It’s Us Against the Course – RNR Dallas 2017

And sometimes, the course wins.

One of the challenges of serial racing is dealing with the different weather conditions as you go between time zones in back to back weekends. The sub-freezing temperatures in DC gave way to a warm muggy weekend in Dallas. What a difference a week makes.

We skipped the 5K this year, again saving a little more on hotel and vacation time to build up for our 2018 schedule. We had some serious FOMO watching our friends post pics from the morning run around the park. Drew-Lyft give a quick recap on the ride in.

The expo was at the Convention Center as it has been for the last few years. Peanut was having a field day posing with the bulls outside. I think we’ll be bringing her along for the rest of the year. All we need is a way to take her on the course with us.

We met Joe on the way into bib pick-up (always great to see VIP Joe!). Tricia had another strong 5K showing, placing 4th in her age group. That BQ time is looking better every time we see her.

Marcey and Pete were joined by daughter Katie at the Sport Hooks booth. Katie and her sister Ashley manage the Kaktos Rose company, creating custom signage using the same technology as our medal hangers. I asked her to pick her favorite one for a Peanut Gallery picture just before she left for a wedding dress fitting. This is going to be an eventful year for the family.

We also connected with a new friend, Amy. She’s relatively new to the RNR circuit but is shooting for Hall of Fame this year. I asked her if she was doing Mexico City also, and she didn’t even know it was possible. After about 5 minutes of searching flights and thinking about hotel stays, she realized she didn’t have her passport. Otherwise, I’m sure she’d be on that plane after the half!

Meanwhile, veteran Black Sheep Runners Amy, Ainsley, Greg, Jamie and Mitchell came in later sporting their custom Tex2Mex shirts. Most of them did this double in 2016. It sounded like the flight times were a little better this year. The 2:30 departure out of Dallas would get them there a couple of hours before the Mexico City start time. Thanks to Amy, Greg and Mitchell for giving us the heads up on the United VIP for RNR SF. We signed up right away.

More pictures for the Peanut Gallery.

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Andreas is quickly getting back to peak race walking form and was scheduled to race at the USATF Pan Am qualifiers in Philadelphia the first weekend in April, then fly to Prague for another qualifying race. His estimated time based on his 5×2 mile training was a 1:24 20K. We’re trying to get to know enough about his product so we can cover the booth for him for lunch and bio breaks at future expos.


One of the nice things about being back at a location for multiple years is that you become an annual regular. We had dinner at Ravenna. Apparently we’re memorable because the owner recognized us. Hyalker brought Mae Bear along to take more travel pictures for his college friend’s daughter’s school project. Mae Bear is like a flat Stanley, only with button for eyes.

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Sunday, March 19th. Half Marathon
Given how it was in DC, I wasn’t about to complain about the temps in Dallas. We’ve had a few hot races in the last year, and at least this wasn’t a full. The corral 5 meet up had a few newcomers to the race circuit – Jen and Nalani’s brother Brandon. Note: Don’t let your sister customize your bib or she’ll take advantage of it. “First Half” indeed.

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Drew missed RNR DC to take care of his mom while she went into surgery. This was a good break for him and relatively close to home (it’s been a few weeks since then and he’s happy to report that she’s recovering well). For a few hours on Sunday, things were back to normal and he could just soak in the moment. This is something racing just does for people. Susan and I decided before the race to hang out with him (or more accurately, he was OK waiting for us).  Pictures are better with friends anyway.

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The course changed a bit from the previous years. Mile 9 had a slight change giving us a bit more elevation – last year‘s 216 ft elevation gain total, compared to this year‘s 292 ft. Add the humidity and the temps were a stark contrast (39 F in 2016, 66 in 2017).

Coming over the South Houston bridge, you can see the finish line area and hear the music, and for some reason this makes the long straightaway is deceptively long. Right about mile 12.75, Drew and I saw a woman lying on the sidewalk, feet up on the guard rails with her hand shielding her eyes telling another lady “I’m fine. I’m fine.”

Drew knew ‘this is code for I’m really NOT’ fine, but won’t admit it.’ We stop and go into Coach Mode. We have to.

It turns out Sarah is a registered nurse, doing her second half marathon (the first one was late last year). She pulled over after getting really dizzy, so we kept her talking, gave her some salt and helped her get to her feet slowly. The three of us start walking ahead. Her phone rings. It’s a friend of hers who was wondering where she was. I took the call to let her know that Sarah was on her way, but needed to concentrate. It took a good quarter-mile before she was able to start a slow jog, but by the time we hit the downhill for the last 100 yards, she was feeling much better. Drew and I ran her past the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, past an Ann high-five and past the finish line, right to the med tent to the friend who called her a few minutes earlier.


Sarah thanked us profusely, but honestly, this is something we (and a lot of runners) do without even thinking about it. We know how much work it takes to even get to the starting line so we get a lot of satisfaction and joy to make sure they cross the finish.

We came away from Dallas with the Lone Star Challenge Medal. A bunch of our friends (60+ in all) were off to the airport to Mexico City for the second installment of the Tex2Mex double-day. This year, CGI was helping with the logistics by getting the runners from the Mexico City airport to the starting line. Maybe we’ll get to that level of crazy again someday, but for now, we’re content to hit brunch in matching shirts.

I connected with Sarah after we got home and asked if I could write up our encounter. She was happy to serve as the ‘cautionary tale’ for others, but in reality, given the wrong conditions, what happened to her could happen to any of us. And if (and when) it does, we’d be out there hoping that someone would check to make sure we were OK to finish or at least had the proper care to get home safely. It’s us against the course, and sometimes, the course wins.

But not today.


Rock n Roll Dallas was run for the 8th time in 2017. There were 8,320 finishers in the half and 1,971 in the Remix 5K (compared to 9,559 and 2,009 in 2016). We’ve done Dallas four years in a row and are 99% sure we’ll be back in 2018. It looks like a safe location for RNR, especially after hearing that Vancouver and Queretaro were discontinued for 2017.

Downtown Dallas was a Gen2 Pokemon Go starter heaven. Nests dotted the parks between Commerce and Elm for Chikorita, Totodile and we caught an occasional Cyndaquil and Mareep. Gym battling is mid level with the entry-level around 2500 CP. GPS lock can be a bit sketchy, so patience or a hotspot can really pay off.

Dallas was our 94th Rock n Roll event and 122nd half marathon. At some point, we may celebrate another 25 race milestone, but I need to catch up on three more blogs before then :).


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