Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Armadillo Dash Half Marathon Recap!

On Sunday, Jeff and I ran the 7th annual Armadillo Dash half marathon.  I feel like an old-timer with the Dash - I started with a 5K back in 2010 (it was the second 5K I ever ran).  I like the race because of how close it is to my house (the start line is at scary statue park), and it supports several local charities.  This was the first time for me to run the half marathon part - I was signed up to do it in 2011 before I injured my ankle, so it was a long time coming to get to the half.

About two days before the race, I realized that there were not going to be a ton of people running the half (for whatever reason, total signups were down by over 1,200 people from last year) and without a full marathon going on as well, there was a very good possibility that I could be finishing, I know that someone has to be last, but I've done that once, and it's not fun.  Needless to say, I didn't sleep very well the night before the race, but that's normal for me with races - just this time, I actually had something to worry about.  As it turns out, I was the 900th person to finish, out of 920 racers.  Yes!!!  I wasn't last!  Some people try to win their age group; I just try to not be last.  Go me!

The good thing about this race was the weather - we finally got to run a half marathon in the cold!  The bad thing is that it was REALLY cold at the start - 32 degrees.  We were freezing while we waited for the race to begin, but once it did (and for the first time since I've been participating, it started on time!), fingers and toes thawed out pretty quickly, and it was very comfortable.  Since I was wearing the same shirt I've been running in all winter (seriously, some weeks I end up wearing it three times...wear, wash, repeat), I treated myself to a new HooRag in their purple paisley pattern.  It worked great for an ear warmer before the race, and once I warmed up, I pulled it down onto my neck, where I didn't notice it for the rest of the race.

I went into this race thinking it wouldn't be that difficult, considering I'd changed how I run long distances by using the 2:1 interval system (run for two minutes, then walk for one minute).  I forgot one crucial detail:  a half marathon is a LONG way to run!  Gah!  This route just kept going and going and going.  There were rolling hills from about miles 7 through 10 - we'd get through one and there was got a little rough for me around mile 8, and I took an extra walking break to get myself together.  I also had a little trouble getting my fuel in - things that worked during training just weren't going down for me.  I managed a GU around mile 3 and then finally another close to mile 9.  There was a candy station around mile 10 with gummi bears, M&M's and Skittles, but no way could I eat at that disappointed in myself.  Free candy, and I couldn't partake!

The race had a lot of great aid stations - I think 8 in total.  Lots of porta-potties along the route,  lots of funny and encouraging signs posted, and even a few cheer stations (one had dogs, of course that was my favorite).  The best thing for me was the ice-cold Gatorade - I had a few sips every at every other aid station and that really hit the spot.  The rest of the time I drank water from my handheld water bottle, refilling it when necessary.

Our finish time was 3:04 - I'd hoped to get in under three hours, but we had one potty break, a shoelace-tying break (not easy while wearing gloves) and I ended up doing a few extra walk intervals during the rolling hills miles.  Oh well. 

It wouldn't be a race recap without pictures, right?  And with the walking breaks, Jeff was able to get a few shots during the race, too.  Here goes:
Before the race - some of our USAFit peeps - not everyone managed to get in the picture. L to R:  Amy, Rebecca, Julia, me
Top pic:  Amy and I ARE running past the couple who were walking the entire course (and yes, they beat us...sigh).  Bottom left:  walking interval on the bypass, going up.  Bottom right:  my "I'm not liking this distance anymore" face.
After - VERY happy to be finished!  

After we crossed the finish line, we waited to watch another runner come in - we'd been playing hopscotch with her throughout the race, and at one point talked a bit.  This was her first half marathon - and she has also lost a lot of weight - 160 lbs so far, all by dieting and exercise.  Her in-laws were on the course the entire way - they had a red truck and every couple of miles, there they'd be, cheering Kelli on, and also the other runners near her.  It was so nice to keep seeing them, and at one point, toward the end of the race, one man in their group said to me "you are doing SO good, you're almost there" - it was just what I needed to hear, as I was feeling pretty beat at that point.
Kelli and I - her sweet husband gave her flowers at the finish line!

We made our way to where some of our USAFit peeps were hanging out, and Jeff relaxed in his usual manner.  Amy's younger daughter, who'd been running around, came up to our group, looked at Jeff and asked, "Is he dead?" - we all busted up at that.  Love little kids and their complete honesty!
Not dead, just working on his tan...
A rainbow of USAFit peeps!  Me, Jeff, Will, Julia, and Amy
My bib and medal!
Cleaned up afterward, wearing the race shirt - the colors don't come across in pictures very well, but it's a really pretty maroon heather.  Love it, and wore it with pride!


