That Trip to Dallas

Yes, I’m well aware I was in Houston this weekend. And no, the post title does not have a typo in it. While I was cleaning up the photos in G+ (I was almost out of space in Google Drive – did you know that’s a thing? Apparently I take a lot of photos…), a few popped up from our trip to Dallas back in October. That trip where I flew my father out to Texas to take him to a Jason Aldean concert and then an obnoxious thunderstorm blew in, forcing Jason Aldean to cancel. Yes, that trip. Please step into my time machine…

On Friday afternoon we scooped my father up from DFW and made our way to downtown Dallas. I had booked us a room at a Springhill Suites which was only a couple blocks from the West End DART station. This worked out perfectly since we’d be drinking most of the weekend and could leave the driving up to the public transit operators. Austin, take note. Get us a legit rail system. We opted to check out Pat Green’s new restaurant, The Rustic, in Uptown. The beer selection is pretty stellar (and local!) so make sure to sample a few brews from their lengthy list of pints and bottles.

Beer at the Rustic

If you don’t mind smelling like a campfire when you leave the restaurant, then you definitely need to enjoy their outdoor patio. It’s first come, first serve so that made snagging a seat a little difficult at 7:30 on Friday night, especially with a 2-hour wait inside. Brad was on top of his game though and after circling the patio 3 times or so, we were able to find a seat in about 15 minutes. The band was great and not too loud, so we were still able to chit-chat at the table without yelling.

The Rustic - Backyard

source

Obviously it was pretty dark outside so I’ll spare you the sub-par food photos. My recommendation: order a Lakewood Rock Ryder and the Rustic Burger (hello, it has brisket & green chiles on it), you won’t be disappointed with either.

Saturday morning we took advantage of the free hot breakfast the hotel provided and then relaxed in the room for a bit. We hit Hopdoddy for lunch and then spent a couple hours at Targetmaster in Garland. Nothing screams father-daughter bonding experience more than unloading a few rounds at the shooting range. Afterwards we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I was in full-on weather stalking mode because there was a giant patch of thunderstorms just west of Dallas making its way towards us and the concert was at an outdoor venue.

Dinner was at Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum. This is where I fell in love with burrata for the first time and now can’t leave Trader Joe’s without buying a package of it. I initially ordered the regular caprese, but it was seasonal and just my luck – not available. It was obviously fate for burrata and I to meet that night. None of us were really starving so we shared a couple appetizers and then a pizza: the Delia. It had house-made mozzarella, roasted grape tomatoes, arugula, and spicy bacon marmalade. And it was delicious.

Cane Rosso - Delia

I was still monitoring the radar and it looked like the storm had somehow went around Dallas and it was showing up on the east side of the city. Knowing it was probably too good to be true, we didn’t get our hopes up. But the sun was still shining so we hopped on the DART train and headed to Fair Park for the concert.

In fall 2012 I had signed up for Jason Aldean’s fan club to get pre-sale tickets for a show in San Diego. Luckily my membership was still active when it came time to buy tickets for the Dallas show and pre-sale access landed us PIT TICKETS. As in, so close to the stage that you could touch the performer if you wanted to (and weren’t concerned about getting arrested).

IMG_20131026_192000_004

Thomas Rhett was the opener and surprisingly put on a great performance. He played a handful of songs from his upcoming album and this one made its way on to my current running playlist. He had a short set but got everyone really pumped up for the rest of the show.

Thomas Rhett - Gexa Energy Pavilion

Jake Owen played next and he bounced around, covering every single inch of the stage. That man was full of energy! I wasn’t expecting to like him live as much as I did. His set was a bit longer than Thomas Rhett’s and had everyone singing along at the top of their lungs. Eight Second Ride is my favorite song from him and I was stoked he closed with it.

Jake Owen - Gexa Energy Pavilion

Jake Owen - Gexa Energy Pavilion 2

At some point during his set, it started raining. The people on the lawn didn’t seem to be fazed one bit because it was still jam packed out there. Towards the end of the set, I caught a few glimpses of lightning. And then once the music went away, we heard the thunder. After about 20 minutes there was an announcement over the loudspeaker saying Jason Aldean would be delayed and those on the lawn were encouraged to head back to their cars until the storm passed.

