Dallas Marathon Race Photos

I have purchased individual race photos in the past, but the NYC Marathon was the only time I ever put down a bunch of money to buy all my race images. Until now.

I started clicking through my Dallas Marathon race photos, and I loved so many of them because I look SO HAPPY.

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So I bought the whole package. It was the best deal and totally worth it.

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Dallas Marathon Race Recap

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For the past four months I trained in hot weather, cold weather, early in the morning before work, in the evening after a long day at work, on Saturday mornings before rushing to the cat shelter for hours of volunteering, or on Sunday mornings before taking a three-minute shower in order to get to church on time.

There were days I loved it and days I hated it. All the while, I saw myself getting faster. I set a new 5K PR and even won the race as first female. I set out to get a half marathon PR and ended up finishing under 2 hours for the first time.

I didn’t know how the marathon I was training for would go, though. There are so many things that can go wrong during a 4-5 hour run. In my first marathon, I had trained consistently and probably would have done really well, but I had major stomach issues throughout the entire second half of the race. In my second marathon, I ran 19 strong miles until the overly warm temperatures and 100 percent humidity caused me to hit the wall, hard. I finished the race walking for most of  the last 6 miles, hating every second. And then, two years ago, I did a string of marathons where I just hadn’t trained enough and finished with varying mediocre (for me) results, though at least I enjoyed myself most of the time.

So, in going to the Dallas Marathon proclaiming goals and raising my expectations, I was nervous. I agonized over the weather forecast, because I knew I had trouble in warm weather. In my first miles of the race, I over-examined any signs of cramping or stomach discomfort, because I knew if that flared up, it was going to be a long day.

But, when all was said and done, my body held it together, and my diligent training paid off. In the Dallas Marathon, I not only met my goal of breaking 4:30 (which was already 10 minutes faster than my long-standing PR of 4:40:16), I smashed it. I finished with a chip time of 4:14:29, and I did so with a negative split and a smile on my face.

chip time

To go back to the beginning, we made the 3-hour trip to Dallas on Friday evening after getting off from work. My husband is obsessed with Torchy’s Tacos, so I agreed to go there for dinner when we got to town. I had been eating super healthy all week, avoiding processed foods, fast food, soda, and sugar. At Torchy’s I got two healthy-sounding tacos, though I did indulge in some chips and queso.

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We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Dallas, only a half-mile from the race start and finish line. It was the perfect location. On Saturday, we ate brunch at Overeasy, a nice and cute little restaurant in the Statler building downtown. I got avocado toast and scrambled eggs – it was very good!

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Afterwards, we headed to the expo. I picked up my packet, then saw a line forming to meet Shalane Flanagan, who was set to arrive soon. So of course, I had to jump in line and get the chance to take a picture with her. So exciting!

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After that, we left and went to the Sixth Floor Museum, which is in the former Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have shot JFK as he rode by on the road below. The museum was dedicated entirely to JFK’s trip to Dallas and his assassination. We also walked around Dealey Plaza and the “grassy knoll.”

 

Dinner was at Sapa House, where I had fresh coconut juice straight from a coconut, plus pho. I think pho is my favorite pre-marathon meal. The combo of the broth to settle my stomach, plus the noodles, meat and greens, just seems like the right choice.

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After dinner, we went back to the hotel and I got everything together for the following morning. I slept pretty well, waking up on my own around 5:45 AM. The race wasn’t until 8:10, but I wanted to wake up with plenty of time to drink my coffee, eat my breakfast, let everything digest, use the bathroom, etc.

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It’s a good thing I gave myself so much time, because at some point I went to eat the bagel and peanut butter I’d brought from home, and realized the bagel had gone bad. It just tasted disgusting! I grabbed some cash and went down to the lobby, where there was supposed to be a 24-hour “pantry,” but I couldn’t find it. So instead, I remembered there was a 7-Eleven right around the corner from our hotel, so I went out into the dark cold and ended up buying a loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter! I had to be resourceful – there was no way I could just go without eating anything before the race!

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Finally, it was time to leave the hotel and walk the half-mile to the start. So, the weather forecast had race start temperatures at 40 degrees and race finish temperatures at 65 degrees. Therefore, I decided to wear shorts and a short-sleeved T-shirt. It was mostly cold at the start because of the wind, and downtown between all the tall buildings, it was like a wind tunnel. So it was rough, but I still knew I had made the right wardrobe choice for the overall race, even as I stood shivering in my corral. The race had a wave start, so my corral didn’t start until about 8:25.

