Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon Recap + 13.1 #32 + Next Training Cycle

What a weekend it was! Half Marathon #32 is in the books. I’m proud of this race although it was by far not my fastest.

  • I kept with a strategy
  • Stayed mentally engaged
  • Had patience and perseverance in each mile
  • Didn’t freak out when I realized it was hilly as hell
  • Didn’t die in the heat and humidity 😂
  • Finished with a strong kick
  • Got to meet one of the athletes I coach who ran a 6 minute 10k PR
  • So much more…

Okay, let’s go back a bit. After Saturday’s Cross Country Meet (my Varsity girls placed 3rd!!!), we headed out for the 5 hour drive to Plano for the Plano Balloon Festival 13.1/10k/5k.

We got in late-ish so we dined on Chipotle of all things. I hadn’t had in years and I really enjoyed. I needed more lettuce though as it was a bit mushy for me, and the guacamole was spicy as hell.

That night on our way to get dinner, we drove part of the course. I was instantly asking myself what in the world I was thinking. It was very hilly and going to be a butt burner for sure!

Coming to the race with banged up legs which didn’t even get me through Friday’s workout, I was a bit nervous.

However, the course, weather, legs…. none of it… could I control in that moment. What I could control was how I went into the race mentally, how I rolled with the variables I was given, and how I was going to prove to myself that this 13.1 was going to be a good race!

We got a decent night’s sleep and the alarm went off at 5am. I booked us a hotel about 8 minutes from the race so we could get more sleep and not have to travel as far. I always get race morning anxiety about getting there and settled before the start of the race and I HATE not knowing where I’m going.

It was easy enough to get to the general area, but there was SO much traffic that we had to park almost a mile away from the festival/start line. Oh well, get the muscles warmed up and we had enough time so I wasn’t going crazy runner on anyone.

It was a beautiful morning! They had some of the balloons lit up. However, this was the only time I saw them as it was so windy they didn’t launch any during the entire race.

The festival was neat to see, very kiddo friendly and mostly food and carnival rides/games. None the less, I appreciated the family feel of it and was excited to get the race going!

One of the girls I coach was running the 10k, so I got to meet her for the first time a few minutes before the start. She had her race strategy, and I had mine from my coach. Water in hand, fuel in pocket, music on… I was ready to go!

Miles 1-3 : I was getting into a conservative groove. These miles were on a slight incline the whole way and some stupid steep hills appeared between miles 2-3.

Miles 4-6 : I held steady, but with the hills and lost training and leg being what it was, I wasn’t able to cut down the mile times as I wanted. However, I was still feeling good and kept a steady pace.

It was sooooo hot and humid. The course had nothing to look at but grass and road, an occasional quick street through a neighborhood, etc. I was disappointed to not see any balloons littering the sky, but I wanted to keep to my goals, keep the legs moving and stay as mentally strong so these legs could move as fast as capable for this race on this day.

Did I mention it was hot, Hilly and humid?! Just checking.

Miles 7-10 : The hills and humidity started to take a toll on legs and my pace slowed a bit. However, my coach wanted me to push the final 5k so I made sure to do just that and to have that gas in the tank.

Miles 8-13.1 (course was a quarter mile long on top of this) I got my shit together the last three miles as best as I could, with the final three miles being a steady incline the whole way back to the finish line, outside of a slight down right before the finish.

The final quarter of a mile was around a 7:30 pace. I was very happy to still have speed in these legs at the end of a half marathon I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run.

That last sprint hurt, and as soon as I crossed and stopped my Garmin, I proceeded to walk past my medal. Ha! So, I walked back, grabbed, and then threw myself on the ground and had a tantrum while I caught my breath. LOL

Once I caught my breath, I looked up and Lynn was photographing all my crazy and started laughing. You can see when I put eyes on her!

I felt great as soon as I caught my breath. I was happy my legs got me across that finish line although I was feeling it, and was grateful Lynn was there cheering me on once again 🙂

Stephanie also waited around after she crushed her 10k, PRing by 6 minutes, with hills/humidity/heat as well! She’s a rock star and working towards her first Marathon in December. She’s so got this!!!

We hugged as we realized we did it and didn’t die!

I was excited to show my coach my numbers. I also went back and looked at two half marathons over the past few years that I had decent times with, which were 13 minutes or so faster. It got me pumped up to get back to those. Numbers and then some! I’m so ready to move past this training cycle and be a little self centered with getting the rest I need to ensure a healthy cycle leading up to San Antonio RnR in December.


Hard work






More focus

I’m so excited for cooler weather and getting back to what I love… while being smarter about my everything along the way!

Half Marathon #32 was great and humbling. I needed that! Half Marathon #33 will be incredible. I can feel it!


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