Pre-Marathon Mileage Run, Car Trouble in Austin, Dallas Marathon 2012

Introduction

So this week I had a week off from Tennis so there were two marathons, Tuscon or Dallas. Even though its a shorter flight to Dallas, I decided on Dallas.

There was a MR deal then from BOS to SEA and you can route through DFW. I booked two one day MR. The first one is just a MR while during the second, I would have a stopover in Austin and then fly from DFW-BOS home after the marathon. Surprisingly, the second flight was only 90 dollars more than the MR deal BOS to SEA for $278. It was a great deal, considering a stopover in Austin.

I left around 9am the first day and got back at 6am. It was a BOS-ORD-SEA-LAX-BOS since I needed this flight to come back by 6am. The initial plan was to go back to work the day I land in BOS but then I decided to go to Austin/Dallas so took another day off (Friday) and that gave me an extended weekend in Texas!

I got home, showered, took a short nap and then got back to the airport by 10am for the second day of the MR. The second day flight from BOS-DFW was later as I would catch a redeye SEA-DFW. I flew BOS-DFW-PDX-SEA-DFW-AUS on the second day and I met up with a friend of mines in Austin. We hung out for the day and slept over at her house. The next day we were to drive down to Dallas for my marathon. She had initial plans to visit a friend but he ended up being out of town.

Austin

By the time I got to Austin, I was pretty tired. I only got a few hours on two redeye flights and at DFW before my AUS flight. My friend picked me up and we got some tacos for lunch. She had to get back to work so she left me at her house. I noticed the visor in her car was damaged so I went to the dealership with her car to get another. I also wanted to get her key fixed as the buttons didn’t work well. I’m a bit OCD about that kind of stuff.

I got to the dealer and ordered the visor and it should be in by the next morning (Saturday) before we were planning on driving up to Dallas for the packet pickup. I asked them about the key and they said they could replace the security chip that was glued into the key. As the sales rep was taking it out, he nicked one of the wires on the transmitter so it didn’t work. I panicked. Now I broke my friend’s key and a new replacement key would be about $200.

Luckily, I spoke to the manager at Charles Maund Toyota and he agreed that as his representative broke they key, they would replace it for free. I was so relieved and surprised that they would offer to replace they key. The problem was that they didn’t have any right now and that it would be fixed tomorrow morning. It also involve reprogramming the key and getting it cut, which takes time. I was a bit nervous that they would be able to fix it by tomorrow morning. They even gave me a rental for the day. There was a small Enterprise car rental shop next door and exclusively deals with Toyota.

I was planning on driving back to her place, charge my phone and look up some sights and head out again. Well, that back to back redeye flight caught up to me and I barely made it back to her place as I was so tired. I blacked out on her couch and woke up sometime in the late afternoon. By that time, my friend was on her way home.

For dinner, we went to a barbeque place called Rudy’s and it was pretty good. We had some ribs, brisket and pork loin as well. Everything was great. This is definitely something I’ll come back for: Southern BBQ in general.

We stopped into a bar called Trudy’s to get some drinks. It is pretty popular there and they have some cheap margaritas.

We then stopped by Sixth Street and had some drinks at the Driskell Hotel. It was a very upscale place and the prices reflected that. We had a good discussion about our careers over a few beers.

Sixth Street in Austin is a popular college hangout with tons of bars but as it was in December, many of the college kids weren’t around because of finals or they were already off from school. It is also a historical district with many buildings that were converted to bars and clubs.

I went back to the Toyota dealership the next morning and picked up the car. There were a few minor issues that was resolved and got the visor back installed into the car. So within a day, I fixed her car, changed a bulb in her kitchen, and helped her install a towel rack in her bathroom. I get this a lot but engineers are awesome. She paid me back by cooking an awesome rice noodle soup dish for breakfast.

She ran a couple of errands and got to the car rental place at AUS. I didn’t have a reservation and needed to rent a one-way rental. Most of the options were pretty expensive but I needed to be in Dallas in a few hours to make it for packet pickup. I eventually rented from Hertz for about $120 for a day to be returned in Dallas Love Airport. My friend was flying out of Love Airport on Southwest for her work trip and she had to leave sometime before the end of my marathon. I let her have the car so I only have to rent it for a day.

Dallas

It was about 3pm when we left AUS. Packet pickup ends at 6pm. Challenge accepted.

