Latest reviews by Krista Lee

(2020)
"Can You Handle the Heat"
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Too Hot to Handle, is the perfect name for this July Texas race with the race starting temperatures beginning in the 90’s. The race advertisement poses the question, “Can You Handle The Heat?” To answer this question, you must complete the race ( 5k; 10k; or Half) because how do you prepare for such temperatures outside of training in the heat which is not the usual routine of Texas runners.

Most runners know that running will take care of itself if you complete your training program by running the prescribe miles. The biggest concern is the rising temperature. The answer is proper hydration, running effort, and runner gear.

Race packets could be picked up across the DFW area in various Lululemon stores which offered a 25% discount on running gear. I took advantage of this perk and picked up a white running skort, which was fabulous. The under tights had side pockets perfect for running fuel, a small hydration bottle, phone or keys, in addition to the standard running pocket on the back of the skirt. Unable to pick up your packet before the race? No problem, packets could also be picked on the morning of the competition.

It’s race day, and I’m feeling ambitious or half crazy, so I’ll be tackling 13.1 miles. The sun was high in the sky, and the pre-race atmosphere was sizzling with music, a variety of vendors and over 2000 runners ready to battle the heat and the pavement.

I had developed my run strategy, which was to run a slow and constant long run training pace. Starting slower can be quite a challenge for me because I tend to start fast, and fade towards the end. I was so happy to see the Half Marathon Maniacs race Pacers to help me reach my race goal and to see if a could “Handle the Heat.” When the countdown begins, and the gun sounds, the runners take off.

The out and back route from Norbuck park feeding into White rock lake is a familiar route to runners who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area but ordinarily doesn’t mean easy with the rising temperatures and humidity.

I stay close to the 2:45 pacers with one other runner who has also chosen to join the group. Being mindful of hydration, we stop at each water station, in addition to our hydration belts. The half marathon course offered water and NUUN every 1-2 mile, which was perfect because it doesn’t allow the runner to over or under hydrate. As I approached the 7-mile water station, there was an added treat, water-soaked towels, just what I needed with the rising temperatures.

I was able to execute my run strategy until mile 7 when the heat and humidity began to get the best of me. The goal now to complete the race so I started to run intervals for the remainder of the course.

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(2019)
"Down By the Riverside"
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The alarm sounds at 5:30 am, and I roll out of bed not for my usual Saturday long run with the Dallas Running Club (DRC) or a morning race but to wake up my son because it’s basketball season. Although I didn’t wake up early for a race it is “Race Day,” and in exactly 10 hrs (5:30 pm) I will hit the pavement for the Trinity River Run my one night race, which has become an annual affair. ( Can I say that if it's only my second year participating?)

Last year when I ran I had on winter running wear but don’t forget this is Texas, so this year I had on a running skort, singlet, and visor, a perfect evening for running. I also faced the same dilemma as last year in terms of nutrition for the day with the added stress of a basketball tournament. My typical race morning meal now consists of a granola bar and UCAN chocolate nutrition drink for fuel. I asked myself this question last year, and I’m asking it again this year, what should I eat between 8:00 am - 5:30 pm (start time)? I start the morning with a bowl of oatmeal and a scrambled egg. Lunch consisted of a small mac and cheese; then, I rounded it off around 2 pm with a salad and a hemp seed sweet potato patty. Before the race, I had my pre-race fuel a Celsius energy drink (which I also carried in my water bottle), and 30 minutes before the start time, my UCAN nutrition drink.

The crowd begins to gather between 2 pm and 3 pm with anticipation of starting the half marathon at 4 pm followed by the 10k at 5:30 pm, the 5k at 5:45 pm, as you may notice there is a distance for everyone. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can participate in the skyline challenge, which is a combination of all three races with a medal for each distance and an additional medal to represent the challenge.

The 10k course was flat with a few inclines up until mile 3.71 when the route when up a bypass bridge until approximately mile 4. The last hill presented itself at the end of the journey up the Margaret Hill Bridge. An additional course plus was the life-size portraits of the race ambassadors at the mileage split, indicating which direction to proceed to for each course.

The venue was consistent with last year, on the Trinity bridge (Dallas, Texas) with vendors lined alongside the bridge, plus a VIP area for those who choose the VIP registration. A big plus is the free race photos, which was emailed to all participants within 2 hours after the race.