Except that storm was so huge, it wasn’t going anywhere. After another 20 minutes, the show was cancelled. I know it was a safety issue and the right decision, but it was still disappointing. Those are the risks you take with buying tickets to a concert at an outdoor venue. The next morning I had an email from Ticketmaster letting me know I’d be receiving a full refund for the tickets since the show was cancelled, which was definitely an unexpected surprise.

Our final meal came Sunday morning at Smoke and I cannot explain to you how damn delicious it was. I declared the pancakes were life-changing and absolutely meant it. Heavy handed blueberry pancakes with vanilla poached apricots – you complete me.

 source

The bloody mary I ordered wasn’t nearly as amazing as Frank’s (hard to top a drink made with bacon-infused vodka) but the real star of the photo below was the bacon. More specifically, pork belly bacon. We were so full from each of our own meals that the three of us were struggling to finish the two thick-cut slabs of bacon. Brad carried the rest of it out of the restaurant with him because he refused to waste it. Something about starving children in Africa.

Smoke - Pork Belly Bacon

After brunch we killed some time perusing the CD sale racks (scored a few albums for $4.99!) in Best Buy and then headed back to DFW to drop my dad off for his flight. Sad face.

Despite the concert cancellation, it was a super fun weekend! We had a great time showing my dad around Dallas and doing Texas-y things like drinkin’ beer, shootin’ guns and rockin’ out to country music.

texas shaped waffle

Oh, and eating Texas-shaped waffles. That happened too.

2011 Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon Race Recap

I felt less prepared for this race than I have for any other one I have done. I only laced up my sneakers once since the Austin half on 2/20 – and it was for a 5k. I wasn’t running, I never went to the gym, I was incredibly stressed, and as a result of the stress, I wasn’t eating as well or as much as I should.

Generally as a rule of thumb, I avoid alcohol the day before a race. But as I mentioned yesterday, I indulged in a mid-afternoon margarita. I also like to get to bed around 9:30 or 10. Saturday night I was up until 12:30. I usually hydrate like a crazy person the day before a race – on Saturday I had coffee, a small glass of water, half a glass of iced tea, and a margarita. Hydration FAIL.

margarita

On four hours of sleep, Megan and I began getting ready for the race. PB&Js (strayed from my PB & Banana!) were consumed, water was downed, and I took a couple Tylenol for my aching back that had been bugging me since Thursday. On race mornings, okay every morning, it’s a necessity to start my day with a cup of coffee and Sunday was no exception. We stopped quickly at a 7-11 and then we were on our way to Fair Park to catch the shuttle to the start.

This is where the morning began to get a little stressful. I’ll let our tweets explain the situation:

image

We FINALLY made it to the start line and met up with Marci & Suzanne.

dallas

dallas-2

It was now just after 6am, so we had a little under 2 hours until the race started, plus an additional 20 minutes due to the wave start. We huddled together to keep warm (it was 48 degrees!), tweeted to kill time, and had a few fellow runners take photos of us in our tutus.

tutu-1

This person clearly didn’t get the memo that we were trying to get a picture of the tutus too… and it didn’t help that I’m a midget.

tutu-3

There they are!

This is the first race I haven’t brought my camera with me, and I have to say, it was nice not to have it in my hand the whole time. I did, however, bring my own water bottle (½ water, ½ Gatorade) again. It worked so well for me in Austin, and the annoyance of carrying it the whole time was outweighed by the fact I would be able to avoid the stress and congestion of the water stops.

image

The course was awesome. Megan had told me to save some energy for miles 5 through 9 since that was where the hills were. I didn’t dread them that much since I have a whole new appreciation for hills after the mountains I climbed in Austin. It made the course slightly challenging, but it was welcomed – it kept things interesting. The spectators loved the tutu, everyone was yelling to me and smiling.

Miles 1-4: 10:38, 11:20, 11:11, 11:36

I went out a little too fast, but I couldn’t help it – I was feeling great!

Miles 5-9: 12:00, 12:44, 12:16, 12:54, 12:14

Then came the hills. I slowed my pace down to power through them. I have to say, the amount of time I put into tweaking my playlist really ended up paying off. I remember bouncing around to Shots (LMFAO/Lil Jon) and Stand Up (Ludacris) on mile 9, and it helped keep my mind focused on something other than the hills.