Luckily the speed limit was 65 most of the way, so naturally I was driving about 80-90mph most of the way. There wasn’t much traffic on this Saturday afternoon until we got near Dallas. I made it to the convention center in 2 hours 20 minutes clearing about 200 miles. Both my friend and I were a bit nauseous in the car. It was the combination of the small bumps in the road mixed with the stiff suspension that made us feel that way. It wasn’t my aggressive driving but rather the road. I could have gotten there faster but had to slow down as my friend wasn’t doing so well and eventually I succumbed to some nausea. My friend noted that after I ran into the Expo, there were about three other cars pulling up and people jumping out and running for the doors. This is what happens when you give marathoners a deadline.

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View of the finish line from the Expo. The Expo is where the shirts were given out after the race, along with food and liquids and also a designated meeting area. Medals were given out near the finish and massages at ground level under where this picture was taken.

We checked into the Hyatt House Dallas Uptown, which was right behind the AA arena that the Dallas Mavericks play in. It took us a while to find a good place for me to carb load in. Once we did, we went to restaurant. We got a table right away. I ordered a heavy alfredo pasta dish and asked for more pasta. The waiter suggested I have it as is as they serve big portions. I said that I know what he’s saying but still wanted a large portion as I was running the marathon tomorrow. This isn’t the first time I had to confirm my choice for an extra portion at an Italian restaurant.

The plans for the following day was that I would wake up early and my friend drop me off at the start. She would the have some breakfast and drive to the airport. I kept my bag with the concierge and I would pick it up after the marathon. I was planning on taking the trolley system back to the hotel.

Race Day

The race was a bit warmer at the start than the previous marathons. Today was a bit weird in that it was actually warmer at the start than the finish since there was a cold front moving in.

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The race started in the downtown area so traffic was blocked off from the highway and the surrounding area. Luckily, my friend dropped me off so I walked only a block to the entrance of the corral, which stretched for about 3-4 city blocks. This was the biggest race I ran in. Hartford is a close second.

There were a few waves about a few minutes apart and I was in the last one. As everyone was starting together, the start was very fast, even though I made sure to be behind the 5 hour people. The race ran through some nice neighborhoods and all the streets were blocked off for us so the route was very safe. I tried to run a bit quicker as I’ve been practicing a faster pace but I think the humidity affected my running. I was running very quickly but only managed to get to 10min/mile, which was slower than my target time of about 9:20min/mile. I continued to push the pace but didn’t get much better than 10min/mile.

Since I was running a bit harder than usual and temperatures were higher than during my training, I had to take off my long sweatpants and short sleeve shirt so I ran with my shorts and the MM singlet.

I finished the first half pretty strong, coming in about 2 hours, which is 10-20 minutes faster than my normal split. It continued to be warm until about the 2.5 hour mark when the cold front moved in. It dropped the temps by 5-10F and humidity went away. It was much cooler to run the back half then the front half.

I started cramping up about mile 15-17 and walked much of the rest of the race. I ran the last two miles or so just to finish. I finished with a time just above 5 hours. I was a bit disappointed at my finish as I was training at a much faster pace. I believe the humidity got me dehydrated for the second half of the race, where I started cramping up.

It was still a good marathon. The weather was good and the finish line was nice. I got a massage, my medal and went upstairs to the Expo to get my shirt. They didn’t have any mediums so I took a small. It was a bit small but it fit me fine. I then went to the trolley to take it towards AA arena. This took about 30 minutes, which wasn’t so bad. A bit difficult to learn but it was only a few stops and involved a transfer.

I saw a pair of runners walking up the same block and started to talk a few minutes. I then asked if any of them was going to the airport. They said yes and was willing to drop me off. I was thrilled and I picked up my bag at the hotel and went straight to the airport. I thanked him profusely as he dropped me off in front of the AA check-in counters. He refused any kind of payment for the ride. People are so much nicer down south.

Flight Home:

When I got to the counter, I asked if there was an earlier flight. There was and it was leaving in about 20 minutes. He confirmed my standby seat as I was AA GLD at the time. I rushed through security and the airport with the exact clothes I wore during the race. I definitely got some looks at the airport. I quickly changed in the bathroom and rushed onto my flight.

When I got onto the flight, there was an interesting conversation I had with the flight attendants:

FA #1: Oh you ran the Dallas Marathon
Me: Yes
FA #1: Oh when was that?
Me: Today.
FA #1: Really? Are you sure?
Me: Um i think it was
FA #2: I think he would know. He just ran it

There were a few more jokes throughout the flight and the crew was very pleasant, despite the fact that made a small joke about my finishing time. Not cool. I should have called them stewardesses and see how they felt about that.

It was great I caught an earlier flight. I caught the 3pm flight, which got me back at around 7:30pm and was back at home just before 9pm. Not bad for running a marathon half way across the country earlier that morning.

It was a great race and course was very nice and scenic. The atmosphere was great and it was well staffed. There was a large Marathon Maniac group there as well and I saw a few when I was running.

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