Jump start your spring racing season (or end your winter one) with this fun race. Learn all about it in this Rock’n’Roll Dallas Half Marathon Race Recap!
Welcome to another great Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up where Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama and I bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Join us each week by reading along, linking up and grab the button to proudly display on your blog/in your posts!
I received complimentary entry into this race as part of the Rock’n’Blog team. All opinions are my own.
And just like that, my race season is officially over! A week and a half ago, I ran the Rock’n’Roll Dallas half marathon, my 14th half marathon and my last race until the Fall. I know most people are just starting to gear up for all the awesome spring races, but now that I live in Austin, prime training and racing season is the opposite of most. The best running weather here is October-March, so I plan most of my races to fall within those months.
To be honest, I didn’t have particularly high hopes for my performance at this race. My foot had been bothering me a week prior (turns out it was just an angry bone spur and nothing serious-phew!) and my allergies had been HORRENDOUS. Fortunately, my foot started to feel better a few days before the race. All I had to do was be able to breathe through the pollen, and all would be ok. Breathing is only kind of important to racing, after all.
I got super pumped for the race when I found out I’d be taking over Rock’n’Blog’s instagram stories for the race as part of their Rock’n’Blog team! First of all, how fun! Second of all, that would be the perfect excuse to take the race slow vs. push my foot and clogged sinuses to the limit. Sorry foot, I have to stop and film this awesome band for the insta. What’s that, snot? Oh, no, we have to stop and get a picture of this awesome spectator dressed as Yoshi (yes, that happened–photo evidence to come).
Anywho, after a three hour drive, Will, Moose and I arrived in Dallas. Will dropped me off at the expo while he took Moose for a potty break.
Rock’n’Roll expos are some of the most organized race expos ever. I’ve run three Rock’n’Roll races now (check out Brooklyn and San Antonio race recaps), and packet pickup was so easy for all of them. You get your waiver, you bring it up to packet pick up, you get your bib, you take your big to get your tshirt and race bag, and you’re done. Then you can peruse the shopping and vendors at your leisure.
Rock’n’Roll also offers some of the coolest race gear, in my opinion. I am definitely going to have to bite the bullet and buy some of it one of these days, because it’s all so cute.
My only issue at the expo was at the Brooks photo/gif booth. There was a long line for pictures and it didn’t seem like there was anyone manning the booth. As such, a group of ladies was up there for 10 minutes taking and retaking their pictures without a care in the world about the growing line behind them. Rather than get worked up over a bunch of inconsiderate people, I decided a gif really wasn’t that important. I left and took this picture instead thanks to some much more considerate expo-goers.
Anywho, I did a quick lap of the expo before hoping back in the car with Will and Moose and heading to a suburb just outside of Dallas where Will’s aunt lives (and where we’d be staying for the night).
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Will’s aunt and uncle made a delicious burger bar for dinner. YUM! We caught up with his family while Moose played with his doggy cousins.
I got flat Nicole ready and set my alarm for a 6:45 wake up call, which isn’t bad at all!
Unfortunately, my allergies were so bad the night before the race. I slept horribly. I even got a bloody nose in the middle of the night! Even with clogged nostrils and a sleepy brain, I knew I was still going to run. I’ll just catch up on sleep on the drive home (didn’t do that, btw).
THE MORNING OF
I woke up exhausted but still determined. I whipped up some oatmeal with almond butter (my go-to pre-race meal) and Will and I drove to downtown Dallas for the race. We parked about a quarter mile from the starting line (I used Parking Panda to find a spot ahead of time) and headed to the starting line.
Rock’n’Roll recently revamped their signage for the race, which made finding my corral a breeze. I popped in, took my pre-race selfie and started ‘gramming for Rock’n’Blog’s stories! I wish the story was still up for all to see, but alas, the 24-hour story life has passed.
The morning was panning out to be pretty nice. It was in the low 60s and cloudy with a little mist. The only issue was the humidity, which sat around 98 percent. What is it with these Texas races and the humidity? Both San Antonio and the 3M Half Marathon were run in incredibly humid conditions. Rock’n’Roll has music pumping from the start, though, so I quickly forgot about the humidity and just got amped for the miles to come.
