Ahhh, Texas… I do so love to make fun of you, yet I keep coming back. When I set out to run a marathon in every state, I wanted to hit Texas close to the beginning of my circuit since I end up in this crazy place every year or so. This trip—like the ones before it—did not disappoint. There is plenty for a Yankee liberal to shake her head at down here, but it is also an opportunity to visit with my wonderful family (and not experience freezing weather in December!) Jim and I brought the kids with us for our extended weekend trip, and we had such a nice time with my aunt, uncle, and two sets of cousins. My oldest son adored spending time with his godmother, and we had a chance to relax a bit just before the chaos of the holiday season. Oh, and we ran the Dallas Marathon.
The Race: We had perfect temperatures for this run, though rain was predicted in the forecast all week. It did end up sprinkling for most of the morning, but we were fortunate not to get stuck in any downpours. The Dallas Marathon is a good midsize run with roughly 3,000 marathon participants and 6,000 people running the half; the start of the race was crowded but not too congested. I’m not a local, but I have visited the city numerous times and felt that the race did a nice job touring the various neighborhoods. The homes along Highland Park and White Rock Park were just beautiful, and there were enthusiastic crowds stationed throughout the race. (I especially appreciated the cowboy in a speedo and his friends passing out beer around mile eight.) This wasn’t a Rock and Roll race, but there were bands set up throughout the course. Dallas also did a great job with their aid stations.
The course was hilly, but it wasn’t altogether terrible. I felt like the topography was similar to Missouri. I felt like the only real weak spot for me was White Rock Park. I don’t particularly enjoy running through parks, and a good eight miles fell here—plus this was the out and back portion of the course. It got monotonous for me, and I really lost steam around mile sixteen or seventeen. Fortunately, the course wound its way back downtown again and ended with some cool neighborhoods.
I actually really loved the end of this race. The last couple of miles were either downhill or flat, and we ran into downtown Dallas. I could see the skyline for the last two miles or so, which was really gorgeous. The race did a great job of setting up bands and spectator stations during the very last mile. I also appreciated the fact that when the marathoners and the half marathoners joined back up, the two groups ran separately all the way to the finish line. It was nice to still run beside the walkers but definitely a plus to not have to weave around them.
My Race: The initial plan was for Jim and I to run this race together and try to get him in under 3:40. This might have been doable on a course like Chicago, but the hills really took their toll on us by mile seventeen. I felt like the first fourteen or fifteen miles were fairly pleasant, but we did hit some difficult patches in the park. Jim and I ultimately split up at mile twenty, and I finished the race by myself. (The last six miles ended up being pretty fun, as I had been running at Jim’s pace for twenty miles and still had a decent amount of energy for the finish.)
Finally, I LOVED my Texas race mix!! I decided that I should really run this marathon to a country music soundtrack, but I haven’t listened to this type of music since high school. I therefore spent weeks finding and downloading albums produced between 1992 and 1999 and ended up with a truly fantastic compilation. I shall be using this for all races south of the Mason Dixon Line.
Dallas was a fun time. I’m so glad that we get to check this state off of our list, and I’m so happy that we had a chance to spend some time with my wonderful family!
** Race Highlights: The race wound through some great neighborhoods, and those that were out supporting the runners were very enthusiastic. The best part of the run by far was the last two miles. Running (downhill) into downtown Dallas with the skyline in view was awesome. I very much liked that the marathon and half marathon participants were separated once the races rejoined.
** The Downside: The course is hilly, but it’s not impossible. I lost a lot of steam while in White Rock Park; about a third of the race was run there, and it got rather monotonous. (We also could have gotten nicer technical shirts.)
Sub 4:00 State #3
Finish Time: 3:43:20
Overall Place Within My Gender: 57th/ 1019
Favorite Race Day Song: If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)
Number of American Flags Seen on the Course: 9,871
Total Training Miles: 1166
Shoe Total: 4