YABRRR - Dallas Ultra Marathon 2019 Edition.
The thanks list for this is short. Thank you DDR, it takes a village to help this idiot run. And thank you Shellene for putting up with this idiot. As always, the rest is fluff.
This has been an off year for me, due to injuries, but I did manage two road races this year (and a few trail races). The last time I did that I did them both on the same day. This year I decided, at the last minute, to run the DUM race, my guess is I was one of the last to register (Bib 20268). I actually wanted the feel of a "big" race start, something about running with 2,500+ of my closest friends that I have never met (and hopefully John) next year. I decided to save the stress of driving into Dallas and took the DART from Plano, looking like a homeless person in my oversized $4 thrift store hoodie.
Got downtown nice and early, stretched out for a nap inside the convention center for about 30 minutes then headed to gear drop and the "B is for Bryan" corral to get a good spot. Until we moved I was on the front line between a relay team racer and someone who probably should not have been on the front line. Before the start I spent some time talking to the other runners, one of whom when he found out it was my first time running Dallas warned me to walk the big hill. I actually saw him post-race and was tempted to ask him where the hill was - I never found it. Two minutes before we moved I finally dumped the big coat, and started to shiver. I knew that once we moved I'd have runners at my back blocking the wind, so I wasn't concerned. The "A" corral took off, and then the moved us into position. I ended up getting squeezed backwards into the second line, behind the relay runner thankfully. The countdown began and we were off.
I knew I'd be passing some of the "A" corral runners, but was shocked when I saw Andy early on. His heart was in it, but he left his legs at home. Somewhere along the way I dropped one of my gels, and went back for it. About two miles later the same gel leaped out of my shirt pocket a second time. Retrieved it and decided that enough was enough: it got eaten. The second gel in the shirt stayed put until needed. Somewhere in the first section I ended up running with three kids from SMU, they were putting down 7:45s so I decided that wasn't a smart thing, and only ran with them for about 2 miles.
Large sections of the race were just eating up miles, saw one bandit aid station that just made me laugh: about 1/2 dozen police officers had setup and were giving out donut holes. Plenty of extra cookies, water and beer stations were also added to the official ones. The official ones were setup with Gatorade in the front, water at the back; except one that had it backwards. Since I had a water bottle, I was able to deal with the full strength Gatorade at that one.
Just short of mile 20 I got a bit lightheaded and spotted an empty chair. I asked the young (probably less than 10 year old) lady if I could borrow it for a minute. I guess she said "No", but I was already down when she yelled at her dad about the stranger in his chair. He said it was ok, and that I probably needed the chair more than he did. 30 seconds with my head down low, and I was back to running. I knew I needed to get to the DDR station, since I knew that would have the magic elixir that would help me most: Pickle Juice!
Damn, it was good to see y'all! Even without the food, pickle juice, and fireball.
Nikki, do you remember what brand of pickle juice that was, I need to get one to those single serving bottles. Yes, I left the aid station with one of the bottles in my shirt pocket.
The best think about running the ultra is the thing that most marathoners didn't want to deal with. The long empty stretch with no crowd support. What they don't understand is we have something much better than crowd support in that stretch: we see and support each other!
Over the next seven miles (from 20 through the DDR aid station and to mile 27) I was suffering, but recovering in motion. Taking in calories, seeing unexpected faces along the course and watching other runners suffer worse than I was. I ended up meeting the 4:30 pace group, ran with them for a bit thinking that I would be incredibly happy with a 4:30 finish (I had guessed over 5.) It dawned on me that they started 10 minutes behind me, and since I was feeling good I chased down another ultra-runner (we had been playing leap-frog for a few miles by this point) and then turned it up a notch as I headed to the finish. I hit the line at 4:36:28, 17th overall, less than an hour (barely) behind the winner.
Post race was getting food, they were nice and dumped 6 bacon and egg tacos in my bag, getting gear (why did they put the ultra drop bags the farthest from the finish?) and then trying to find the DART station. I got home only to discover that the 6 tacos were actually black bean tamales (I don't eat beans, and don't care for tamales), so Shellene got a pleasant surprise.