I love race recaps.
First… they give other runners an idea if they should participate next year.
Second… it’s self reflective and places a microscope on one’s own training plans: are they working? How can it be improved. Are you on target for your goals?
And finally… recaps are a wonderful way to put in print every memory from a special moment. Time has a way of warping truth or making you forget all together. So let’s start with the funny.
Race literature called for a 7:30am start time. I never read it. I took Andrea’s word. But I omitted one little fact. Olatunji time is ALWAYS 5 to 30 minutes AFTER a set time. (Gables time, good God, aint much better). So in true, late people fashion – we arrive at the starting line for the Texas Big Star Half at 7:25am. All the road closures (we failed to read about) stunted our arrival time as well.
But we speed walked to the starting line… kinda shocked no one on the loud speaker was asking anyone to line up (little did we know they had already LEFT). The crowd was sparse (or so we thought), so we made porta potty stops, washed hands, took selfie’s jamming to the music booming from the sound system…. and I even yaked it up with an old military buddy…. chatting with his son at the front of the starting line (waiting for the 5k to start). Silly me… never occurred to me – we were in the 5k starting wave. As time continued to pass… we start wondering… where are the half marathoners? Andrea even joked, “there are so few, we might actually place”. It was funny, until a volunteer asked if we were ready to start the 5k. “No way”, chimed Andrea. “We’re running the half”! Opps… too bad it started 10 mins ago.
I took off violating every rule of preparation! I crossed the starting line, with my Garmin still trying to catch a GPS signal. My iPod set to a blank playlist, my hair blowing in mouth – instead of twisted into a ponytail… and my pace way too fast with no warm up. I could feel my heart rate elevate… as my Garmin was dying. Did I really not charge this thing? I gotta do better! Now I am setting my pace according to heart rate.
The race route: don’t let Frisco fool you. It has a rollercoaster landscape. The first hill was okay. I run hill repeats on Fisher road 3 to 4x’s a month. But Preston Road, where I typically only drive my car… ugggh – now I see why I prefer my car. God it’s clearly a mile-long, slow grinding hill. Thankfully, I finished it… Only to approach the bridge construction crews have been building forever. Guess what? Its a hill. A BIG FAT NEVER ENDING LONG HILL. Oh wait! Here comes a flat stretch… Too bad it’s only 800 yards. A nice landing strip to launch you off on ANOTHER HILL. I was planning to push for a 1:59 finish. Instead, I finished 2:02. Not my worst, but not my best either. Lesson here… train on more hills, quit rescheduling my tempo runs, train consistently and crack down on nutrition. If I plan to PR NYC in November… I need to be on time and train myself as hard as I train others. Lesson learned.
Now here are some lessons I hope the organizers of this race take heed to.
1. Thank God the weather was overcast, windy and cooler than a typical Saturday in April. It is unconscionable to hold a race with water stations 3 to 4 miles apart from each other. If it would have been hot, this would have been a disaster. Not enough water stations. Not necessarily for me – but for the percentage of untrained or unproperly trained runners. Who’s great money saving idea was this???
2. Please use your announcer at starting line to remind people of start time constantly and for which race. We figured it out from a volunteer. We’re lucky we heard him! Yeah, I know I was late… But I was at the starting line when the starting blast went off and had no idea it was the half marathoners. I thought it was the 5k’ers.
3. Not one single porta potty along the race route. NOT ONE!!
(UPDATE: I have been corrected. Folks tell me there were a few. My tardy crew just never saw them)
Thank God I had no GI issues. One of my friends did – and they held it while running 13.1 miles. 🙊🙉🙈 Choices were: quit and hope someone would backpack you to the finish line. Squat in public in front of passing traffic cause I didn’the see a tree or a bush anywhere… or get to the finish line praying nothing seeps out. 😣
4. I didn’t bring a gu.. because I have been so spoiled by every other race. Around mile 8… free one’s are typically passed out like sunshine. Not this one. If you wanna sprint in – caffeine and carbs are your responsibility.
5. Alot of turns to make up the 13.1 miles instead of straight-a-ways. If you like loops, this is the race for you. I prefer not seeing the same street over and over.
6. Most races typically have the finisher photo at the finish line. Not here… it was inside Toyota stadium. I found out AFTER I left. No signage anywhere. But I was late, maybe I missed it. Frisco, I’m glad our city is hosting our own race. Hopefully next year… it will be better. Regardless, I’ll be back and hopefully finishing stronger! It was awesome seeing our city making an effort to keep its citizens fit! And that, my friend, makes up for any shortcoming!