Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wounded Warrior 2014 Half Marathon Race Report

This past weekend Phoenix and I ran the Wounded Warrior Half Marathon, in honor of our Military.  The money raised was split between the


Phoenix was itching to do another half marathon, and coming from a military family, this event was near and dear to my heart so we jumped in.  I ran in honor of My dad (Vietnam), My Grandfather (WW2), My Uncle (Marines), my husband’s Uncle (killed in Vietnam) and a friends son (Iraq)  who sadly took his own life this past Veterans Day Weekend.  I think we as a society need to realize and recognize not all wounded warriors have outward visible injuries.  I know my dad has never fully dealt with his experience in Vietnam and I am quite sure he still suffers from PTSD.     

Again, since I am training for a Half-Ironman, I did not formally train for this distance, but I felt like I could achieve a PR.  Phoenix was going for a PR as well.

The morning started at 4 am for me.  The gun time was scheduled for 6:45 am.  I rallied the Gibson troops and we were on the road by 5 am.   The sun was not even out and it was 87 degrees and it was humid.   Neither I nor Phoenix has really done any hot long distance runs so I was getting kind of nervous.

We arrived in Irving and met our friend and buddy Cindy Wirz, we roamed around for a bit when we heard an announcement indicating some weather was moving in and they were delaying the start.  They would re-evaluate at 7 am.  Admittedly, the skies looked ominous, but I was in a hurry to get started before it got too late and the heat got too unbearable.  They finally decided to start the half marathon at 7:15.   I delivered Phoenix to her pace group (the 2:00 pave group) and took myself over to the 2:20 pace group.  I need at time of 2:22 to PR.

Cindy, Me and Phoenix

Us and the Marines (seriously why could I not be blessed with the same legs as Phoenix, they are already longer than mine)

The runner's Corner Crew

We started. I had no issues keeping up with the pace group at first, but they were running 10-10:17 miles the first couple of miles, realizing that they may slow down I tapered back with the goal of keeping them in sight, but not running right on top of them.   I knew I could not keep up that pace indefinitely and need to be closer to the 10:30-10:40 pace and keep even splits.  But it was humid and hot and I started to really doubt if I could keep up and make a PR.  My fastest time of 2:22:34 was done in January, nice cool dry weather.  They say to add up to 2 minutes per mile for temps up to 85 degrees, so by that theory there was no way I was going to make a PR, but I was a more experienced runner than I was in January and my pace has improved so I was not giving up.
All smiles at the start

This was a pseudo out and back course, at mile 7 there was a turn around.    At about mile 5 I stopped to walk and cough, and some dudes came past me and shouted out some encouragement “you got this” “you can do this”.    At about Mile 6 I encountered Phoenix on her way back from turn around, she needed GU.  She looked red and hot.  I was pretty sure she was not going to meet her PR. She said her pace group went out a little too fast for her as well so she tapered back too.  I gave her some GU and off she went.

Mile 9 or 10

 When I turned around, I turned into some wicked head on wind.  The weather was blowing in, and wow that wind was strong.  It was welcome of course because it had a nice refreshing cooling effect.  Then the rain started, a slow drizzle at first. But that would change.   I was trudging along at a point that if I maintained an 11 min mile or little above I would be extremely close to my PR. Then mile 10.5-11 happened.  I ran into Phoenix.  I was really confused then of course mom mode kicked in and I got worried.  I caught up to her and she was a little tearful.   She had blisters on her feet and some painful chafing on her legs. I told her to chuck her shoes.  She resisted at first then finally took them off.    By this time it was POURING, sweet wet cold rain (the temp dropped to 67 degrees by the end of the race). There was nothing I could do about her chafing, but I made a mental note to self to pack individual sizes of body glide or something to help.  In this case hers was an unfortunate happenstance in that there was something sharp and pointy in the seam of her compression shorts. Before realizing this she rolled the affected leg up which caused the other  leg to rub against her leg in the rain causing the chafing.  Another mental note to self, check seams of clothing for foreign objects before a race.  She was upset because she blew her PR.  She was upset because she was hurting.  I told her none of that matters, you are out here, you finish you rock.   I told her you have a lifetime for PR’s.  For crying out loud, she is only 13!   After a few minutes she was calmed down (a little) and I got some smiles out of her. 
Along the course after she removed shoes and calmed down.

A few folks that I have met through an online runners group called Runner’s corner, passed her before I got there and patted her on the back or shouted some encouragement to her.  Love the running community, they are totally awesome.   

In the spirit of the race, We started together,  We finish together, I decided to stay with her the last 2.5-3 miles.  

She had no desire to run.  But rest assured every 60 seconds within the window of making my PR I would nag her to run.   I quit nagging after that window passed.   I really wanted to get that PR for the guys I was running for, because I could, I get to do this, so many can’t.  However, I think hanging out and encouraging my daughter was definitely the right thing to do, and honored them just the same.    

I actually got to cross the finish line with Phoenix, a first and definitely most likely a last,  she is fast and quick (and I am not), and not likely to suffer the same combination of circumstances in another race.  Bonus, my friend Cindy totally photo bombed us at the finish, so probably only time ever we will have all three of us in a finish line photo!

Crossing the Finish
Please visit the websites of these two amazing organizations.  Consider donating, or better yet volunteering.  Consider showing your commitment to injured veterans by taking the Wounded Warrior pledge.  Pledging to stand by them not just today or tomorrow, but for a lifetime.  The pledge can be found here (

Dallas Athletes Racing puts on a great race, and this was a great cause, staffed full chock of amazing volunteers.     All along the way there were military folks in uniform encouraging us, volunteering at aid stations, there were veterans groups volunteering.  It was quite humbling to think of everything they already do for us, and they are out volunteering for us.   Very classy!  The race was organized and well run.  Water stations galore.  My only complaint would be, there appeared to be no medical aid along the course.  Phoenix looked at every water station, she wanted to get some Vaseline or anything to put on her leg, she said she never say anything remotely medical looking.  But all in all a good race, and a great experience.

Stay tuned for a very transparent and honest  post about how my half iron-man training is going. 

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