On Saturday, February 28, 2009, I ran the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas. This was marathon #3 for me, but the first marathon since having this blog. In the next few posts, I hope to give a detailed account of the events leading up to the race and the race itself. Sure, I would love for you to experience this journey with me along the way, but I really wanted to chronicle this out so that I could remember the marathon.
Ben Vos and I made the two hour drive from Sulphur Springs to downtown Fort Worth on Friday afternoon.
The weather during the week leading up to the marathon was unusually hot for February with the temperature raising well into the upper 70s and low 80s. However, all weather forecasts were predicting much cooler temperatures for the day of the marathon. For the sake of being thorough and safe, I packed every available option of running clothes along with Ibruprofin, bottled water, vitamins, and food.
We decided to travel to Fort Worth Friday afternoon and stay in a hotel. The rationale was that we would be able to relax on Friday night, eat a good dinner, get to sleep early on Friday night, and wake up a few blocks from the starting line. We ended up staying at the Renaissance Worthington Hotel in downtown Fort Worth – a beautiful, classy, and way-too-nice of a place for two youth ministers to stay.
After checking into the hotel and throwing our stuff in our room, we walked to the expo tent to complete our registration. We proudly walked up to the marathon section of registration and declared our last names. After collecting our registration pack (that contained our race bib), Cowtown 2009 tshirt, and six packs of GU, we were ready to carb-o-load.
One of the best things about running a marathon is the night before carb-o-load. Simply put, that means that you get to eat a whole lot of food so that your body has enough energy and nutrients in its system to complete the 26.2 mile run. It honestly feels like the last meal that death row inmates get before their execution. We decided that our carb-o-load meal was going to be at PF Changs. After gorging on lettuce wraps, chicken/shrimp lo mien, brown rice, and mongolian beef (my personal favorite), we decided to head back to the hotel.
After a few Tylenol PMs, I was in the bed and asleep by 10pm.
I never have trouble waking up when the alarm goes off the day of a marathon. In fact, I often wake up full of excitement, nervousness, and energy before the alarm ever goes off.
I immediately reached over, grabbed my iPhone, and checked the weather. Two words stood out from the rest – COLD and WINDY. When dressed appropriately for the cold and wind, runners #465 and #466 were ready for the upcoming challenge.
Meanwhile, our two sweet wives (Heather and Lisa) and an 8th grader in our youth group (Emalee) were being such troopers. They woke up and were on the road from Sulphur Springs to Fort Worth by 5am. Now that’s being dedicated and supportive!
We met them in the lobby of our hotel around 7:10am. After a few minutes of stretching and talking to the girls, it was time to make our way to the starting line.
As we stepped outside the hotel for the first time, the northern wind decided to let us know right away that we were going to be in for a long, chilly day. We all walked together to the starting line but had to give our final hugs and goodbyes there.
Ben and I worked our way through the massive crowd of other psychos running that morning to a more reasonable starting position. If you have never experienced the start of a marathon before, they strongly encourage you to line yourself up at the starting line from fastest to slowest. Most marathons also provide pacers who are seasoned enough marathon runners to know exactly how fast they will run the race. That being said, we positioned ourselves with the 4:20 crowd (4 hours and 20 minutes).
As we waited in the herd of people for the starting horn to go off, I was uncontrollably shivering. Needless to say, it was cold. With the wind chill, the temperature was right at freezing. After the National Anthem, the starting horn went off and the marathon started. I immediately started thinking these combination of things as the crowd slowly shuffled towards the official starting line…
- What have I gotten myself into?
- Here we go again.
- Oh $*#@!
- You can do this.
- You trained six months for this day.
- Umm, Starbucks! (I saw a Starbucks to my left.)
That horn signified that we had a 26.2 mile run ahead of us (SEE COARSE MAP HERE) and now there was no turning back.
Check back tomorrow for part 2, which will relive the first 13.1 miles of the marathon.
Ben & I before the marathon