Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Dallas...and a giveaway!

This past weekend I headed to the greatest state in the Union for Rock 'n' Roll Dallas. My love affair with everything Texas, and more specifically DFW, isn't a secret so it should come as no surprise that I loved this race.
When I arrived in Texas I was greeted by The Running Couple, who arranged for absolutely perfect weather. It was so sweet of them to make sure that the highs were in the mid-80s and the sun was shining. Friday I had a bit of time to myself and it was so nice to walk around Fort Worth, there were blooming flowers and beautiful green trees everywhere!
Beautiful scenery during a long walk Friday afternoon

The weather played a trick on me though, because by Sunday morning it was FAH-REEZING! Ok, technically it wasn't 32 degrees, but it was darn close, especially considering it was in the 80s Friday and Saturday. Normally temps in the 40s & low 50s wouldn't have been so bad, but I had no cool weather running clothes with me. My tank, shorts and HoneyMilk tutu would have to do!
Nothing says Texas like the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders!

Lee and Isis were so wonderful to wake up super early just to to drive me to the start. They even braved the cold to cheer runners on during the race. This worked fabulous for me because they were able to drop me off about 2 blocks from the start. From there I quickly made my way to the VIP tent. Brian (@TriBoomer on twitter) generously gave me a pass into the VIP tent where I was able to chat with him and where I finally met Sarah Stanley.
Just one of the beautiful homes we saw along the way

Before the race, Brian introduced me to Miss Texas USA, Ana Rodriguez. She had never run a race before and asked if I minded running with her. I can't begin to describe how friendly she was, and I'm not talking that fake beauty pageant niceness. She was genuine. It was great to have a buddy for a little while but she was too fast for me so I told her to go ahead after a couple of miles. Luckily I was outfitted in my HoneyMilk honeybee costume so I had tons of people cheering me on, I had forgotten how many cheers tutus earn on a race course!
I couldn't believe how many people asked me about HoneyMilk while on the course. Several people saw my post about the tutu on the RnRDallas FB wall and many more commented that they saw the tutus floating around the race expo. This made me SUPER happy. I was able to spread the word about a product that I truly love to those that had never tried it and I told those that were already faithful HoneyMilk customers about Team HoneyMilk.

This honeybee is done with half-marathon #4 for 2011

I cannot express how much I love this course. Say what you want about the Competitor Group and Rock 'n' Roll races, but they sure did a great job mapping out a beautiful 13.1 miles through Dallas. I loved the race last year, but this year was even better. The course was exactly the same, but I think the volunteers were even better this year and there was definitely a lot more crowd support this time around. For me, this race was over far too quickly - if they ever offer a full at this event, I'm jumping on it. I was having so much fun out there that I could have kept going! My one major complaint about the event was the lack of mylar blankets at the finish line. I was a tad cold while running, thanks to the temps and a little drizzle, but once I quit moving I was miserably cold. Mylar to wrap up in would have helped a lot.

So thanks to Texas for another wonderful race - I can't wait to come back again!!!
My reward for the race!

Now onto the fun stuff...the giveaway! As you can tell, I'm a big fan of HoneyMilk and a member of Team HoneyMilk. They've been generous enough to give me two cases to giveaway to my readers. Entry is simple - just leave me a comment letting me know which flavor of HoneyMilk you'd love to try. My personal favorite is vanilla, but there's not a flavor I don't like (that's why I'm a big fan of ordering their variety pack). So that's it, just leave me a comment (and be sure to give me your contact info so I can let you know if you win!) by Monday, April 4th - easy peasy! Good luck!!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cowtown Challenge Weekend

This post-race margarita that's big as my head proves that everything is bigger in Texas

It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve written a race report. I guess that’s because it’s been a while since I last ran a race. Luckily my schedule is about to kick into high gear – hopefully that means that I’ll be a bit more motivated to train properly...fingers crossed!

