Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot race report

Posted on November 29th, 2009

2009 Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot, 37,000+

2009 Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot, 37,000+

Well, I wold have to say my first race was a success. I ran with close to 40,000 participants; 5,000 of them being timed runners. I was quite amazed at how so many people could be corralled right in front of City Hall in Downtown Dallas. The timed event was slated to begin at 9 a.m. sharp and the air horn sounded not one second later.  However, I was kind of irritated that there were numerous un-timed runners mixed in with the timed runners. I also initially started out lined up according to my expected pace of 9:15 (finishing time of 1:20) but as I scanned the crowed I realized nobody was actually lining up where they were supposed to, there were little kids with their parents and runners with their dogs (however I was passed around mile 4 by a woman with a stroller), so I pushed myself closer to the start gate and found a favorable spot in the sea of serious runners.

Texas, yes I used a cycling jersey to run in. I love having the back pockets to place my gloves and hat in when I shed them off.

Texas! Yes, I used a cycling jersey to run in. I love having the back pockets to place my gloves and hat in when I shed them off.

After the horn sounded the mob slowly began to move forward and I noticed the runners on the left side of the street median were moving faster, so I ran across the median and worked my way into the faster group.

Mile 1

The first mile was easy. My pace was 9:35, but I felt slower until I crossed the first mile marker and saw the time clock was under 10 minutes. I knew at that point I was already running faster than I thought I was. I was also surprised that I was passing a lot of people, but at the same time was getting passed a lot as well. It was difficult to work my way through the pack at times, but as faster runners passed me I would file in behind them and follow through the lanes they opened for me. This proved to be pretty efficient. As I neared the first turn I decided to join other runners that had jumped on a sidewalk to pass others in turn. I didn’t feel bad about this, as I read an article in Runners World that said the courses are measured by the shortest distance, so taking the corners only works to your advantage.

Mile 2

It was during mile two that I wasted half the raw energy drink I had made. I began to feel moisture seeping through my glove and when I looked down I saw my pants and glove were covered in the sticky sports dink mixture that contained dates. It was pretty gross, but I jut pressed on through. I had forgotten to push the cap down on the water bottle during the last drink I took. I learned my lesson on that one pretty quick. At this point I also felt slow. I had passed a little girl that couldn’t have been older than five or six and then moments later I found myself passing her AGAIN! At that point I decided I had to pick up the pace, and in doing so I finished that mile with a pace of 8:25.

Mile 3-4

Somewhere during mile three I began to think how in the world am I going to finish this eight mile course, much-less the 13.1 I have coming up in a couple weeks; so I slowed down the pace a bit so I could recover a bit. But I was going way faster than I had thought! I ended up with a 8:25 and 8:22 pace on those two miles. I had no idea how much adrenaline would play a part in the race. I had been told by other runners that it would, but I never would have thought I would feel slow when I was actually pacing faster than I normally run on shorter distances. As I neared the end of mile three I faced a short steep uphill and then a long steady uphill across the aqueduct that goes over the Trinity River. It was here I decided I would take the raw energy gel I had made. But to my dismay the gel wouldn’t come out of the flask. It was too thick, so I unscrewed the cap and scooped out what I could with my tongue and then continued pounding on. About half way through mile four I started experiencing a side stitch and groin pain, but managed to fight through it. It was only the side pain that would eventually leave me, the groin pain stayed with me the rest of the race.

Me, between mile four and five.

Me, between mile four and five.

Mile 5-6

Even though miles five and six were mostly downhill (after the long gradual uphill) I started feeling really slow, I was getting passed by racers left and right, but mostly left since I took the far right hand side of the road until I neared the turns towards the end of mile five. I thought I was surely losing a lot of time here. I had no idea I was still running pretty strong. I did slow down, but was pacing 9:13 and 9:20 respectively.  That is still faster than I typically run this distance in. Once I got to mile six the clock was broken so I really didn’t know how much time was lost, but this was only to my advantage as It helped motivate me to speed things up.

