This weekend I hopped on a plane to spend the weekend in Dallas with my BFF, Mary Beth!
That’s not MB. It’s her oldest daughter, Whitley. For the record, Whit asked me to cover her face like that. The sun was in her eyes.
Even though time together is fun enough on its own, we also participated in a race. Mary Beth and her girlfriends have been running together for months leading up to the Skyline Half. They picked an awesome race: the course runs along the trinity river right below the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Race morning was an early one full of nerves and multiple trips to the port-o-potty. 10 minutes to 8:00 am we lined up. The sun had risen, the view of the city was unbeatable, and we were ready. Go time!
The race offered a half, 10k, and 5k option. The plan was to run the half. Mary Beth wanted to take it steady. The other girls decided to stick together, running a pace that felt right for them. They were ahead of us almost right from the start, but they were never too far ahead of us.
- Mile 1: 12:14
- Mile 2: 12:01
The first mile wove under the bridge, up and over, then back down below it again on the Trinity River Trail. I kept my eye on my Garmin. MB and I had discussed goal paces, so I aimed to keep us on track. More importantly, though, she wanted to feel good. Seems like a good goal to me! Immediately I felt the humidity. This desert living has made me weak to moisture in the air! I know the other girls didn’t love the weather either. They’ve been getting up at 4 am (!) for their training runs and are usually done before the sun.
I think it was around mile 2 that Mary Beth started to feel a not nice feeling in her knee. She’s had issues with it before, but I also know that she felt great on her 10 mile training run. Between then and race day her knee had revolted. She spent a few days at work not able to bend her knee at all. Even though she was feeling mostly good on Saturday, she wanted to be cautious.
- Mile 3: 13:05
- Mile 4: 14:10
We switched to the run/walk method during mile 3. Mary Beth was still feeling determined. Her lungs were good, she wasn’t tired. It was just the dang knee. I tried my best to find some encouraging words to keep her going and chatted away to keep her distracted.
I wasn’t sure how I’d like the course, but I ended up loving it!
The course map. I looked at this dang thing so many times on race day trying to decipher it!
The Trinity River Trail is clean and paved. It winds this way and that along the river. The double out and back makes it so you can almost always see fellow runners. At one point I exclaimed, “The day the Lord has made!” It felt amazing to be in Dallas, to be running, to be with friends. The highlight for me was the unbeatable view of the skyline for the entire race. (It’s aptly named!)
- Mile 5: 16:55
- Mile 6: 18:04
- Last .32: 18:19 pace
At this point, Mary Beth’s knee was giving her a heck of a time. There was no way she could go 13.1 miles without needlessly injuring herself. We decided to walk to the 10k point and stop there. It’s a tough call to make (especially when you feel healthy and strong in every other capacity!), but I know it was the right one. She was understandably disappointed. I was disappointed on her behalf. It was no skin off my nose, though. I had no goals or expectations other than to spend time with my friend. Mission accomplished! In fact, I think the last few miles were the most enjoyable because the pressure to try to power through and the agony of deciding what to do were behind us. We could just walk and talk and enjoy.
During the final mile, we were approaching a race photographer when a car came up next to us. It was Mary Beth’s husband! Perfect timing! I know I smiled that whole last mile. After finishing, we waited for the other two ladies, Lace and Katy. Family members and little kids kept us entertained as we hung around under the bridge near the finish line.
- 6.32 mile finish time: 1:32:22
- Average pace: 14:36
Lace and Katy both had strong finishes! Lace ran the last .1 with her sweet daughter (who I think is just four years old). Mary Beth jumped back on the course, running hand-in-hand with Katy to the finish. That moment really got to me. I know that Katy was tired and hurting and frustrated, and I felt inspired seeing her push through and touched that MB knew exactly what she needed in that moment. The power of friendship, the beauty of running.
Me, MB, Katy, Lace.
I don’t think it was the race any of us had been expecting, but it was fantastic nonetheless. I’m really proud of these women. Lace and Katy are now first-time half marathoners, Mary Beth ran a smart race, and I just had a damn good time. I so glad they let me join their posse for the day.
We said our goodbyes, and I left with my mom. She and her boyfriend took me to lunch and spent the afternoon hanging out with me. (I even got to use my mom’s shower. Clutch!) It felt fabulous to sit on my mom’s comfy couch and just be. All too soon, it was time for me to head back to the airport. I love the sweetness of visiting, but this particular visit was way too short! The running bug has definitely bit. I’m already looking up El Paso races later this month and preparing for the official start of marathon training!