Cowtown Half-Marathon: I DID IT!

First things first-Today I am linking up with Becky over at Olives ‘N Wine for her weekly Treat Yourself Tuesday feature.

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Yesterday afternoon I treated myself to a pedicure in an attempt to make amends with my feet for all the abuse they’ve suffered.  I figured I earned it, right?  Thanks, Becky, for a great way to remind ourselves we all need a treat every once in awhile!

 

So, as most of you know, I’ve been training for a half-marathon for roughly the last four months.  Sunday I ran and finished my very first one.

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The Cowtown Half-Marathon takes place in Ft. Worth every year, and this was a great race for my first half.  It was fairly flat except for one horrendous hill, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Race weekend started with a trip down to Mom and Joel’s Friday night.  They had dinner waiting on John and I when we got there, and they decided I needed to carb load.

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Spaghetti and a baked potato?  I really think I could get use to long-distance racing.

After dinner and a little visiting, I passed out on the couch before ten o’clock, and only woke up long enough to stumble to our room.  I slept really well which I was very grateful for because, knowing me, the chances were good I wasn’t going to sleep well at all on Saturday night.

We had another carb loading meal of pancakes before John and I said our goodbyes and headed to Dad’s to meet up with him, Caite, and Justin to head to the expo.  Dad and I picked up our packets, and the nerves began taking up permanent residence in my stomach!

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We wandered around the expo for a little bit, but John, Caite, and Justin didn’t find it quite as stimulating as Dad and I and we were all starving so we headed out.

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We ended up a Ft. Worth burger joint that’s been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  It was good, but definitely a special occasion spot.  Grease was the only thing on the menu!

We ran around a little bit more before heading back to Dad’s to relax for the evening and get some rest.  As predicted, I didn’t sleep very well, and, when I did, I had crazy dreams.  When the alarm went off at 4:30, I felt like I hadn’t slept at all, but, thankfully, I wasn’t that tired.  My nerves and excitement had taken over!

Dad and I got to the race around 6:15.  By the time we parked, walked the short distance to the start, and did the porta-potty thing it was race time.  We got in the corrals, and crossed the start line about sixteen minutes after the gun.

I felt great starting out.  I knew I loved the atmosphere at races but 5Ks are nothing compared to this event.  There were thousands of people running, and the spectators were great.  Someday I envisioned myself doing a post on the best race signs because I saw a ton of hilarious ones!

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In the first few miles, Dad and I did a lot of dodging around other people.  Dad had given me the run down on what that would be like so I knew what to expect and I just followed his lead as he wove in and out.  We were moving at a pretty fast pace, and the first five miles seemed to pass in no time at all.

Around mile seven we entered the Ft. Worth Stockyards.  I had really been looking forward to running in the area.  The Stockyards are an iconic Ft. Worth landmark that I just knew would be a highlight of the race.  Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it as much as expected.

I mentioned last week that I bought a new pair of running shoes.  After a few light runs last week, the new shoes were not feeling great so I decided to run the half in my old pair instead of taking the chance.  So fast forward to Sunday when I’m running on the brick paved streets of the Stockyards.  I felt every single step as I pounded my feet on the bricks, and I was so glad to get through it.  Luckily, it wasn’t too long of a stretch!

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We were still moving at a pretty good speed, and I happened to glance at my watch once when it beeped to indicate another mile.  It said we had averaged a 9:44 pace which is very good for me especially after that kind of distance.  There had been some loose talk the day before of finishing around 2:15, and at that point I realized we were on pace to finish well before that.

Around mile 9, we started up the Main Street Bridge.  And I do mean up!  This was by far the largest and longest hill on the course, and it was a beast.  It did not help matters that it was preceded by the longest straightaway of the day which means I had been staring at it for a good mile and a half.

This hill was rough.  My pace had slowed way down, and I was doing what my dad refers to as the fat man shuffle to get to the top. Unfortunately, once I finally made it to the top, it all went downhill from there (pun intended).

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Just after leaving the bridge, I noticed the tell-tale pains of runner’s knee in my right knee.  I was right around mile ten, and I knew that the last 5K could give me some problems if my knee was acting up so I just prayed that it wouldn’t become too much of hindrance.

I kept up a slow but steady pace throughout mile ten, but miles 11 to the finish were not pretty .  My pace was considerably slower, and I was forced to take a few walking breaks.  Luckily, my dad stuck with me the whole way, and around mile 11.5 we finally saw John and Caite on the course which was  a huge boost.

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I crossed the finish line at 2:18:00, and I would love to say a felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  That wasn’t exactly the case.  Mostly, I just felt a little dazed!  Not to worry though-the elation came pretty quickly!

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Overall, I’m extremely proud and happy with my performance.  Yes, I am a little irritated that my pesky knee kept me from an even better finish, but, at the end of the day, I think it was pretty good showing for my first half.  And now, of course, I have a baseline to work from!

I definitely have a few more thoughts on the day, but I’ll save it for later in the week.  This recap has gotten out of control!  Have a great day everyone, and don’t forget to treat yourself!

What’s one of your proudest athletic accomplishments?  How are you treating yourself today?

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17 thoughts on “Cowtown Half-Marathon: I DID IT!

  1. Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes

    Congratulations, Natalie! Finishing your first half-marathon is a huge accomplishment! Even with the knee troubles, I think you made the right call by wearing your old sneakers. It would’ve been tough to adjust to a new shoe so close to race day. Hope you’re well on the way to resting and recovering!

    Reply
  2. Becky @ Olives n Wine

    Congrats on your first half marathon!!! I know the feeling about feeling dazed after crossing the finish line. I could barely walk to the car after running my first half, lol! And I’m sure you hear this all of the time but you look SO much like your dad. Just thought I should point that out 😉 Thanks for linking up!

    Reply
  3. Heidi Nicole

    Whoo! This only sat in my Feedly for 2 weeks — I wanted to really read it and I’m glad I did! Worth the read and so glad you are signed up for another again! On your next CO visit we’ll go explore trails! :)

    Reply
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