Apr 2, 2014

Travelogue: Women Rock Texas 10K Racecation

I love racecations.  Races add more purpose to any trip I take.  Before I take any trip I look for two things:  a local race and a local LDS temple.  This trip contained both.  I felt both spiritually enlightened and physically accomplished on the drive back home.  Can't think of a better way to end any vacation.  Since my dad offered to watch June for  the weekend, I was able to be more relaxed on this trip.  I didn't have to worry about babysitting during a temple session and during the race.  This alone gave me ample opportunity to focus on the events at hand and revel in the personal achievements, and enjoy time with my girlfriends.  This vacation gave me time to refocus, unwind, and strengthen my confidence on so many levels.  As I said before, I love racecations!

After dropping off my daughter, I stopped by my friend, Erika's house to switch cars and start our long journey south.  The drive was uneventful until we stopped at a gas station to pick up snacks and use the bathroom.  When she went to start the car, nothing happened.  It was like the battery was dead.  Now, if this were my car and this happened to me, I think I'd be in a panic frantically trying to find male assistance to fix the problem.  Not Erika.  She pops the hood and after careful consideration diagnoses the vehicle as having loose battery connections.  So, she cleans the connecter area off with a coke, pulls out her toolset, and reattaches the wires--all in a dress and heels.  Like magic, the car starts, no problem.  I do have to say, sexiest thing I've seen!  One day I hope to be so independent and have useful skills like that.
I've learned my lesson, always look at the route map!

First thing we do once we get to Dallas is hit up the Women Rock Texas expo (or Expotique as they called it, super cute).  Erika needed to pick up her packet and I needed to check out the swag.  This race series has the best shirts I've seen in a while!  They are a sweat-wicking cotton-feel feminine cut shirt that includes breathable holes in the armpits and a zipper pouch in the back (for keys, phone, ID, etc).  And, they look flattering.  I love the gear options they had at the expo:  cups, socks, compression socks, jackets, all sorts of shirts, backpacks, bags, medal holders, etc.  Our only complaint was that they didn't have any stickers (Erika collects them), but that's an easy fix.

Cute merchandise at the Expotique
 Straight from the Expotique we headed to the LDS temple in Dallas.  Starting a trip off with temple service is the absolute best way to ensure a positive experience, and this time proved no different.  The Spirit was incredibly strong; and the overwhelming feeling of light, love, and peace penetrated into my heart leaving me feeling strengthened and energized.  I can't put into words how wonderful temple worship is--it's like a healing balm for the soul.
Dallas Texas Temple
I'm so thankful for my wonderful cousin Jaclyn and her family for having us stay with them at their beautiful new home.  It's been entirely too long since I've had the opportunity to see her and meet her sweet handsome son Gavin.  My baby fever was flaring as I got to hold him--what a sweetheart!  We enjoyed some delicious burgers from a place called Twisters.  They even had gluten-free rolls and bison burgers.  I was in heaven.  A perfect pre-race meal:  protein and carbs and a whole lot of pickles.

The next morning we woke up bright and early.  With our outfits already set out from the night before (to include GPS watch and KT Tape), it took us minimal time to get ready.  And yes, my outfit was completely color coordinated down to the pink in my shoes and the pink elastic in my hair (another thanks to Erika for braiding my hair).  To stem off any knee pain and to help ease Erika's shin pain, I used a generous amount of KT Tape.  This stuff is a miracle worker.  Erika experienced instant relief (until the tape came off...forgot to wipe off lotion) and my knee was pain-free the entire run.  I love how KT Tape supports a tender or injured area without the bulkiness of a brace.  I attached my timing chip, threw on my jacket and we were out the door.  We like to arrive very early to ensure plenty of time to use the restroom, apply sunscreen, check-in bags, and get everything squared away before we toe the starting line.  This race is most definitely planned and organized by women as they had beautiful centerpieces and the bathroom was completely stocked with a table full of feminine essentials.

As starting time approached, I found the rest of my running-party: Kathryn, Kaylee, Amie, and Alicia.  I'm so grateful they all were there to enjoy this race with me!  Those running the 5K were up first (Erika and Kaylee), and soon enough it was time for the 10K runners to take their places.  Amie and Alicia are pretty fast and were well ahead of us once we passed the starting gate. 

Ready to start!
My energy and confidence levels were soaring and I knew right there at mile two that I would beat my previous 10K time (1:26:41).  I was in the zone this race.  My cadence was perfect--even without music--my foot strikes were mid-foot the entire time, my breathing was rhythmic, and I kept my core tight.  The only form mistakes I made were holding my arms too high and not leaning enough, and I only realize this because of the video Erika shot of me finishing the race.  Miles 3.5 to 5 were my fastest splits.  I don't usually pass people, but this time I was flying by other runners.  I would visualize I had lassoed the runner ahead of me and each arm swing I was pulling myself toward them.  Visualization works people!  It was so effective I'm going to use this tactic in all my future races.

This has to be my best race picture ever.
   Just about at mile 5, I slowed significantly.  My energy had waned and part of that mile was uphill.  But, all that was behind me once I saw the mile 6 sign.  I continued to speed up as I reentered the stadium and saw that finish line.  There was one woman ahead of me and I just knew I could catch her.  Although I started my final kick later than I desired, I still sped past her to finish at an incredible (for me) 1:06:39!  Not only did I score a 10K personal best, but I felt wonderful afterwards!  I wasn't in pain, I was a bit tired, but not excessively so.  Best. Feeling. Ever!

Not only did I get a finisher's medal, but I also got a beautiful pendant necklace!  Yes, I do run for the medals.  After the race we all met up again to enjoy the post-race drinks:  champagne and Sierra Mist.  That was the most delicious Sierra Mist I've ever consumed.  I'm not sure if it was because of the beautiful souvenir race glass or because of my awesome achievement.  Either way, it was my victory drink. 

Kathryn and I sporting our medals
Kathryn, me, and Erika!  This pic made it on the Women Rock Texas Facebook page.
 We spent the next hour socializing, taking all sorts of pictures, and reveling in our accomplishment.  Amie and Alicia were able to maintain a straight 10-minute mile pace through the entire 10K even though they had both just run the Rock and Roll half marathon the week prior.  Kathryn beat her goal time of 1:10 by finishing in 1:08:16.  Erika reached her goal of running the entire 5K distance and finishing before 40 minutes.  This was a race of successes!

I had to get the model pic.  I look at it like getting your picture taken with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland.

Here is the video of my victorious 10K finish!  Erika is so awesome for filming this for me.  I love how you can hear her cheer me on.  Nothing motivates me like the support of good friends.

The rest of the trip was a blur after the race.  Erika and I did some shopping at a quaint and classy outdoor mall.  Mostly window shopping, which was nice on our wallets.  Erika and I attended the LDS Women's Conference at the church out there.  And that in and of itself was such an enlightening and incredible experience.  This was the most spiritual Women's Conference I've seen with so many of the messages seeming to be spoken straight to me.  Those words were exactly what I needed to hear and have given me the inspiration and drive I need to make my life even better.  If you would like to hear these messages, from the women leading the church today and the living prophets, they are already posted (LDS General Women's Meeting 2014).

I was so sad to leave Dallas.  I love spending time with my family, I love going to the temple, I love reconnecting with friends, I love good food, and I love running races!  I just got home and already I'm looking up future races.  Here's to another PR (Personal Record/Personal Best) and to another amazing racecation.  Hopefully, it won't be too far down the road.

Erika, me (Rachel), Amie, Alicia all toasting the Women Rock Texas race


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