This weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Dallas for the BMW Dallas half marathon. I was excited about this weekend for two reasons. The first was that UCAN was the official pre and post race nutrition sponsor. The second was that I won the BMW Dallas half marathon in 2016.
I arrived in Dallas on Friday morning and headed straight to the UCAN booth at the Dallas Marathon expo. They had a seriously sweet setup! They were close to the participant signature wall and in a central location. They also had two huge UCAN 13.1 and UCAN 26.2 signs to take pictures by. The signs were a hit and I’m pretty sure some selfie taking records were broken there throughout the weekend (#guilty).
I left the expo early on Friday to squeeze a rainy run in on the Katy Trail. Afterwards, I met the UCAN team for dinner close to my hotel. Now, when I think about dinner with my bosses I immediately get nervous. I worry everything is going to be formal and the conversation will be unnatural and forced. This was definitely not the case with the UCAN crew. I was the only athlete present and they made me feel right at home. We talked about everything from the Harry Potter sorting hat to what makes a good margarita. I really enjoyed my time, and this dinner alone further solidified my trust in and love for the company.
After dinner I went to bed by a solid 9 PM. The next morning I met Anita, her coach, and Cheryl for a run before the UCAN nutrition talk at 11:30. The nutrition talk ended up being so much fun! We covered everything from fueling with UCAN to how we got started in the sport. It was an engaging and informative way to get to know a few more of my UCAN teammates.
After the nutrition talk, I spent the rest of the day getting ready for the half. I took a significant amount of time off from running in September, so I was using this race as a workout instead of an actual race.
The goal of the half was to go out at a conservative pace and then after three miles break the race into three 20 minute blocks with a 4 minute float in between blocks. The first 20 minute block would be only a touch faster than the pace I ran for the first three miles, the second block a touch faster than the first 20 minute block, and the third 20 minute block would be picking my pace up every five minutes. The 4 minute floats in between blocks were simply 20-30 seconds slower than the pace I was running previously.
When it was finally “race” day I felt ready to go. I took the first three miles out easy and executed the race as planned. I finished feeling extremely comfortable and like I could have kept running. My official place was 2nd and my time was 1:16.38.
I couldn’t believe it. Two years ago I ran 1:19.10 on the same course as an all out race (vomiting included). This year I ran almost two minutes faster and as a workout. I finished with so much more in the tank, and I crossed the line smiling.
I know I always talk about this, but hard work does pay off. The slogan to this site is “a little progress each day adds up to big results” and I truly believe that. It took two years of really hard work and believing in myself to the point where it seemed insane, but I kept grinding. I know I’m not where I want to be yet, but it’s days like this that make me realize that I’ve come a long way.
Of course I wasn’t the only person out there that had a good day. I was lucky enough to meet fellow UCAN athlete Anita Perez this weekend and witness her run a huge PR of 1:17.01. It was amazing to see her excitement as she crossed the line and to be the first person to give her a hug. She is such a kind person, and I’m looking forward to seeing her in Atlanta in 2020.
It was also great to meet Cheryl Serena, who like Anita is one of Coach Gary’s athletes. Cheryl ran a PR today as well. I had to rush to catch my flight immediately after the race, but I congratulated her on Instagram which in this day and age is acceptable (right?!?) but in all seriousness I was super excited for her.
All in all it was a successful weekend. I am always so thankful for the support I have from Team UCAN. Everything from the product to the employees to the athletes at UCAN are special. They really do have a great thing going.
What to look for this week:
- Five Fast Facts with a very special guest
- Tips on how to get out of a running rut