Archive for March, 2010

Cowtown Marathon 2/27/2010

March 2, 2010

Marathons two weeks apart was probably not a good idea.

That being said, I’m glad I ran Cowtown (Fort  Worth) and am even happier that it’s over!  This marathon was not part of the original schedule when I decided to embark on the Texas Marathon Challenge.  Not finishing San Antonio left me scrambling for a replacement.  It seemed like every potential Texas race had some kind of conflict or deal-breaker associated with it…so running Austin and Cowtown two weeks apart was the lesser of many evils.

Knowing that the course was somewhat challenging, I thought this would be a good time to experiment with running an evenly paced race.  The weather was forecasted to be about as good as it gets so I strapped on the Timex and the 3:45 pace band (8:34 miles) and decided to give it a go.

I took off pretty conservatively to give myself a good shot at a slight negative split (ie the back half slightly faster than the front half).  I missed several mile markers and some were no more than painted numbers on the road (and in many cases there were multiple instances of the same number painted on the road due to prior year course adjustments) so I’ll spare you the usual split breakdown…there is no accurate info to be gleaned from them individually.

I went through the half at almost exactly 1:55 which, if I could negative split by a minute, would put me just a tad under my Austin time of 3:49ish.  I sped up a little after 13 (my sister Becky was there…thanks for the lift!) and was moving along pretty good through 17.  The 17 mile marker was way short which made 18 way long.  19 through 21 I slowed down just a tad but was still on track.  21 would prove to be my last mile under 9 minutes.  There seemed to be a lot of hills through here and they really started rolling (primarily up) from 24 to 26.  Weaving through downtown I passed the 26 mile marker at 3:57ish and knew that if I kicked it up a notch I could clip 4 hours.  I did and I did.

I managed to cross at 3:59:27.  The 2:05 back half was several minutes slower than the back half of Austin (where I made no attempt at negative splits).  One race does not an experiment make…but I doubt I’ll be trying to run even or negative splits again.  It’s just not my style.

Cowtown has the “runpix” technology like Houston.  There were six times as many runners in Houston but my placings in overall, gender, and age group were almost identical (by percentile) in both races.

  Houston Cowtown
Overall 26th Percentile 26th Percentile
Gender 32nd Percentile 31st Percentile
Age Group 37th Percentile 35th Percentile

The finish line area of Cowtown is pretty cool.  The first thing that greeted me as I walked through Sundance Square was a Wholly Guacamole truck/trailer where they were handing out little single serving guacamole packets.  I passed but thought it was worth a mention.  In the post-race food area you had your choice of donuts, muffins, fruit, powerbars, cereal, hot soup (courtesy of the Salvation Army), and Blue Bell ice cream!  I went for a bottle of water, a banana, and an ice cream.

I headed back to my room to shower and change but got a call from Scotty T. that they were already at Jake’s.  I settled on a fresh shirt and u-turned back to the finish area where Jake’s is conveniently located.  On the way over I grabbed a yellow beer from the Miller Lite girls.  It really hit the spot!

Becky met me at Jake’s and we found Scott, Paul W., and Lindsey already seated.  We quickly got the burgers, fries, and Shiners ordered.  The burgers were good (especially if you’re a fan of the poppy seed) but the stand out was, by far, the Shiner.  They came in these frosty, round glasses that had to hold around 18 – 20 oz.  I had two just to confirm that the second one would be as good as the first.  TJ showed up while I was still trying to tackle the burger.  I think I was letting the Shiner distract me too much.  Then the real highlight came…Paul picked up the tab!

A few short hours later (after a brief, unsatisfying nap) nine of us (friends and family) headed over to Mariano’s Hacienda for fajitas and margaritas.  This place invented the frozen margarita (the original machine is in the Smithsonian)!!  A great meal with awesome company (Kelley, her friend Melissa, cousin Bryan, his wife Melissa, Becky, Matt, Darcie and Brody)!  On the way out we ran into Lindsey, Paul, and Scott again.  Thanks for the great recommendation, Scotty T.!

So, my five races for the Texas Marathon Challenge ended up being:

Marathon 2 Marathon, 4:09 (October)
Whiterock, 3:54 (December)
Houston, 3:56 (January)
Austin, 3:49 (February)
Cowtown, 3:59 (February)

I now have a reasonable 11 weeks until my next marathon, Pocono Mountains.  That race will kick off a series of screaming downhill races that I will run in an attempt to clip my old PR of 3:39 and take a stab at the 3:20:59 that a guy my age has to run to qualify for Boston.

What I have on the calendar now is; Poconos, St. George (lottery entry beginning in April), and California International (in May, October, and December respectively).

*edit/update*  I also have Beaver Island on the calendar in September…I forgot about it because it is not in the series of “screaming downhill races”.  It is purely a destination marathon.  My bad!  I’m also running a half marathon in Houston on April 11th.

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