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I don’t remember too much happening for the first 8 miles or so. I didn’t want to go out too fast, but I also thought maybe I should run the best pace I could while it was still cold. A 4:30 marathon, which was my goal, equaled a 10:18 pace. I mostly just ran what felt comfortable, while making sure it was under that pace. After a while, I was ready to split from the half marathoners. I felt like once we split from them, I would mentally feel like progress had been made and I was that much closer to finishing.

The race course was varied and interesting – we spent several miles in downtown, then went to Highland Park, where the ritzy and expensive houses were. After splitting from the half marathoners, we made our way to White Rock Lake Park. The temperatures did get noticeably warmer, but the breeze off the water felt good, and there were many shaded parts. The toughest part of the course were the various hills we had to climb – I ended up walking up hills at two points, because I felt trying to run them would only be to my detriment and make me slower in the long run.

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I resisted stopping to use a porta-potty for awhile, because I refused to wait in line for one and waste precious time. Finally, at around mile 16, I saw some that didn’t have a wait, so I made the quickest pit stop ever. I was impressed with how fast I was.

Water stops were pretty much every two miles or so. I was running in my Saints Nike Dri-Fit shirt, and a volunteer wearing a Saints sweatshirt at one water stop gave me a “Who dat!” I was really impressed with the course support for this race. I thought the supporters might disappear once we split from the half runners, or that they might be gone when I got to the final miles, but there were onlookers throughout the entire race, and many of them called out to me by my name, which was on my bib.

I was curious to see how I’d feel at mile 20, which is where I hit the wall in previous races. My right IT band started getting tight, so I had to stop and stretch it for a moment a few times. But otherwise, I still felt strong at mile 20 and beyond. My breathing was a little challenged, my legs started to hurt, and my stomach felt kind of tight as well, but nothing I couldn’t overcome. The closer I got to the finish, the more motivated I was to hang on to my pace. I realized at some point that I was definitely going to break 4:30, and then I realized I could very possibly break 4:20 too. I wasn’t sure if I could break 4:15 or not, but breaking 4:20 was going to be good enough and I decided to run hard enough to make sure that happened.

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As I turned the corner with less than 400 meters to go, I saw my husband in the finish chute taking pictures of me. Thanks to the runner tracking app he knew to be there, even though I was finishing about 15 minutes earlier than what I had told him was the best case scenario.

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As I approached the finish line, I saw that my Garmin was at 4:14:00, so I trucked it to make sure I broke 4:15. I finished with a chip time of 4:14:29. I choked up after crossing the finish, but I also couldn’t breathe, so I had to gulp in some air and I think that saved me from crying in front of a bunch of strangers.

After finishing, we were given a heat sheet, medal, and snack box. Then there was a station to get your additional finishers shirt, which is a nice long-sleeved technical T-shirt.

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I found Hunter at the family reunion area, and he took my picture and helped me get all my stuff together. We didn’t hang around too long – as soon as I stopped running, my legs were KILLING me. As usual, I wasn’t hungry for real food after the race because my stomach couldn’t handle it. I did get some ice cream before we headed out of town, but I could only eat a little bit.

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We drove the 3 hours back to Shreveport with me still in my running clothes and my legs feeling very tired. Another bit of a blessing – we’d heard that I-20 was going to close completely at some point between Terrell, TX and Tyler, TX on Sunday, and we were anticipating having to take a detour and sitting in delayed traffic. Well, it looked like police and construction workers were setting up cones and signs as they were getting ready to close the interstate when we passed through, but it wasn’t closed yet! So we avoided that potential nightmare and got home in the normal amount of time. Thank goodness!

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So, I am home with a new PR that I am very proud of, knowing all the training I did really paid off. I am going to rest completely over the next three days. We have an easy 3-mile Christmas race on Thursday night, then I have a 13-mile race on Saturday. I will probably also take that pretty easy. The Louisiana Marathon is in five weeks – at this time, I plan to run for pleasure and not a PR 🙂

As for the Dallas Marathon, I highly recommend it. It’s perfectly sized, everything was top-notch quality, it’s well organized, support was great, and the course was fun. 10/10, would do it again.

Full mile splits:

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Mile 16 = bathroom break. Mile 21 = hill climbing.

