Sunday, November 4, 2012


The first running race I ever entered was the DRC Half in 2011. I figured it would be a good idea to know what racing felt like before I tackled last year's White Rock Marathon. Racing the Half turned out to be a good decision, namely because I had a bad-for-me race. I overheated, cramped from dehydration and had to walk a good bit in order to finish at 2:09:22. Even though I struggled, it felt great to race. My time was good despite the struggle and I learned that I needed to improve my hydration strategy. I made that change and I proceeded to have an excellent first marathon. 

Working toward my third marathon — I'm shooting for a very good race at the Dallas Marathon next month — I figured why not run the Half again. It's close to my house, on a familiar course and friends are running it, too. My training is far better than what I was doing last year. I've added a healthy mix of hills, which have made me stronger, lighter and faster. Entering this year's Half, I thought I was capable of besting my PR (1:49:42 at a chilly Texas Half) but I would be content with at least maintaining a consistent 8-minute-or-so pace and possibly speeding up on the back half.  

Courtesy of TPG
At about 4.5 miles, I was stoked to see
friends who biked down to cheer on
the runners. Upon seeing them and their
signs — one was a large cutout of my
face! — and hearing their encouragement,
I knew I was going to have a strong race.
It was an awesome surprise.  
The race started great. The weather was perfect — 50s, occasional breeze — and the hour we gained from reverting back to standard time meant extra rest. Of course, "falling back" also meant more sunshine during the race; the temperature steadily increased. Nothing too bad. I stayed hydrated, carrying my trusty Nathan handheld, which I filled twice on the course, and I popped one to three Endurolytes every 35-40 minutes.

Courtesy of TPG
Ten-and-a-half miles done at this point, I
knew a PR was still attainable. Better yet, I
still felt great. Bonus: I also saw Mama C
cheering at this section of the course!
The course is sorta hilly by Dallas' standards. There's a residential section from mile 3 to mile 7 that presents a challenge to runners of this mostly flat region. Last year, I struggled with the hills and had to walk some. I had no problems with them this year. Now, that doesn't mean I love running uphill or that I'm great at it. What it means is that I handle them fairly well now and don't dread inclines when I approach them (a lesson learned from the OKC Marathon). 

Courtesy of TPG
The finish line in sight, I pushed the
pace. Always finish strong!
I neared the finish line and saw my friends again (elite spectathletes That Pink Girl, Heidi and Brian, and Greg (who most recently dominated a double century) and my sister (I cannot wait to run the Turkey Trot with her!) who shot the following clip:

Half marathon number four in the books, I have a shiny new PR — 1:47:36 — and I feel confident entering the last month of marathon training. What's more, it's an exciting time of year. There are exceptional opportunities and challenges in front of me (more about those later), and I cannot wait to take them on as I continue to grow and live the best life I could have ever hoped for.  And I have the photo to prove it.


Michelle K said...

It was great to see you yesterday, Robert! Congrats on a terrific race and PR. I had no idea that you have only been racing a year, you have made great strides (pardon the pun!). I can't wait to see you kill it at the Dallas Marathon!

That Pink Girl said...

Woo hoos and mad props for a hard earned, shiny new PB! (Yes, going Canadian on y'all) it was a gorgeous day for racing (no rain!) and we all enjoyed seeing y'all kick some serious half marathon booty.
You've come a long way in a very short time - can't wait to see what you accomplish next month!
Congratulations on running a strong race!