In my last post, I said the following:
I have a few races lined up for the spring and I’m hoping I’ll have another PR or two in 2016. But first I’m going to take some time for recovery and very minimal running.
Was running a 5K six days after 3M part of that plan? Nooooooo! But two things happened last week:
- My boyfriend has an IHG hotels rewards membership. If we spent a night in a hotel before the end of January he would get a status bump and a ton of points. So that’s how we ended up spending Friday night in Dallas.
- My boyfriend’s work has organized a team for the Statesman Capitol 10K in April. My boyfriend has never been very into running but he is very motivated to join the team and run (or run/walk) the race. So I’ve been helping him with a training schedule and trying to make sure he doesn’t try to do too much too soon.
When we booked our stay in Dallas we saw that this was happening on Saturday morning:
So I entered myself in the timed 5K and my boyfriend in the 1 mile fun run. I knew I was in no shape to run a fast 5K but I figured I’d see how I felt and maybe run at 10K or 10 mile race pace. My boyfriend’s task was to run as much of the 1 mile course as possible.
In the week leading up to 3M I adhered to a pretty strict (for me) pre-race regimen: no booze, lots of sleep, mindful eating, etc. It was basically the exact opposite before the Donut Dash. We were hoping to leave work a little early on Friday to avoid the heavier traffic but then we both got stuck at our respective offices later than planned. We hit various construction and accidents on our way up to Dallas and didn’t get to the hotel until after 10 PM. I’d been up since 6 AM thanks to an early meeting and didn’t know if I was more desperate for food or sleep when we finally arrived. We ate a very late dinner at the hotel restaurant since it was a) convenient and b) still open. I ordered a flatbread that was basically a mountain of microwaved cheddar cheese on a big cracker. So much for pre-race nutrition! Since dinner was so late I didn’t fall asleep until shortly before midnight and ended up getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 hours of sleep. Not the worst pre-race sleep but definitely not ideal.
The race is held by the Cotton Bowl Stadium and Texas State Fair grounds. It only took us about 10 minutes to drive over there, which was nice. I got in a very short warm up– less than a mile, including a few sprints. My legs felt a bit tired from after 3M, hours of sitting in the car on Friday night, and barely running for almost a week. But the weather was basically perfect (40s and sunny) so I was optimistic about getting in a good workout. A few minutes before the race started I said goodbye to my boyfriend and positioned myself near the start line. (This was a VERY family oriented event, so I wanted to minimize the number of small children I might trip over at the beginning of the race).
The first mile of the race was really cool. It loops through Fair Park and around lots of Art Deco buildings. The most amazing part was right around the 1 mile mark when a big fountain turned on and movie soundtrack music started coming out of speakers in the bushes. It felt like I was at Epcot and it was definitely the most epic mile I’ve ever run! Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera ’cause, y’know, racing, so here’s a picture from the Internet (and a little history if you click the link):
I was really trying to run a hard but controlled pace but I think the fountains and music gave me a speed boost because I hit mile 1 in 7:17. That was definitely a bit faster than I’d planned on running but I felt good and decided to focus on maintaining a consistent effort and not worry about pace.
After mile 1 the course winds past the Cotton Bowl and through some parking lots, which is considerably less interesting visually but has the advantage of being very, very flat. I ran mile 2 in 7:09 and was feeling really good, which is a very unfamiliar experience for me during a 5K. At this point it occurred to me that I could go sub-22:30 and maybe even PR. So I dug deep and worked on making the last 1.1 miles as speedy as possible. I passed a few people, including a really fit looking woman in a jacket from a marathon. When my legs started to feel fatigued after 2.7 miles I told myself “Come on, just hold on for another 0.4 miles”…
…except it was actually more like another 0.2 miles.
I’m not gonna lie– this was a little disappointing because I was having a good race and the elevation and weather were perfect for a PR. But I achieved my goal of getting in a good workout– plus I ran the most epic mile ever–so I can’t complain too much. And, thanks to further course confusion, my boyfriend ran a total of 2.4 or 2.5 miles with only about 30 seconds of walking 🙂
After the race we grabbed some Hypnotic donut holes (delicious!) and waited around for the awards. I finished 22/1081 overall, 3/675 overall female, 2/121 in my age group. (As this was a very family oriented and fun race I am sure a lot of participants were walkers).
For my efforts I received a donut medal and a cute little mug, which made this the second piece of drinkware I won in January.
I also got a certificate for a free week of training classes at some place in Dallas which I gave to the aforementioned really fit looking woman in a jacket from a marathon. (She had also run 3M the weekend prior and was training for a spring marathon and hopefully a BQ. We commiserated for a bit about short courses and how half marathons > 5Ks).
After the race we headed back to the hotel to shower and check out. Our hotel was in a downtown area not far from Dealey Plaza, so we decided to head in that direction and possibly check out the Sixth Floor Museum.
I’ll be blunt: I found everything around Dealey Plaza very weird and eerie. We walked by at least five people hawking materials on “what really happened”. From the street you can easily see the window from which Oswald fired the fatal shots and where Kennedy’s vehicle was when he was struck. We later drove right over that spot on our way out of Dallas.
To make a long story short, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and went out to a brewery instead of the museum. My boyfriend was brave and tried the Sin Mint Temptress, which the website describes as such:
This is our not-so-subtle homage to a sweet something that’s hiding in our freezers. Harmonious flavors of fresh mint, vanilla, and a touch of graham cracker enhance the already rich chocolate profile of the beer. It’s delightfully sinful, pleasurably minty, and tastes kind of like a really good cookie. We just won’t say which one.
It sounds so questionable but it was so good– definitely one of the best milk stouts I’ve ever tasted! I would have gotten a glass for myself but there isn’t any food at the brewery and I didn’t want to get drunk before the long drive back to Austin. So instead we went to a South American restaurant we found on Google Maps, which ended up being a fantastic decision.
We were in Dallas for less than 18 hours but I felt like I did pretty much everything I like to do when I visit a new city– run, learn about local history, eat delicious food. I am hoping we can go back in October for the State Fair of Texas. I have just under eight months to perfect a deep fried food item of my choice…