Mile 7-8

Miles 7-8 went by pretty fast, and I have Rage Against the Machine to partially thank for that. My two favorite songs to run to ended up playing back-to-back on my iPod, and that gave me that extra motivation to speed things up. At this point I began passing lots of people, even those that had previously passed me in miles five and six. Although I did not pass the one person that I wanted to pass. In mile four a woman pushing a baby in a stroller had passed me – THAT made me feel slow. I felt good thought that I had conserved enough energy to pound through the last two miles hard. This was exactly what I hoped I would do.

The start of mile seven was another long gradual uphill across the other side of the aqueduct, but ended in a long steady down hill to just before the finish line. According to my GPS data the last little stretch, that was entirely uphill to the finish line added about 1/10th of a mile to the eight I had already run. Even the route I had traced on Google Pedometer indicated the course was slightly over eight miles. I’m guessing they just wanted it to end right in front of City Hall. But, miles seven and eight ended with a pace of 8:08 and 8:01 – I had no idea I was flying so fast. The last little uphill push to the finish line clocked a pace of 6:54, which was even more of a shocker since it was a steep uphill.

The Finish Line

As I neared the finish line I saw the clock read around 1:10:15. I was stoked; I was going to be able cross the finish line in under 1:11:00, my goal was only 1:20:00, which would give me a pace of 9:15 (what I need to finish the White Rock Marathon Half in 2 hours). So, I kicked it into high gear hoping to cross the line before the clock passed the 1:11:00 mark, I didn’t quite make it, I crossed the line at 1:11:12, but it didn’t dawn on me until later that I actually had crossed the line in less than 1:11:00. My official chip time ended up being 1:10:10, with an average pace of around 8:40.

After I crossed the line I was in pain. The side stitch came back and the groin pain went through the roof. I just wanted to sit down right there, but knew I needed to find some water. As I looked around I didn’t see the water table in sight, but God was looking out for me. I looked down on the ground to see a full unopened water bottle. I quickly scooped it up and consumed the water fairly quickly as I sat at the finish line waiting for some friends to come across.

I am very pleased with how this race turned out. I only hope I can do this well in the Dallas White Rock Marathon in a couple weeks. I am currently recovering from a cold though (that developed the afternoon of the race) so have not been able to get any more runs in. I am hoping to be well enough tomorrow to start running again. I don’t think it’s likely I will get in a single 13 mile run before the race, but I have hit close to 12 already so I know I can finish. Just hoping I am able to finish strong!

Race Results

Chip Time: 1:10:10
Male Age 30-34: 153 out of 342
Overall: 1,618 out of 4,462 (timed runners)

RunKeeper Data

RunKeeper Data

Complete RunKeeper Data

Ready for the Turkey Trot

Posted on November 25th, 2009

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot 8 Mile Course Map - Click to enlarge

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot eight Mile Course Map - Click to enlarge

Wow, it really crept up on me! Tomorrow will be my first race ever. The Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot. This is also significant because I work for the YMCA and this will be my first time participating in the event. It dawned on me this morning that even though I updated the course map myself I didn’t really even know where the route went, so I decided to map it out on my own using Gmap, just for grins. I’m now very aware of the route in my mind and know where the half way point is. I already have the whole course visualized in my head aside from a couple unfamiliar streets.

Sticking to a completely raw diet these past couple days has been fairly easy. Although I did crave something cooked last night, I settled for raw falafel and warmed up the patties and the sprouted grain tortilla in the food dehydrator. After they warmed up I slapped a nice big romaine lettuce leaf in the center of the bread then slathered some raw tahini across it along with red onions, red peppers and the two remaining kalamata olives I had in the fridge. The wrap was quite delicious.  The falafel patties were bought from Whole Foods in Austin at the flagship store, that place is really something else. I hope to try and re-create these on my own seeing as how all the ingredients are listed right there for me.

Anyway, for the Trot I will be sporting my Texas cycling jersey. For two reasons: one, it’s just fun (and this entire event is fun), and two, I can carry my iPhone in the back pocket and remove my gloves during the run once I get warmed up. I really don’t know why running shirts don’t make use of a back pocket like cycling jerseys do. It makes a lot of sense to have them – but I don’t mind running in the jersey at all, even if I do look odd.

