Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cowtown +1

Last weekend we ran the Cowtown 1/2 marathon. It was pretty good. I felt a little fuzzy when we got there - that is what 4 hours of sleep will do to ya! I was really tired Friday night when I went to bed, but it was after midnight before I could actually get to sleep - hate it when that happens! Then we were up at 4:00 am to drive to Ft. Worth for the race. We stopped and picked up Cotton in Plano on our way so he could ride over. He wasn't running - he had just gotten off work and wanted to watch the race!

We got to the parking area and rode the bus to the start of the race. Went over to package pick-up and all they had there were our bibs...hmmmmmm. Walked into the Expo tent (very crowded) and there - at the very back - was a sign that said "T-shirts". We wove our way through the packed aisles and got to the t-shirt table only to find that they were totally out of Medium shirts, and had been since the day before. me crazy, but if you have people pay good money to sign up for a race months in advance, don't you think you would be able to pack up a bib and t-shirt so they would have what they ordered MONTHS IN ADVANCE! In my humble opinion - it should be the ones that sign up at the EXPO that should be stuck with the shirt in the wrong size.....well, I'll get off my soap box now and on to the race report.

We walked out of the expo tent and found a nice bench where we could stop and put on our bibs and D-tags (the tag they use for the chip timing). It was pretty dark right there (remember this is about 6:00 am!) but we muddled through and got it all set. We then made our way over to the start area. On our way over we happened to think that we hadn't looked at the bib to see what starting corral we were supposed to be in, so I glanced over at Rick's bib to see. To my utter shock he had on MY bib! Which of course meant he also had on my timing chip (D-tag), and I had on his! Well - maybe I would PR this race - HAHAHAHAHA! We decided since we were going to try to stay pretty much together for this one that we would just leave well enough alone and go with the flow.

We made our way to the starting corral and waited patiently for the start. They started the groups off in waves, which was nice, not so many people to dodge in front of us, but we were in one of the slower corrals and got off to a really slow start....not too much of a problem for me!

I was hoping that I would finally break 2:25 for this race - that was my time last year when I was running so well and my back started spasming at mile 11. I had to walk quite a bit of the last 2 miles. This year it wasn't as cold and not nearly as windy so I had high hopes...even though my legs were still really sore from my PR treadmill 5K earlier in the week. I figured they would loosen up as I made my way through the race.

The first two miles passed pretty uneventfully in 10:36 and 10:55. The second was a little slower than I wanted. I wanted to keep the pace between 10:30 and 10:45 as much as possible. Somewhere toward the end of mile 3 I started really feeling my thighs get super tight. Got through that one in a time of 10:44 for a 32:16 time. Pretty much my average during a half.

Off to get to the 10K mark. My legs were really getting worse as I continued to run, and my pace was showing it. Bless his heart, Rick was doing his best to stay with me - even when that meant running ahead and slowing down to wait on me to catch up! (He told me later that he really did this because he didn't want me to beat him in the race - remember, I was getting credit for his time since he was wearing my bib and chip! Too funny!) We finished the next 3 miles in 11:11, 11:18, and 11:03 - for a 6 mile time of 1:05:50. Again, pretty close to average for me. Slow for a 10K, but not for 1/2 way through a half marathon.

We continued on our way, Rick running ahead and looking back, me chugging along the best I could with my muscles feeling like they were tied in pretty bows! The next 3 miles had some pretty good hills in them and my time showed it. 11:45, 11:56, and 11:12. BUT, I was still chugging along - only walking the water stops, nowhere else!

I think here we hit a bit of the flat course, with the nice brickwork - you know the part where you worry that you are going to twist your foot or break an ankle....but it was smooth going for us. I think this was where I felt really good the year before and honestly thought I was going to break 2:20 - again this year I was feeling good, my thighs had finally untied themselves and I was running pretty smoothly again, if not setting the world on fire....I was at least moving better! At least for the first couple miles.... 11:03 and 11:06. Then we came to the hill that took me out the year before.

