Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Half Marathon PR–Stonebridge Ranch Half Marathon

I probably wouldn’t have run this race if it wasn’t for a Schwaggle.  What’s a Schwaggle?  It’s the Groupon for the running world.  I got the race for half off.  So, instead of $60 per person, I got Cairo and I to enter for $30 each.  Very cool!

ElevationWhy wouldn’t I run it?  When it comes to races, I’m not a big fan of hills.  The Stonebridge Ranch races in McKinney pretty much fit that bill.  Plenty of hills and a lot of them are man made.  Man made?  Yes, when running the shorter races, 5K or 10K, you’re usually running routes on the sidewalks that will take you in a tunnel underneath the major streets.  I appreciate McKinney keeping us safe, but the steep inclines are killers.  Luckily we did not have these man made hills for the Half Marathon.  To the right is the elevation of the race for the Half Marathon.

All in all, I’m so happy that Cairo and I drug ourselves out of bed.  The rain was coming down pretty good when we got up and the forecast didn’t look like it was going to let up.  I was having flashbacks to White Rock Hypothermia.  So, yes, I overdressed.  I really didn’t need 2 layers and a rain jacket.  The rain jacket was around my waist after the first mile.  Thank God that the rain diminished to a drizzle and pretty much stopped toward the middle/end of the race.  That was so awesome!  I really didn’t want to be drenched in another race.  Yes, I’m a wimp that way!  I don’t mind too cold or too hot, but once you get me too cold and wet… me no likey!

As you can see by the elevation chart, there were a lot of ups and downs.  I really think that Insanity, speed track workouts, and hill workouts powered me through this race.  Nothing feels better than looking down at your Garmin at 1.5 miles to go knowing the pace that you’re and the time left, that you’re track to beat your PR.

2012-02-18 09.49.11I beat my previous Half Marathon PR of 1:48:04 with a new PR time of 1:46:39.  What an awesome feeling to PR on that stinking course.  I cannot believe that I averaged 8:07/mile for the whole thing.  The first 6 miles I was at an 8:15/mile pace and then the last 7.1 miles I finished at an 8:03/mile pace.

Cairo and I ran the first few miles together.  He tends to start faster than I do and then I catch up to him.  I usually catch up to him and he stays with me, but his training hasn’t been where it should be.  He finished quite well especially for not getting all of his long runs in.  He finished with a time of 1:49:36.  With better training, I know that he can kill his PR time of 1:47:42.

While a majority of teenagers slept in, Cairo took first place in his age group.  I’m so happy that he was able to place.  We both definitely had thoughts of not wanting to get out of bed or out of the car to run the race.  We’re both so glad that we did.

SAMSUNG               2012-02-18 10.39.45

Now for a little humor that I hope won’t offend the race director and race peeps.  I appreciate everything that they do to put the race on.  Before, I get into the humor, the positives…

  • I really liked starting the race on Virginia Parkway instead of from the Stonebridge Ranch Beach and Tennis Club.  It was easier to navigate and a nice downhill to get us started.
  • I loved running on the roads and all of the police support.
  • There were plenty of volunteers and water stations.
  • Despite running into the wind, I liked where the finish line was.  It was very cool running on top of the hill and the approach to the finish line.

OK… now to the video.

My Rookie Mistakes at the Water Stations

Some more humor for ya…  My water belt is pretty much my safety blanket.  I’ve used it for every race above a Half Marathon and for shopping trips to Walmart.  :)  On the morning of the race, I filled up my water bottles – 2 with water and 2 with Gatorade.  While getting ready at the race, I reached in the back seat for my water belt… it was… back at home still on the counter.  I kind of freaked for a second or two, but came to grips.  I was going to have to use water stops during an entire race for the first time in a long time.

I skipped the first water stop as I was good, but decided to get some water at the second one.  I really didn’t want to stop, so I tried to drink and run at the same time.  I choked on that water.  I looked around for all the peeps noticing or not.  It totally jacked with my breathing.  It was so not cool!  I told Ursula, my non-running wife about this and it was probably the first time that she laughed at something about my running stories.  Hmmm… what does that mean?

On my second water stop experience, I made Water Station Rookie Mistake #2… My new strategy was to get the water, walk and drink.  However, when I got the water, I walked to the right and then to the left and then who knows where.  The poor guy behind me was pretty frustrated with me as he nearly collided with me.  I said a quick sorry and drank my water.  I caught back up to him and apologized again.  I know how it feels as I try to avoid the masses at water stations.

After those two incidents, I was pretty experienced and ready for the rest of the water stations.  I really do prefer my water bottles compared to stopping at water stops.  I can actually breath, run, and drink at the same time with my water bottles.

Monday, February 13, 2012

DFW to CLE Tickets Purchased!

DFW-CLENo backing out of the Cleveland Marathon now… I just purchased my airline tickets from Dallas to Cleveland. I cannot wait to see family and every one of those 26.2 miles of the Cleveland Marathon in May!

It’s great to have the flight booked 3 months in advance of the race weekend.  That’s one less thing to worry about while travelling to an out of state race.  Now I’ll have 3 months to think about what to wear.  Yes, I’m strange and have pre-race rituals for races.  One of them is a new shirt for each marathon.  More on that when I go shirt shopping. It’s way too soon for that now.  :)

I was so happy to get the tickets for a great price – $222 for round trip.  Just a little tip that everyone might know…  If you’re looking for a trip somewhere set up a fare alert to know when the fares drop.  I have one set up on and  They both alerted me when the price dropped for flights to Cleveland.