Hour (Or More) Off of Your Marathon Time.

So today I thought we would discuss marathon times and for those of you that are trying to hit some serious time goals, this post is for you! I don’t pretend to be an expert but I wanted to share my experiences with the marathon distance and how I’ve vastly improved in the last few years.

A few short years ago, I was running marathons and finishing them in 4 hours and 50 minutes. I was slowly but surely creeping into finishing all of my races in 5 hours and it was so mentally frustrating. But I altered some things and making those changes has literally slashed 1 hour and some change off of my current time. My PR is now 3:45 and that is due to a lot of hard work and dedication. So I wanted to share how I’ve gotten there. And hopefully I may be able to help some of you.

1. Figure out what style of training works for you. I was just talking with my running buds about training methods this morning. I have a friend that I train with in the mornings (he does his easy runs/recovery days with our group) that is pushing 60 years old and you guys he is just remarkable in every sense of the word when it comes to badass runners. He has broken 3 hours in the marathon more than once and is returning to Boston this year to really crush it. He consistently runs strong times and actually told me that one of the things that has helped him improve over the years is upping his weekly mileage. It is all about balance and all about patience. Increasing your mileage slowly over time is definitely going to build your aerobic capacity and make you a stronger runner in the long run. Pun intended.

2. Stay on top of problem areas when it comes to injury prevention. Do you have issues with your hips, knees, whatever etc!? Do not run yourself into the ground until you fall apart. Find out what is going on with your body and do what it takes to immediately nip it in the bud. The moment you stay on top of things before they become serious issues is when you will start to see improvements in your running. I run a lot…but guess what? I stretch a lot too. I see the same massage therapist 1-2 times a month who works on my issues when they come up. You do what you’ve gotta do to stay healthy and stay rocking out the mileage.

3. Be consistent! You can’t expect to improve if you are not willing to put in the work. Run when you don’t want to. Get up early before you have time to think about it and get the time in on your feet. Keep track of your miles from week to week. Include recovery weeks in your training. The more consistent you are as a runner the better you will get at it and the better you will get at what does and does not work for you.

4. Stay mobile and active even when you are not running. I have a varidesk at work. I am telling you, having an adjustable desk where you can stand up and move around and you are not sitting all day will help you immensely! Before when I was sitting all day I had to see my chiropractor on a consistent basis for hip adjustments. Now I only see him a couple of times a year. So thank you, varidesk…you are the real MVP.

5. Okay, keep it real time. Racing weight does matter somewhat. I don’t necessarily think it is the end all be all to running faster times. You still have to put in work because you could be stick thin and unhealthy and still be struggling with running. BUT… dropping excess weight does make you lighter which in turn could make you a tad faster. In the last few years I’ve dropped about 25 additional pounds really due to the higher mileage and getting adjusted to that. But I do think that helped give me a bit of a boost and helped running a sub 4 hour marathon not feel so difficult. Y’all that sub 4 used to feel HARD to me. It really doesn’t anymore. So, make some adjustments in your nutrition if you have to. Add more fresh foods into your diet. Cut the unnecessary post long run “treats”. I know some of us run because we are foodies or like to drink margaritas. But doing all of that stuff is NOT going to make you faster. Eat to fuel your running and to fuel your goals. *drops mic*

6. Hills. Speedwork. Long runs. Do them. When I started adding more hill training especially is when I started to see lots of improvement in my training. I really feel like hills strengthen my legs and make me more powerful when it is time to race. Hills definitely are speedwork in disguise. Also even if you do things like strides (quick pickups while you are running) or hit the track 1-2 times a week, tempo runs etc. All of these things will make moving faster not as difficult.

7. Run with faster people. This one is major. If you want to run faster marathon times you have to put yourself in a scenario and envision yourself being that “fast” runner. Run with people who have more experience with this than you. Run with those Boston marathoners that wear the flashy jackets. Find out what makes them tick. Sooner or later you will be rocking and rolling and pushing the pace and feeling like that confident fast runner that is crushing those marathon times.

What are some things that have helped your running improve over time?

Spring and Summer Races on Tap.

Spring and summer without a doubt are my favorite seasons to train and race some shorter, faster races. So I have a few distances (including a couple of ultras) I plan on tackling within the next few months!! Here are a few items I have on my calendar, so far.

Cowtown 50k – Sunday, February 25th / Ft. Worth, Texas: Technically this one is still in the winter, but it is UP NEXT on the calendar. I am so excited to be PACING this race this year! As some of you know, last year I paced the marathon distance and this year I will be tackling the 50k (31 miles) Pacing is a whole different type of animal, but I’ve been fortunate to be able to pace various distances over the last several years. This will be the first time I’ve paced beyond 26.2 miles though. So, I’m very excited to be able to help some runners conquer their goals! And yeah, earn a glass of wine or 2 while I’m at it.

Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon— Sunday, March 25th / Dallas, TX: This race is kind of a staple on my race calendar every year. I absolutely love how organized the Rock n Roll race series in general is, and they always have the best runner swag and medals. If medals are your thing, I definitely recommend you find a Rock n Roll race in your area to run. They are just a blast. There’s bands all along the course to rock out to as well as a great post race party. Definitely cannot wait to run this one.

Danman Trail Race- Marathon— Saturday, April 7th / Madill, OK: I talked a bit about my experience running this one last year. Basically, there’s an awesome guy that has a ranch and tons of land out in Oklahoma and he invites all of the runners to run a race on his property. You can choose shorter distances like 10k, there’s also a half/full/and 50 mile race. ALL FREE. Yes, you read that right! Free. Plus he cooks food and you can camp out the night before and bring tents and such. So my trail run group goes out there and it is just one big freakin’ party. Gotta love it. This year I will run 26.2 out there on the trails.

Hachie 50 Miler— Saturday, May 5th / Waxahachie, TX: This is a newer race that I’ve kept on my schedule recently. This race was also my very 1st 50 miler 2 years ago. I love it because the field is fairly small which is great because usually I win some type of award (top female overall last year). It’s a paved, looped course which I actually enjoy because I get to see my friends over and over, and the course is fairly shaded plus there plenty of aid stations. And, you can’t beat an ultra close to home.

Hell’s Half Acre 25K— Saturday, July 7th / Ft. Worth, TX: I’m excited to have this one on the calendar! I’ve been wanting to do more HOT summer races just to test my stamina and this one should prove to be a good one. It is a 3 mile looped course and there’s also a 50k but I’d like to work on my speed so 25k should do the trick. Plus I need a new 25k PR (the only 25ks I’ve run have been on trails) so let’s see what I’m capable of.

Of course, I may throw a couple more races in the mix (I’ve got my eye on some more TRAIL stuff) but this is what is on tap so far! I’m still looking at marathons for the fall. Wineglass in NY as well as Revel Big Cottonwood in Utah are both calling my name. Decisions, decisions. Then, I’ve already signed up for my 2nd 100 miler in DECEMBER. Woo freakin’ hoo.

What races are on tap for your spring and summer?

Quirky Things Runners Do, Continued.

Runners, we are a quirky bunch…aren’t we? Let’s do a bit of a continuation of some of the quirky things runners do…in no particular order…

Hem and haw about waking up early to run. But hey, someone’s gotta do it. Getting up and out the door is half the battle.

Go out for ‘just 4 miles’ and end up doing 7 or 8. Guilty.

Get up to run on a Sunday morning after going out with your buddies on a Saturday night. Because ‘sleeping in’ is overrated.

Post motivational ‘run quotes’ on Instagram. Preferably with a sunrise or sunset in the background.

Bitch and moan about things we cannot control, like the weather. Just because we can.

Go run long and come home and basically do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day. Well hey, you’ve earned it.

Runners, what are some more quirky things that you do?

Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon 2017 Recap.

Happy Global Running Day!! You guys, this week has been quite the whirlwind. But I am back from my long weekend in beautiful San Diego, California! I almost did not want to come back to Dallas because I was having so much fun. Anyway, let’s recap the marathon a bit, shall we?

I flew into San Diego on Saturday and immediately made my way to the expo to get my goodies. Of course I had to stop at the Brooks Running center to check out the latest and greatest in running gear.

I even ran into my homeboy Meb, fantastic super human Olympian! I met him in Dallas at a UCan event years ago so it was great to hang with him again for a bit.

And alas my running blogger boos Fallon and Mai! We have been reading each others blogs for a while now so it was so great to run into them. Hashtag I’m kind of jealous that they are originally from California and get to run here all of the time.

The next morning I got my bib on and made my way out to Balboa Park. It was a 6:15 a.m. start which is pretty early but with the time change I was wide awake and ready to get going.

I started things off just running by feel, since honestly I did not know what to expect with this race. As most of you know I just ran the 50 miler a few short weeks ago, and have been keeping my weekly mileage fairly high. I knew for sure I was in better shape than when I ran this same marathon last year. So I expected to hopefully have a faster time than last year. But as far as a legit PR, I was doubtful. The full marathon course is tough, going up an intense hill at mile 23 that is basically relentless. A lot of people choose the half over the 26.2 distance for this race because of that very hill. But, I was ready to take on the challenge since I’ve been doing lots of hill training.

