Tuesday, December 11

Wet and Wild

Thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening me -- Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody

Good golly Miss Molly -- as sung by the Pit Pops at Sunday's Dallas White Rock Marathon post party

The weather folks tried to scare me (rslight) and other "rock runners" a couple days before the big Dallas race. WFAA meteorologist Meghan Danahey grinned sweetly while pointing to a cartoon storm cloud featuring a lightning symbol. Shiver.
It was actually hot when I ran the Kwanzaafest 5K early Saturday at Fair Park in Dallas. It seemed like the smart, fun thing to do before attending the expo. I'm guessing it was around 70 degrees. I, a couple other white people and hundreds of African-Americans ran one big loop around the Cotton Bowl. I love that stadium. If you ever hear anyone wonder how far it is to run around the Cotton Bowl, now you have your answer: about three miles (including some parking lot).

Runners milling about prior to Sunday's marathon at the American Airlines Center seemed shocked at the temperature change. It was in the 40s and very cool. A heavy mist lingered. Jets that were supposed to fly overhead were grounded. However, the center's gigantic television screen revealed that a nasty thunderstorm moving northeast would go through Irving instead of Dallas, just barely missing us.
The Dallas race director seemed giddy at 8 a.m. as he proclaimed to waiting full marathoners: "I hope you're ready to rock, because it isn't going to rain!"
The 26.2 milers let out a huge roar of approval, many of them jumping and dancing as if they had won money. Horse riders carrying the Lone Star flag barely made it off the course as the elite runners charged ahead.

The halfers and I lined up at 9 a.m., and then it happened. Little drips increased in frequency. I wore the latest Springfield Turkey Trot shirt, apparently with some futile hope that another Springfield runner would recognize me, and watched it transform from a light blue to a darker blue.
"Aw, we're going to get the rain," a woman whimpered beside me.
Fortunately the precipitation remained light. The course has a tough hill at mile 3, and then rewards you by veering into the magical land of Highland Park, which is one of the wealthiest communities in the United States.
Two female runners beside me took their minds off the mileage by gleefully identifying expensive cars by the attractive mansions. One Highland Park resident out in her Jimmy Choos videotaped us near the gates of her estate. Preppy SMU students in Viking hats shouted our names (which were large on every bib).
Mile 5 gives you a gentler hill before the landscape flattens and you start to see normal homes. At mile 9 you see downtown Dallas loom on the horizon, and the final three miles are downhill straight into the city's heart. I really gunned it at the end, and was disappointed that I didn't get a PR.
Organizers make you walk down numerous steep stairs to reach the after-race party, which is mean, but it's worth the effort to attend. You get a lot of food (a bowl of pasta from a fancy Dallas restaurant, Doritos, Grandmas cookies, etc.).
I read in the Dallas Morning News that marathon winner James Koskei of Kenya wasn't thrilled with his 2:15 finish. He had trained to go 2:10, but he said the cold and the winds hampered him. Hey, if it gave a Kenyan problems, it likely hurt me too.
The race result features bl discovered were fascinating. I feared miles 9 and 10 were my worst, and I was right.


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