The 38th Cowtown Marathon 2016
On February 28th, 8,344 individuals participated in the 38th half, full , or ultra marathon in my newest home town . . . Fort Worth (aka Cowtown). Although I have participated in this race before and I have had the joy of running in a race with my adult children who have caught the running addiction, this one race felt different!
Three things made this race special. 1. It was the 38th annual Cowtown Marathon and the 38th year of me running personally. 2. I choose to feel joy throughout the race to honor a special young woman who showed us all that joy can exist in every circumstance (https://www.tcu360.com/2016/02/tcu-sophomore-remembered-for-her-joy/).
3. Getting to share the love of running with my daughter, MacKenzie. As is often the case, our children far exceed their parent’s accomplishments. MacKenzie finished 6th in her speedy division of 20 to 24 year olds with a 1:38.07. MacKenzie also helped me with several coaching points for the race . . . eat something carb loaded at mile 7, take a few tums before the race . . . thank you Kenzie!
For me, running for the past 38 years has been a part of my life sorta like brushing your teeth. In 1978, I took a running class at Cal State Fullerton learning that I could run over three miles and enjoy that sense of accomplishment. Along side my fellow classmates, I ran my first 5K in what then were considered appropriate running shoes. Sports bras (or as originally called Jog bras) were non-existent. Check out my blog “When Weirdness Becomes Welcome” to get the scoop on the history of the current sports bra. Even the first women marathon winner in the Olympics did not wear a sports bra!
If you already have a running base, it takes about 8 weeks to prepare for a half marathon which is probably the furthest I will ever run again. So I prepared somewhat diligently but not too seriously . . . I knew I could finish. As you age, somewhere in your brain you believe you can still perform the way you once did. But as C. S. Lewis says: ‘experience is the most brutal of teachers, but we learn, God we learn!’. So I too have learned to adjust my expectations and have a reasonable hope for a finishing time. For me, anything under a 2:10 for the half marathon would be fine with me and anything under a 2:06 time for the half would be a pleasant surprise.
But this race, as I said earlier was different. I enjoyed every single moment of the race. Fort Worth residents lined the streets cheering every runner on. Bands reflecting the cultural diversity of Cowtown motivated me and others throughout the race. Each friendly volunteer who handed me a cup of water, cool towel or held out their hand for a high five meant so much . . . I felt truly connected to each one. Thank you to all of the volunteers!
Remembering the influential life of Taylor Helland (http://www.checkupnewsroom.com/i-have-cancer-sorority-sisters-share-their-stories) brought a sense of joy as tears fell down my face throughout the race. When I felt discomfort, I thought this is nothing compared to what many go through during treatment for cancer. . . this is nothing! Somehow Taylor’s mantra “I choose joy” lifted me to a finishing time I could have never imagined . . 2:02:36. . . significantly faster than planned. I finished 7th in my old lady division; the “super master group”of 55 to 59 year old women. RUN COWTOWN IN 2017!
I will end with one of my favorite verses.
“So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12
Everyday we each have a choice of what our focus will be . . . I choose to find JOY in the small things.