The first half of the race I ran pretty conservatively, finishing at the half mark at 1:49 and some change. After the half mark there are some elevation changes and eventually we end up in Mission Bay, which is a great view of the beach and lots of folks out there to cheer us on. I was starting to feel tired around this point which was after mile 18 or so but I kept on trucking because I knew that giant hill up the highway was coming.

On the highway lots of folks start walking but I just kept my head down and knew it would be over soon. Then the course kind of does a bit of a downhill on back into downtown. Lots of spectators here. I looked down at my watch and saw that I had plenty of time and I was actually going to PR. What a thrill that was! I was definitely not expecting to run my fastest ever marathon on this course. Hallelujah. All of the blood sweat and tears is paying off.

3:45:40 finish, 8:37 pace, feeling good feeling great. On a hard ass course! Hey buddy, I will take it.

Celebration with wine was definitely in order. Cheers to life.

How was your weekend? What are you looking forward to this upcoming weekend?
Pool time, some hot runs in the sun and catching up with friends. Bring on summer.

When It’s Cold Outside…Runners Be Like…

We all know how easy it is to fall into excuses during this time of year. It’s too cold, it’s too windy, there’s snot coming out of my nose (hey just keeping it real), my bed is too warm etc. I found some cold weather running funnies on Pinterest that explain my exact thoughts sometimes. To be honest, I love the cold but the early dark mornings can be tough! HA. That just makes you that much more of a badass though if you get it done.

In no particular order…

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Are you getting your run on today?
Done and done.

What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?

2016 BMW Dallas Marathon Recap.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! I sure did. I gave myself an early Christmas present…a fabulous new marathon PR. Let’s discuss, shall we?

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So the weekend started off pretty mellow. I scaled back the miles last week leading up to Sunday’s race. Friday I did a little shakeout run and then Saturday I rested the legs. Me and my homegirl Tracy went up to the Dallas Marathon expo to pick up our runner swag. I loved the graffiti art on the wall.

Saturday night I laid out my clothes and I was ready to go. Gotta love this shirt. Running wild. That is me indeed.

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Race day! Tracy and I got up extra early, got a ridiculously awesome spot right by the race site in downtown Dallas and then walked around to find our Irving Running Club buddies. Here’s just a few of the crew. We had lots of runners doing the half and full marathons that day.

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I lined up to the start ready to go. Temps were pretty chilly, with a light misty rain and a bit of humidity. Not the most amazing conditions, but not too shabby either. I was loving the chill in the air. The start was really awesome too, they had some fireworks going off, and a few Olympic runners (Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi just to name a few) were there as well. Meb did a little speech and sent us on our way.

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I started off running with my girl Tracy who was going out with guns blazing. One of the things I loved the most about this training season was doing a lot of my training with her. She is a bit of a faster runner so she really pushed me and motivated me to keep up. I’m so thankful for her! I had to pull back a bit because I knew for me I was starting out a bit fast. I reigned it back into a solid pace that I knew I could hold for a while. I also tracked myself so I was getting alerts on my phone on how I was doing, my estimated finish time and etc. The first few miles literally seemed to fly by. I loved seeing my friends and runner family out on this course. Running in my hometown is absolutely the best.

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I clocked my first half at around 1:51 and some change feeling good. And honestly feeling like I could still hold strong through the second half (something I’ve definitely had trouble with in the past). We went through White Rock Lake and over some hills which I also felt strong on. I felt a bit tired around mile 20 but I knew I could push through still and bust that wall down. I took a salted caramel gu and just kept trucking. I also had my hydration pack with plenty of water so I didn’t really stop at many water stops this time, only to take in a few sips of gatorade. Just keep trucking…relentless forward progress…is what I kept saying to myself for most of this run.

I will just say this. I went into this race with the intention to PR. I knew without a shadow of a doubt, despite the weather, and whatever obstacles I would face that day…that it was going to happen for me. Yesterday was the first time in a long time that I believed I was capable of this strong of a race. After a few years, and after my previous fastest time, finally the stars aligned and it was my moment. I wasn’t sure if it would be under 3:50. Honestly, I would have been ecstatic with that time as well! But I flew into that finish line with a solid 3:47 and some change finish. Smiling from ear to ear. I did it. And my goodness…does it feel oh so good.

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There is nothing sweeter than a new marathon PR.

26.2 number 22 complete.

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How was your weekend? Did anyone run the Dallas Marathon or any other fun race? If so…congrats!