About Stephanie

Just a small town girl doing sterotypical small town girl things-living my life one misadventure at a time

Mo’ Cowbell Half-Marathon Race Review

As you know, Sunday I ran the Mo’ Cowbell half-marathon for the first time. This is my review of the race events.

The Expo/Packet Pickup

One thing that was nice was the virtual race bags so you didn’t have to deal with ALL the extra flyers. You simply sorted through the information and if there was something that struck your fancy, you saved it. And there were a few things in there that interested me, and I thought that there was a nice variety to the offers.

The actual expo itself wasn’t the greatest at the layout. I went about an hour before it ended and there were a few booths of vendors who had already left for the day it appeared. Then the selection of vendors wasn’t really the greatest. Which keep in mind this is a local race put on by a community, so it isn’t going to have the draw that a Competitor or RAM Racing event will have for vendors. But I felt like there were only a couple of vendors there that I would actually have liked to visit with, and of those couple, one had already left.

The layout was not very exciting to me. It really only frustrated me and made me feel crowded at a few points. First you walked in a got a race bag from a (not very enthusiastic) volunteer. Then you headed over to the bib pick up. They were all pretty friendly and seemed happy to be there. Then you had to walk through all the vendors in a crowded hallway to get to the stairs, which you had to go up to get your shirt. If you followed the signs you then had to weave through racks of merchandise from a running store to get to the t-shirt table. After you got your shirt, you then had to go down the steps and walk through a few more crowded spots to pickup a sticker, your cowbell, and some extra race information.

*I understand that the point is to get you to see all the booths that vendors have set up, but if I had been in a hurry I would have probably just gotten my bib and left everything else behind because it was a little excessive to have to wander around to several different places to pick things up.*

I also know that they had to change spaces I believe a little last-minute, so I will cut them a little bit of a break.

There were several emails that were sent out, but I still had to visit the website several times to get all the information I needed for the race and packet pickup. I felt like pre-race communications could have been a little more organized.

All in all the expo was decent, for a relatively small, local race. I would rate it a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. (1=worst 10=best)

Race Morning/Parking/Start

One thing I liked in the pre-race information was the parking info. They did let you know all the available places to park and the place where you shouldn’t park because you would get towed. So that was a plus. And there was plenty of FREE parking within walking distance of the start line. I was able to park on the street and felt plenty safe to leave my car and not have to worry about vandalism.

The start area was clearly marked and had plenty of pace signs up. I never did see any actual pace group leaders, so I don’t know if they actually had any. The race started a few minutes late, but not by much.

The Course

The course started in St. Charles and headed out through the Frenchtown area before turning to the river bottoms. Running through Frenchtown was nice and you only encountered a hill in the first mile. After that the course was fairly flat. View-wise, the course did lend several nice views over the fields, but for the most part it wasn’t very exciting. There were very few houses, and it was mostly fields and any businesses were closed until you reach mile 5, which went through a small pumpkin patch/farm type area known as the high-five zone. There were still some folks there when I went through and they had a band which was nice. If I recall correctly it is the only part of the half-marathon that is not ran on a paved surface (with the except of two bridge crossings).

Miles 7-8 are in the New Town area. This is where there are two bridge crossings. These bridges aren’t paved, although there are concrete sidewalks on both sides. The bridges are a grated metal material, which can seem a little sketchy, if you decide to run across them. Once in New Town, the scenery picks up a bit because there are lots of houses and little shops to see. Think Mayberry/French Quarter/San Antonio River Walk. I was a little disappointed at the lack of crowd support running through this particular area, considering it is residential, but at this is no fault of the race organizers. This was the only part of the course that was “twisty” and it felt a little like you were changing directions every 10 feet (not a reality, but that is what it felt like). This is also where the had a medical station, as well as a Gu station.

Once out of New Town, you continued on through the backside of some residential areas, and entered the only real hill part of the course. Miles 11 & 12 had some incline to them, but they weren’t too bad. These miles also put you out onto a service road, which was a little bland.

Honestly, the big “downhill” section was almost murderous feeling on my legs, especially since it came at the near end of the race. It was a little on the steep side, and definitely required some much-needed control to go down safely. Here is where the half also split from the full marathon and they continued onto the Katy Trail to finish their miles.

You finish up the race going through Frenchtown again, and then making a turn to head back through St. Charles. Shortly before the finish the full marathoners join back up with the half runners and the stretch to the finish is pretty straight. There was a very nice crowd involvement around the finish area.

