Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 Cowtown (Fort Worth) Marathon Race Report and Video

Holly runs the 2016 Cowtown Marathon in-and-around Fort Worth, Texas with our friend Stan:
Cowtown was going to be my first full marathon of the year. I was excited to be running this one with my friends Michael and Stan. Unfortunately Michael had to pull out of the race due to an injury and Stan barely made it to the starting line due to battling the stomach flu early in the week. I’m not sure how he did it but he did! We got in to Ft. Worth 3 hours late on Friday night due to mechanical issues but found time for a late beer and snack at Flying Saucer beer bar.

We went to the expo the next morning which was a good sized expo with a lot of vendors. After the expo we went over to the Stockyards and walked around quite a bit. We had a nice lunch at Riscky's BBQ. Of course we stopped at a brewery (The Collective Brewing Project) on the way back to the hotel. It was a beautiful day and it was nice to sit outside. We had a great dinner at Vivo 53 and went to bed early.

Dave drove us over to the start area and we were way too early. We ended up sitting in a McDonalds to stay out of the cold and got to use their bathroom. Bonus! We then headed over to the start corrals and Pam and Dave headed over to watch near the start line. Race start was well organized with the corrals going off every 4 minutes.

Soon enough it was our turn and we were off! I did my 20 mile run a month before due to our beach vacation so I wasn’t sure how I would hold up. I also was running faster during my training runs so I wasn’t sure what pace to go out at. I chose poorly! We went out way too fast and paid the price later in the race. I felt really good for the first half and felt like I was not putting out much effort. Stan was trying to get me to slow down and I kept saying, I know, but I didn’t slow down. I also was not doing a good job of eating my gels at regular intervals. This resulted in me totally bonking at mile 20. It was a long 6 miles after that but we did finish.

Now let’s talk about the good stuff. It was a nice course. We ran through the Stockyards and through some nice neighborhoods. We had some great crowd support and even a few beer stops along the way. One guy said to me "that’s beer not water" and I said "thank goodness!" We had one couple that was cheering with Dave and Pam at the halfway point and they were great. We kept seeing them along the course and they would always yell "Illinois". We loved seeing them and they gave us a HUGE cheer at the finish. Dave and Pam were great as always and were very encouraging when I was completely done at the end. I was so nauseous and Pam would just keep asking what I needed. They are both the best! Stan was a great running partner and we were both so delirious at the end that we couldn’t even recognize the Indiana Jones theme song that a guy was playing on the course.

The finish was a highlight because I finally got to meet my dear friend Becca In-person. She was there to cheer us in at the finish. The finish area was great with ice cream, beer and chicken noodle soup. The soup was much needed and it made me feel instantly better. You also got nice finisher swag: a disposable jacket, great medal, and a finisher shirt. This was a well-run race and I would definitely recommend it.

Dave's Comments
Mechanical issues really screwed up my bar-hopping plans. I had been to Fort Worth for work 14 or so years ago and remembered it having lots of fun little places. Still seems like there are some fun places in Ft. Worth, but we only had time to visit Flying Saucer that night.
We visited the Stockyards after going to the race expo. We unfortunately missed the running of the cows, but arrived early enough for hassle-free parking. The crowds were building as the day went on. We enjoyed our time in a few of the shops browsing things we weren't in the market for: cowboy hats, belt buckles, and leather goods. For some reason I was compelled to pay $5 to sit on a steer.

Siri didn't do a good job directing us to the Beer Collective so we punished her by staying a round longer than initially planned. It was in the high 60's/low 70's with full sunshine. Too nice a day to waste inside so we wasted it on a picnic table in the loading dock area.

On Sunday I had my first Sausage Egg McMuffin. I am new to eating eggs. Yolks disgust me (they need to be 100% cooked solid). Think about what eggs really are and where they come out of? Anyway, it was alright. The staged start of the race was just soooooo long. Pam and I just wanted to get the chasing started. We were happy to find that it did not take long to get from the start to mile 3, mile 3 to mile 6.5 (the yards), and the yards to town (mile ten). We parked near Billy Bob's in the Stockyards and had to cut through the rodeo corrals to get to the course. Lots of watching your step in that area. The rest of the course was easy enough to navigate.

With the start and finish included we were able to catch them 13 times on the course. We finished up the Fort Worth experience by having lunch at Flying Saucer in the beer garden.

Here's the video:

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