8am came around the the race started right on time! They staggered the corral starts, which I always appreciate. I was in corral #2, so we were off about two minutes after the Speedy Mcspeedersons in corral #1.
Because of the staggered start, the beginning of the race didn’t feel crowded at all. I quickly fell into my stride and had space to run. I forgot to pack my headphones, but fortunately, Rock’n’Roll has bands playing along the course, so I knew I’d get a boost of energizing music every few minutes.
Wouldn’t you know it, the first band appeared before we even hit the first mile marker!
Since I was sharing the race experience on Rock’n’Roll’s instagram, I decided to walk through each band stop to grab some good video. I also didn’t bring a water bottle or hydration pack, so I planned to walk through the water stations, too. I know, I forgot both my headphones and my water bottle. What kind of seasoned runner am I?
Anywho, the first few miles of the race are through Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood, which is a cool, artsy district that reminds me a bit of Dirty Sixth in Austin. There’s some cool street art and funky bars and there was decent crowd support on the main drags.
The course was mostly flat until mile five, when we had to run up a highway ramp on the way to Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (which is a really cool looking bridge!). The hill was steep and pretty long, but instead of walking, I powered up tried to pass a bunch of people. Of course, I took a victory photo at the top!
Half way through the race, I’d already rocked out to five bands, so my lack of headphones really didn’t matter at all!
Around mile nine, we came to another cool part of the course: the Bishop Arts District. Again, there was a lot of cool street art to look at. I resisted the urge to stop and get running selfies with every mural, but I did stop to capture this bit of Dallas flare.
Just after this mural, we faced another killer hill. It wasn’t as long as the first one, but it was STEEP. Also, a hill at mile nine, which is typically the hardest mile of half marathons for me, was pretty brutal. Nevertheless, I persevered!
This was definitely the toughest part of the race for me. Miles 8-10 felt like the longest, even though my pace was still pretty solid. The band at mile eight was taking a quick break between songs, so I missed my musical energy boost. I was also starting to get hot and thirsty. Fortunately, there were a few awesome spectators handing out cold water bottles! I drank half and poured the rest in my hat to cool down.
Once I hit mile ten, I told myself: There’s only a 5K left! You can run a 5K no, problem! I also looked at my watch at this point. I hadn’t been paying too much attention to my watch because I wasn’t trying to PR, but when I realized I could finish in under two hours if I just kept running how I’d been running, I got pretty pumped. I put the push on.
The end of the course was by far my favorite part of the race, and not just because I knew the end was near! A good chunk of mile 12-13 goes over the Houston St. Bridge, giving you a beautiful view of the Dallas skyline as you head for the finish line.
Well, we got a partial skyline, but it was still pretty cool!
When we got over the bridge, there was a huge roar from the finish line crowds. I put my foot on the gas and sprinted for the finish!
I crossed the finish line in 1:58:41, not bad for a super humid day with clogged sinuses and lots of walking breaks! Also, not bad for my first race as a 30-year old! I totally rocked my new age bracket. If they gave an age group award for 65th place, I’d be a winner, baby!
I got my cool medal and made my way to the finish line party, picking up some water and a banana on my way.
The headliner wasn’t due to come on for another hour, but I got to enjoy a few songs by the opener, Mitchell Ferguson, while I had a few sips of my free finish line Michelob Ultra (they’ve been a Rock’n’Roll sponsor for quite a while now).
I stretched, I took some medal pics, I stopped on my way back to the car and pretended to be JFK (don’t I look just like him?), and then we hit the road back to Austin.
OVERALL RACE PROS:
- Incredibly organized from expo to finish line festival
- Great music along the course (music at just about every mile!)
- Ample water stations
- Relatively flat, pr-able course
- Fun atmosphere!
OVERALL RACE CONS:
- None really besides the humidity (not under Rock’n’Roll’s control) and the bad pollen levels (also not under Rock’n’Roll’s control).
Overall, I had a lot of fun doing this race and would definitely do it again! If you’re interested in running a Rock’n’Roll race, I have a discount code for you! RNRRNB2018 will get you $15 OFF any US or Montreal Rock’n’Roll Half or Full Marathon (excluding Vegas).
Did you race recently? Share your race recaps or your workouts or any healthy living tips in today’s Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up!
Have you ever run a Rock’n’Roll race?