I would give the course a 9 out 10. It seems simple, and could be an easy PR, but does throw a few challenges your way mentally.

The Finish/Post Race Area

Immediately after the finish, you receive your finisher’s medal and then there were giant tubs with bottled water in them. There were several places to get food, including a food truck, as well as beer and other refreshments. There were places to get massage and post-race stretching as well. I didn’t go through the finisher’s area so I can’t comment too much on it.

 

Overview

All in all I thought this was a pretty excellent race. I thought the cost of the race was pretty decent compared to what you got (I believe early registration was $60). I enjoyed the course even though it totally kicked my ass, and I thought for the most part the volunteers and everyone did a very good job.

A few things of note:

  • Towards the end of the race the final aid station for the half was deserted. It had cups of water and Gatorade set out, but it was also supposed to be a medical station and there were still participants out on the course. This is NOT really excusable in my opinion, because someone could have really needed medical aid, and there was no one there to help them.
  • Several of the course marshalls were teenagers who didn’t seem all that thrilled with being there. I understand it’s a volunteer position, but if you are going to volunteer, you need to keep a positive attitude and actually do what task you’ve been assigned.
  • A ton of the other runners were beyond encouraging. At one point, you pass by the faster runners on their way back from New Town. So many of them were telling me good job and keep it going. It was fantastic, and it helped to show what kind of community the area runners have.

I would rate this race 8 out of 10. I definitely plan on coming back next year and running the half-marathon again!

Mo’ Cowbell Half Marathon Race Recap

So Sunday I ran the Mo’ Cowbell Half Marathon. This by far was my worst ever performance at a half-marathon. I will type my Race Review tomorrow.

Saturday I went and picked up my bib and shirt. They did virtual race bags so all my other stuff was online. I came home and set out the outfit I was going to wear. I chose my lululemon Inspire Crops, a lululemon tank top, and a Run Swiftly long sleeve shirt.

Saturday night to Sunday morning I got very little sleep. A certain four-legged someone got into the trash and was waking me up every couple of hours to go outside. Couple that with my nervousness about the race and it made for a very sleepless night.

Sunday my alarm went off at 5:30. I chilled for a bit, then started getting ready and was out the door a little after 6. Without my headphones, house keys, or wallet. Nothing like an epic fail like that to start off your morning! I figured I’d be fine and headed off towards St. Charles.

Once I got to St. Charles and found some parking on Main Street, I put on some Body Glide and headed to the start line. I of course forgot my sunglasses in the car, and was simply too lazy to go back and get them. Plus by the time I remembered I was worried about missing the start of the race.

Finally, it was time for the race to start. It took me about 6 minutes to get across the starting mat, and on my way. I had create a pace calculate based on a 3:40 finish (I’m slow remember?) and knew what pace I needed to be at for the first mile. However, it seemed that my Garmin and Frenchtown did not want to play nicely together, and for whatever reason, I lost satellite connection. So I spent a while trying to figure out what was wrong, and stopped and started my Garmin several times. So I have no mile splits or anything like that to share with you.

Everything went along pretty well, and I managed to maintain a fairly steady pace through the first half of the race. The course was kind of boring for the first half, mostly just being corn and bean fields. I managed the entire first half with no walk breaks. Once we got into New Town, that all changed.

It felt like we were changing directions every 10 feet and that was a little hard on me. I took my first few walk breaks in miles 7 & 8. Once out of New Town, things continued to deteriorate pretty quickly. My Garmin was off, and I couldn’t quite get my head into the race. The sun was out and I didn’t have my sunglasses so I was squinting quite a bit and my feet starting to feel it. Especially the small rocks that were apparently in my shoe. Mile 9 was spent running and walking and 10-12 were strictly walking. I took a salted caramel Gu gel, but didn’t eat much of it and tried some pretty sweet Gatorade (not sweet in a good sense). I finally reached the 13 mile marker and was able to run in to the finish, but that was about it.

I got my medal, a bottle of water, and managed to make my way back to my car.

My official stats are:

  • Finish time 4:10:45
  • Average pace 19:08/mile (16:50 prior to the half way mark)
  • Overall Place 2863/2872
  • Female 1889/1896
  • Females 30-34 356/358

This was definitely my worst race performance by far I think. A fact my worst half-marathon performance. And it was simply a combination of being not quite as prepared as I would have liked to be and let my head get out of the race.