As for dinner tonight I have yet to decide what I will eat. I will probably do some research later today to figure out what foods will be best – something high in carbs for sure, but I’m not even sure what raw foods would provide me carbs. It will be a learning experience and I will likely share with you what I learn.

I also plan on making a raw energy gel and drink tonight for the run. I could likely do with just taking water from the aid stations, but I don’t want to have to stop at all. Running the full eight miles won’t be a problem for me at all. I have yet to try an energy gel during my runs, but I recently bought a gel flask from Luke’s Locker in Dallas. I’m excited to try out both the flask and the raw energy gel. Some of you runners may be freaking out over that – trying a new “product” on race day. But, this is raw food, I won’t be putting anything new or foreign into my body. The fuel will do nothing but help me.

As far as Turkey Day itself goes, this year will not be spent with my family; at least not my biological family. I will be volunteering with a local Church at a community Thanksgiving Dinner that is put on every year for the homeless and less fortunate families in the Denton community. I am excited about helping out. I will likely find myself on clean up duty since I won’t even be leaving Dallas until at least 10:30 a.m., and that is if I go straight to the car after crossing the finish line.

I am looking forward to the holiday break though. I desperately need the rest from work, but more importantly I think is emotional and spiritual rest. I’m glad I will finally have a weekend to just relax and possibly catch up on a few things as well. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Marathon training update and my raw food plan

Posted on November 24th, 2009

No smoothie Tuesday today, sorry peeps. Instead I bring you an update on my training for the Dallas White Rock Marathon – Half. First of all, I have to be honest. I have not been training as frequently as I should. A busy work schedule and climbing weekends have been getting in the way; not to mention injury recovery. I have been able to pick things back up again lately.

Last week my long run was 7 miles. I would have gone longer but I fell at mile 6 and busted up my hand – it was a bloody mess. A climbing trip that weekend prevented me from getting in anything longer. I did plan on running during the trip, but it was too wet and nasty, just didn’t want to deal with it. I have also had a four and three mile run in this past week, so I am getting more miles in now, which is good.

Last night I only rand an easy three miles, sans RunKeeper (an awesome running for the iPhone) and headphones, I don’t even have any idea how long it took me, just got out and enjoyed it. Now, I rest until the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot on Thursday. I will be running the 8-mile course, timed. Not only will this be my first Turkey Trot, but it will be my first race – and with 37K+ people at that!

I am excited about the race though, it’s sort of my prep race for the Dallas White Rock Marathon. I hope to have a pace of at least 9:15 or 9:30 for the Trot, seeing as how I will have to maintain a pace of 9:15 to complete the 13.1 in two hours. I think with the adrenaline flowing on race day I will be able to pull it off!

In terms of nutrition, I honestly haven’t been doing that well. I have allowed more and more processed snack foods to creep in as well as fast food. I am still maintaining a “high raw” diet, but even that has slipped a bit; however, I am getting back on the horse this week. From today until the race I will be maintaining a 100% raw diet (not counting the coffee I indulged this morning – can you blame me I was up until 1:30 a.m. at the Neko Case show in Dallas). I am 100% positive I will perform better if I do. I plan on eating 100% raw at least three days before the White Rock as well.

Currently my goal is to finish The White Rock Marathon – half in two hours. At first I thought it seemed very feasible, but I am starting to have my doubts, especially since I slacked some on training. I should at least be able to make 2:15, but I have heard that once the adrenaline kicks in you will be faster, so I may end up meeting my two-hour goal. I now have just over two weeks to finish training and I will have to build in at least three recovery days before the run. So, really that leaves me with just over a week and a half to train and that includes one race in-between!