I recommended this race last year, and I’m recommending it again. If you haven’t run a night race, or completed a run challenge, sign up for the Trinity River Run 2020, and I’ll meet you under the stars ready to run.

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(2019)
"The Haunted Half Recap - More of a “trick” than a “treat”"
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It’s race weekend so after work and practice for Warren (my youngest son) we pack up the car and head to Austin to see my mom and run the Haunted Half ( the perfect way to end my birthday week by seeing my favorite person and doing my favorite thing). I was so excited to run the Haunted Half with my mom, so we planned our outfits months before the race. We had never really dressed in costume to run, but since it was appropriate for the race, we decided why not.

We’re not into the scary part of Halloween costumes, so we decided to keep it calm and add a tutu to our running gear. A big part of my mom’s day involves shopping at thrift stores where she finds little-hidden treasures, and to our surprise she found the cutest pink (not my favorite color) tutu to complete my costume.

We begin our Saturday morning by volunteering at a wellness fair hosted by the Austin Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Where I had the opportunity to get my flu shot (Yes! One more thing checked off my to-do list). Now it’s off to J. Lorraine Ghost Town to pick up our race packet, which was the same location of the race.

The venue was the perfect place to hold a Haunted Half race; it had the fall festival feel, space for vendors (Bandi Band, NUUN, Cupid’s Undie Run and a few more), booths for carnival games, and a big barn used as a haunted house at the end of the 5k course.

With our packets in hand and a few selfies, we’re off to a birthday lunch for Aaliyah and me, the October birthday girls. Now, with all my lifestyle restrictions when it comes to eating (Keto-tarian and pescetarian), I struggle with eating out, but Mexican food and a good margarita are the perfect combination ( not your average carb load but it works for me, besides I’m only running the 5k)

The alarm sounds at 5:30 am, we put our tutu’s on and load up the truck. Now, this is where "treats" turn into "tricks". When we arrive at the ONLY road leading to J. Lorraine Ghost Town, we are stopped by a roadblock and an unfriendly officer announcing that the road is closed for the race (but officer, we are the runners, there is a line of cars behind us). Shaking our heads we turn around and head in a different direction, per the GPS, only to end up back at the same location, but now the officer had received word to let the cars through. Finally, we make it to the venue.

First stop port-a-potty (trick #2). Noticing that these are the same port-a-potties from yesterday’s packet pick up, which have not been serviced from the previous day and no tissue, was a disaster. The time is now 8:30 am. The half marathon was scheduled to start at
8 am and the 5k at 8:30 am, but the runners were still in line. Finally, the half runners are off at approximately 8:25 am, and the 5k starts at about 8:44 am (trick #3).

The 5k route was exactly what you would expect for Austin, flat surfaces, inclines, and hills. The route ended on a rocky paved surface of the venue, and through the haunted house. Now, this was perfect for the kids, but for competitive runners, first 5k(ers) or those in search of a PR, this was not the ideal surface for a fast finish. Due to the delayed start time, the sun was high in the sky and hydration was a must on the 5k course, but unfortunately there was not a hydration station at mile 2 as stated on the website, (trick #4) but at the finish line, core hydration water was a sight to see for sweaty faces and running eyes (treat #1).

When I crossed the finish line, I felt that I had done much better than expected considering I walked some on the course due to the heat and poor hydration (of course as an avid runner, I should carry adequate hydration), only to realize once I looked at my watch the course was short (trick #5). The medal, on the other hand, was a great design that encompassed the Halloween theme (treat #2).

Although there were more tricks than treats, I do believe that this can be a good race with just a little more attention to logistics. So, I wouldn’t strike the Haunted Half off the calendar. It deserves another chance, and to remove some of the sour taste out of your mouths; the race organizers sent a very apologetic email and a 50% off code for 2019.

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(2019)
"Running Is... Better in the Bahamas "
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Runcations are always exciting but stressful. To help alleviate some of the stress the right traveling and running companions are a must. Christine and Chronda were just right for this adventure.

In addition to packing all your gadgets for the race (aftershokz earphones, spibelt, hydration bottle, TomTom running watch, UCAN nutrition, and Brooks running shoes), you must also consider your wardrobe for the weekend following all the restrictions of the airline's luggage rules. Let's face it, although you are going to run a race, there will still be some off the pavement shenanigans.