I honestly would have gotten in my car and ditched the race if I would have passed it. I also thought about dropping out a few times. But I stuck through and finished and while I’ve been sore it’s already starting to fade and I am already looking at other races and looking forward to coming back to this course next year!

 

What the What

So yesterday I had typed up this really fabulous post about a bunch of different things and then when I went to post it, WordPress shut me down and it was GONE! Much like all the posts I had scheduled. So yeah, not please. I will get the scheduled posts sorted out, so don’t fear on that end. And now I have to try to cobble together what I vaguely remember posting about yesterday.

Tomorrow I go pick up my stuff for my half-marathon on Sunday (!!!). I remember thinking in July when I started training that it was so far away and now it is here! This will be my first half since the terrible debut of the RNR St. Louis half-marathon a couple years ago. I was going to run it last year but I got hurt in yoga class, so I had to post-pone my entry to this year. I’ve read through the course turn-by-turn and I feel mostly prepared for it. I did some hill training and while the course is largely flat, a miles 11 & 12 there are some hills. I also made a pace band (which I won’t be using as a band, I will probably just scribble the numbers on my hand) so I hope that helps.

I’m nervous and excited.

I’ve also been thinking about what races I want to do for the remainder of the year, and into the next year as well. I will of course be doing a turkey trot on Thanksgiving, but I’m not 100% certain that I will be doing the local one that I’ve done for the past several years. I didn’t particulary care for the course change that they had last year, and I would have to say that it will probably be similar to that this year. And I don’t know that I want to deal with that again. There are a couple that I have my eye on, so I will most definitely be looking into those a bit more as the time gets closer.

I’m also thinking of doing my first 15k. The Hot Chocolate race series is coming back to St. Louis this year and they have medals for the 15k participants this time around. I wouldn’t be opposed to adding it to my race bling collection! The only issue I have that is causing hesitation it that it is in December and the weather last year got a little on the nasty side. So nasty that they cancelled one of the races for that weekend, and cut the 15k course short on the Hot Chocolate run. But hopefully the weather stay decent this winter and doesn’t get the nasty ice crap that was going on last year.

Hopefully next week I can give you a full review and recap of a successful race from Sunday! Wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed for me!

Just A Little

Just a little over a week and a half until my fall half-marathon! I’m excited and nervous. I’m really looking forward to it, since it will only be a trek to St. Charles vs. heading all the way downtown and then getting lost and wondering where the hell you parked your car because everything looks different in the daylight!

Last week I put in 12 miles running, with a four miler and an eight miler. My training hasn’t gone to plan exactly. Of course. But I feel like I’m ready to handle the miles. My eight mile run was good, but after mile 6 I walked a lot more. I ran the first 4 solid, then walked a little of mile five, and then walked several times miles 6-8. I had been planning on going to yoga class, and hadn’t really paid all that much attention to the weather, and it wound up being much warmer than I anticipated and my full pants got pretty warm, pretty quick! But I managed to push through and finish. I already know I will be wearing crops to the race, so I won’t have a problem with my bottoms. I do need to figure out the top situation though.

I got no miles in on the bike last week, which is a bit of a bummer. And the one yoga class I went to got canceled because the teacher didn’t make it. So no yoga hours either. :(

This week is going to go a little similar most likely. I have a long run to do, but I’m not certain when I will manage to fit it in this weekend, between the senior pictures, alumni barnwarming, and other stuff I have to get done. I’m going to do my best to fit it all in some how. I suppose where there is a will, there is a way!

Yesterday was our 8th wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been 8 years already! I got some beautiful flowers and a lovely card, and then we went to Ariaiki’s for dinner, and saw “This Is How I Leave You” after.

The movie was pretty good. It was a nice blend of funny and serious, although there are a few story lines I wish they would have explored a little bit more. But I think it was a pretty great movie all in all, and I definitely recommend that you go and see it!

Hopefully in the next few weeks I will have a product review for you, a race recap and review for you, and who knows what else!

Ain’t Got No Snappy Title

Seriously, one of the hardest parts about blogging is coming up with a catchy title for every post. Please tell me you feel my pain!

So last night I made it to yogahour at BlueBird Yoga. I totally forgot that the usual teacher for this class was away on the retreat so there was a new teacher that I haven’t had class with before instructing last nights class. It went pretty good. For the most part she flowed fairly well, and I did like how she practiced with us so I could double-check exactly what I was supposed to be doing by watching her. But I did feel like we spent a lot of time in kneeling poses. Which was fun, but I wish I had a little warning so I could have grabbed a blanket to cushion my knees with, since they are a little bruised today. But I will try to remember to ask next class! We did a couple different ab/core moves and I can definitely can feel them today. Love it!

