2018/2019 New Years Double Race Report

Every year an amazing event is held in Allen, Texas, the New Years Double (http://www.newyearsdouble.com/). I’ve participated many years but never tried the double marathon before. New Years Eve and New Years Day the following are offered:

  • 5K
  • Half Marathon
  • Full Marathon

If you participate in Half or Full both days you can combine the medals to create a super medal and there is even a double double if you participate in the 5K each day and THEN do the half/full. I had previously participated in one of the marathons and also done the double halves. This year I decided to try the double marathon. I want to stress how well organized this is. There are multiple emails sent out walking through different aspects of the day well in advance so there is never any doubt what you need to do.

The 5K kicks off around 7:30 while the half/full marathon starts at 8:40 (this gives people time to run the 5K and then the half/full if they are insane πŸ˜‰ ) with a few waves that are staged every 2 minutes. There were a few hundred doing the half marathon I think with around a hundred running the full (at least for New Years Eve). Packet pickup is offered a few days in advance in addition to being able to collect the morning off which consists of personalized bibs and awesome shirts. A short sleeve shirt for New Years Eve, long sleeve for New Years Day.

The half and full people start together and the course is a 6.55 mile loop around Celebration Park then out along some walking paths through Allen with some nice scenery. The course has police support at any roads and is well sign-posted so you know where you are supposed to be going along with mile markers.

map

This means for the full marathon you run 4 loops. It also means often you are running in opposite directions to people multiple times. This is actually awesome. You start to get a real comradary with people waving and cheering on as you see them multiple times. Obviously the 3rd and 4th loops there are less people on the course as most of the half marathon people finish.

The course is pretty much flat with very minor inclines and declines a few times. As you can see it’s basically 600 ft of elevation gain (no idea why I have different numbers the two different days, it was the same course πŸ™‚ ). You should be able to run a good time on this course. Obviously those the time of year it’s pretty cold!

summary

You don’t need to get there much before the start. I got there about 8:00 and sat in the car till 8:30 where I used the restroom quick and then lined up for the 8:40 start. It’s very well organized and everyone is super friendly. For New Years Eve the starting temperature was about 40 going up to nearly 60 so I had a throwaway t-shirt over my thermal long sleeve. I ditched the t-shirt at about 2 miles. I had my waffles and gu’s with me and on the course about every 2 miles are aid stations with Water and Gatorade (lime). There are also port-a-potties scattered around the course at the same locations.

Because I intended to repeat the marathon the next day I wanted to take it very easy to try and minimize aches and pains so ran at a comfortable pace however I actually was going pretty fast. With about 6 miles left to go my right hip was giving me some pain but was able to run through it. In the end I came in at 4:16:10 and was actually 1st in the Clydesdale category (and with my gear on I was 196lbs despite recent weight loss). I also would have been first in my age group!

newyeareveresults

newyearsevestats

I got a cool glass (because of the number of categories and the number of people that enter you gave a good change of getting glassware!). At the end there is water and snacks.

I got home and my hip was hurting so I did some stretches, used a roller and sat in a hot bath with Epsom salts. I pretty much would have done anything to try and minimize pains and soreness thinking of repeating the next day. Chicken sacrifice was not out of the question if I believed it would have helped. For dinner I had the meal I normally have Friday night, Grimalid’s pizza and 4 ounces of cake batter frozen yogurt with scoop of kit-kat, scoop of crunch bar and squirt of caramel πŸ™‚ 2000 total calories of goodness πŸ˜‰ That pizza is all mine and I always eat it all AND some of my kids cheese pizza πŸ™‚

I didn’t sleep well and woke up at 3am. Sore and in pain but figured what the hell. Let’s try πŸ™‚ Worse case I’ll have to walk it all which would take about 6.5 hours. I worked for a few hours then got ready and everything was the same as the previous day except I was sore and hungry and tired.

I actually managed to run for the first 10 miles about 5.5 mph but just after mile 10 my right knee felt like something was ripping inside. Now I should take a step back. I wear these knee sleeves and as soon as the run started the one on my right knee slipped down to just under the knee so it was just tight just under the knee but I couldn’t pull it up because of the thermal leggings. As it turned out it was basically putting pressure on my knee which I think caused the problem. My hip also started to hurt. At this point I had to walk. The whole rest of the way….. 16 miles or 4 hours at 4mph. Ugh. Andddd, it was about 35 degrees the whole time with an icy wind. Misery. I suspected the day was going to go badly and so instead of music I was listening to The Martian audio book so that helped πŸ™‚ I tried to run occasionally but after about 40 steps my knee felt like was tearing again and in the back of my mind was the thought that I had to start my IRONMAN training and couldn’t risk any serious injury.

