Posts Tagged With: rock and roll

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

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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!

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Rock N Roll Dallas Half Marathon Prep #RnRDal

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!

-Me

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