I don't know if it was me remembering last year, or honest fatigue, but this was a really slow part of the race for me - a mental challenge I think I lost. Mile 12 took me 12:14 to run. My slowest mile in the race. Now it does have a bridge that has a decent grade to it, but nowhere near the grade of Hawkeye's Hill, one of the hills earlier in the race. I think I was just taking it too easy without realizing it....but hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Once we got over that part and Rick knew I was going to be OK he went ahead and took off. I was so proud of him! I kept chuggin' along and finished mile 13 in 11:50 despite another small hill, then did the last .21 in 2:14 for an overall time of 2:29:13. (My official time was 2:32:13...Garmin paused at the potty break we took, lol). Rick's official finish time was 2:29:43. He said that he felt really strong at the end. I think staying with me, at least at the start helps him a little pace himself...and me trying to keep up helps me too! Anyway...despite this being one of my slowest half marathon times, I was really excited because I didn't have to walk this year. Only through the water stops, which is our plan anyway. I'll take that time as something to improve on in the Dallas Rock and Roll March 14!

Now, on to the +1 portion of the post.

Today we ran the Allen ISD Eagle Run. This run is one I really enjoy. I worry about it being squeezed between 2 half marathons - so my goal this year was to beat last year's time of 32:23, and to not walk other than the water stops.

We got there early and got our bibs and D-tags...we went back to the car to put them on and put the bag with our shirts in it away. After we double checked to make sure we got the right bibs on this time (hahaha) we went back to watch the 1 mile Fun Run. One of my students was running in it and I wanted to cheer him on. We also saw Kendran and Lisa, our friends from Weight Watchers, so we stood with them. I cheered for Sean as he went by and chatted with my friends until the race started.

After the Fun Run finished up we made our way to the start line of the 5K - I found my students that participate in "Girls on the Run", gave them a hug and told them I was proud of them and to have a good race. The gun went off and we were on the run!

I knew that if I could stay pretty close to 9:30 per mile at the beginning, I might be able to break that crazy 30 minute mark...I've already been close in one race this year! BUT I also knew that my legs wouldn't be totally recovered from the Cowtown last week, so I was going to be happy if I could just run the whole thing. I told Rick to run his race and not worry about me on this one!

My first mile felt pretty good - other than the fact that I just couldn't catch my breath like I normally can after the first .25 miles...I struggled with this a lot longer this time. Mile one went by in 9:19...a good time for me! I made it to the first water stop and walked my way through - took back off, but as I watched Garmin I was surprised to find myself going much slower than I felt like I was running. I noticed that I wasn't really stretching out as I ran, so I tried really hard to focus on my stride - it helped a little I think, but mile 2 still took me 10:16 to complete.
Mile 3 of this race is really hard because the last .5 miles of it is uphill! As I came up to the water stop I looked up to the bridge ahead, and sure enough, there was Rick - just like last year - but this year he wasn't walking! I knew I could do as well...I got my water, walked through, and took off again. I kept passing places where last year I walked, and I kept telling myself how good I was doing because I wasn't walking this year! We were still going into a headwind by now, but I don't think it was nearly as strong as the year before! I finished up mile 3 in 10:30 and knew I only had .1 mile to go....I was on the straight-a-way toward the finish line and I hadn't walked! This was a good race, even if I was already at 30:06 for the race.....I kept heading for the finish....crossed the line in 31:40. I had done it...I beat last year's time and I didn't walk!

Rick was there cheering for me as I crossed. I walked over to him and congratulated him on a good race. I was so proud when he told me he had finished in about 28:14. We got some water and bananas and I walked over to check out the official results. His official time was 28:07!!! As I looked at the overall results (they didn't post age groups) It appeared that we had both placed. We decided to stay for the awards and sure enough I took 3rd and he took 2nd! We brought home 2 trophies from this one!!! Not only that, one of the 2nd grade teachers from my school took 3rd in his age group and his brother took 1st overall, and one of my girls took 3rd in her age group! It was a good day for Boyd Elementary runners!!!

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