2014 Cowtown Marathon

Five weeks after I set a PR in Houston, I ran another marathon. This was marathon number seven, and the first time I’ve done two marathons this close together. (Last year, I had eight weeks between Cowtown and Oklahoma City.) I took two weeks to recover, a week with a 16 mile long run, and two weeks to taper – with a trail race in there too. I didn’t worry too much about my mileage, but I wasn’t sure how my body would react to the distance again so soon. I made sure to get plenty of rest during race week with 9:30 bedtimes.

I started off the weekend going to Fort Worth to watch my dad run the Cowtown 10k. This is the guy who a year ago said he would never run more than a 5k. Saturday was his third time at the 10k distance. I took the little ones with me, because they were going to hang out with Grandpa and Grandma the rest of the weekend.

Ready to cheer on Grandpa!

Ready to cheer on Grandpa!

These two are not ready to cheer/wait around for a marathon, or even a half. We picked up my packet and perused the expo while my dad was running. I don’t know what happened to my sweet kids, but they got the gimmes as soon as we went in the building. Thank goodness for the Dannon and Clif Kids freebies to take care of the “I’m hungry” lines. We found the Nuun booth and I stocked up on some new flavors. I love these bottles.

 

#runtexas

#runtexas

Then we headed out to watch my dad finish with a great time.

Sunday morning started early. After checking my weather app, I knew a tank top was the way to go. Leave it to Texas to have three or four weeks of temps in the 20s and then throw some 70 degree days in there on race weekend. My husband became my gear bag check as usual, and my dad came out to cheer me on too.

The course can be pretty tough if you don’t plan for the hills. There are a couple of big ones early on, and then smaller ups and downs throughout. I hit the halfway point at 1:59 and thought if I could just hold steady, I would hit my goal. When I saw my dad near mile 16, I was struggling, and I said so. I knew at that point that I wouldn’t nail my sub 4 hour goal. I had cooked my goose and ran too fast for the humidity. After a few marathons in heat, I can tell when the temperatures are going to affect me, but I was stubborn early on and that was my downfall. Sigh.

In the last six miles I walked up the hills and ran down and fought to keep my pace under 11:00/mile.

I’m still surprised my finish time was under 4:20 with the walking. My official time was 4:12:36 and any marathon finish is a win in my book. I won’t even talk about the monster blister and chafing issues I discovered after the race.

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A couple of things caught my emotion at the race: 1) a man with a sign pinned to his back that said “40 chemos and still running” 2)seeing a few runners with Boston Marathon jackets on along the course cheering on runners and 3) heading back to the car (along the half marathon course) and seeing a man finishing his 36th Cowtown. He’s run every one of them.

I am always amazed by others in this community of runners, and that’s what I want most out of running. Not just a fast time, but a lifetime – to run.

Cowtown does a medal right!

Cowtown does a medal right!

Cross Timbers Trail Run – 5 miler

I decided to do something I’ve only done once before.

I ran a trail race.

I was kind of nervous about doing it so close to Cowtown, (Ack! Is that this week already?) but I had a free registration from volunteering at the Lost Loop last fall. I am a cheap skate, and “free” is something I don’t usually pass on.

I went into it with the intention to take it easy and slow, have fun, and just enjoy the different scenery – and footwork.

I should know myself better than that.

Easy and slow were not adjectives I would use to describe my race.

I fell before the end of the first mile – landed smack down on my handheld water bottle. I guess that kind of cushioned the fall. I was glad I didn’t wear my good tights, because that’s where I wiped the dirt off of my other hand. I’ve never fallen during a race, although I did trip on a root during a training run once, and it was strange to bounce right back up and take off again.

IMG_4371I have to be honest here: there were a few times when I wondered “How the heck am I going to get up (or down from) here?” Tricky spots, steep uphills, and finding roots or trees to help me climb were just a few of the highlights. I stumbled a few more times, almost fell again, and at one point even sat down on a rock to scoot myself down a hill.

It was so much fun!

When I finished the Toughest Little Trail in Texas, I found out I was the second female to finish the 5 miler and 15th overall. Wow!

All 5-milers got a medal!

All 5-milers got a medal!

Other than my burning quads and aching upper body, oh, and the scratches on my leg, I feel pretty good about my race. I wonder how I could do if I actually trained on a trail once in a while. The hardest part for me was not checking my Garmin for my pace.

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On Sunday, I took a nice easy eight mile run to kick off my last long run before Cowtown. I intended on running 10-12, but since the trail was so tough I wanted to play it safe and not push my body. I want to go to the race on Sunday well rested and ready to break 4 hours.

Now, I want to know:

What do you think about trail running? Have you ever done a trail race?

 

Let’s Not Talk About This

In order to avoid the topic that is weighing so heavy on runners’ minds right now, all I will say about the weather is that I’m over paying for races that I don’t run and I’m really over layering up my basic Texas gear to stay warm. I chose to stay home for the Texas Half (February 2nd) due to the impending chance of sleet and freezing rain. I didn’t want to stress about driving home in it while running. I think I was still in recovery mode from Houston though, and it was scheduled too soon to expect to run fast anyway. So I gave up my jacket and my race fee and squeezed a kinda sorta long run in at home before the sleet moved in.

At least I have a participant shirt from the Dallas Marathon to show for that race fee. It’s short sleeves, so I’ll get to wear it again eventually.

Since Houston, I’ve taken it easy on the mileage, listening to my body and getting to bed early (most days). I’ve been getting back to early morning running when the temperatures allow. Since I’ve [mostly] cut out Diet Coke, it’s been easier to get to bed and I feel rested. I’m still working on my attitude with my weight, and trying to cut back on the quantity. When you run 50 plus miles a week, it’s hard to adjust the eating habits back down. Unfortunately, the scale won’t adjust down either.

Saturday, I ran 16 miles – my longest since Houston. Then it was time to head home and clean house. We celebrated my youngest daughter’s birthday with a party and her friends. Eighty rowdy fifth grade girls. It was a good time, but I was wiped out by the end of the day. Eating junk didn’t help either. I’m such a sucker for sweets.

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She takes her wish-making seriously.

She takes her wish-making seriously.

So now it’s time to get back on track. I’m tapering for the Cowtown Marathon on February 23rd. Ready for sub 4:00:00!