Last Friday Ashley and I hopped on a plane headed to Fort Worth. The flight was great, thanks to an awesome Southwest flight attendant who kept the vodka coming, even though we didn’t ask for more than the first round. I swear I could feel my mood improve as soon as the plane touched down, there’s just something about being in Texas that truly makes me happy. Shortly after we grabbed our luggage Lee & Isis were there to pick us up. It was absolutely amazing to see them again! Once we got back to their place we chatted for a bit but headed to bed relatively quickly since we had to get up bright and early Saturday.

Lee, two fine ladies whose names are escaping me, Isis (and her baby bump), me, and Ashley after the 5k.

On Saturday morning we got to the expo by 7am so that Ashley & I could pick up our packets. I was surprised by how big the expo was, it was big enough to feel like a “big race” but no so big that it was overwhelming. Ashley & I grabbed our 5k and half/marathon bibs, the special Cowtown Challenge bib and our t-shirts. Pretty soon it was time to stash our bags at the HoneyMilk booth and head to the start line for the 5k. This was a mistake – we should have headed to the start much sooner. I’ve never seen a crowd like this for a 5k! We ended up getting there in plenty of time, but were kind of stuck at the back of the pack. We tried to run for what I would guess was about ¾ of a mile but finally gave up because it was so crowded. We ended up saying screw it and just had fun while covering the remaining distance. It was awesome to be with Lee, Isis & Ashley and I cannot wait to see the photos – they’re sure to be hilarious!

See HoneyMilk makes people happy – we’re proof of that!

After the above photo was snapped, we headed back to the expo and poured some HoneyMilk for everyone to enjoy. We couldn’t stay behind the booth for too long because we had to get to the meet-up sponsored by HoneyMilk. The meet-up was at Magnolia’s Motor Lounge. None of us had been there before so we were excited to try it out. The food was excellent, as was the beer, and I heard the garage fries topped with country fried bacon were especially yummy. It was so great to see all of my Texas buddies again and to meet some for the first time. I wish I would have been smart enough to snap some photos of everyone!

Meet-up at Magnolia Motor Lounge

After the meet-up Ashley hung out with some family, Isis had to go to work. Lee was super productive and I took a nap. When I finally woke up Lee & I headed to the best place in the whole world, a/k/a Central Market, to pick up supplies for a fabulous dinner and then we were off to pick Isis up from work. She and I relaxed and caught up some more while Lee slaved in the kitchen. After dinner Ashley joined us again and another DFW buddy, Mike, came over. Lee & Isis were smart and went to bed early…Mike, Ashley & I stayed up watching some silly stuff on tv.

Alarms went off bright and early Sunday morning. Mike, Ashley & I got ready for the half, Lee got ready for the 50k and Isis got ready to be an awesome wife & friend (she wasn’t running but got up and drove us to the start!). The start was gain pretty crowded, but seemed like it moved a little more smoothly than the previous day. Ashley started off with her cousin and they quickly pulled in front of me. While I was in line for the porta potty Ashley called – at first I was worried about her but then she told me that her cousin sped off and she was going to hold up and wait for me. I told her I was moving slowly but she said she didn’t care.

Ashley & her medals representin’ Big River and HoneyMilk

Having Ashley by my side for the last 11ish miles of this race made the day for me. We chatted, laughed, took pictures with real-life cowboys and their horse and popped into a Starbucks to use a real bathroom. We weren’t moving fast, but we were having fun and for me, that’s what this race was all about – I needed to just have fun again. I cannot thank Ashley enough for sacrificing her race to stay with me.

The course was ok - we ran through some questionable neighborhoods, but we also got to run past the Stockyard, which was a highlight for me, and all around downtown Fort Worth. There were some killer hills (Hello mile 9!) but other than those I'd say it was a reasonably flat course. There wasn't a ton of course support, but I'd say that the police we some of the nicest I've ever seen on a race course. Oh, and this was the first race I've done that gave out finisher's shirt - that was a nice touch! All in all I'd probably give this race a 7 out of 10. Since it's in Fort Worth, there's a high likely hood that I'll be back in 2012.

HoneyMilk and Punk Rock Racing gear, plus two medals = a great day

So there you have it, half marathon #13 is in the up is Rock 'n' Roll Dallas. See you soon, Texas!!!

Wordless Wednesday