Since the Eugene Marathon in May I had hoped to run another marathon or a half marathon in Dalls, TX. Why Dallas? I had friends from the internet who both live there or like me were planning on traveling there from all over the country. Really? Internet friends?
Yep. I've known many of these fellow runners online for some years now and it was wonderful to meet (in person) such a diverse group. My plans were nearly derailed by the silly stress fracture but eventually I figured I could run a half marathon just as a fun run. I didn't know that until around Thanksgiving and by then the half marathon race had sold out. Anu (my host in Dallas) suggested running the marathon relay with her, her husband and the husband of another running forum member as a team. I'd run two legs of the marathon and the goal would be just to have fun.
It turned out to be a fantastic weekend and I'm so glad I did this. I was super busy in the weeks leading up this event so i didn't realize just how many people would be there. There was a veternarian from virginia, a lawyer from Kansas, a stay at home mom from New York plus lots of folks who live in the Dallas area. It was fun to see some of these people in person again and for the first time. Immediately, I felt comfortable with all of them as we've shared all the various running and life trials and tribulations through the years.
I've never been to Dallas and that was a trip. I knew I was in for some different scenery when at 5:30 am while waiting in the Albuquerque airport for my flight to Dallas Love Field, a few women showed up with the biggest hair and the most bling I have ever seen. I nearly fell over laughing but just managed to keep it to a snort into my coffee.
Once in Dallas I was struck by how much time one had to spend in the car driving everywhere. This sort of thing used to feel normal to me when we lived in Southern California. This just wasn't a few miles, it was at least 30 miles and all the development seems to be new within the last 10 years.
The scenery itself looks a lot like Albuquerque but I was surprised by all the lakes around. It looked desert like so where was all this water coming from? My host said that all the lakes were artificial. Speaking of artificial, probably the most startling thing I noticed was the big fake boobs.
Most of the people I met who live in Dallas can only say they enjoy the non-winters. Otherwise they moved their for jobs and there isn't a lot more to say about Dallas. All runners complained about the unfriendly running and biking streets. I'd have to agree. There was tons of space on roads but never a bike lane or a pedestrian path. You must drive!
Race day ended up being hot, humid and windy. I was delighted that I was only running 10 miles (two legs) around the White Rock Lake. The winds would be the worst around this lake but it sure was pretty. Relays are great fun for getting you pumped up so once Anu came in, I took off like a bat out of hell. Since I'm not in bat out of hell shape right now, i slowed down and started to enjoy the scenery and getting passed by all the marathoners. Our first relay leg runner had run fast and put us ahead of the 3:10 pace group. I was going to do my best to slow us right down!
It was in the mid-60's with 70% humidity and 15 mph sustained winds. I was so hot once I was running that I'd hope for the headwind. Around mile 3 for me, a fellow forum member who was running the marathon caught up with me at her mile 13. Donna had run NYC Marathon 5 weeks previously and set an awesome PR and was hoping to ride that PR wave to a faster marathon time in the flat Dallas marathon. The heat and winds and possible injury had by mile 13 made her realize that she really should Do Not Finish. I happened to show up at a great time to help her through that tough decision and we ran the next 7 miles together. it made an already memorable experience even more memorable.That's Donna giving the Dolly Partons a squeeze as we made our way through the hilly section of the course. There are two hills and they are called "The Dollys" after that famous singer. I haven't laughed so hard in quite a while!
After finishing running, we made our way back to the start/finish area and had quite a crowded wait. There were so many people and all the marathoners were taking longer to finish than expected because of the hot conditions. There were some new personal records set on this day but not too many of them. We all adjourned to Donna's house for pizza and cookies and chat. It was a great way to end a really fun weekend.
I'll say it again. Running has taken me a lot of different places that I never expected to go. Merry Christmas.