Posts Tagged With: fair park

Hot Chocolate 15k Recap – Trains, Hills, & a New PR!!!

The Dallas Hot Chocolate 15k was my 2nd ever race at that distance. And I’m glad to report that it went much better than the first one. In fact, I earned my shiny chocolate themed medal by running a new PR!

The medal looks like a chocolate bar, but it tastes like victory.

The medal looks like a chocolate bar, but it tastes like brass.

There was supposed to be sold out with 13,000 total people running the 5k and 15k races. That means a lot of traffic getting to the event. Luckily my friend, Jewely talked me into taking the train down with friends rather than drive.

Of course we needed a pic on the choo choo.

Of course we needed a pic on the choo choo.

We definitely saved a lot of time and stress by taking riding the rail. All we had to do was sit there and watch the world go by.

You can't take a selfie around us without getting photobomed, duh!

You can’t take a selfie around us without getting photobomed, duh!

As we got closer to the race, the train got more and more crowded. We were lucky to have gotten on at an earlier stop, when seats were still available.

Train's getting full. Luckily they had stripper poles to hold on to.

Train’s getting full. Luckily they had stripper poles for people to hold on to.

The temps that morning were in the mid-40’s, but with a 10-15 mph wind it felt like 35 degrees!!! So when we got to the event, we stayed warm before the race by staying indoors!

B4 da race. I never understood arm sleeves. Are they for people that don't care about cold shoulders?

B4 da race. I never understood arm sleeves. Are they for people that don’t care about cold shoulders?

The 5k started first. But due to traffic and such, people were late. The race was nice enough to wait for them, but that also meant the 15k would start like 15 minutes late. It was not fun standing in the cold waiting for the starting horn to blow! But eventually, we were off!

My run buds Clay and Dawn were on the course cheering. Clayton got this shot of me. Dueces!

My run buds Clay and Dawn were on the course cheering. Clayton got this shot of me. Dueces!

The course itself was TOUGH – lotsa hills! Most people don’t think of Dallas as hilly, but this race made sure to find as many as they could!

At mile 5ish, we had about a pretty steep incline for about half a mile. At the top of the hill, some spectators had set up a whiskey station to give shots to the runners. Haha, with the pain I was feeling, I was tempted to take one, but decided to plug along instead.

The red parts are my slowest sections, coincidentally, they were also on big hills.

The red parts are my slowest sections, coincidentally, they were also on big hills. Ha, when I saw that hill around mile 8 after turning the corner, I dropped a few choice words aloud!

And can I just say, I love the support of the running community. Towards the end of the race, a few of us strangers started encouraging each other with words of encouragement. It helped us finish strong!

You can watch a short video of my and my new besties crossing the finish line BY CLICKING HERE!

I wanted to run a sub 7:40 mile pace, and I did!!! ~ 7:39 per mile ~ a full 20 seconds faster per mile than my last 15k! That came out to more than a 2 minute PR!hcAlso, I’ve said this before, but I hate my age group. I finished in the top 3% overall, but in the top 15% of my age group. Grrrr, I can’t wait to get to a new age group next month!!!

After da race with our sweet rewards.

After da race with our sweet rewards.

After the race, they had a fun little after-party going on with a DJ, chocolate treats, etc. Here’s a 6 second video recap I made:

To be honest, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so all the chocolate was a bit too much for me to handle. But on the way home I decided there should be some celebrating with a grown-up treat…

Now were talkin.

A chocolate stout still counts as chocolate, right?

In the end, I was sassified with the results – especially considering the wind, hills, & not knowing how to pace this distance. And most importantly, it was a fun time!

How bout you? LIke that bling? Gotta sweet tooth or a beer tooth? Ever ride a choo choo train?

-Scott

Categories: fitfluetial, Race Recaps, run, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Hot Chocolate 15k Race Preview & Expo Recap

This Saturday is the Hot Chocolate 5k & 15k in Dallas. I’m running the 15k. I’ve never run this race series before, but I hope it will be fun!

Since the race is on a Saturday, they had the expo on Thurs-Fri. Not very convenient since I typically work on those days. Not to mention it was a pretty long drive from the burbs to the expo site. And get this…they charged us for parking. What the frisbee?!?

But, of course I still had some fun with it…

Me n my new bestie - Marsha M. And look, I got a free hat!

Me n my new bestie – Marsha M. And look, I got a free hat!

I didn’t realize how big this race is – they say there’s 13,000 runners running! So I went on the first day of the expo to avoid the crowds.

I got my swag bag and bib and then tried to take another silly selfie with an inflatable, but some gal ran up to me and insisted on taking the pic for me. It totally threw me off my goof game…

I was too shocked to do anything but give the shaka sign.