Miles 10-13.1: 11:55, 13:06, 12:19, 12:20, 2.03

Mile 11 is when I hit the wall a little bit, and it pissed me off because it was downhill. I was sick of carrying my water bottle, it started misting a little, I hit a string of songs on my playlist that just weren’t pumping me up, and I was just drained. Once I saw the mile 12 marker I ate two shot bloks and tossed my water bottle into a trash can – it was time to MOVE!

image

I spent a lot of the last mile checking my Garmin like a maniac, calculating how much time I could take off my PR. Obsessed much? I think it helped me to really push through.

I crossed the finish line with a brand new PR: 2:38:49, 9 minutes faster than San Antonio.

image

To say I was excited is an understatement. My last three half times were 2:47, 2:48, 2:48. It felt AMAZING to finally break 2:40. Tequila, no training OUA(L) style, four hours of sleep, PB&J, and a hot pink tutu = PR material? Who woulda thought?! I tweeted to Sarah after the race that I thought about her while I was running. She had a less than lengthy training schedule for her last marathon and she killed it, even in a monsoon. Seriously a rockstar. I kept thinking that if she could PR, so could I – and I did!

fair-park

Once I crossed the finish line I decided to bypass the photo with my medal and head straight for a banana and orange slices. I was FREEZING, but just my luck, they ran out of mylar blankets. Megan had went back out on the course to run the final miles of the race with her parents, so the only logical thing to do while I was waiting was to go here:

mgd

Ah yes, free beer. MGD 64 isn’t exactly my first choice, but it was free and I needed a delicious adult beverage to celebrate my new PR. I did a few laps around the parking lot to keep my legs loose, and then watched Bret Michaels rock out on stage for a bit.

show

show2

I met up with Megan about an hour later and grabbed a quick lunch before going back to her apartment. I packed up my stuff and it was time to hit the road L So sad, I had such a great weekend with her, she’s such a sweetheart! The ride home took longer than expected due to an accident that shut down both lanes of the highway, but I spent 2 ½ hours of it on the phone with Carly so the time flew by. Surprisingly after four hours in the car, my legs didn’t hurt AT ALL. I unpacked a little bit, and even managed to cook dinner. Amazing. The next morning though? I woke up feeling like I was 90 years old. It seriously took about 15 minutes to muster up the energy to climb out of bed.

Overall, I really loved the Rock n Roll Dallas ½. The weather (aside from the misting)/temps were perfect, the course was great, AND I PRed! I would definitely consider running it again next year.

tutu-2

The tutu gave me wings.

Rock n Roll Dallas 1/2 Marathon Expo

Friday night after work I headed up to Dallas to spend the weekend at Megan’s. We grabbed a quick dinner at Ozona’s, and then went back to her apartment for wine, dessert, and a movie.

Saturday morning we hit the Corner Bakery for breakfast (AMAZING french toast), and made our way to the Mockingbird Station to take the DART to the expo. Easier said than done.

We assumed the ticket machine would take credit cards, but unfortunately it did not. It is 2011, right? We quickly found an ATM, but it’s card reader wasn’t a fan of Megan’s debit card. I gave mine a shot, and thankfully it worked. I fed the ticket machine a twenty dollar bill, for a four dollar fare, and wondered how I would get change back. While I was looking for a slot for bills to come out of, I heard *cling cling cling cling* coming from below. The machine was dispensing my change in COINS! After realizing they were dollar coins rather than quarters we were slightly relieved. But still…

IMG_0366

 

image

The race expo was only a short DART ride away.

IMG_0348

IMG_0349

If you’ve seen one Rock n Roll expo, you’ve seen ‘em all. The setup was nearly identical to San Antonio.

IMG_0359

IMG_0361

However, I have to say, the expo kind of sucked. I was blown away by San Antonio and the amount of vendor booths they had set up. The Dallas expo was much, much smaller and was missing staples such as Cascadian Farms and SoyJoy. We were pretty disappointed.

IMG_0354IMG_0356IMG_0357IMG_0358IMG_0352IMG_0353

Of course, this did NOT stop me from spending money there. First up, I registered for a race!

IMG_0380

The $15 discount enticed me, so I added Rock n Roll San Antonio to my race calendar in the fall.

