Sunday, February 26, 2012

Race Weekend: Cowtown in Ft. Worth

It was finally here.  The weekend we had been talking about getting ready for since my surgery last June... note the "talking about".  Lots of talking - not so much doing, LOL.  We trained in fits and starts, mostly because I was concerned about the back.  We finally decided we were just going to walk the 1/2 marathon - try to match our 3 hour time (Pepaw's was 3:00, mine was 3:02) but our major goal was simply to finish!  Sometimes you just have to admit things didn't work out exactly as planned and go with the hand you are delt.

We packed up everything on Friday evening - this year I made triple sure I had my running pants packed! (Of course this meant that I totally forgot my TEAM 4:13 shirt and my Garmin!) We set everything by the door so we would be ready to leave bright and early Saturday morning.  The Adult 5K started at 8:15 and both Cotton and Candy were running that one, so we knew we needed to get there early - that meant we needed to be on the road by 5:30 A.M. - and we were!

As we neared our exit from the highway we were surprised at the line of cars just stopped on the off ramp and backed up for miles down the road.  We quickly decided we would go to the next exit and figure out what we needed to do from there.  Just about that time my phone rang, it was Cotton telling us he had been in that line for 20 minutes and still hadn't gotten to the street he needed!  We jumped off one exit further out and Garmin led us right to the parking area with no problem at all.  We parked and walked over to find Cotton. 

We stood along the barricades at the finish line and watched the 10K finishers, then Cotton and Candy took off for the start line. I kept thinking they would change the clock to the 5K time when they took off, but that didn't happen. I found out later it was changed on the side the racers could see, just not on the side for the spectators!  Cotton finished in just over 21 minutes - but I couldn't get my stupid iPhone camera to work quick enough to get a picture of him crossing the finish line. I thought his time was AMAZING, and he was pretty happy with it - he had forgotten just how hilly this course was!  Candy finished in just over 42 minutes - again, the hills are killer!  This was her first Cowtown, and she did a GREAT job too!  I posted the picture of her at the finish on FB - and of course that started a whole conversation about pictures of first borns...Cotton should learn to stop and pose, LOL  (Love you son!)

After everyone joined back up we walked to the cars and took off to find an IHOP for breakfast.  It was great to spend some post-race time together just laughing and visiting.  After breakfast it was back to the collisium to walk through the EXPO.  We were lucky to meet Joe Boyle - a former olympic athlete, now a running coach.  We visited with him and got some excellent training/running tips.  I wished we had more time to visit with him!  Cotton needed to get back so we went back to the cars and then headed to the hotel - hoping for an early check-in. 

We got all checked in and just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.  About 5:00 or so we walked across the street with the kids to the Ft. Worth water park...that was fun!  We walked all around looking at the fountains and pools, climbed the "mountain" and then wandered back so we could go for an early dinner - then it was time for bed.

I wasn't able to sleep very well...this was one of the NOISIEST hotels I've stayed at in a LONG time!  I listend to noise until after 2:00 AM and then had to get up at 4:30 so we could catch the 5:15 shuttle to the race...NOT a happy camper!''

We were glad we went on the first shuttle though as we were able to get chairs inside the building to wait until close to the 7:00 AM starting gun.  We ambled out to our corral (near the back) and settled in to wait for about 10 minutes.  It was actually one of the smoothest corral starts I've ever been a part of.

Actually, for the majority of the race I was very happy with the planning.  Plenty of water and electrolite drinks to keep us hydrated and TONS of volunteers. 

I felt so good for the first 1/2 of the race I couldn't believe it!  We completed the first 10K in about 1:28 - so we were ahead of pace...whoo - hoo! I was still running/walking strong and felt GREAT.  Then....the dreaded WALL.  I hit that at about 8 miles...I could FEEL myself draining.  I tried a GU hoping that would get my going again - and it might have, if it hadn't been for the hill at mile 9.  I didn't think we were EVER going to reach the top of that sucker!  By the time we finished that my legs were shot.  I never did get my pace back - although I did continue to try the run/walk pattern I had started at the beginning of the race.  Our 11 mile time was 2:40 ... we knew by then we werent going to make the 3:00 hour mark...but we kept going. 

It was really cool to get to the 13 mile mark and see the family there to cheer us on.  The grand-kids were so excited...running up and down the sidewalk with the signs they had made at the EXPO and cheering us on...made us smile really big.

We turned the corner, saw the finish line and decided to go for it.  We ran across the finish line holding our hands up in the air...Cowtown 1/2 Marathon #4 complete and in the books! 

Now we only have one more - and the plan is to actually get some training time in before we run that one!

I have decided to go back to a C25K type training program and start all over again.  Now that I know my back can handle it - not a single twinge or tweak during the entire race - we are going to sign up for some 5Ks here in the next few months, then add some 10Ks in the fall/winter time frame so we will be MUCH more prepared.  Watch out COWTOWN.  I WILL break the 3 hour mark NEXT year!!!

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