Cowtown, part 2: I’m a marathoner!!

Sunday morning started bright and early, my alarm was set for 4:40AM. It’s amazing I slept as good as I did. My headache finally subsided. I got up, got dressed, made my toast with peanut butter and started on my Cytomax drink.

We were meeting friends in the lobby to head to the race at 5:40. The half, full and ultra races all started at 7:00, in waves. We got there early and took pictures, made one last pit stop and stretched.

Love this one. It’s me and 2 other racers and our husbands and daughters.

shoes Cowtown

 Here’s me and Jennifer before the race, all smiles still!


And our whole group before the race. Five of us were running our first full marathons.

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We lined up a few minutes before the start time, we were in corral 4 and they were letting the corrals go about every 2-3 minutes. It didn’t take too long and we were off!

The temperature was in the upper 50’s at this point, a little on the warm side.

Here’s the view in front of us at the starting line.

Cowtown 2014 starting line

It’s a crowded race. 12,000 runners on Sunday morning for 3 races, all on the course at the same time. So it takes a little while for it to thin out a little. We all stay together until mile 10 and then the half runners split off from the full and ultra.

The first time Jennifer and I saw our family was about mile 6 in the Ft. Worth Stockyards. I almost ran straight into this photographer in the middle of the road.


It’s not flat, but there’s only one hill worth mentioning and it’s still shorter than a lot of the hills we run here on a weekly basis. It’s .3 miles and the hill I did repeats on last week is .45 miles long. It’s just that it’s rolling hills the whole time. My quads were screaming pretty early on.

That hill was mile 8, I think and at the top were some of our awesome cheerleaders! We had several friends out on the course in addition to family. It was so good to see them. Jill wore her running shoes to be ready to run when needed. They had bananas for us too.

Jennifer and I are sharing this one. Looks like I’m going after it like it’s gold.

Cowtown top of mile 8

After mile 10 when we split from the half runners it gets real quiet for a few miles. Cowtown has great spectators and there are lots of people out, until about mile 11-14 and it starts to die down a little. That’s a hard part of the race. Fortunately John showed up at mile 11 with Ally and Jennifer’s daughter. He carted both girls all around town!


We saw another running buddy somewhere along there, but I can’t be sure what mile it was. He snapped some pictures of us here and at mile 24 when we saw him again.

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We didn’t see John and the girls again until about mile 18.5 in a park. I could have quit then, it was tough and it was hot. The sun was starting to get to me. So much of getting through a run and especially a race, is mental. I learned a few things Sunday. One being no matter how well or how long you train for something, race day conditions can undo it all.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of what I accomplished! I started out the race with one goal and soon realized that goal was unattainable and at first it was hard, but I got over it and couldn’t be happier.

This is about mile 19. I was struggling and Jennifer looks so happy!

mile 19 cowtown 2014

Shortly after this Jennifer and I both started looking for a port-a-potty and it seemed like it was 5 miles before we found one. We refilled our water bottles at almost every other station. We ate Mojo bars and used the Advocare Rehydrate lemon gels for fuel. The course stations had Gu and I just cannot do that.

I think this is mile 21 maybe, we saw some more running buddies who had completed their halfs and were back out to cheer the other runners. It was great seeing them!

mile 21 cowtown 2014

The neighborhoods during this part of the race were great. It seemed like everyone was out. They played music, set up water stops in their own yards, had bananas, oranges, beer and even Coke to hand out to runners. It was fairly shady but still a little hilly.

I think I blocked some of it out. If friends and family hadn’t taken pictures, I don’t think I’d have a single course photo. It was too much to focus on water, nutrition, running, bathroom breaks and taking pictures.

Here we are at mile 24, which was full sun. These last 2 miles may have been the hardest. It was in a park along the Trinity River. There were quite a few spectators out and we got lots of cheers by name since they were on our bib. I also got some extra cheers since my shirt said “My first 26.2”. I definitely recommend a custom shirt.

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Mile 25 is where the ultra runners split off, they sorta go straight when we make a u-turn. I hear the Cowtown ultra is a good one, it’s a flat out and back 2.5 miles. We hit mile 25 and saw one last running club member and then headed up a hill in the first part of that mile, then we could see the Will Rogers Coliseum which was our finish line. Unfortunately we had to run around 3 sides of it to get to the finish line. When we rounded the last corner we found Lisa and Jill, two girls I have run countless miles with, they have become so precious to me! I was in tears at that point. Lisa broke the rules (thank goodness) and climbed over the barrier to run us in.

She had finished her half, changed her clothes, got her medal and ran with us in flip flops across the finish line. She’s cheering and telling us we are awesome. I was so glad to see her!  There’s Jill outside the barrier running too.

 cowtown finish 3

cowtown finish 2

My husband had the girls and they were waiting past the finish line. They saw us cross then headed inside to meet up with us. We got our medals, finish line photos, food and headed to find our family and other friends. The line for finisher shirts wasn’t too bad, I had to get my challenge shirt and medal as well. Ended the weekend with 3 shirts and 2 medals.

Cowtown 2014 shirts and medals

We waited around a little while to check on a few other runners. I was starting to get hungry and needed to get out of my sweaty clothes so we headed out to find lunch. We stopped at Mellow Mushroom for pizza. We are getting one here in Rockwall but it’s not complete yet so we found one on the way home.

Once home, I got showered and changed. Grabbed my ProCompression socks, recovery drink and my laptop and landed on the couch.

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I was already starting to get really sore. Sitting down and standing up were becoming increasingly difficult. I never was even remotely this sore for 20 mile training runs so I was a little shocked that it set in that quick and that intense.

Running a marathon isn’t easy. I don’t think I was over confident but I didn’t think after 7.5 months that it would be as hard as it was. It was so much harder than I ever imagined. The temperates got to almost 70 by the time we finished, and it was sunny. We haven’t run in those conditions since maybe last September. And even then, we almost always run in the dark and we weren’t to 20 miles yet. I think next go round I will run a few more runs in the sunlight to be more prepared.

If you had asked me Sunday if I would do another one, I wasn’t ready to say yes. In fact during the race I was saying no more. I told our friend Mark at mile 24 that “this sucks”. It did, and bad. But today, my legs are so much better. I’m happy about my time. I am making goals for the next few months and I think I can say yes to another full.

I am sure I will think of so much more I left out of this post. I will try to follow up with another post about what I learned, mistakes I made, etc. Maybe it will help you out later.

Thanks for following along and for the virtual cheers! I really appreciate it.

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This verse was on the back of my race day shirt.

Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

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