The Cowtown Half [not] Marathon

It’s only been a little over a week since I planned to write my recap, but so much has happened since race week, I’m going to split it up. So hang on, and I’ll try to have the Cowtown recap done before the dust settles on my medal.

Our “snow days” early in the week had just enough sleet and wintry mix to mess up the roads. That Friday, more snow/ice mixture moved in and covered a broad area in the metroplex. The entire Cowtown race weekend was impacted by this round.

Crazy Texas weather.

View from my treadmill Saturday morning

View from my treadmill Saturday morning 2/28/15

The temperatures for the weekend did not cooperate, and the Saturday races (5 and 10k) were cancelled. Late Saturday afternoon the decision was made to cancel the full marathon and the ultra due to safety concerns. Portions of the courses were still icy. The remaining option available was that everyone (who could get there) could run the half marathon and it would start an hour later.

I was disappointed I wouldn’t get to run the marathon, but being able to run the half was better than nothing. And I didn’t want to miss seeing my dad finish his first half marathon!

Sunday morning didn’t bring any more overnight accumulations, so after pleading with my husband and coming up with an alternate route, I set out for Fort Worth.

There were some slippery sidewalks walking up to the race site, and my first thought was “I didn’t make it this far to bust my tail on a sidewalk.” I opted to walk in the grass or on the street. The city of Fort Worth had brought out sand trucks to take care of the slick bridges on the course. Race morning was cold (33 degrees) and rainy, but I found my dad and he was ready to run.

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I met up with my friend who had driven down on Saturday and picked up our packets. We started the race together and I quickly realized it was not PR conditions. I tried to formulate a goal, but I couldn’t settle on one. I was just happy to be there after all the stress from the day before. So I just ran.

There was some fancy footwork in places due to ice that had been sanded, but after five miles I started to pick up the pace and felt good. I was able to get my pace under 9:00 miles for the next few miles, and I was happy to see that since I’ve struggled with speed since December. There was only one problem that kept me from fully enjoying the race.

I was roasting.

My long sleeve top under the lightweight Houston Marathon jacket proved to be too warm. I took my gloves off and zipped them in the pockets. But I was stuck with my jacket on, because I pinned my bib to it.

Then around mile 8, my saving moment came in the form of a train. That’s right, lots of runners got stuck at a railroad crossing waiting for the train to go by. I heard some laughter, but I saw it as the perfect opportunity to re-pin my bib to my shirt and tie my jacket around my waist. I don’t know how long others were stopped, but I lost about a minute and a half. It sure made the rest of the race more tolerable though, and I learned a valuable lesson. Never pin the bib to the jacket.

I survived the hills, and after the mile 9 bridge I was so happy that my race was almost finished. My official time was 2:01:36, but according to my Garmin I ran 2:00:04.

Notice where the bib is now!

 

After refueling, I pulled up my dad’s time on the results tracker and headed out to catch him before the finish. I positioned myself just ahead of the 13 mile marker at a turn so he could see me better. When I saw him coming – and he was running – I started cheering. He saw me and I waved and got a picture. Then I ran along the fence, looking like a goofball with my heat sheet wrapped around my legs and my food bag in my hand. I continued encouraging him until the final turn, then started crying when I saw him finish. I was so proud! (But I pulled it together before I met up with him.)

My dad finished his first half marathon – at age 65.

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That is why I started this blog. That’s why it’s called “Anyone Can Run.” My dad never thought of running, even though he coached football, basketball, and track for more than twenty years. All it took was someone to tell him he could do a 5k. After that, he said he’d never run more than a 5k. Then he did a few 10ks. Now look at him with his first half marathon medal!

That evening, my calves and glutes reminded me of the toughness of the Cowtown course – made tougher by the weather.

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This the second medal in a 3-year series and I’ll be back next year to finish it. Even though it doesn’t say “marathon finisher” I still worked my tail off. Part of me was happy to be done at mile 13 that day and finished with 16 and 18 mile runs for a while. Or so I thought…until I received the virtual race option.

But that’s a post for another day! 🙂

 

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