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This past weekend was the long-awaited trip to Dallas for the White Rock Marathon and celebrating 16 years of life given to a young man!

It was a time to deepen friendships and to look back as a tragic event in the history of the US.  It was the time to reach deep into the reservoirs of the training on race day to run the race set before us and a time to celebrate in accomplishments made.

It was a fun weekend!

Here is an overview of the weekend:

Caleb and I met our friends, J, N and K at the airport to board a Delta flight and fly to Dallas.  It was an exciting time to be leaving the twin cities since a snow storm was predicted for the weekend and Dallas weather was expected to be in the 60’s!  Nice trade!  The flight was smooth and uneventful.  Arriving in Dallas it was time to shed the winter coats and don the light weight running jackets and enjoy the beautiful weather!

We were staying at J’s sister’s house which was about 90 minutes from the airport.  It was a nice drive but we were all ready to get out of the car and stretch our legs once we arrived.  A late supper, settling in and a good night’s rest were on the agenda.

Friday was our sight-seeing day and we went to the JFK memorial in downtown Dallas.

At the JFK Memorial

It was very sobering to stand near the spot where JFK was assassinated 47 years ago.  There is an X on the street marking the exact location of the car when he was hit by the assassin’s bullet.  We also went to the museum in the book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald is alleged to have done the deed.  The museum is well done and gives one much to think about.

The kids are standing near the spot where JFK was assassinated!

The X marks the spot where JFK was hit with the Assassin's bullet!

Once we were done with the museum, it was off to Fair Park, Packet Pickup and Expo!  This was a hopping place and there was much to see.  First there was Dane, who ran 52 marathons in   52 weeks!  He was giving away free copies of his book and autographed a copy for each of us!  It will be a fun read, but I don’t think I would every consider doing something like that!

Next there were many booths that were giving away free things or had things for sale – like the new Vibram model that  is designed specifically for runners.  I tried on a pair and they were really nice.  However didn’t buy them since Gary is only a few days from being laid off.  Money for “fun things” like new shoes are not priority!  But I can’t wait until I can get a pair!  It will make running so much more fun!

I also stopped at a booth to get a nagging pain in my left foot checked out.  It looks like it could be bone spurs.  When I asked what could be done about them, the answers I got were not things I would even consider, so will need to look at some other options now that I am back int the Twin Cities!

Saturday was more of a kick back day and preparing for the race.  We did explore the town of Dennison, where J’s sister lives.  It is a quaint town built around a main downtown area and it had lots of antique and art stores.  The main objective for Caleb was to find a cheap jacket that he could throw away along the race course if needed.  The temps at the start of the race were predicted to be in the upper 30’s and Caleb didn’t have a lightweight jacket that could easily be discarded.  We were successful in finding one!  In the evening, the ladies went to a Christmas concert which was the best way to spend an evening prior to a race.  It took my mind off of the race and gave me some time to enjoy the music.  It was a lovely evening.

However the pre race jitters hit right after the concert and I didn’t think I would get any sleep.  I had an early wake – up since we needed to leave around 5 AM to get tot he start line by 7:30!  Sleep, when it did come was peaceful.  Waking up was not as hard as I thought it would be and I felt ready to go.

RACE DAY:

The reason we are in Dallas is to run the White Rock Marathon – 26.2  miles through the streets of Dallas and around White Rock Lake.  Temps at the beginning of the race were in the upper 30’s.

Do we look cold?

The start line was at Fair Park – the same location as the Cotton bowl stadium which hosted the Big 12 championship game on Saturday night!  It was pretty cold and dark when we arrived around 7 AM!  As we waited for the start, there was much excitement.  The race started just after 8 AM with the wheelchair racers going first and then the elite runners.  I was in corral I and it took almost 30 minutes for my corral to reach the starting line.  Each corral was given an official start with a count down and the release of “fire” from the stacks at the start line.  Very cool – literally!

I was running in a tank top and shorts, arm warmers and gloves!   People watching the race from the sidelines were in big winter coats, boots, hats and gloves!  It was a funny  to see the combination!  There was a live band or musician at almost every mile.  While some of the music was great, like the Christmas songs, most was just load and not motivating for me as a runner, but it did make for interesting scenery while running.  I ran well through mile 20.5.  I crossed the half way point on target to finish in 4:15.  However this was my first marathon in my five fingers and at mile 20.5 you reach the Dolly Parton hills – two consecutive hills that aren’t all that big, but 2 inclines after running several prior to this point and my calves had enough and went really tight – no cramping, but just tight and sore for the rest of the race.  I also got a rock in my shoe and the fingers are not easy to take off and get back on – I didn’t want to lose any time.  I tried getting the rock to a different part of my foot, but it wouldn’t move.  I rant he last 5 miles with a rock between the big toe and the one right next to it.  It was painful and slowed me down considerably.  However I did finish 10 minutes faster than my last marathon – so I am happy.  I ran the whole marathon this time and had given my all on the course – no kick left at the end.

I was the last of the 4 runners off the course.  I got to the runner’s recovery area and got my shoes off as quickly as I could with lots of help from J!  I got my medal, finisher’s shirt and a beer.  It was good to be done!

Happy to be done!

Getting into a vehicle for the 90 minute drive to where we were staying was not a happy thought, but once we got arrived home, we could all take showers:-)!  And while we were gone, J’s sister and daughter made special treats to celebrate our accomplishments –

These ladies worked hard at making special desserts to celebrate the finish of the marathon!

Caleb enjoying his dessert!

The Four Finishers on the day after the race!

This is how the kids spent their spare time!

All in all it was a good weekend.  We all started and finished our race, friendships were deepened, new friendships were made and we returned to the Twin Cities healthy.  Caleb and his friend N are already talking about the next race and race season!  I am not quite there  – at least not yet.  But I am moving without pain now – so I am getting close to thinking about my next marathon!

Stay tuned – more races are on the horizon, I am sure.  Caleb would like to run a marathon for his birthday every year.

Hmmmm – I  may have created a running tradition without even trying!

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