This race report really begins in January when my good friend Ivy started coming out to the Golden Triangle Strutter runs that I lead. She is an avid tennis player and wanted to get into running as another outlet for all her energy. We started out walk/running but pretty soon she was able to cut the walking out and just run the whole 3.5 mile course. During our runs she had asked me about the races I've done so I told her all my stories. She seemed to be interested in doing a half so I had told her if she wanted to do one I would pace her through the whole thing. Once that seed was planted she got excited and agreed to start looking for one. She wanted to do a big race and we found the Dallas RnR Half Marathon on March 25. 3 months? Half marathon? Newbie runner? I told Ivy it could be done and she nervously agreed to it. Through the next 3 months I had trained her to do a 5k then a 10k and then our longest run, 3 weeks before the race ,was a 9 miler. She did well on her 9 miles doing it in an average pace around a 11:50 and I had no doubt she could complete the 13.1 miles in Dallas.
My plan for Ivy was to get her across with a goal time of 2:40 - 2:50 but mainly to have fun and finish. The race is started in waves and since we were in corral 13 we had a good while to wait before our wave started.
We finally get our countdown and are off!! Willie and I initially have a little trouble finding the correct pacing but soon settle in. There is not one cloud in the sky and the sun and heat are bearing down on us it was going to be a tough day for a race. I notice Ivy is sweating a lot in her outfit so I tell her to make sure she gets adequate amount of hydration during all the water/Gatorade stops. Our outfits were a big hit during the run and we had lots of spectators cheering us on.
We start hitting some hills on the course and since Southeast Texas is flat as a pancake we had absolutely no hill training. She had a rough time but was powering through them. Around mile 5 Ivy tells me that she is starting to have some lower leg pain on her left leg. She's never had this pain before and I'm suspecting it might be her IT band acting up due to the hills. She says she can deal with it and we continue running strong during these miles.
Miles 6 - 8
Ivy's left leg is really starting to bother her and I tell her we should stop and try to stretch it out. It doesn't really help and she starts to tear up telling me she wanted to run the whole race and not stop or walk. Willie and I give her hugs and tell her not to worry about it and that we will get her across no matter what. Other runners also stop to console her telling her there is no shame in walking and that she can finish it. We start moving again and Ivy is giving it her all with every step trying her best to keep at a running pace. Around mile 8 I see Ivy writhing in pain with every step forward so we make the decision to stop at a medical tent to see if they can wrap up her knee to relieve some of the pain. We leave the medical tent and she tries to run again but all she can manage is a walk and we tell her its OK we will just walk until she can run again. Willie and I also tell her our own stories about our first half marathons and how it was a struggle for us to finish. We tell her how we walked many of the last miles in pain and that all the pain and struggling makes crossing that 13.1 mile line all the more sweeter.
Miles 9 - 12
|Ivy smiling through the pain for the camera.|
MILES 13 - 13.1
With the fair grounds in sight Ivy starts to run a bit and we are all there motivating her to keep it up. I tell her to give me 5 more minutes of running and she'll be done and be a half marathoner. She is in grimacing pain but keeps on moving forward. Other runners, who have finished, are cheering her on and telling her she's almost done. With the finish line in sight we are all yelling/motivating Ivy to finish strong. As we cross I'm pointing at her cause this moment isn't about me its about this first time half marathoner that we helped on her journey across these hilly Dallas streets for 13.1 miles. We all give her hugs, Ivy has tears in her eyes, its a great moment. Ivy has become a half marathoner!!!
Pacing a half marathon rather than racing one was a totally different experience. Both are rewarding but pacing another runner to their goals was just as great a feeling as one can get. Congrats IVY!!