The Road to Dallas (Half) Marathon Dec 11-13, 2015

This post has been a long time coming. If you remember, the last part of 2015 I was in another world.  I was dealing with the loss of my auntie and the loss of one of my best friends all at the same dayum time. I can truly say, October and November were a real struggle.

At one point during that time, I was questioning if I had lost my love for running AGAIN because it just wasn’t fun anymore. While running, my mind was always filled with so many what if (s). Looking back, I really allowed myself to get swallowed up in all that had transpired.

I really believe that what doesn’t kill me, does indeed make me stronger. I finally was able to get to a point where I could say okay, it’s time to move forward and just reflect on the experiences that were shared with them both. I had some great times and that is what I will remember.

Now don’t get me wrong, the ending of my year in 2015 was not all bad.

Near the end of November, I got back on track with my running :-). I signed up for the Runners World running streak, where you have to run at least a mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. You know I love a challenge and at least in my mind this forced me to get out and run at least a mile even when I didn’t wanna.

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If you remember, my training for the Dallas (half) Marathon, started out very well (you can read all about it here) and I was sticking to it like a champ, but then life knocked me completely down.

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As a result my training really suffered.  I didn’t run as much.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  I cried, mourned and cried some more.  Again, looking back, I know it was okay to take that time but I had to focus on not getting stuck there. I do know (now) that the time spent going through that allowed me to put things in perspective and it also helped me refocus on my future (following my dreams).  It’s remarkable what a little shift in your energy can do.

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Within weeks before my half on December 13, 2015, I once again realized why I fell in love with running in the first place. Running is my happy!

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I finally had my mojo back (sucked that I was two weeks out from my half tho’…but oh well).

On Thanksgiving Day, Diallo, Cooper and some of my sole sistahs from BGR! Columbia joined me at the Thanksgiving Catch the Gobbler 5K in Lake Carolina.

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The day after Thanksgiving, I participated in the SC Rivalry Run hosted by Coach Frye. This run allowed runners/walkers to show their Team Spirit (Team Garnet vs Team Orange) while also raising funds and awareness to prevent Diabetes.  Coach Curtis Frye lost his father and brother to diabetes and since has committed his life to helping those fighting Diabetes.

The Frye Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the assistance of persons and their families that deal with Diabetes and Mental Illness.   This was a very organized race, which supported a cause that is near and dear to my heart (my Grandmother has diabetes).  I highly recommend this race for next year and hope to get more of my BGR! Columbia sole sistahs out for this great cause.  Diallo joined me again and I was so glad to have him out there, even if he rode his bike while I ran 😊.

 

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I placed first in my age group (35-39) with a little push from another runner, he ran with me the last stretch (I swear I was ready to give up after that dayum hill (Gervais)).

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The next day, I met up and ran with the Saturday morning crew downtown. Running with a new group for the first time was a little overwhelming. I really didn’t know any one there but I knew we all had one thing in common; running. And that’s what I did.  I was running pretty good and felt great until I no longer saw the guy in front of me. So I adjusted my music and waited for the group that was right behind me. I stayed with that group until Gervais St. (that dayum hill stops me every time…the same hill from the 5K the day before). More hill training in my future.  Yes, I am constantly a work in progress.

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I got a few miles in during the week but was really looking forward to my longer run on Saturday. That weekend, I got in a long run with my BGR! sole sistahs, Rachel and Eureka, once again downtown.

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I really felt great during that run and got in ten miles. Enjoyed the rest of the day in full relaxation mode.
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As you can see, the road to Dallas was still paved with good intentions.   I signed up for this particular half because the National Black Marathoners Association (NBMA), was having their annual summit there to recognize some greats in the black running community.   I was so looking forward to hearing Meb Keflezighi speak at the event.

I also signed up for the KwanzaaFest 5K, which was a free event held annually in Dallas.  This event was in its twenty-fifth year.  The race director of the KwanzaaFest, Bridget Collins,  was also being inducted into the NBMA’s hall of fame, so this year’s event was sure to be a hit.

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I had a pretty smooth ride into Dallas Love Field Airport. The three hour flight really gave me some time to reflect and study (and not to mention that layover 😚 in Baltimore, MD (dayum I love that place)).

