Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon 2015 Recap

Im back from Fort Worth with a race recap!!!  My first since blogging, so lets just dive right in.

Our family started a “family reunion” tradition where every September 20th-ish we rent a house somewhere on water and celebrate the 3 boy birthdays.  September 20th ish because my brother’s birthday is the middle birthday of the 3 boys.  Literally 3 weeks in a row are birthdays for Joe, Chris and Dad.  Rather than celebrate all 3 individually we get together and make a weekend out of it.  Yay for celebrations!  This year I had registered for the Plano Balloon Festival half marathon so we found a house on a lake as close as possible (still an hour away).  The house was great, right on the lake, big lot, pool, movie room, great backyard, and most of all was nice and quiet.20150918_184454

Saturday was the 5k which Grace had signed up for.  The weather was really overcast which I say is good for a race with a start time of 7:30 so you dont have to deal with the bright hot sun.  This was Grace’s first official race, she has run over 3 miles before but its different in a race.  She finished with a great time for her first race and got an awesome hot air balloon medal.  Let me tell you, I was choking up a little at her start I was really proud of her.  I didnt care we had to wake up at 5am and drive for an hour, I was happy to see her get out there and race.  Proud sister moment here people.20150920_072535

Getting ready to start

DSC_0040 Strong finish!!!


She probably hates this picture, but seriously SO PROUD!

DSC_0046Obligatory post race photo!

After her race we stuck around the festival for a bit to see the balloons, enjoy the weather and get some free swag.  The balloons inflated but didnt go up that day because it started to rain.  The balloons cant get wet because they could mold and that is no bueno for a hot air balloon.  Still we got some fun pictures and enjoyed a chill day.


See those crazy clouds rolling in…yeah those balloons were deflating REAL fast.


Sunday was half marathon day.  Another 5am wake up time with a 7:30am start.  This day was set to be a beautiful sunny day.  While we were getting ready and lining up the festival announcer was saying there was no wind today which was good for balloons but in my head Im thinking bad because I love a good strong breeze on my face to cool down.


Deep thoughts, or Grace practicing with the camera 🙂


Pre-race selfie!

A new thing for this race was they had pacers.  My goal was to hang with the 2:20 group as long as I could with a goal finish time around 2:30.  Guys…I was SO not prepared for the hills on the course.  There were at least 3 good grade hills the first 5 miles with another 4 or so mild hills the rest of the way.  Being in flat Houston this was tough on me.  I hung with the 2:20 group though until mile 5 where those hills and the bright hot sun really hit me.  At the water stop of mile 5 another runner said to me “Its really humid today right”.  I had to tell her no, sorry Im from Houston this humidity is a dream.  At least this condition I was prepared for.

Another few miles and my left hip started to really hurt.  The hills and turns made something pinch and for the rest of the race my left hip was in constant pain.  I even stopped 3 times to stretch it out but alas it would not go away.  For the first 7 miles there was little or no shade and since the sun came up around 7:30, that was full sun the whole time.  Ugh me and the sun, we are not friends.  Around mile 6 the 2:30 group came up behind me but I knew I was not going to be able to keep their pace.  I had to walk a few times (ok more than a few) and every water stop I had one hand with water to drink and the other water to pour all over my head/neck/back/chest.  Luckily this paid off and I did not overheat.  I did feel a little under-hydrated and wish there would have been at least 2 more water stops on the course.

Mile 8 there was a Gogo Squeez station with apple pineapple applesauce packets plus water of course.  I grabbed an applesauce and water and the sugar really helped pep me up.  This is also the time the 2:40 pacers caught up with me.  I hung with them for a few miles and then had to walk and stretch the hip.  By this time I was close to mile 12 so I hunkered down, sucked it up and kept plugging along.  I finished with a 2:45:33 time.  At mile 5 I told myself I would be a little disappointed with a 2:50 time, happy with a 2:30 time and ecstatic with a 2:20 time.  At mile 10 I would have been happy with a 2:50 time.  Funny how our perspective changes as the race goes on lol.  This was also the first time I have ever said to myself I will never register for another race ever again.  Of course after the race I realized I really just need to work on hills more because that is what killed it for me.  I can bear the humidity, I can even deal with the heat but having almost no training with hills was really my detriment.


The last .2 miles were downhill so I was really able to finish strong with what little I had left in the tank plus gravity.


My splits:

5K Split: 10:35 min/mi

10K Split: 11:06 min/mi

15K Split: 11:58 min/mi

Finish: 12:38 min/mi

Overall it was a decent race.  I can see why people flock to do Disney races because they are well done with plenty of entertainment on the course, good post race snacks and spectators to cheer you on.  This race there was no entertainment (which was expected), very few spectators and you could only see the balloons for the first 3 miles then it was nothing.  The post race food though was pretty solid.  A local grocery store had scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, bananas, and bagels all included with your race admission.  Disney gives you a food box but that doesnt really compare with a great hot meal.  As far as balloon photos go, luckily Joe and Grace took some awesome balloon photography while I was running so I could see it through the lens.  Just like Im sharing with you now.

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DSC_0059 DSC_0064 DSC_0071 DSC_0091 DSC_0103
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Things that went well:

  1. Kept Hydrated, which is key for a hot race
  2. Ran my race.  At first it was really important for me to keep up with some races, but half way through I decided to run my race and not worry about others.
  3. I did actually PR, even if it wasnt the time I had hoped for its still a PR and still something for me to be proud of.  This time is more than 15 minutes faster than my previous best time.
  4. The gauze trick on my left foot worked!!!  No pain in my left foot the WHOLE TIME!!!!
  5. Oh and the BLING!  This medal was on par with a Disney medal, not as heavy but still pretty awesome.DSC_0158 20150920_101900

Things that didnt go so well:

  1. The hills got to me because I thought they wouldnt be an issue.  Silly Rachael 🙂
  2. My left hip hurting constantly and not being able to make it stop which means I need to stay focused on stretching
  3. The blister protector for my right foot caused a major blister so note to self, stick with gauze.

After the race I took my standard detox bath and did lots of stretching.  I still am a little tired today so I decided to take today off from running but will back at it Thursday and possibly Saturday (Im getting my wisdom teeth out friday so saturday is TBD).

CHIME IN!!!  What did you do this weekend?  Have anything fun planned for this week?

4 thoughts on “Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon 2015 Recap

  1. That BLING!! SO legit. Disney races are indeed fantastic, but I assure you there are others out there that provide equal perks without the price tag of a Disney race!! I’m not at all knocking Disney though, I would love to do another one! Great job, those balloons are so fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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