2019 Cowtown Marathon Race Report

I hate you I love you
I hate that I love you

Marathons hurt… but I guess we’re in an on/off relationship

I haven’t been posting much about running or racing cause well it’s been pretty minimal. In the past 13 months I have ran a half marathon, a 10K, another 10K I got too lazy to recap and the rest I ran vicariously in my sleep from the comfort of my pillow.

The 10K felt good and sometime in the fall, I decided hey if my crappy foot could hold out for 6 miles, why not 26. I started searching for  marathon in the January/February timeframe with a few objectives – If I’m suffering through a marathon, I want it to be a new state and possibly somewhere with a high chance of not being freezing rain.  Soo after several cruises of running in the USA and google flight searches, we landed on COWTOWN Marathon.

Cowtown is held in Fort Worth Texas (Dallas Area) and is actually a two day running festival with 26,000 runners consisting of 5k, 10k, a half, a full and for the overly ambitious a 50K and if you want to be extra, you can do a combination of some Saturday and Sunday races because why not be extra. In another time (another decade) that extra extra may have been me but for now the marathon was sufficiently 20 miles to extra enough for me.

My training wasn’t terrible, I stacked up four 20 milers including one pretty happy 21 miler, some solid high teens and pretty much swept up each week with about 35-40 weekly miles. Not quite BQ training, but the thought of BQ2020 did flirt my heart too often.

I even enjoyed my taper like a seasoned athlete, taking long naps on the couch, cruising a few 5 milers at race pace and carbo-loading with pizza like the pros.

By Saturday AM, I was ready for my flight and eager to get running. In typical fashion of getting too distracted by eating and exploring, I made it to the expo at 4:50 (we may have gotten a bit lost in the giant expo center block of buildings and museums). With 10 minutes to spare on picking up my number (there was no same day number pick up), I caught about zero to none of the expo, but it looked pretty extensive and I’m sure it had the typical – nuun, gus, shoes, and headbands that you would expect. If i had a do over, I would have come a little earlier to check out the new running digs out in the market.

The race started at 7AM and I was a little bit nervous about making it on time. Setting the alarm for 5AM made me want to cry and question why am I such a masochist. My wake up time is usually 8AM and I am more of a sunset runner than a sunrise anything. I also had the outfit dilemma. The weather was predicted to be anywhere between 35 – 60 degrees so I felt lost in how warmly or not I want to dress up. I opted somewhere for the middle – light leggings, a long sleeve and a sacrifice of a winter hat that I hated anyways.

Of course on the morning of the race, the Garmin that I haven’t used in months decided to crap out. I thought about using runkeeper, but I needed to save my phone battery to find Tony and my co post race.  I contemplated stumping the S— out of the garmin but then decided it’s not that important anyways.

The race organizes some hotels that offer discount runner rates but they were all sold out when I tried to book. We managed to snag one with a fairly decent rate that was 2 miles away. Except lesson for next time – avoid hotels around train tracks because instead of getting 6 hours of sleep, you’ll get 6 naps of sleep in between horn blasts 😉

The race organizers sent us an email the night before telling us all to be patient so I decided to try to make it to race start 30 minutes early but things seemed easy enough that I just chilled in the car until 15 minutes before the start. The Coral organization was pretty amazing! I forget how many in total (def more than 8) but there was plenty of space. The race started on time without any issues so massive kudos to the organizers, volunteers and everyone in between.

The above map was posted and if you can follow it, kudos. For me, I never really had a clue where I was so I just hoped there was a runner in front of me. The Marathon and Half shared the course for about 10 miles.

We passed the stockyards which were a fun little district of cowboy boot stores and saloons. It also happened to be on brick road which did not feel pleasant at all.

There were water stops about every 1.5 miles and while I didn’t notice any clocks on the course, the mile markers were there every mile and super easy to see and guesstimate into a pace.

For the first half things felt good. I mostly hung behind the 1:40 half marathon pacer (I couldn’t find the 3:25 one) as I figured I’ll slow down in the second. I didn’t have a watch but the race results have me clipping around 7:35-7:45 pace through the 13.1 miles. This got me through the half in 1:41:30, a pretty respectable half if I don’t say so myself.

I remember thinking somewhere between miles 10-13, it’s not that it’s hilly, but this sure as heck ain’t flat. The other thought, damn I forgot how painful running fast on concrete feels. (I usually run on a treadmill or dirt path on the Charles when I can).

