Yo yo, it’s almost time to go! Just a couple days till the Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon, and I’ve got some tips for you. I have run this race each year of it’s existence – and this will be the 4th time. Since I have experience, I have some advice to offer – especially if you haven’t run it before. So here they are in no order that makes any sense.
1.) Get there EARLY! Traffic will be a PAIN. Transportation to the start will be a hassle. There will be tons of people all with the same goal, so get there before them to avoid as much hassle as possible.
2.) Find the best way for you to get to the race start. If you drive yourself, see 1.). If you take the DART, see 1.). If you have someone drop you off – that’s a pretty good way to go. If you get a local hotel next to the start, then you can sleep in later than the rest of us.
3.) At the Expo, do not park in the parking garage. They charge a butt ton of money to park, but if you park on the street you can find metered spots. And I don’t believe you have to pay for the metered spots on Saturday.
4.) If you need to change corrals, they have a booth for it at the Expo. Just ask them and they will do it, no questions asked.
5.) Visit the crazy Brooks exhibit at the Expo. I’m partial to Brooks products, but that’s not why I recommend it. They do this crazy huge set up with lots of chances to win free stuff. Check it.
6.) This is a late start for this distance. 8am I believe. Last year that meant the sun was up and it was hot!
9.) Keep in mind that the start and finish are not close to each other. That will affect your race day planning.
10.) If you, or family or friends, drive and park at the finish area, be sure to bring bevvies for post race tailgating. I think they give you a free MGD 64 or Ultra or something, but come on, those aren’t real drinks.
11.) During the race itself, I cannot stress enough that you should start out slower than you think you should. I know that it’s easy to get caught up on the excitement at the start and adrenaline wants to take over, but let your mind take over instead. Trust me, once the adrenaline wears off and you hit the meat of the race, you’ll wish you hadn’t wasted so much energy at the first few miles. Try and keep it in check and go for a negative split!
12.) Along the same lines as 11.), keep in mind that the first like 8 or so miles of the course are generally on a steady incline. Don’t waste all your energy getting up the hill! Try to keep some reserves for the last several miles which are mostly downhill!
13.) The weather. It can be hot or cold. Changes year to year. This year they say it will be cold, somewhat humid, and windy. But like I said, I am writing this a few days before the race. And as my dad always says, “The weatherman couldn’t predict a bowel movement, let alone the weather.” It’s true, generally they can only be truly accurate about 15 minutes before or after, not a week out. I don’t mind the cold so much for running, seems to be easier than in the heat, but if it’s windy, look out. It’s been so windy in North Texas the past several months, like ridiculously so. My friend is an avid skydiver, but hasn’t been able to go in two months cause of the wind. Let’s hope for calm weather on race day!
14.) Try to enjoy the bands we pass on the course. I know we only hear them for about 30 seconds, but they’re still trying to entertain us. Also, I have a fact for you – cheerleading teams on the course love high fives…Give em frequently.
15.) Keep an eye out for funny race signs, then tell me about them. I’m always on the lookout for a laugh on the course.
16.) Relax. When things get tough, just keep reminding yourself that it’s only one more step to go.
17.) If it’s super cold, bring throw-away clothes to wear until you’re warmed up. That may be after a good warm up before the race, or if you let the first couple miles be your warm up.
18.) Bring a warm change of clothes for after the race. It’s always good to get out of the sweaty clothes. And if it happens to rain, you’ll be wanting some dry duds to don.
19.) After you finish, go back with the spectators and cheer others on – especially if you have any friends or family on the course.
20.) Stick around and celebrate after the race. The temptation is to jump in your car and go, but part of the high price of the RnR races is the post race concert. We have some dude named Andy Grammer this year. I don’t know him, but I hear he’s good, and his music is positive. I’ll give him a chance. Why not, it’s already paid for and you’ve got the tailgating bevvies from tip 10.).
That’s all I’ve got right now. Oh wait, one more – if you need to potty before the race, try to sneak into the convention center. They have indoor plumbing and a central heating unit. Now, that’s all I’ve got. Good luck, can’t wait to see you out there! Can’t wait to hear how your race goes! Can’t wait for us to get that medal around our necks!