I was too shocked to do anything but give the shaka sign.

For such a big race, the expo itself was pretty small. Maybe 15-20 vendors, I think. But they tried to fun it up with a DJ, bounce houses, and chocolate. I made a quick 6 second video to try and capture the moment.

Anyway, as for the race itself, it starts/ends at Fair Park in Dallas. It’s a historical part of town, home to the Cotton Bowl, concerts, State Fair, performances, festivals and such. It’s not located in the best part of town, but I do enjoy going there. I’ve actually done several races in that area.

After the race with some friends and a giant ferris buehler wheel.

After a race in Fair Park with some friends and a giant ferris buehler wheel.

I’ve taken a look at the course and I’m familiar with a few of the sections. One stretch that sticks out to me is Gaston Rd. We ran that same road during the Mich Ultra 13.1 back in October. It stood out because of the long rolling hills. Hopefully it’s gotten flatter since then.

Stay the course, my friends.

Stay the course, my friends.

And while I haven’t run this race before, plenty of friends have. I was glad to get the scoop from them about the driving/parking/traffic nightmare that it is. I guess 13,000 folks can block up the roads. So some friends and I are going to take the train down. Choo Choo Chew Chocolate.

I’m in corral “I”. Usually I’m in corral 1 or 2. But they told me how it works is the 5k is A-H, and they start first. Corral I is actually the first corral for the 15k. Whew, I didn’t want to be doing too much dodging and weaving!

Once the race starts, I’m not really sure how to pace it. I’ve only done one other 15k – like a year and a half ago. All I remember is that I went out too fast, and that it was wicked hot/humid. You can read the recap HERE.

The only pic I took that day. Say ahhhhhh!

The only pic I took that day. Say ahhhhhh!

Anyway, I look forward to the race! I hope it all goes smoothly and we have some fun! And I can’t wait to get this medal around my neck!

It's a metal chocolate bar. That's one way to get iron in your system.

It’s a metal chocolate bar. That’s one way to get iron in your system.

If you want to follow along during the race, my Twitter is set up for runner tracking to post my splits. You can follow me HERE.

Come back in a few days for the race recap!!!

How bout you? Ever run a Hot Chocolate race? Anyone running this race with me that I should look for? Ever run a 15k before?

-Scott

Categories: expo, fitfluetial, run, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Dallas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon Tips (& why I ain’t runnin it)

This weekend is the 5th annual Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon.  I have run the previous 4, but not this year.  Here’s are the 3 top reasons why:

1) They no longer support a charity.  They decided a couple years ago to be a purely for-profit race.

2) They have always been expensive, and now even more so.  Sorry, I ain’t payin $150 to run a half marathon in my back yard.

3) The entertainment has gotten weak.

My sis and I running the race a few years ago. I'm the one on the right.

My sis and I running the race a few years ago. I’m the one on the right.

It’s too bad.  When the race first started, it was a lot of fun.  The course was lined with high-energy bands and supporters.  The post race party included a a cool headliner concert and some free beers and grub.

My sis and me.

My sis and me and a lost man behind us.

In my opinion, it’s not like that anymore.  The race just seemed to lose it’s buzz over the years.  For example, the post race concert went from acts like Better Than Ezra and Bret Michaels, to (and this is no joke) some random 4th place finisher from American Idol from a few years ago.  Who?!?!

He spells his first name with only 1 "T".  Maybe I should go by Scot?

Bret spells his first name with only 1 “t”. Maybe I should go by Scot?

So in the end, I decided to skip this year and instead look for more locally-run, charity supporting races.  Funny thing, RnR sent me an email trying to entice me to become a 5-timer in this race.  What was the incentive they offered, you ask? Answer:  A key chain bottle opener!!!!  WOW!!!!!  A key chain!!!!! What an amazing offer!!!!!  How could I resist!?!?!  Sawwy RnR organizers, you’ll have to step up your game more than that.

One of the 4 medals I currently own from this event.

One of the 4 medals I currently own from this event.

That said, I have a ton of friends running this race.  And since I’ve run it 4 times already, here’s my tips:

1) Don’t pay for Expo parking.  They want like 15 bucks or so.  Park on the street instead.  You should be able to find a metered spot just as close, and it may be free (or just a couple bucks).

At the expo.  I got several compliments on "my style", so I'm never going to change outfits again.

At the expo. I got several compliments on “my style”, so I’m never going to change outfits again.

2) Race day – get there EARLY!!!  The start and finish are two locations, and they are not close.  If you are parking at the finish and taking the shuttle over to the start, you’re gonna need extra time (they have had severe issues with the shuttle system in the past).  If you can, have someone drop you off at the start, that’s the best option.