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Arrived in Dallas and made my way to the DART. Thank goodness for technology. It surely got me from point A to B in unfamiliar territory.  On the way back, I was sure to catch a taxi or an uber, because arriving into the train stop after dark downtown Dallas, was so not a good look.  Dude on the train told me to tuck my purse and hold my suitcase tight (WTF).  Well, I survived…shoulders back, head up, you couldn’t tell me that was my first time there…I acted as if I belonged (suitcase and all).  Later that evening, I headed to the fitness room and jumped on the treadmill, it stopped on me twice, so I ended up running the steps for a mile (still streaking).

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This was indeed a weekend of running and celebrating black marathoners in the city of Dallas.

KwanzaaFest Beat Obesity 5K- Dec 12, 2015

Yvonne (yep, my running buddy from Grovetown joined me in Dallas) and I kicked off the weekend with the KwanzaaFest Beat Obesity 5K on Saturday morning.  This year marked the 25th celebration of the two day event held in Fair Park, Dallas, Texas.

We headed out early (way to early lol) to Fair Park via the train.  The plan going into this run was to just enjoy the runners and the experience.  Since I had the half and the full for Yvonne coming up the next day, we were just there to shake our legs out in the annual 5K.

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We ended up running with a BGR! sistah from Dallas.  Her goal was to finish the race nonstop, so of course we helped her reach her goal 😊.

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The love was really felt from BGR! Dallas.  Their ambassadors, Jessica Crockett, really made Yvonne and I feel welcomed.  They also had a nice turnout and ended up winning the biggest group to participate in the 5K.

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After the race, Yvonne and I met up with some other runners and headed down to the Expo to pick up our race packets.

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I think this was the first time in a long time where I really just enjoyed an expo.  The energy was on high from all the runners, booth participants and even the volunteers.  Everyone seemed to have had a smile on their face.  I didn’t sign up for any races but Yvonne sure did (I know she signed up for at least six races LOL….she’s an addict for real for real).

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After the expo we grabbed lunch and got in a much needed nap.  The NBMA hall of fame was later that evening and I was looking forward to hearing about Mebrabtom “Meb” Keflezighi’s running journey.

NBMA Hall of Fame Banquet – Dec 12, 2015

Okay, so Meb is the only athlete in history to win the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon and an Olympic Medal, and he didn’t get his start in running until middle school.  He was a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).  His record includes four NCAA championships, 22 National Championships and a place on three United States Olympic teams.  And I got to hear NONE of his story.

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To say I was heartbroken is an understatement.  Especially after I had just traveled over eight hours (but that layover tho’ 😉 ) to take part in the National Summit.  I did however get to see Meb (even though I didn’t snap any pictures during the event (I guessed that ended up being better than nothing).  Matter of fact looking back, I didn’t take many pictures that evening.  I did snap a picture after I got dressed but dayum that was pretty much it (was that a sign?).

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I was just expecting so much more from my experience of traveling to Dallas to participate in this event.  Especially being part of a national running community. I’m not bummed out about it but it surely could have been better 😔.  In reading other runner’s post about the summit and even the weekend in general, one would assume that it was one big ole ‘black’ running family reunion.   I guess you had to know a person.  Most folks were cliqued up (which is fine, birds of a feather right) but man, it is okay to smile, speak and/or be welcoming to others.  And not to say all were this way because I did run into a few (6 total, yeah I counted) that were very friendly.  I love to smile, so I always  try to keep a smile on my face because I want to meet all that I can.  Oh well, it’s life and not everything goes as planned, right?

Now after paying for the banquet, I really was expecting more than what I got.  They had open tables for the folks that didn’t purchase a table, so it was pretty much get in where you fit in (no real order to things).  Okay no big deal, you get what you pay for.

Well, speaking of paid for…I paid my ticket well in advance and can’t remember if I was asked about the dinner (but if I was I’m sure to had said vegetarian because that’s the lifestyle I’m rocking with) and if I wasn’t asked shame on them.  If I was asked and they didn’t keep up with who had vegetarian meals then shame on them.  Either way shame on them (you feel me?).

Needless to say, I was brought meat several different times and even told them nicely that I don’t eat meat and would need a vegetarian plate.  Did I say that I was brought meat several times (the same person tried to give me the meat twice SMH).  Okay no biggie, just get me some veggies.

Here is how that night went….

When we first arrived downstairs, I made my way to the bar.  Don’t judge me :-), there is an article (here) that promotes red wine drinking and equates it to going to the gym 😁. So, I  got that glass of red wine (house Cab mind you and I paid $10 bucks for it…yes HOUSE) and was looking forward to watching the event unfold.