Favorite race signs:

  • Run as if Matt Lauer/Harvey Weinstein is chasing you
  • Just don’t suck!
  • Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

November Recap

Novmeber

My mileage went down a little this month as my taper started at the end of an 18-week marathon training cycle. I started feeling a little burned out, so the decrease was probably much needed!

I was proud of myself this month, though, because I knocked out two 20-mile long runs, both which were mentally daunting.

Miles run: 127

Races run: 1 – the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot

Trips: 1 – at the very beginning of the month we went down to visit family in New Orleans, where I ran 12 miles and went to a Saints game.

I am anxiously checking the weather for this weekend in Dallas. To my horror, the high temperature keeps rising. Right now it is forecasting a high of 69 and a low of 42. Ugh. Running in warm weather is not something I tend to handle well. :-/

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Seventeen

The plan:

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Monday, Arm and ab workouts

Tuesday, Ran 3 miles/8:20 pace

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Tempo run: Meh. I kind of expected to do better since it was a shorter distance, but I did it after work and was tired, and this was honestly the best I could do.

Wednesday, Ran 4 miles/8:02 pace

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Speed run: Terrible. This was completed before work, and I just felt so out of breath and sluggish. I was congested, which may have contributed to the run being crappy, but I was surprised to feel so weak during this run. Especially after I had had several very strong speed runs for a few weeks prior.

Thursday, Rest

Friday, Rest

Saturday, Ran 4 miles/9:14 pace

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Easy run: I kept putting this run off until finally, my choices were to either do it after a long day of volunteering at the cat shelter, or skip it all together. I chose to do it, and I was very glad I did.

Sunday, Ran 10 miles/9:49 pace

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Long run: Can’t believe I just did my last long run before the Dallas Marathon. I might have gotten more sentimental or introspective or whatever about the past few months of training, but I’ll be right back training again after I recover from Dallas, in order to run the Louisiana Marathon 5 weeks later.

This run felt pretty easy, and it was such a mental relief to only have 10 miles. I definitely was getting to a burned-out stage with training, so this taper time was really needed to be at my best for the race.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Sixteen

The plan:

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Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Rest

I didn’t really plan for this to be a rest day, but things came up at work and I didn’t get home until almost 10 PM. So rest it was.

Wednesday, Ran 5 miles/7:53 pace (!)

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Speed run: This run was done late after 2 hours of grocery shopping for last-minute Thanksgiving ingredients. It was my last 5-mile speed run before the marathon (next week goes down to 4), and it was the fastest yet! I was amazed at my pace when I finished.

Thursday, Ran 3 miles/9:01 pace (Turkey Trot 5K)

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Easy run: My husband and I ran this together, and I decided to do it as my easy run for the week. He hasn’t really run much at all, so this pace was pushing it for him 🙂 I made a point to stick with him and just enjoy the run. I think over 1,600 people turned out for this 5K. I love this race – it’s fun to be out with everyone on a holiday, there’s a feeling of celebration in the air.

Friday, Arm workouts and sit-ups

Saturday, Ran 4 miles/8:10 pace

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Tempo run: Got up and got this done before volunteering at the cat shelter for the day. I didn’t feel my best during this one, but I was very pleased with my pace. I was also happy to be doing a shorter tempo run than normal.

Sunday, Run 15 miles/10-minute pace

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Long run: Not much to say about this one. I felt pretty good, and mentally it was a relief to “only” have 15 on the schedule after two weeks of 20-milers. The taper starts now, and I do feel like my body needs it. My knees feel a little more “creaky” than usual, and I definitely feel like less mileage, extra rest will help me out.

My plan for these next two weeks is to do more yoga, foam rolling and stretching, take more vitamins, drink more water, and hopefully be full of energy by the time race weekend comes.

Turkey Trot 2017 Race Recap

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Man, I love Thanksgiving Day races. I don’t think anyone fools themselves into believing that running 3 miles makes up for the insane amount of calories you end up eating the rest of the day, but there’s something so fun about getting out early and being around a bunch of people who are all celebrating the same holiday.

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Hunter hasn’t really run much lately, so I figured this would just be my easy run for the week, and we’d take it at a pace that he could manage. The race is not chip-timed, and participants got a cute long-sleeved cotton T-shirt. I loved the shirt design!

It was like 35 degrees that morning, so I dressed for warmth. They said something like 1,600 people were out to do the run, and it was the largest race ever for them.