However, once I got done with yoga class I realized (via text from my MIL) that I was supposed to be in tax class that evening. Whoops! But now that I know which days it’s on, I will be putting that in my planner and remember from here on out. *Insert salute here*

On tonight’s docket, I have a four miler scheduled and then it’s clean the kitchen & bathroom and do laundry kind of night. Maybe squeeze in a mani/pedi and some Teen Wolf (yes I’m 30 and I love that show!). Hopefully my four miler goes well, but I guess if it doesn’t you will be the first to hear about it tomorrow!

Back to the Grind

Ahh! I’m back (for the moment).

It’s been a little crazy around these parts for the past few weeks, but things are finally starting to settle down some. And that affords me a little more time blogging! Woot Woot!

So, a quick look back at what’s been happening. Two weeks ago I had my 30th birthday (I’m so old now!). It was pretty low-key, since M was out-of-town I didn’t really do a birthday bash. Saturday I did a bike ride and then took myself out to The Melting Pot for dinner and then Sunday my parents and my friend Heidi went to the Lake to do lunch at Coconuts. It was a good time all around. Monday night, which was my actual birthday, I had dinner with my whole family at Stony River. Pre-dinner I got my makeup done at Sephora and picked out a new shirt since the one I was wearing had my lunch on it. Then birthday cake and ice cream followed.

The next weekend was Labor Day weekend, and we spent it pretty chill on Saturday, before helping my parents throw their annual Labor Day party on Sunday. I made 3 deserts and brought some apps and everything went over so well! My caramel apple pecan pie was a hit, and there was one tiny little sliver left in the pan at the end of the night.

Monday was a rainy opener for dove season. We spent about 30 minutes in the morning and then another hour maybe in the evening before getting rained out each time. It didn’t really matter for me because the firing pin in my shot-gun broke, so I couldn’t shoot anymore anyways (not that I was actually getting any doves). Then I started the week with a renewed sense of vigor as far as running/biking/everything goes.

Tuesday I logged four miles running at Indian Camp Creek. The park has a really nice loop that is pretty mellow, then a few decent climbs, then a nice downhill bit. So it’s a great place to work on hills and endurance as far as those go.

Wednesday I took my bike to Indian Camp Creek, because I need some more hill work on that, because I fell way behind on the climbs during the bike ride I did over my birthday weekend. I managed a 7.6 mile ride because I was running late getting home and I didn’t want to stay out too late working out.

Thursday I had planned on going to yoga and running 3 miles, but since I had gotten home so late the two previous evenings and we had dinner so late both days, I decided to come straight home and get to work on dinner (which was Greek chicken, risotto, and roasted green beans. Yum.). Friday night of course was margarita Friday, which went fairly well.

Saturday morning I got up and did a slightly damp 6 miles on the Katy Trail before heading home and prepping to run errands nearly all day. We stopped at Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Hancock’s, and we had lunch at the uber-delish Crazy Bowls & Wraps (I know it’s a chain but I love them!). Then M headed back out to hunt, and I took the pups to the self-service dog wash at Treat’s Unleashed. Love that place! After getting both dogs all fancied up, picking out WAY too many dog treats, and then paying for a snack that someone stole, I hit the road home. We stopped and grabbed some cheeseburgers and then I headed over to our friend’s house for a surprise birthday party. I presented the birthday boy with his slighty smushed cupcake and everyone chowed down on the mini-Jilly’s that I brought so all in all I call it a good night.

Sunday I got up and headed back out to the Katy Trail, this time with my bike. I had planned on doing 20 miles, but cut it short at 18.2 so that I could make brunch with M, my sister, and her boyfriend for his birthday at Prasino. Such good brunch. I had the Veg-Out Omelette with a side of bacon (not crispy enough) and some toast. Then we walked across the street to Bar Louie and had some drinks and watched the beginning of the football game. Then home for a few more errands, home to make Sesame Ginger Shrimp, and do some laundry.

So my last weeks stats are as follows:

  • Run-10 Miles
  • Bike-25.8 Miles
  • Yoga-0 Hours :(
  • Bacon- 2 pieces
  • Cupcakes- 1 cake

Tonight I’m looking forward to hitting up the yoga studio for yogahour and then a dinner of Herb Garlic Halibut with asparagus. If only I don’t freaking burst from all the water I’ve been drinking today!