I’ve done one full marathon and a few half marathons, but I’ve never had as much FUN at a race as I did at the Dallas Marathon relay that I ran with my family last weekend!
Oh my goodness…Kylee (my little sister) and I just kept saying how much we love this race format, because you get the best of both worlds: you get to participate, and you get to spectate/cheer. I really do love the running community and the race culture.
Relays have always been my jam. I was a competitive swimmer all the way through college, and relays were my favorite part of swim meets. I remember one particular Conference meet in college when winning or losing the entire meet came down to the very final relay on the third and last day of the meet. The A relay had to get second place (or better), and the B relay had to get first place in order for our college to have enough points to win the meet.
I was the first leg of the B relay, and you better believe I PR’d the crap out of the 100 freestyle. I had so much adrenaline pulsing through my body, I probably could have lifted a car over my head. I mean, I just get really really fired up about relays! (And yes, we won that swim meet. Yay!!)
So when my mom texted a group of family members a few months ago about doing the Dallas Marathon as a relay, I was just like WHERE DO I SIGN UP?
Dallas Marathon Relay Recap
Hi, I’m Kelsey, and I’m a chronic overcommitter. I agreed to sub for someone in The Nutcracker in Austin on Saturday night, so I finished playing with the Austin Symphony at 9:45 pm and immediately left the Long Center and headed to Dallas, violin and all! Not the smartest move the night before a race, but I really wanted to play The Nutcracker and run the race, so I just agreed to do both. (Hmm….maybe I’m hinting at what one of my 2019 goals will be…?)
I got to Kylee’s apartment, where she had a bed all made up for me, race gear lined up, and breakfast supplies for the morning. She’s such a sweetie! I took this screenshot at 1:13 am on Sunday morning right before I fell asleep:
Ky lives near the marathon start line, and it didn’t start until 8:30 am, so we were able to sleep in until 7:30 or so. She made some coffee and toast for breakfast.
I ran the first leg of the relay, and Kylee ran the second, so we both had our breakfast and got dressed and headed out the door by about 8 am.
All of the relays start in corral A (the fastest corral), which is kind of funny because that meant I was standing next to people who were trying to run 3:20 or 3:30 marathons (and I’m pretty sure our final time was closer to 4:30.) The crowd I was in definitely made my first few miles really fast!
My leg of the race was beautiful! I got to run along Turtle Creek and through Highland Park. The Highland Park Fire Department was soooo fun! They had a guy outside playing ragtime music on a white grand piano, and a bunch of firefighters standing outside handing out donut holes to runners. It was all just so festive and fun.
There are relay turn-offs for the relay runners. Right when I finished 7 miles, there was a clearly marked arrow pointing to the left and a man yelling “RELAYS TO THE LEFT!”
I turned that way, saw Kylee cheering, and then she started running beside me and I handed the relay arm band/chip to her, she handed her car key to me, and she was off!
The fun thing about going first on the relay is that I was finished by 9:30 am, so I got to head back to Kylee’s apartment, shower, change, and spend the rest of the morning cheering!
I drove to White Rock Lake to pick up Kylee at the end of her run. This is where she finished her run and handed it off to my mom. Isn’t that the prettiest? Dallas, you aight.
For the rest of the morning, Kylee and I spent our time eating and drinking and cheering on the runners. First stop: CAFFEINE! We went to White Rock Coffee for peppermint mochas, because nothing tastes as festive and Christmas-y as chocolate and peppermint.
I didn’t realize how cold it was until I finished my run! It had been in the 30s while I was running, but I felt comfortable in a couple layers and a headband. But when I was standing around spectating, I was struggling to stay warm.
We had a couple hours of time to kill, so we wandered through the beautiful Dallas Farmers Market.
TacoDeli FTW! I’m never super hungry right after I finish running, but I’m famished a few hours later! Right when the hunger hit, I grabbed a sausage/egg/cheese taco from the little TacoDeli booth at the farmers market.
And then we shared a little half size beer at Noble Rey Brewing. This was their holiday spiced brown ale called Barumpus! It was super holiday spiced. Borderline too much spice for me, but the small amount of beer was fun to sip on while we walked around.
Holly Jolly because my run is done and now I just get to eat tacos and drink beer!
We did more spectating and cheering. I just love watching all the marathoners running the final 1/4 mile! Some of them are looking like they just started running, and others are literally limping across the finish line, but they’re all so strong! I almost started crying while I was watching, because I just love what running means. Lots of the marathoners are running for a higher purpose (in honor of a lost loved one, a fundraising goal for medical research, or maybe just proving to themselves that they can do really, really hard things.) The finish line is so powerful.
Ha! We were standing next to a speaker that was playing “Sweet Caroline” on repeat. I’d say we heard that song at least 10 times that day. Too many times, my friends…
My dad ran the final leg of the relay, and we were there to cheer him to the finish! I am so thankful that I was born into a family that loves to do this kind of thing!
After the race, we met at my parent’s house in the afternoon for a giant meal of Bubba’s fried chicken, sweet rolls, mashed potatoes, green beans and bacon, fried pies, and two types of cobbler. (We’ve been going to Bubba’s for decades. Their breakfast biscuits are soooo good! My parents used to bring them to me after an especially grueling morning swim practice when I was a kid.)
None of us ran a full marathon that day, but that didn’t stop us from eating like we did. 😉
So that was my first marathon relay experience. I can’t wait to do another one! I think it would be fun to do with a group of friends. The relay legs vary from 3.75 to 7 miles, so there’s something for everyone!
Thanks so much for stopping by today, friends!