SkinnyRunner discussed compression on her blog awhile ago, and mentioned that she felt CEP compression sleeves were tighter than Zensah’s. I decided to give them a shot, even though they were out of my size in black. Boooo. I bought the white ones instead.

Mission Skincare had a booth table set up, and their products were buy 2, get one free. I picked up the Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30 Sunscreen, Maximum Strength Muscle Rub, and High Performance Anti-Friction Cream. So far I’ve only tested out the Anti-Friction cream, and it worked really well!

IMG_0387

I noticed at the Austin Marathon expo that iFitness made the pouches on their belts slightly larger than the previous ones. Bummer, since I own one of the older ones and my phone won’t fit in it. After lingering around their booth for a good twenty minutes, I took the plunge: I bought a new belt. I really wanted their new hydration belt, but of course, they were sold out.

IMG_0389

This one has one large pouch, with an inner pocket to hold your ID/credit card/cash, and then gel holders on either side of the pouch. There are also toggles to hold your race bib. I raced in it on Sunday, and I loved it! Just like my other belt, it was super comfortable and didn’t bounce around at all. Since I was able to carry my phone with me, I didn’t have to mess with gear check which is a HUGE bonus in my book.

After I nearly emptied my bank account, Megan and I had our gait analyzed, and then decided to head to Margarita Ranch for (what else?) margaritas and lunch.

IMG_0364

Our race packets…stuffed with TUTUS!!

IMG_0365

Further compounding my disappointment with the expo, the packet was less than impressive. Really the only thing of use to me in there was my race bib, and the opportunity to try Gu Chomps. Everything else? Crap.

IMG_0379

The race shirt:

IMG_0381

IMG_0383

I really liked the design of the tech shirt, but not a fan of it being white.

Overall, Megan and I had a great time on Saturday. Full race recap to come tomorrow!

Running in Costume

I mentioned my upcoming running hiatus last week, and I’m already getting antsy. The Upcoming Races page is ridiculously barren, and I am not a fan. I know I can’t expect to run a race every single month, but I like to have something to look forward to in the future. Medals to dream about, chances to chase PRs, and the addition of new race shirts to add to my ever-growing collection of gym attire.




But let’s be serious. There’s a chance if I don’t take this break, I could potentially hurt myself past recovery and be forced to drop out of Marine Corps training. And that is something I do NOT want to happen. So I’ve gotta suck it up. I need to embrace the non-running lifestyle I’m about to embark on.

March 28th marks the beginning of my journey, but first I have one more race to take care of: the Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon. This is the final race in my attempt at 3 half marathons in 90 days to become a “Half Fanatic”. At least I’ll be breaking up with running on a positive note!

Another interesting tidbit about RnR Dallas: I’ll be running the race in a tutu! Yes, a tutu. I am not a girly-girl by any means, and I’ve never worn (or even thought about wearing) a tutu in my entire life. Shortly after RnR San Antonio in November, Megan, Marci & I began discussing running Dallas together. I’m not sure exactly what the chain of events were that led up to this decision, but now all three of us will be rocking tutus for 13.1 miles on Sunday!

Have you ever ran a race in a tutu or other type of costume? Was it fun or did it get frustrating after awhile?

Race Fanatic

Now, if you have been reading for awhile, you know I already have two races coming up in the next two months. With the Rock n Roll Dallas 1/2, that means I am shooting to run three (3) 1/2 marathons in 90 days. If I can successfully complete the challenge, I will be considered a Half Fanatic. Are you a Half Fanatic? Check out the criteria to see if you qualify! It’s not quite a Marathon Maniac, but baby steps. I have to actually RUN A MARATHON before achieving Maniac status.

Which brings me to my next piece of news: I have finally decided on what marathon I will be running in 2011.

My original plan to run San Diego was foiled when we were invited to a wedding in March in Florida. Those two vacations would be too close together, so I scratched San Diego. I switched my focus to NYC, but I didn’t want to have to rely on getting in through the lottery (and I’m terrible at fundraising), so I scratched that idea. I could do the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio full … but in case you missed the memo – Carly is moving to Austin, so we’ll be running the half together. After much research and deliberation, I decided on MCM. My family would be able to come and see me race for the first time EVER, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about that marathon. Registration opens February 23rd, and I can’t wait!

What marathons (half or full) are you planning on running this year?