2018 Cowtown and More
Wow, what a weekend. It has been a while since I have posted a blog or race update so I thought this would be a great time to do so. Tons to talk about.
This year I was accepted to be an ambassador for the Cowtown Marathon weekend. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the races, so what an honor. I was able to meet other ambassadors, learn more about this race, and help promote such a great event. If you ever get the chance to be an ambassador for something like this, take the opportunity, you will NOT regret it. Too many good things to mention and lots of great people to meet.
The race recap
I love recapping the race weekend. It helps me analyze what took place and share the experience with others.
I was not really sure what to expect heading into the weekend. Because I am an ambassador, I have had this on my calendar for a while. The problem was, I had a setback related to my hamstring over the summer. Most of Sept/Oct I was doing some run/walking stuff and it was just really frustrating. Fortunately, I was able to start running again consistently by the time November rolled around, just nothing crazy hard. Most of my runs were really easy, which is fine, but to race, you need to throw in the harder stuff. It was like walking a fine line trying to balance the easy/hard and not re destroy my hamstring. Fortunately, I had my fellow RunRelated coach, David, helping me with that balance. Late in the training process, I was able to get in some hard track workouts and some decent tempo runs. Judging on what I have done, I set a few goals for the race. 1, Finish-uninjured. If at any point I started to hurt, shut it down. 2, PR- I needed under 1:36:50 for the course. 3, Sub 1:35. Balancing the injury thing and training for the Galveston 70.3 in April (my main focus) had me sort of guessing what could happen, as far as results went for the Cowtown half, so I will describe below how it all went down.
So, I was feeling really motivated and ready the days leading up to the race. I told myself I’d swing for the fence and go after my goal of 1:35 and see what happened. This would be a 7:14 pace average over the course.
- Miles 1-4: The first mile I had no clue what pace I was running. My watch was all over the place. It ranged from 6:15 to 8:45. Pace was steady, but really didn’t know where I was until I crossed the first marker. The first 4 are pretty uneventful and are all about settling into your pace. These were are struggle for me, however. Because I had so little race pace/prep work, it was like my body was not used to race effort. It took all 4 of the first miles to get into a groove and not feel like I was aching all over. To be on pace, I needed to be at mile 4 by 29 minutes. I got to the end of mile 4 right at 29:00. So, all was well.
- Miles 5-8: These are good miles, some flat sections, rollers, and a trip on the bricks through the stock yards. These were the best miles of the race for me. I had settled in some, breathing was under control, and started feeling really good. I need to get to mile 8 by 58 minutes to be on track. The end of mile 8 showed 58:07. Seven seconds behind schedule, but feeling ok. I had taken my first GU around mile 5 and took gatorade at eat aid station. There is a trick to drinking and running, or I should say a technique. Since, I have been out of racing mode for so long, I did not nail these. I’d either get very little out of the cup, spill it on me, or almost drown. That was a tad frustrating.
- Mile 9 featured the big hill. It’s about 4/10 of a mile long and is a steady incline. Again, due to my training limitations, hill work was minimized. I didn’t have the leg power I’d like to push up the hill. My pace had slowed to 8:15 going up the hill and when I got to the top, it took FOREVER for me to get back to pace and recover. My plan was to be recovered by mile 10 and give it all I have for the last 5k. However, when I got to mile 10, I was struggling to find pace and was feeling fatigued. I needed to be at mile 10 by 1:12:30, but I was significantly behind at 1:13:00. That is about a 30 second deficit to make up over the last 3.1 miles. I’d have to run 7 minute miles to just reach my goal. Mile 11 came in at 7:18. Mile 12 at 7:15. I had returned to goal race pace, but that was all I had. I had nothing left in the tank and I realized that at the end of mile 11. With 1.1 miles to go and almost a minute to make up, I realized it was not happening, the 1:35 that is. It took everything I had to hold it together and just finish. My fitness had run out. Last mile came in at a slow 7:40, but I was DONE.
- I finished 48 seconds off my goal, but I was happy. I finished uninjured and my hamstring felt fine. I PR’d on this tough hilly course. I was also happy with how little training I had specific for this race and the result I got. So, I will take the 1:35:48 and be HAPPY.
The Last Year
Last, I want to talk about this past year with RunRelated. This race weekend sort of marked my 1 year anniversary coaching with this team. What a blessing. The most rewarding thing about coaching is all of the great people I meet. Each athlete comes with their own challenges, goals, etc. THAT is the fun part. Watching each person grow into their full potential is what is exciting and rewarding. Like I mentioned, each person is so individualized, as far as what their needs are, so each person’s plan is so different. The time it takes to put into their schedules really helped me over the last few months. I lost my father this past November. One of the things that kept my mind occupied was building the schedules each week and answering questions. Kept my mind busy! We want everyone to be able to experience the one on one approach to coaching so we make it as affordable as possible. I also make myself as available as possible. Each of my athletes have my phone/email and I encourage them to reach out whenever possible. It has been a blast and I am so happy where I am at with the coaching thing. More than the goals and PR’s, I enjoy learning about each person, their family, and other life attributes. That PR is icing on the cake to learning about who that person actually is.
Anyway, it has been a joy to be on this ride, watch our team grow, and helping others better themselves. Really feeling good vibes after this epic weekend, feeling good about training for Galveston, and just in a really good spot, physically. Onto the next one…..