  1. 7 ... Wow that's great! Yes 13.1 is a lot of miles!!! Be proud.

  2. omgosh I CAN so see mine saying what AUDREY did!!

  3. Way to go Shelley!!!! You are my hero!! So proud of you! (and your hair looks great too!)

  4. WooHoo, high fives on the half marathon! I love that little girl's reaction. Way to go Kelli too! She has come so far.

  5. Awesome recap, Shelley, and even more awesome accomplishment!

  6. Yes, you crazy woman. 13.1 miles is a LONG LONG way! Its the distance from Pine Grove to Jackson. Its how far it was from Fremont to Hayward when I was a kid. That is just wonderful that you could keep going and going. That was so cool that you could encourage that Kelli. I guess she is not a blogger yet. Did you clue her in? LOL at Jeff and the little girl.

    I love your race recaps! And yes, you and your hair look gorgeous, as always.

  7. Yay!!!! This sounded like you were much more into it or secure with how you were going to do with this race as compared to the last one. Congrats on not being last!!

  8. Shelley we are so the same: my goal is the same. I don’t have to win but I don’t want to be last. Being last sucks.

    Overall it sounds like a great race with great service along the way and I think you did great. Congrats on finishing, so well done. And yes a half is a long way, not everyone can do it but you can.

    You did great my friend and now it’s “relaxing” time for you: nice “short” runs, give that body some rest with shorter distances.

    And isn’t it funny how we are doing races on the same day? First Sunday and now the one in April.

  9. Oh that was a fun read! And lots of fun photos.
    Only way those photos could have been improved
    is if Paco wormed his way into one; & I'll bet he
    truly was trying to figure out how to do that.

    The Audrey pics/feature=hilarious. (Isn't she adorbs)

    So cool that Kelli has lost so much, ran that race,
    & met you! Conrats, Kelli, way to go!

    I liked the pic with your friends & how great the colors
    look together.

    Wow, people beat you who were walking? How do they
    do that? Sheesh!

    Congratulations, Shelley!
    ps--my daughter is learning how to play the ukelele
    at school. :)

  10. It's good to have a goal and finishing NOT LAST is as a good a goal as any!! (that would be my goal too, btw!!)

    I'm so impressed with all your racing - for whatever reason I just have no desire to run at all. I hope that next year I'll be ready to run some races again - I miss it!

  11. Congrats on a great finish!

    1. Love that race shirt.
    2. Skittles? I've only seen that at one race before and I couldn't partake either. Too chewy. But, hit me with a Starburst from a random spectator (in West Virginia, I think) and I'll chew it!
    3. I was "defeated" by some run/walk interval runners at a half, where I ran the whole way. I'm a believer in your system, even though I still want to run.
    4. Love your capri skirt.
    5. S will lay down anywhere after a race too. Sleep even, if I am lingering too long. Men.

    So proud of you.

  12. Great recap!! You should take a picture of your medal rack now - it's probably really full now! :D

    Great job Shelley and Jeff!

  13. Way to go! I love that you and Jeff do these races together. It really is an added fun element when your spouse does things like this too. As long as you don't get competitive (i can get this way).

    You should wear your t-shirt with pride. Wear it every day for the next week, too, and show it off!

  14. WOOO HOOO! Love your race reports! And your determination to do the races!

    My goal....same as yours....I don't want to be the last one across the line!

  15. Congrats Shelley!!! You are just killing these races. (and I'll say it again, you are having fantastic hair these days!!)

  16. Is he dead...ha ha couldnt stop cute!

    Congrats on a great race Shelley!

    I went into my marathon thinking....just don't wanna be last and I wasn't but I was close and at that point in time it really didn't matter. I think as long as you set out to do what you came for (aside from any pain etc stopping you) then you have accomplished alot in my eyes.

    Wear that medal proud Shelley!! And congrats again!

  17. Wow, loved all the details and the pics, but gotta say the last picture was my favorite.

    If I looked that awesome in a race t-shirt I'd seriously think about entering something someday!

  18. Congrats; you sure did earn that t-shirt. And you weren't last! I totally understand that goal.

    Love all the pictures and camaraderie. Thank you again for sharing it with us!


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