In the end I limped over the finish line 5:42:45, ugh πŸ™‚ It’s interesting it shows only 30 finished. I know more than that had signed up so either they didn’t finish or didn’t even start! It was really cold and I suspect there were people who did the previous day who felt like me and did the sane thing and stayed in bed πŸ™‚

newyearsdayresults

But I did it and got the outer medal and a special plate that attaches them together to create SUPER MEDAL!! It is AWESOME! I’m pretty sure I could use it as a weapon.

It was a very hard two days but it’s so well organized, the people are so friendly, you really get to interact with other runners because of the way the course is laid out and that helps keep you going. I love the shirts, the glassware and my mega medal. I highly recommend this event.

I think next year I’ll try the double-double with 5K and the Half followed by 5K and the Full. Two marathons in a row is a killer but who doesn’t like a challenge πŸ˜‰

 

Dallas 50K (not 30 mile) Ultra Marathon Race Report 2018

For the past couple of years I have participated in the Dallas Marathon. It’s a great event and well organized with a pretty steady course. This year I decided to sign up for the 30 mile Ultra Marathon version. Only an extra 3.8 miles and it would mean I should finish closer in time to someone I train with who is a bit slower than me. I’m 99% it said 30 miles. Sadly my training partner damaged his knee and was unable to participate but I still decided to run the extra 3.8 miles (or so I thought).

I picked up my packet on Friday from the convention center where you also got a nice T-shirt and had a quick look around the Expo. The weather was forecast to be dry for Sunday (after a lot of rain Saturday) with a low of 35 and up to about 45. I ordered a thermal undershirt that I planned to wear under a throw-away t-shirt.

It had an amazing felt type inside that was really comfy and warm. It’s made by a company called Tesla (not the car company πŸ™‚ ). I headed out the house at 4:30 and parked in the underground car park under the convention center which was by the start line. I was one of the first people there and it really didn’t start to get busy until about 6:30 (for an 8:30 start). I sat in the car and watched movies on my phone and you had full access to the convention center for restrooms which was great.

I brought 5 waffles and 5 energy gels with just a small water bottle with Gatorade that I planned to just fill up at the aid stations which were about every 2 miles.

At 7:30 I decided to start heading out (very slowly) and was in the coral (I got B since I didn’t lie about my estimated time like so many others obviously did) about 7:45. The corals are well sign posted and lots of organizers to help direct etc.

I had my phone with me since you were allowed to wear headphones (something you can’t do during an Ironman)! I started off with a t-shirt over my thermal shirt, hat and gloves. I had running pants with running shorts over them and really didn’t feel that cold.

Coral A started at 8:30 with Coral B starting 10 minutes later. My goal was to try and maintain 6 mph pace so start slow and maintain. I was very focused on taking it easy but was running around 9 minute miles but it felt really good so I didn’t worry about it and just focused on running a pace that felt comfortable and didn’t really look at my watch. I should point out that prior to this run I had not run more than 15 miles since the Chattanooga Ironman and that 15 miles was the week before on a treadmill but I’m always up for a challenge. I’d been focusing more on weights and trimming down a bit.

At about 3 miles I threw away the t-shirt to try and cool down a little was feeling good. I was having a gel every 6 miles and half a waffle at the 2 and 4 mile points after the gel cycle reset. At the water stops I actually slowed down and got a good 2 cups of Gatorade and filled up my bottle as required. In the past I would try and waterboard myself by not running but finally realized slowing down and spending an extra 10 seconds a few times is not significantly going to impact my 5 hour time πŸ™‚

The marathoners, half-marathoners and ultra-marathoners all started together and ran the same course with the half-marathoners splitting off at about mile 10 I think while for the ultra-marathon just after mile 11 we broke off to run an out and back segment to add the additional mileage. The 3.8 miles to make it 30 miles since I firmly believed this was a 30 mile ultra. Not at this point I do recall hearing someone say 50K but I figured people just rounding up as 50K is NOT 30 miles. No, its closer to 31.1 miles and I distinctly remember the marketing saying 30 miles. You know where this is going πŸ™‚

So just after 11 miles I follow the sign for the ultra-marathoners and start along a very pleasant out and back course but it seemed really long. It didn’t seem like 3.8 miles, it seemed like 5 miles but that’s impossible I thought since then the course wouldn’t work.