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The race left the Stoner Boat Launch, went down about 1.5 miles along Clyde Fant Parkway, then we cut through the grass to the running trail along the river and returned to the boat launch. Afterward they had lots of waters, cookies, jambalaya and more available. The weather was just beautiful, and I enjoyed it very much.

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We finished with a 9:01 pace, which was great for my easy run. My husband was also pleased considering he hasn’t run in a long time. Great race! Want to do it every chance we get.

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After the race, we cleaned up and had a great day with family. I made “decadent macaroni and cheese,” bacon-wrapped asparagus and honey-roasted sweet potatoes, and they all turned out great, if I do say so myself 😉

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Fifteen

The plan – identical to last week:

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Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Rest 

I felt so tired after work, and my right quad was still really sore from the 20-miler, so I took another rest day. I am definitely ready for the taper to begin.

Wednesday, Ran 3 miles/8:57 pace3e

Easy run: I intended to do my 5-mile speed run, but I still just lacked energy! I got up before work, and whereas usually I have no problem getting into my ‘speed’ pace, I felt sluggish and slow. I decided to just to do my 3-mile easy run, and try to figure out a way to reclaim some energy for the next few days. I took my B-complex vitamin when I got home, which I’ve been neglecting to do lately, and I tried to drink more water and eat better throughout the day. I’d been eating kind of bad the previous few days, which surely doesn’t help contribute to energy and activity.

Thursday, Ran 5 miles/7:59 pace

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Speed run: My coworkers and I agreed we were all feeling extra tired this week. Maybe it’s the weather? Still adjusting to DST? Whatever the case, I was still tired Thursday morning when I got up to do my speed run, and I felt myself running out of gas near the end. But, somehow, I still managed to do my fastest pace for a 5-miler ever. Pretty sure I’d never run 5 miles at a sub-8:00 pace before. I’m constantly amazed that after several lackluster and sometimes downright awful running years, I’m now the fastest I’ve ever been.

Friday, Ran 5 miles/8:40 pace

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Tempo run: I couldn’t muster up the motivation to do this run before work, and I even considered pushing it back to Saturday morning. But I got out and did this run Friday evening instead, and I felt okay but not great. My pace was slower than last week. 😦 Verrry sweaty afterward too. This is November. Sigh.

Saturday, Arm workouts

Sunday, Ran 20 miles/9:58 pace

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Long run: Just like last week, I super procrastinated getting out the door to start this run. It’s just so mentally daunting sometimes. But the run went by rather quickly once I got going. The weather was really nice, in the high 40s to high 50s, breezy, sunshine. I listened to episodes of Dateline and Hollywood Crime Scene podcast, and those really kept my mind off the task at hand.

I also focused on trying not to glance at my Garmin too much, so that I wouldn’t be constantly checking how far I had gone. As a result, my pace was usually too fast. I did make conscious efforts to try and slow down at points, but it never stuck.

Mileage starts coming down next week, and I am relieved. I think the combination of weather changes making me sick, adjusting (or not adjusting, as the case may be) to Daylight Saving Time, on top of work, volunteering, and marathon training, has all started to catch up with me. I will focus these next three weeks before the race on trying to get as much rest as I can, taking my vitamins, eating well, drinking water, and hopefully being at peak health on race day.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Fourteen

The plan:

(Let’s try this again)

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Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Ran 5 miles/8:02 pace

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Speed run: I ended up working later than expected, and when I got home it was chilly and drizzly outside. I was tempted to push this back. But instead, I sucked it up and got it done. I didn’t get too wet, and ended up with my best 5-mile pace thus far.

Wednesday, Arm workouts, sit-ups

It was raining tons this day, so running outside wasn’t happening for me. I pushed my tempo run back a day and did my typical lazy “cross training” instead.

Thursday, Ran 5 miles/8:26 pace

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Tempo run: I got up before work and did this run around 6:45 AM, with temperatures around 44 degrees. I felt kind of bad during the run, but still pulled out a good pace. I was happy to have this done early.

Friday, Rest

After work we went to a little concert at my brother-in-law’s church. I felt so tired at the end of a long week!

Saturday, Ran 3 miles/9:07 pace

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Easy run: Another early morning, chilly run. I got up and did this run around 7:30 AM before heading out to volunteer at the cat rescue for the rest of the day. I ran what felt “easy” and felt really, really good.