I am excited though, no matter how hard I run. I have no doubt I will finish, unless some unforeseen circumstance prevents me from finishing. I will be starting the run with another one of my climbing friends, but she plans on running a slower pace, so we likely won’t be together that long. But on the plus side, I will have a group of people to enjoy a post race meal with. I just may have to wait a few minutes for them at the finish line. :)

I am going to make an effort to take lots of photos of both the Turkey Trot and the White Rock on my iPhone. So, hopefully I come out with some decent stuff. I would bring my big rig, but somehow I don’t think running with a five pound camera will be a good idea. I will post whatever photos I get though.

p.s. please excuse any errors in this post, I did not have time to proof it.

Mango – Grape Collision

Posted on November 17th, 2009

First off, I apologize for not having a picture for this entry. I was all ready to take the photo last night and the battery went dead on my camera, and I wasn’t about to sit around and wait for a battery charge to drink my smoothie. So, you will have to do without a photo. :)

After my evening run last night I was really wanting something different than my typical berry smoothie, so I popped my head into the freezer to see what fruit I had. The first thing I saw was a huge bag of large purple grapes! The grapes were not mine though, however, my roommate allowed me to take some of them. So, I filled my Vita-Mix blender container with grapes, mango and a banana. I almost always put a banana in my smoothies to smooth out the flavor, I really think they help balance out all the flavors.

I also added a dash of vanilla extract and some almond butter for extra flavor. I even added a table spoon of greens powder, but feel free to use fresh greens  (actually preferred) and a few table spoons of hemp seed protein powered to help with muscle recovery from my run. I didn’t take any measurements this time though, but had about twice as many grapes (if not more) than I did mangoes*, so just add to your liking.
*these were diced frozen mangoes

The Recipe

  • grapes
  • mangoes
  • 1 banana
  • 1 dash of vanilla extract
  • t tbsp of almond butter
  • 1 tbsp of greens powder (or fresh greens)
  • 4 tbsp of hemp seed protein (option, but good source of protein and helps in muscle recovery)

Directions: As always, throw em in and blend!

Raw BBQ Tacos with Portabella Mushrooms

Posted on November 16th, 2009
Raw bbq portabella mushroom tacos. YUM!

Raw bbq portabella mushroom tacos. YUM!

This has become one of my favorite raw recipes. It is in fact, my go-to recipe when crunched for time. These tacos are super easy to make and don’t require much prep time at all, especially if you already have the bbq sauce pre-made. With such a succulent flavor, you will be making this tacos again and again.

To make these tacos, simply take two leafs of romaine lettuce and drizzle raw tahini and raw bbq sauce down the center of the leaf, secondly add slice portabella mushrooms, onion strings, kalamata olives and any other desired topping. Then wrap up your taco and enjoy!

The bbq sauce comes from Rawdawg Rory’s web site and his recipe for a “Portabella Burger.” Here is my slightly modified version of the recipe.

BBQ Sauce Recipe

  • 1/2 cup of tomatoes
  • 3 sun dried tomatoes
  • 3 medjool dates pitted
  • 1/4 clove of garlic minced (or one small clove)
  • 1/2 tbsp of stone ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 1/3 tbsp of onion granules
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or food processor. If you are interested in purchasing a Vita-Mix you can get free shipping through my site, there are also special holiday promotions going on right now.

Raw bbq portabella mushroom tacos. Notice the succulent texture of the bbq sauce?

Raw bbq portabella mushroom tacos. Notice the succulent texture of the bbq sauce?

Some of you may be wondering where I get raw tahini. There is a local “whole foods” type store that I usually get it from. I was also able to order it from another vitamin-organic foods store when my usual source did not carry it. The product is made by Artisana.

Redneck Rental – Arkansas Climbing

Posted on November 12th, 2009

Gary on Warm Up Burn

Gary on Warm Up Burn

This past weekend was perhaps one of the most “forgetful” trips I have ever had. I packed in a hurry, boasting to myself how great I had become at packing; but the day I left and all throughout the trip I kept remembering things I had forgotten. One of those things being my sleeping bag. So, rather than making the journey back home during my work day I decided to just swing by Wal-Mart on my lunch break and pick up a cheap sleeping bag. My plan was, and still remains to return the bag from whence it came, thus “Redneck Rental”. The name also will grace the name of a climb I established (5.10 direct start, 5.8 alternate start) out there this weekend. It awaits an FA (First Ascent) when I return in the Spring.