Somewhere between mile 13-16, my quads decided they’re done with this whole running thing. Done with a massive DONE. And somewhere after the 20 miles, my right foot decided it really feel like being walk on either.


Mile 22-25 was around this park river that pass our hotel where my brother got a shot of me attempting to jog or walk or just not cry at mile 23. When your body starts losing it’s ability to move, you have two options – give up and cry or just get the damn thing done. I knew my BQ has slipped after mile 16 and I probably let that weight down my legs just as much as my angry quads – determined to finish but really not interested in running hard anymore.

I ended up crossing at 3:50:29. so 1:41 half 2:10 second half. Not my proudest pacing moment. I knew going in that I was probably a steady 3:40 finish but the dream to try for a BQ just won over. Could I have ran a smarter race in a faster overall time? Probably, do i regret trying for the BQ? Not at all! Maybe 2021? But I got a new state, a new medal and I rung a cowbell at the end.

The post race was just as organized as the start, they had marathon blanket and a finishers jacket that sort of resembled one of those reusable grocery bags in a neon green. After that, you went into this barn that had food – a noodle soup that felt like a beacon of hope (seriously, all marathons should have ramen or noodle soup at the end), some bananas and another gray finisher shirt that was quite nice and I’m excited to wear! There was also some music and a beer tent for two beers per runner.

Overall Time : 3:50:29

Age Group Place:  11/56

Gender Place: 49/406

Overal: 225/1,095

Until next time – As for now, I am resting my foot and eating some more donuts 😉

Dining Out and Brunching at Alden & Harlow

Alden & Harlow has been on my list of WANT, no NEED to try for a while. It is located in Harvard Square and while I run through it about weekly, getting myself across the river in non-running mood seems like a chore, or maybe it’s the parking and red line situation. However, we are trying to make a better effort at going across the river and checking out the Cambridge and Somerville dining scene that is all the rage. Alden & Harlow opened in 2013 and focuses on small plate inventive American cuisine from a constantly changing menu that I need to try each time from now on.

Booked weeks in advance, Tony surprised me with a date on Valentine’s day this year We are usually a home made pizza and nap type of couple but a gal can’t complain when offered a fancy dinner.

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Our meal started with a complimentary snack of PICKLED beans topped with sesame seeds. Getting a serving of veggies and the much needed electrolytes in one chew.

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Next we got the patatas bravas which were the best I ever had! Like I’m still dreaming on these a week later. They’re spicy, with some pepper relish and and a garlic flavor like no other. GET THESE if you go. The rest of the menu is optional, but this is a MUST.

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Our next selection was the smoked duck breast! Candied walnuts and jam bounced of the flavor

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Next was the smoked trout and I think I may have reached my smoked foods limit because I have to confess I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The roe and latkas were a nice touch but I wasn’t digging the trout as much.

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The superstar of the night (after patata bravas of course) was the Secret Burger. It’s not so secret given that it’s listed on the menu, but supposedly the quality is limited. We were dining early side of 6:30 PM. 8 oz of meats, with a house made roll and chips topped us up for the night.

But where’s the dessert? Well… we were feeling a little stuffed (maybe the secret burger did us in).  But don’t worry I got to try those as well!, A week earlier I also had a brunch with the gals (Galatine) and of course the irony of waiting 5 plus years to try Alden and Harlow is that I was invited to two reservations in one week. If course I couldn’t miss out because brunch and dinner are not the same!

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The Bloody Mary is on the menu “Spicy, Savory & Necessary” and they are not lying! A rich flavor with their famous pickled green beans that I learned is apparently their thing.

img_20190209_114542.jpgI went back and forth on what to pick, but ultimate went with them lamb belly hash and was not disappointed.  Although I wouldn’t have complained for a bigger slice of sour dough bread #gimmeallthecarbs

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The dishes are all on a slightly smaller side as the are designed for sharing or for those who are on a diet and not marathon training so I had to tag on this side of cheesey grits to hold me over until the next meal. It ended up being the perfect companion to the lamb hash.

And I probably should have stopped there but what’s a Galatine without dessert?

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Olive Oil Cake with Earl Gray whip

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Smoked chocolate bread pudding with ice cream! Hot out of the oven

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and my favorite were these simple but soooo good almond short bread biscuits and custard

There was also a cinnamon roll I had my eyes on, but the ran out by the time I tried to order! I guess I’ll need to return soon to get my non-sticky hands on one.