Anyhoo, fast forward to dinner time.   The way my metabolism is set up, I like to eat at a certain time of the day or I’m not going to be in the best of moods. And it was really that time.  After the show started late and I kept getting hit with meat plates all night, I was starting to feel a certain way (and I didn’t like that feeling 😔 ).   Needless to say, I didn’t finish my $10 glass of wine (so not like me) and I NEVER did receive my dayum veggies.   WTF.  Yes, of course I asked about my meal, and was told that they ran out of veggies and that there was nothing they could do about it.  Okay, so I had to eat.  So I left.  I went upstairs and waited an additional 35 minutes in the hotel’s restaurant just to order some food.  Did I mention, that I didn’t get to hear Meb speak (bummer).

I wanted to paint that picture for you, because I’m not sure you are aware but I love a glass of red wine LOL.  And to have wasted a $10 glass of red wine is so not in me (remember…judgement free zone).  So, you know I wasn’t feeling that.  Oh well, I’m not going to say shit happens, because that should have never happened.   There should have been a systematic process in place to say who gets what.  Oh and another thing (pet peeve), they had plenty of glasses of tea on the table but you had to walk to the center of the room to get water…man what an inconvenience to have to get up from your table every time you wanted water especially when you don’t drink tea.

GEESH, this thing could have been put together a little better than what it was.  Oh and wait, one more thing.  So they were giving out prizes but again no systematic way, they told you that there was something in the middle of the table, and who ever picked it up first was eligible for prizes if their number was called.  It was at least ten people at a table.  Yeah, I didn’t get that either.  Why not just place tickets at every seat or hand tickets out at the door (I mean how difficult is that?).

Oh well…I really digress.  I can’t say that this was a GREAT event because I missed most of it, with the most important part in my book (the hall of famers being inducted).  Now, I did reach out to Tony Reed and he refunded my monies but man to have to go through all of that, especially after traveling so far and missing the event (BUMMER).

Someone asked me would I attend another NBMA event. For me right now, it would be a NO.  I will however continue to support the NBMA because they do awesome things for our black youth.

Dallas Marathon (half) – Dec 13, 2015

Oh well, I still had the half to look forward to…RIGHT?

The Dallas Marathon is a nonprofit organization with a focus on promoting health and physical fitness through running events and related activities. This event has taken place for 45 years and attracts runners from across the world.

When it rains it really pours (literally).  I awoke that morning to the sound of rain tapping on my window still.  I was really not looking forward to running in the rain.  Mind you my training for the run really suffered and to have to run in rain was not looking good for me in hopes of accomplishing my goal of finishing within less than two hours.  Oh well, it’s not like I never ran in the rain before.   I was ready as I could ever be and it was time to make it do what I does.  RUN!!

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I started out in Corral A and man the energy was truly amazing even in the rain (even though in the picture below, it looked as though the rain had stopped…that break didn’t last long 😔).

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 The air horn finally blew and we were off. The first few miles were pretty uneventful.  I really wanted to focus on not going out too fast.  I was able to find my rhythm until it was time to cross the rail road tracks.  I’m not sure if a train was coming but the railroad crossing signals came on.  We stopped and made sure nothing was coming and ended up crossing over the signs. I was running really good until I wasn’t. It had nothing to do with the course and every thing to do with the runner. I was not prepared (but I knew that going in). So, once again I refused to beat myself up, life happens and it surely happened to me but I was able to leave ‘that’ in 2015.

I didn’t stick around after the race (had to hurry and catch my flight back home). I hate I didn’t get a chance to say good bye to Yvonne but she did awesome on her race. See I’m not about that Full life just yet, not even sure if I ever will be and that is OK 😁.

Would I run the Dallas half again (I would if it wasn’t in Texas 😉). The race was very well put together from beginning to end but I wasn’t feeling supporting anything in Texas. The racial profiling and murder of Sandra Bland really hit close to home for me and I wanted nothing to do with Texas. “Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old black woman who was found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015. Her death was classified as a suicide by the county coroner, and was followed by protests against her arrest, disputing the cause of death and alleging racial violence against her.”

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I went back and forth on whether or not to canx my trip but I didn’t want to let Yvonne down. I went and said no more races or events in Texas.

Have you ever cancelled a race because of something you stood behind? Or maybe decide not to race in a particular area because of their practices or lack thereof?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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