Cowtown Recap & Review

Whew, it’s been a long time!  Life is definitely interfering with the blog again!  We’ve got about 9 weeks left in the school year, so things are crazy at work, and I’m working on my principal certification too.  It’s no wonder I’m struggling to find time to run, much less write about running.  🙂  I’ve got several important updates to do on the blog, so I’ll start today with a recap/race review of Cowtown back in February.

The Cowtown is run in Ft. Worth, about 45 miles from where I live, so we decided to make a weekend trip out of it and stay in a hotel in Ft. Worth.  We also had a visitor for the weekend — Waddles the Penguin, mascot of the coolest runner’s group on Facebook, Runner’s Corner.  Waddles went to work with me on the Friday before the race and helped out quite a bit in my classroom.

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(making copies; monitoring a U.S. History test)

Anyway, we headed to Ft. Worth after we got off work on Friday, since I was running on both Saturday and Sunday.  The Cowtown is a whole weekend of events, a 10K, adult 5K, and kids 5K on Saturday, and a half marathon, marathon, and ultra marathon on Sunday.  If you complete one event each day, then you complete for the Cowtown Challenge and get an extra shirt and extra medal.

My plan for the weekend was a slow & easy 10K, and hopefully a PR on the half marathon on Sunday.

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My flat mama (+ Waddles) for the 10K on Saturday morning

Saturday morning, I was up EARLY.  I didn’t want to miss the shuttle from the hotel to the race site.  I grabbed a banana in the lobby and hopped on the shuttle.  The traffic was terrible and it took quite a while to get there because no one would yield to the bus.  Once we arrived at the convention center, I made my way to the start and ran into my MRTT ladies.  It was a chilly morning, so I held off on lining up at the start as long as possible.

Overall, this was a GREAT run for me.  I was planning on slow and easy, and ended up with a PR.

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Not only a PR, but in a large race, my best overall finishes EVER.  Top 10% of female and age group finishers, and top 20% overall.  I couldn’t have been happier about this one!  I guess penguins make you run faster.  🙂

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(Waddles with my 10K medal on the shuttle back to the hotel)

After the run, I spent some time walking around the race expo inside the convention center before heading back to the hotel.  It was a nice expo, but I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without, so I went back to the hotel to shower.  Then we spent the rest of the day at the Ft. Worth Zoo with the kids, before grabbing dinner with some friends who recently moved to Ft. Worth.

Sunday morning came much too early, following the 10K and all the walking at the zoo.  I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to run, but I was up early again anyway.

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(flat mama for the half marathon)

I was still hoping for a half marathon PR, but was pretty hesitant since my PR was on an almost perfectly flat course, and the Cowtown course was anything but flat.  The shuttle was much more crowded on Sunday morning, but the ride to the convention center seemed shorter.  I had a nice conversation with the people sitting around me about other races in Texas.

Once I arrived at the convention center, I set out to find my MRTT group for our traditional pre-race group picture.  They weren’t too hard to find, since there were so many of us that morning.

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Then I ran over to find the Runner’s Corner people so Waddles could make it into the group picture.

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(it was still dark, so the photo isn’t great)

Then it was off to line up in the start corral.  I took some pictures as I waited.

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(I wasn’t in corral 3, but I walked past it when I went to line up in my own corral)

This was a much tougher course than I expected.  I knew it would be hilly, but I didn’t anticipate how hard the rolling hills would be.  And I almost never train for hills.  I even had to walk some of the course, which I almost never do.  In the end, I was still pretty happy with my performance.

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I missed a PR by about 15 seconds, which is significantly better than I thought I’d do at the halfway point.  I was also in the top 40% overall, and top 30% in both women and my age group.  I think this might have been my best overall finish at the half marathon in terms of percentages to date.

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And look at the really cool medal!  Cowtown does a 3 year series of medals, and this was year 1 for the new series – a bronze star bet buckle-looking medal.  Next year will be silver and 2016 will be gold.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be running it the next 2 years, too. 😉

I really enjoyed the race atmosphere at this one.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a challenging course, and I look forward to doing it again.

Up later tonight or in the next few days: my review of the Dallas Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon!

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