Sunday, Ran 20 miles/10:11 pace

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Long run: For this run, I was hoping to have the same cool temps we had earlier in the week, but alas, it was about 68 degrees when I headed out Sunday morning. I got a much later start than planned because I was procrastinating, big time. There is something so mentally daunting about tackling 20 miles solo. It’s only 2 miles longer than 18, but just sounds so much harder.

Finally, I got started shortly before 8 AM, and I just tried to zone out. I listened to a couple of podcasts, but mostly music. I did a decent job fueling for this run – peanut butter and honey toast beforehand, three PowerBar energy gels total (beforehand, 7 miles, and 14 miles), and Powerade throughout. My pace was faster than I expected or intended, and I finished strong at the end, but I was definitely feeling tired at the end. I think in the marathon I’m going to end up taking 5 total gels, so I will be eating more calories during the race.

Hotel for race weekend is booked, and I’m growing very excited. I hope my nerves don’t get the best of me come race day. I need to remember to enjoy it.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Thirteen

The plan:

UTDMStR

Monday, Planking and bicep curls

This was my “cross training.”

Tuesday, Rest (HALLOWEEN)

I was going to run after work, but I ended up working late, it was raining off and on, and the neighborhood was inundated with trick-or-treaters. I decided to call it a night.

Wednesday, Ran 5 miles/8:06 pace

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Speed run: This was my fastest 5-miler yet. I didn’t feel great throughout, in fact I felt kind of crappy. I did it after work, and had been feeling kind of nauseous throughout the day. But I sucked it up and got it done! We had a nice spell of cold weather, but now it’s back to warm humidity.

Thursday, Ran 5 miles/8:53 pace

5 tempo

Tempo run: I had to do this in the dark as I didn’t get home from work until after 7. Not much to say! I was very sweaty, apparently! It was nice to only have 5 miles on the schedule, instead of 8 miles like the previous three weeks.

Friday, Rest

We traveled this day, so I went into work extra early and we left around 3 PM to hit the road. I woke up with a cold, which would affect me during the weekend…

Saturday, Ran 12 miles/10:24 pace

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Long run: Welp. At the last minute, I decided to switch this week’s 20-mile long run with next week’s 12 miler, because 1) I felt terrible – my cold had worsened and I just felt like garbage when I woke up. 2) I had gotten a terrible night of sleep. 3) I was visiting my family for the weekend and wanted to have more time with them during the day Saturday, so 90 less minutes of running seemed more desirable.

Due to this switch, I will end up running 20 miles two weeks in a row instead of running 20, 12, 20. Also, if I had been following the plan for the week where I do a 12-mile long run, I’d have run 8 miles instead of 5 miles for my tempo run. Oh well. When all is said and done, I only came up 3 miles short this week from the plan, and I will make up the 20-miler the next week. This is the first time in 13 weeks that I deviated from my training plan, so I guess that’s pretty good.

As for the actual 12-miler, I felt horrible as I started running with all my cold symptoms, and the thick South Louisiana humidity did not help. I wanted to quit a few miles in, but I kept at it and completed the 12 sweaty miles.

Sunday, Ran 5 miles/9:08 pace

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Easy run: If I had done 20 miles on Saturday, this would have been a 3-miler, but after I switched to just doing 12 miles, I did the easy run length that went along with that week’s plan – 5 miles. Nothing to write home about, my cold felt a little better, and I did it rather quickly because we had to get packed up and leave in time to go to the Saints game in New Orleans.

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The Saints are 6-2! I felt my sickness during this game, and at times I thought maybe it would have been better not to run at all this weekend. I don’t want to prolong sickness by being stubborn and running instead of resting. But a few days later, I feel almost completely better, so I guess I got away with it this time.

October Recap

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Miles: 144! I’ve been doing a good job at incrementally increasing my miles each month. From July to August I went up 20, from August to September I went up 30, and from September to October I went up about 40.

Races run: 2 – the Red River Revel 15K and the Heroes Run Half Marathon. Incorporating races into my long training runs makes them way less lonely!

PRs set: 1! My new half marathon PR, and first sub-2 half marathon, came almost 3 years after I last set a PR at that distance.

This was a pretty quiet month personally. I didn’t go out of town at all, just kind of kept in the grind of working, running, and volunteering at the cat shelter.

October went by really quickly, and I know November will too. Then the Dallas Marathon will be mere days away! I so love this time of year and want to savor it.