We arrived in the Bahamas midday on Friday giving us time to eat some Bohemian food in the fish trap; then we put on our little black dresses to experience the Bahamas nightlife.

About last night? Let's just say what happens in the Bahamas stays in the Bahamas. So glad the race was on Sunday.

We woke up Saturday morning, ordered room service for breakfast, then headed to the straw market before picking up our packets.

The expo (packet pick up) was very small with only one vendor that offered actual running paraphernalia. The other tables consisted of local organization information and health information such as breast cancer awareness.

I was somewhat disappointed because the expo for me is a great place to find new running gadgets. With this being the first International race, I was hoping to buy some unique items not offered in the states.

It’s race day! Just like any other race we get up at 4 am to meet the 5:15 am shuttle bus to the starting line. The energy of the runners and the announcer was fantastic.

As the race begins, before I could complete 1 mile, the heat and the humidity are already causing me to "sparkle." As I approach mile 2, I see the infamous hills ahead. Although I didn’t do much hill training for this race, I did not expect what I saw. If you remember watching the ”Price is Right” game show, I felt like that little man climbing up the mountain on the game show. Only I had to do it twice with no prize at the end.

The remainder of the course was flat; the scenery was beautiful. Running along the oceanfront was terrific. The finish line was on the beach, and the metal was gorgeous. Upon completing the race, after taking a few selfies, and group photos, all I could do was take off my shoes and compression socks and head into the ocean.

If you have never run in the Bahamas, you should add it to your 2020 calendar. "Because Running Is....Better in the Bahamas"

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(2018)
"BMW Marathon Recap"
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The BMW Dallas Marathon is a superb running event that promotes health and fitness for the youngest to the oldest runners. For years I watched this televised race and wondered "Why am I not out there?!" Thank God this year was different! I ran the half marathon, and it was beyond amazing. It was an honor to be a part of such an amazing event.

The Expo
Lately, the races that I have participated in did not appear to invest much into the planning nor recruitment into the expo. As a runner, I found this odd because I look forward to the perks that expos present: awesome packet pick up selfies and both new and familiar run products. When my mother ( a fellow runner) and I arrived, we were so excited to see all of the vendors, new races to enter, and the custom BMW merchandise.

We did more than walk around; we found ourselves leaving with some new Brook and HOKA shoes, Aftershokz headphones (for mom, I already own a pair and love them!!), Feetures socks ( a new favorite), Bondi Bands, and hydration bottles. For us, Santa definitely arrived early.

In addition to shopping, we also had the opportunity to try the UCAN products a slow release complex carbohydrate that provides steady long lasting energy. After trying the drink, I must say that I enjoyed the taste and thought long and hard about using it on race day! However, if you've been following my post you're familiar with rule number 1, “Don’t Do Anything Different on Race Day.” I followed the rule but made a mental note to use it during training as I prepare for my next race ( so be on the lookout for the product review).

Race Day
It’s the morning of the race, and as usual, I’m nervous and anxious. I’m not sure of where to park, and I don't want to wear too many layers of clothes. I start the morning with a peanut butter granola bar, Celsius energy drink ( 1 hour before starting), and Beet Performer in my hydration bottle (remember I run on veggies) and two packets of GU in my SPIbelt.

The corrals started in waves; I felt as if I walked a mile to the starting line and I must admit I hoped that this counted towards my final total lol. It was a very scenic route, which I always enjoy because it allows me to find new places to visit in the city. The course for the half marathon has flat, with a few inclines but no undoable hills and for this, I was extremely grateful.

While running all I could hear was cheering, words of encouragement, and good music (I don’t recall any gospel music, but that’s ok, I was surely jamming some through my aftershokz). The crowd support was simply amazing, and the water stations were both energetic and encouraging. The DJ’s and live music along the route were a nice touch as they added more energy to the race.

The Swag
After completing 13.1 miles you know I was excited to see the bling. My new medal is carved with popular Dallas sites (classy and beautiful), but that’s not all, we also received a finisher’s shirt (surprise). Did I mention that we received a race t-shirt at packet pick up? BMW definitely went all out on this one!!!

If you are looking for a well-organized race, that allows you to run through the streets of Dallas, I would add the 2019 BMW Dallas Marathon to your race calendar, the 2nd weekend in December. I plan to run again next year, but I hope I can get my family to form a relay team.

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