For the last time, we’re talking the Cowtown!
As most of you know, I didn’t really have any goals for this race, but obviously still wanted to do well. So lets dive in!
First of all, getting to Fort Worth turned out to be a longer trip than I expected. An hour delay leaving O’Hare and then another delay getting my bags resulted in me getting to my AirBnB around midnight instead of the planned 9:30. And I’m not at all a night owl, so this wasn’t the most pleasant experience.
Saturday morning was terrible weather for the start of my shakeout run; also not pleasant, but way better than those who had to race the 10k and 5k, both of which were delayed due to storms.
I was able to catch the start of the 10k when I headed over to packet pickup. Turns out, getting your packet during the Saturday races is THE BEST. No crowds and I could check out all the vendors and walk around with ease. The only thing I didn’t like about the expo was that the bib and race shirts were at complete opposite sides of the building.
Let’s fast forward to Sunday morning. You could not dial up better weather for a marathon. Forty degrees at the start and no wind. Absolutely perfect.
The Sunday races for the Cowtown are the Half, Full, and Ultra marathons, and they all start at once. I was fortunate enough to be in Corral 1, which was surprisingly sparse at the starting line.
The first eight miles of the race felt absolutely amazing. Cool weather and my legs felt fresh. The course wound us through a couple parks and through the Fort Worth stock yards. The Stock Yards had a couple brick road areas, which weren’t the best to run on, but crowd support was excellent.
Mile nine took us up a surprisingly long hill out of the valley and into downtown Fort Worth. This is where the Full and Half marathons split. It’s also where I just felt drained coming up the hill. At mile 10 it felt like I went from 100 to 0 super quick.
The rest of the race turned into a grind from there.
What didn’t help was that I broke rule #1 of marathoning. Trying new nutrition on race day. Let’s just say it didn’t go well, and resulted in three bathroom stops (Miles 8, 14, and 23…if you were curious). After Mile 14, I decided to pull back a little and go for the finish since no great times would be hit.
The second half of the course ran us through a bunch of neighborhoods, parks, and the TCU campus. It’s mostly downhill once you pass through downtown, until the last couple miles throw in some hills before we hit the river path.
Mile 24 pain
At the finish, runners are ushered through to get water and medals right away. Food was actually way down the chute, which kind of surprised me.
However, this race did the coolest thing EVER. Instead of a space blanket that most races use, the Cowtown gives runners a disposable jacket! I can tell you I’ll be wearing this as a throw away for future races. What an awesome thing to give runners.
After getting your bag, water, medal, and jacket, you’re ushered inside to get food and your finisher’s shirt. There were different finishers shirts for all three race distances.
Once you get back outside, there were quickly two lines formed. One for runners who participated in the weekend challenge (running a race Saturday and Sunday) and one for the beer. I may have accidentally cut the beer line. Oops.
Overall, the Cowtown is a fantastic event! There’s a reason that multiple race distances show up on the BibRave 100. If you’re looking for a Spring marathon, I would highly recommend the Cowtown!
Oh, and be sure to hit up the Rodeo Goat for dinner while you’re in town (probably after the race). So much food. And so delicious.