Another of the medals.  And some tin foil.

Another of the medals. And some tin foil.

3) Since you’ll be there early, you’ll need to find a place to hang out until the race starts.  If you’re lucky, you can sneak into the convention center – it’s shelter and they have potties.  Last year we went to the Omni hotel.  They were nice to let all the runners chill.  They also have potties and shelter.  And I believe they had a Starbucks.

4) The race doesn’t start until 8 am for some reason.  The sun will be up.  If it’s a warm day, you will be blasted by the sun from the back and the front as it reflects off the Omni hotel.  Have sunblock and your shades ready!

Some years it's hawt, some years its cowd.

Some years it’s hawt, some years its cowd.

5) There are a lot of first timers at this event.  Resist the urge to go out sprinting at the start (like they will be).  Keep it in check.  Remind yourself that you’ll see them later (when you pass them).

6) The first 8-9 miles are a general slow incline.  Conserve your energy.  Don’t burn out getting up the hill.  Leave something in the tank for the down hill.

Who doesn't love a 9 mile incline?

Who doesn’t love a 9 mile incline?

7) Yes, what goes up, must come down.  The last 3-4 miles are mostly downhill.  Enjoy it.  Hopefully you didn’t burn the tank to get there.

8) Finish strong!

9) Find your friends and celebrate with the cooler of adult bevvies you had stashed in the trunk of your car, which was waiting at the finish area.  You did pack a cooler, didn’t you?

After the race with some friends and a giant ferris bueller wheel.

After the race with some friends and a giant ferris bueller wheel.

So there you go.  I wish all my friends running this race the best of luck!  And I wish all my running strangers luck too!  If it’s your fist 13.1, I send you congrats in advance!

Anyone else have any tips?  Who would you like to see in concert after a race?  Sup?

-Scott

Categories: Race Recaps, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Rock n Roll Dallas Half 2013

This was a surprising race performance for me and just about everyone I know who ran it.  I wasn’t expecting much as I’d been sick for about three weeks straight and couldn’t run for more than a couple miles without getting exhausted.  Add to that that on race morning the temps were in the 30’s (USA) with steady 20+ mile per hour winds with gusts up to 40 mph (USA) that pushed the wind chill factor into the 20’s (USA).  And I knew the first 8 miles were pretty much on a steady incline (running into the wind).  So like I said, I wasn’t expecting much of a good performance.

At the expo.  I got several compliments on "my style", so I'm never going to change outfits again.

At the expo. I got several compliments on “my style”, so I’m never going to change outfits again.

I was so not expecting a good performance that I didn’t even bother to warm up before the race.  Instead I found some friends in a hotel lobby and just kept warm and lounged.  But here’s the funny thing…once the race started, I ran along at a pretty decent clip for me.  In fact, I was trying to take it out slow, but instead found myself running 8 min miles flat for the first few.

One bundled up man in black (and yellow and green)

One bundled up man in black (and yellow and green)

I knew that I hadn’t been able to train properly and that I probably wouldn’t have the endurance to keep it up, but as the race went on, I kept on keeping on.  I was ahead of the 1:45 pace group for a good portion of the race.  That would’ve been a PR by almost three minutes.  But then it happened around mile 10-11, I hit the wall from lack of conditioning and had to take a walk break.  The break took around two minutes, and I knew it would cost me a PR, but I was fine with it, like I said, I wasn’t expecting much.

Notice the blond Dallas Cowboy cheerleader checking me out. She must've also liked "my style"

Notice the blond Dallas Cowboy cheerleader checking me out. She must’ve also liked “my style”

I average a 1:50 half marathon.  Sometimes a few minutes faster or slower depending on the day.  With everything considered going into this race, I was just  hoping not to have a PW (personal worst, not sure if it’s a real term, just thought of it).  But I finished in my 3rd best time at 1:48:03, within 20 seconds of my PB (personal best, not peanut butter).  If I hadn’t taken that walk break, I would’ve crushed my PR by minutes.  That’s gives me hope cause I never really felt especially labored, I just didn’t have the endurance thanks to that illness.

PROOF that I finished.  Thumbs up, yo!

PROOF that I finished. Thumbs up, yo!

Now, I have another Half Marathon in less than a month.  I’m hoping to build on this performance and hope for a new PR in that race.  I’d love to get down to 1:45 as the next milestone, but we’ll take it as it comes.  I’m feeling much better now (health-wise) and hope to get a few good weeks of training in.  We’ll see how it goes!

