Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cowtown Half Marathon

Today is the day I have been waiting for a long time. When I finished my first Half Marathon in early November I had my sights set on doing the Full Cowtown Marathon. It took me two and a half weeks to recover so I decided to pick another Marathon as my first and do the Cowtown Half as a training race. In the past 7 days I have had a sore knee and all signs point to it being my IT band. I took 4 days off from running, iced my knee, stretched, and used a foam roller. I did a test run around my gym parking lot Friday and did not experience any pain. My only goal is to finish the Cowtown Half and get my finisher's shirt.

I stayed at my parents house last night so I would be closer to downtown Ft. Worth this morning. I left around 6am and found a good parking spot. While I has getting all my stuff ready I lost the safety pins for my bib in the dark. I looked around for a while and decided to try my luck at finding new ones. I found a volunteer and they were able to help me out. I met up with my friends Rachel and we headed to the start line. She ran the DRC Half with me in November and I finished my last Half 3 weeks ago at about the same time as her finish time. We headed to Corral 2 for a pace between 8:30 to 9:20. The first Corrall started at 7am to the tune from Rocky. We started 4 minutes later to "California Girls" by Katy Perry and I laughed at the lame music choice.

I started off feeling strong but did not push my pace too fast. At about 0.4mi I could feel tightness in my right knee . I was determined to keep up with Rachel until the pain flared up or became unbearable. At the first water station I was still feeling fresh. I decided to run in the middle of the road because the right side was slanted. At mile 4 there was the first big hill. Taking the advice I had read I took shorter faster steps and kinda bounced on my toes so my calves absored all the shock. I passed alot of people and sped up the hill. At the third water station I walked thru it and took my first gel pack. Shortly afterwards the route went thru the stockyards and we were running on a brick street. The uneven surface irritated my knee. We hit the 10k mark in 59:02 and shortly after we were halfway. At this point my knee hurt and I decided to walk when I got to the 7 mile marker. I told Rachel I had to walk and wished her luck.
I walked to the next water/aid station and used the restroom and stretched. I walked another 0.25mi and all the sudden without thinking I started to job again. At this point I was in a slower crowd and I passed alot of joggers. I felt my knee again and walked for a bit and took a picture. The mile long big hill into downtown was coming up and I got excited. I jogged to the next aid station and they were handing out gel packs. I took one and ended up running for 0.5mi at a sub 9min pace. I walked again for a quarter mile then started jogging up the long incline. I train for hills and noticed alot of people walking.

At the top of the hill we got on Houston street and the sidewalks were lined with spectators cheering and it echoed in off all the buildings. My focus changes and I did not feel any pain. I ended up sprinting to a sub 7 min pace then catching my breath for a minute doing this 4 time until I reached the convention center. When we hit mile 10 I had to power walk for half a mile to recover. My watch showed my average pace was 10:30 and I realized running at 7:00 and walking at 13:00 helped me keep a decent average. I walked the uphills, jogged the downhills, and ran the flats. I caught up the the pace leader holding the 2:10 sign. I only had 1.5 mile left and I did my best to keep up. With 0.5 to go I was in alot of pain but I gave the rest of my effort and finished in 2:15:48.

Running on the brick street thru the stockyards.

Walking about half a mile from the big hill into Downtown Ft. Worth

Enjoying my victory beer

This guy ran the full marathon in a suit.

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