Yesterday was Run Project’s Too Hot To Handle race at White Rock Lake in Dallas, TX. They offer 15k and 5k race distances. As a little background on this race, Too Hot to Handle 2012 was my first competitive 5k that inspired the next year of my training. Before this race last year, I had trained for two half marathons and one 10k, but my boyfriend convinced me it was time to get faster. And I have!
Back to this year… I registered on-line about a month before the 5k race. Packet pick-up was across the metroplex at a local running chain called Run On! Multiple packet pick-up locations made it really convenient to get my race bib. I was able to stop by on my way home from work and collect two race packets for my boyfriend and me without waiting in line. I was a little surprised that my race packet only included a bib, a hat, and a Chipotle BOGO coupon. I asked the volunteer who was distributing packets and he explained that this year the t-shirts would be given out after the race. Incentive to finish!
On race morning we left extra early because I was worried about parking. I drove myself, Daniel, my friend Melissa, and her cousin. Yay carpooling! We got to Norbuck Park at 6:30 am -- an hour before the scheduled race start. I ended up parking on the shoulder of Buckner Road, and I’m pretty sure we walked less than 100 yards to the starting line. It was a pretty awesome parking spot. Way closer than last year.
It was still pretty dark when we got to the race and I assumed it was because the sun wasn’t out yet. I applied sunscreen, visited the port-o-potties, and ran around the nearby baseball fields for warm-up. During my warm-up jog, I began to realize why it was so dark. It was raining!! Something I never expected at “Too Hot To Handle” was temperatures below 80 degrees, cloud cover, and a light rain. It was all wonderful, and there wasn’t enough rain to make you too wet. Perfect!
The race started on-time with the 15k runners starting first. As the 5k runners approached the start they reminded us to turn right as we passed under the first underpass. This was a change from last year’s course. I had seen the new course map on-line and was curious. Last year there was a large hill at the very beginning of the race but was a mostly flat out and back course. This year was still out and back, but I wasn’t sure what the elevation would be like.
Daniel decided to pace me for this race for which I am very thankful. Unfortunately, that means less pictures to share. Bear with me on this long post. The race begins….
Mile 1 was hectic. I had to make my way around a lot of slower joggers and walkers. I accidentally shoved a girl…oops. I thought I had enough room to pass on her left between her and a parked car. Well she moved slightly and I was already starting to pass, so I pushed her. Sorry!!! Daniel was running behind me and told me later that I definitely didn’t have room to pass, but agreed that she wasn’t running in a straight line. After getting past the crowd, I felt strong and Daniel was pacing me very well.
Mile 2 was a hill. I may be exaggerating when I say I ran uphill for a whole mile, but it felt like it. This was quite a challenge for me and my pace suffered. I went from 8:40 to 9:06/mi. After a quick water break after the mile 2 marker, Daniel gave me a look like “It is time to speed it up.”
Mile 3 was fast. I sped up to keep up with Daniel. My goal was 8:36 pace to get a new PR and I knew I blew it. When we were about a quarter mile from the end, he said to me “You can pass at least 50 people in front of you.” So I dug in and pushed to try to pick off runners one by one. I don’t think I passed 50 people, but I definitely passed some. I finished mile 3 in 8:17.
Finally the finish line was in sight and I sprinted in the best I could, but of course my legs were so heavy by this point. I was greeted at the end with an ice cold towel. Not a bad way to end a race. My official time was 27:00 flat. It wasn’t a new PR, but I was happy with how I ran (and I got 4th in my age group!). I haven’t been exactly focusing on running and my mileage is way down because of the triathlon training. I think if I had more mileage, my cardio endurance would have been better prepared for that hill.
After the race, I claimed my New Balance finishers sleeveless t-shirt and then found a popsicle from the RunOn booth. I toured around and got samples from Muscle Milk, Clif bar, and TCBY. There was no Slurpee truck this year, but the fro-yo made up for it. I talked with some other vendors and then decided to leave before the rain picked up.
Overall, it was a well-organized race. I was disappointed at first that the new 5k route did not go by the lake, but it was still a scenic course (I even saw horses during my run). Supporting nearly 1500 5k runners and 1500 10k runners is not easy, but Run Project and their sponsors did a great job. I will be returning next year (especially if they can make the weather cool again).