It was a beautiful weekend for climbing out in Arkansas. Three new climbs were established, two of the ground up FA’s. I seconded on both climbs. Another previously established climb received an FA as well. Gary lead, I followed.  Warm Up Burn (5.9) mixed trad-sport pictured above (and below) unfortunately did not receive a clean ascent this weekend. It remains open for our rag tag bunch of climbers to send this coming Spring.

It was a beautiful weekend for climbing, the temperature was perfect! The only thing I could have asked for better was full color on the trees, but unfortunately the leaves dropped the week before we were there. Two weeks prior to that when we were there the leaves were about at 20% color. It’s amazing how fast the colors turn and fall away. Sadly though this was our last weekend at our little secret stash until next Spring. I’m looking forward to some more Texas and Okahoma climbing though. I’m starting to miss it.

In other climbing news, I recently found out my “local” crag may be re-opening in the near future. Paradise on the Brazos is just over an hour from my front porch, making day trips a breeze. As of now it looks like things will go through. I am really excited about this because it means I will be able to get a lot more climbing in and still be able to be home some during the weekend.

Ellile on Warm up Burn

Ellie on Warm up Burn

Smoothie Tuesday – Pomegranate Blast

Posted on November 10th, 2009
Pomegranate Blast - Where Raspberries, Strawberries and POM's collide!

Pomegranate Blast - Where Raspberries, Strawberries and POM's collide!

Wow, busy has been the name of the game lately. I have been out of town quite a bit lately, and this week has been full of all day trainings at work and will continue on through Friday. I have even fallen behind on my training for the White Rock Half Marathon. I was planning on running this evening, but due to the all day training I had to stay at work a couple hours late to get some actual work done. However, despite the craziness I managed to create a smoothie for you just before heading out to climb in Arkansas this past weekend.

Today, I bring you Pomegranate Blast! This smoothie is 100% fruit, no greens, no protein powder, agave nectar or nut butter. Greens are always optional though, they won’t subtract too much from the flavor.

The Recipe

  • 1 pomegranate (seeds and juice from)
  • 1/3 cup of raspberries
  • 1/3 cup of strawberries
  • 1 banana

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in to your blender and blend! A high-speed blender such as a Vita-Mix works best, as it will pulverize more of the pom seeds.

Also, on another note I will have a couple photos posted soon from last weekends trip to Arkansas. I hope to make that a promise, especially seeing how I only posted once in this past week. Even though this week is looking very busy I hop to get a post up by Thursday at the latest.

Smoothie Tuesday – Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Posted on November 4th, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

*Sigh* This week has been so crazy, and I almost didn’t get this post up here tonight, and to top it all off my iPhone broke today. I had forgot my ID to get into the UNT Gym where I was going to climb at the wall and then run a few miles on the track, so I decided to just go on a run and leave from my car. When I got back I placed my phone on top of my car and stretched. To make a long story short, the phone slid off the car leaving the parking lot and is now broken. The only good thing about this is I am eligible for an early upgrade so won’t have to spend $500 for a new phone. Still, $200 is more than I want to pay.

Ok, on with the recipe. During the winter time pumpkin spice is one of my favorite flavors.  This smoothie features the smooth flavors of cacao, banana and pumpkin spice. This one has been added to my favorite smoothie list. Without further or do, I present you the recipe.

The Recipe

  • 2 bananas
  • 2 TBSP of honey
  • 2 TBSP of almond butter
  • 2 TBSP of cacao
  • 1 TBSP of pumpkin spice (or more if you prefer, but not much is needed)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 6 cubes of ice
  • 1 hand full of greens

This will yield about 2 cups worth, but I’m usually quite the hungry guy so I can easily guzzle back this entire smoothie.


Remember, if you are interested in purchasing a Vita-Mix blender you can receive free shipping by using the link above. That is a $25 discount. The purchase also helps me out!