We rejoined the main marathon course where we broke off and came to mile 12 marathon marker and then shortly after the mile 17 marker (they had mini extra markers showing the ultra distance points on the course) for the ultra (which makes sense since ran an additional 5 miles) which meant 13 miles left. While the marathon still had 14 miles left. That seemed odd unless they planned to split us again at a certain point. Then mile 13 and my ultra mile 18. That’s when it dawned on me. It was a 50K. I quickly ran the math working out was closer to 31.1 miles at which point “lying sons of bitches” repeatedly spewed from my brain (in the same way Ralphs Dad swore at the dogs who stole the dinner in A Christmas Story) and continued to spew from my brain at each subsequent mile marker. 31.1 miles was wayyyyy further than 30 miles πŸ™‚

Also at this point my legs were hurting, specifically my quads. I do nearly all my running on a treadmill and running on the concrete felt very different and I think my quads hurt because of the shock absorption which they are just not conditioned for. This pain continued to get worse. At mile 25 is the big hill which I walked up. Pretty much everything else I ran/old man shuffled. There was a sobering moment when I was cursing my hurting legs until I ran past a group of athletes on artificial limbs which really put my minor pain into perspective and remembered a saying I’d heard before “I cursed my bunions until I met a man with no feet”. I’m always amazed by people who overcome adversity and puts my own, self-inflicted issues into perspective! The picture below still summed up how I felt for most of the last 8 miles.

I was down to one waffle left for the remaining 7 miles which fell out of my pockets. Not the end of the world but I knew I’d be hungry. Fortunately at mile 26ish there were heroes giving out Krispy Kreme donuts. A chocolate glazed ring donut was just the ticket (well half of one anyway). I continued my ever slowing pace until I hit mile 30 where I started to curse even more about how I should now be finished and had to convince myself that sitting at mile 30 protesting the unfairness of another 1.1 miles really wouldn’t change much. Ever onward until i hit the 26 mile marker for the marathon and then there was the finish line and over I went! YAY!!!!

5:18:45 for 50K. I was happy with that. Basically 5.9 mph average speed which was very close to my plan and think would have been 6 mph if it had been 30 miles πŸ™‚

The medal and finisher shirt were AWESOME!

Below you can see my split times (realize the split miles after 11 are the marathon markers but I’d run an extra 5 miles). I came in 61 out of 162 doing the ultra which I was really happy with and I was just happy with my overall performance.

Then the detailed stats from Garmin:

Another great experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Nice, fast course. Well organized, great on-course support and great goodies!

I want to try and get some outdoor running in before New Years Eve marathon as I’m supposed to be doing a double (marathon New Year’s Eve and New Years Day) and right now I think my legs would be killing me limiting ability to run the second day.

Still my first ultra done! Ever onwards!

Allen New Years Eve Marathon

I added this run in pretty late but its a great event and I’ve done it on a number of previous years. It’s actually a double event, there are 5K, half and full marathons New Years Eve and New Years Day but this year I just did the Eve as I’m about to go Disney for the Dopey Challenge and didn’t want to overdo it.

You can read about the event atΒ http://www.newyearsdouble.com/ but boy, this was an act of will power as it was below 30 and with wind chill felt below 20 the entire time!

 

forecast
Brrrrrrrr

 

The organizers are very friendly and its one of the few events that has a Clysdales division (men over 195 lbs) so I actually have a chance of placing. So I wrapped up in multiple layers and went for it.

 

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This was actually me POST run.

The course is very flat and for the marathon its 4 loops of a 6.5 mile loop. The only incline/decline is when you go under a road via a little tunnel. There are 4 aid stations on the loop with Gatorade and water.

The event kicked off at 8:40 and pretty much as soon as it started it started to sleet for about the first 2 hours so that really added to the overall pain but all you could really do was laugh πŸ™‚ Even with multiple layers it was cold and the tips of my fingers kept freezing so I was constantly rearranging how I positioned my fingers to alternate between thumb and fingers freezing.

The first three loops were fine but that forth loop was tough. By that point I was really cold to the core, was slowing down and also was pretty much not drinking. At each water stop I’d have a swig of the Gatorade but after 3 loops that was probably only about 3 cups of actual total drink which is really not very much so I made an effort to try and drink more on the forth loop. Each loop I had to run past my car and on that forth loop, I’m not gonna lie, the thought of just hopping in, driving to the next chip timing mat, running over then back in the car was pretty tempting πŸ™‚ They say you only cheat yourself and I think I was almost OK with it but I quickly put that out my head and just buckled down for 6.5 miles of freezing misery. I kept measuring distance as “only 6 one mile runs” and “3.5 loops done so basically finished”. Once you get to two miles left you find that energy and just go for it.

I was slower than Dallas but honestly with the cold, all the layers of clothes I was still pretty happy with my result:

results

 

Note that only 89 people actually finished. I think the cold stopped a lot of people. I came in third in my age group and first in the Clysdale (out of 5 πŸ™‚ ). But still it got me a great Winner champagne flute.

I got home and my awesome wife ran me a hot bubble bath and brought me hot chocolate! Heaven! Legs were very stiff but as I write this the following day I’m a little sore but not as bad as after Dallas so think I’ll be good for the Disney runs that start with the 5K in 3 days πŸ™‚

Definitely recommend this event if you are anywhere close to Allen, Texas. It’s never crowded, and is really well organized.

Stay warm!!!!!