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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Snow Run

I don’t know about you, but I love it when I’m able to do something with running that I’ve never done before. It may be something as difficult as setting a PR or as simple as meeting someone new who is a runner. Maybe you have stumbled upon a new area in town that is a great new place to run, or found something fresh to enjoy about an old route. Or maybe – like me – you face the prospect of another day without running, or brave the elements outside to free yourself.

Since it was Christmas, and I have little ones in the home, I knew better than to plan a morning run yesterday. I hoped  somehow I would make it happen in the afternoon when everyone was busy with their new toys. After several inches of rain that started in the middle of the night, I knew my chance for a run was out. When the rain turned to snow, I briefly entertained the idea of hitting the road before I was trapped indoors but it was too wet (and too windy). Maybe I’m a chicken, but I decided to ride the stationary bike to burn off  Christmas cookies instead.

I live in North Texas, and we don’t have a lot of snow. In my two and a half years as a runner, I’ve never run in the snow. A snow day here usually means sleet and ice – no school for the kids and I won’t drive in it.

Two years ago, I was stuck indoors with the kids for four days. The temperature didn’t get high enough to melt the layers of ice on the roads and by the end of the third day, I had my husband bring me a six-pack of Diet Coke and a package of Hershey’s bars. (Yes, it was necessary). I didn’t feel the need to run at that point in my training, but I rode the stationary bike to compensate.

Today was different. I wanted to run in the snow. The sun was shining, but I bundled up since the temps were still in the twenties. I was pretty excited about doing something new.

Ready for Snow!

Ready for Snow!

I enjoyed traipsing along the fence line which I typically avoid when I’m training on the road. There was a beauty to running through the smooth white blanket, and a challenge to my legs that typically move forward at a steady rate. It reminded me of a trail run, as I moved my feet to the right or left to maneuver through the powder covering. I listened to the crunch as I landed in the packed snow, and kept my eyes peeled for slick spots as I crossed the gravel drives of my neighbors.

I tried not to think about what drivers could be saying about me as they passed: “How foolish to be out running in this weather!” Especially when my foot landed in a small hole as a car was passing by. I was thankful I didn’t fall. I focused on breathing the cool, crisp air, the movement of my feet, and the beauty of running in the snow.

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