Before I sign off, let me add some constructive criticism about this race in case any race director happens to see this…not trying to be negative, just want to help make things better.  1.) I find it a real shame that our entry fees for RnRDal no longer benefits any charities whatsoever.  I’ve may be naive, but I’ve never heard of a race that didn’t have a charity attached to it.  I see now that they are purely for-profit organization, and that makes me sad.  2.) I thought the medal was kind of spare.  People commented on how the ribbon seemed like it was a cheap-o picked up at JoAnn Fabric.  And in this age of big fancy medals, the RnRDal was kind of small.  I also don’t quite get how a guitar represents Dallas.  In years past they’ve had other land marks incorporated into the medal…like the giant Ferris wheel at Fair park.  I know there are a few guitarists that call Dallas home, but I’m not sure Lisa Loeb will go down in history next to Jimi Hendrix.  3.) I still think the race should start at 7 instead of 8 am.  And that’s coming from a non morning person.  4.) I still think it’d be much cooler to end inside the Cotton Bowl instead of outside of it.  5.)  And I still think the course could find some other parts of Dallas to run through – like going through Deep Ellum instead of by all the bail bond shops in the first few miles.  It seemed like this year’s course copied some of the exact portions of the Dallas Marathon course.  Not every race has to go up Turtle Creek Blvd. folks! 6.) I know it was cold and that kept spectators away, but the course entertainment seemed really light this year.  Not a lot of bands, cheerleading teams, etc. along the way.  Not sure if they bailed, or less were booked this year, but it felt kind of empty.

I know it looks like Brooks threw up on me, but don't care cause it was cold! I needed more of that tin foil stuff to wrap me up like a baked potato.

I know it looks like Brooks threw up on me, but don’t care cause it was cold! I needed more of that tin foil stuff to wrap me up like a baked potato.

All that said, everyone I know seemed to PR this day, or at least have a good finishing time.  And I was so very proud of the people we helped train – some of which had never run a half before.  They all finished and I think they all PR’d too!  It was also very cool that some members of our group either went back after finishing and helped others in our group finish, or some didn’t run the race at all but instead did the same thing and just helped others finish by running them in.  That was really cool.  Runners helping runners.  Hopefully one day those newbies will be more experienced and able to help newer newbies.  It all goes full circle.

Anyways, congrats to all who finished!  Way to get out there and battle the elements!  Success everyone!

Categories: Race Recaps | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dallas Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon #blog

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Th mediumest medallion and the largest Ferris wheel in North America!

Here’s my brief recap of the March 2012 Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon:

1.) It was hawt! Not hot by Texas standards, but I think it was definitely hotter than what we were used to. The sun was blazing! And since the race didn’t start until 8am, it was already up and on us. I wish it had started at 7am – would’ve helped for sure!

2.) It was hillie! Not by other parts of the country’s standards, but by these parts standards. The first 8 miles or so were up hill. A nice steady incline with a few peaks and valleys.  The last miles were all downhill, but the incline up until that point took its toll on me. Between the hills and sun, I was hurting the last few miles and had to take a few walking breaks. I even used a porta-potty break as an excuse for a quick rest – ha!  And no, I will never call it a “porta-let”.  I don’t know who decided it was the proper term for those things, but I ain’t fallin’ for it!

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What the heck is a mole hill? Is it the bump on your face a mole causes?

3.) I still finished! It was a really slow time for me, but I’ll take it. Everyone I talked to had the same struggles as me, so I guess it was even for everyone. My one friend (who’s wife finished in 2nd place in the women’s division) pointed out that I still finished in the top 10%. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but that is a great way to look at it and makes me feel better about my performance.

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According to my photos, mostly women love half marathons.

4.) It was fun! Having a bunch of friends and families and supporters either running or cheering was huge! We had a rather large group of friends who all participated in one way or another. I love how my friends are all so fitness minded!

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Long wait for food makes my mug mean.

5.)  After the race, we celebrated! A large group of us had a few bevvies in the parking lot after the race, then went to a patio for some brunch, though by the time we got a table, it was more like linner (props to Jennie for that joke). The food and mimosas were excellent and the company better. Though the opossum climbing on the shade arbor above us was a bit odd, but he didn’t bother us, so it’s all good.

6.) There were a few negatives about the event itself, like the start/finish being in different locations, the “headliner” concert was pretty spare, and the finishing area is a parking lot outside the Cotton Bowl (finishing inside would be a cool experience for runners and spectators alike), but overall the positives way outweigh the negatives, so I won’t get into it any deeper here. Keep it positive, San Diego!

So there you go, another race in the books! Another medal on the hooks!

Peace out, internet!

Categories: Race Recaps | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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