Dallas White Rock Marathon – December 9, 2001

I arrived in Dallas for the White Rock Marathon about 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. I headed directly for the Runners' Expo at the Dallas Convention Center to pick up my packet. At the expo, I recognized a couple of running celebrities and seized the opportunity to chat with Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. (After reading the book "Pre" and seeing movies like "Without Limits" and "Prefontaine", it was a thrill to get to talk with Frank.)

On Sunday morning, the weather was perfect! Sunny skies and 36 degrees at the gun. I thought I was really ready for this race. Felt like I was running as good as I had been all year. I believed I could reasonably shoot for a 3:10 since my last one at St. Louis in October was a 3:21, and I PRed in September at Quad-cities with a 3:15. However, it was not to be.

I met up with TJ from the Runner's World Forum shortly after the halfway split. I was running a little slow (1:35) but I had been holding back, hoping for a negative split. TJ and I ran for a couple of miles together. Later, I was on my own during the 5 miles on the backside of the lake.

Then it happened. My groin muscles began to tighten up, so I had to reduce my stride. Everything else felt great. I know my VO2 was no where near maxed out. But, everytime I tried to pick up the pace, they would tighten up.

TJ ran with me from about mile 19 to 22. I told him to go on, that I needed to hold back.

The long and the short of it -- I finished (according to gun time) in 3:25:31. Not my best, by far, not my worst.

Lessons learned -

1) For me, five marathons (since May 6, 2001) is too many. I would rather improve than diminish regarding my marathon times.

2) I need to do more stretching, weight training, and cross-training this next year. My groin muscles have never tightened up like that before, and I hope to prevent that ever happening again.

Goals Met -

1) Boston qualified for the 5th straight time this year.

2) Beat my Y2000 White Rock time by over 3 minutes.

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