Mo’ Cowbell Half Marathon 10/5/14

I ran a half marathon! I walked through all the water stations (planned) and ran the rest of the course. And my previously stress fractured leg feels good. Running the whole thing and feeling good afterward were my main goals, so I’m pretty excited.

I got up at 5am, ate a banana and drank a cup of coffee, and quickly dressed.


It was in the 40s so I wore shorts and a t-shirt with yoga pants and a throwaway jacket on top. I wore those when I met up with the training team at 6:15am.


It was cold, even after the half mile warm up. I knew I’d get warm so I forced myself to shed my pants at my car and headed to the starting line with my training team friends Jenni and Ginny and two friends of theirs.

The race theme comes from this SNL sketch. Right before the race start, they played “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and people rang tiny cowbells. It was pretty amusing.

I lined up near the back of the 10:00 mile section.



Shortly after 7:30am we were off. Almost immediately on my right I saw some signs I recognized from this blog, which was cool. I also saw this guy, who amazes me. At least he was warm.

We went through a cute area of town with older buildings (Old Town? I don’t know St. Charles).

Around this time I saw my college friend Jen, who ran the marathon.


Then we headed out toward the country.



Despite growing up in southern Illinois, I don’t have a ton of experience running in rural areas. The open fields made it easy to see the line of runners, which was neat.

Just before mile 5 was an area called the high-five zone, which had a lot of crowd support (and high-fives).






At some point after the high-five zone I finally ditched my jacket. I’d planned to lose it in the corrals but I never got warm enough, so I wore it for the beginning of the race.

Then we took a right and headed toward New Town.


This part of the course was an out and back, so we could see the really fast runners as they passed us. This was the first female I saw.



New Town was nice. I love running past water, and there was a lot of it.


This canal was especially beautiful; it reminded me of something you’d see in Europe.



However, I’ve got to say, New Town felt overly….new. We’d been running through farms, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, then all of a sudden there was this picturesque community of different colored houses and cute little shops. It reminded me of The Truman Show, to be honest.



We left New Town and it was back to fields.


Around this time we were approaching mile 9. My friend Jenni had warned me of a hill around this point. I saw one in the distance and figured that was it.

I kept munching on my margarita flavored Shot Bloks (with extra sodium!).

I carried two packs with me and the fuel was really helping. The Shot Bloks did taste salty but I liked it.


Around this time I saw two training team members holding these signs:


So I began to think perhaps that hill wasn’t the end of the hills on this course advertised as flat. And it wasn’t.




I’m not sure those photos give the full picture of what this felt like, 10 miles into the race, so maybe this will.


There’s really no good time for a hill like that but 10 miles in just seems mean. My legs wanted to walk so badly but somehow I kept running.

I did have a chance to recover after we passed the summit.


The guy in the gray Fleet Feet t-shirt really helped me out on the uphill. I sidled up to him and ran right next to him for the duration of it, trying to focus on keeping pace with him rather than the fact I hated the hill.

Around mile 12 we went down a sharp downhill, which sounds nice, but is almost as challenging for me as uphills because my quads are trying to keep me from going too fast and as a result it’s kind of painful.



After I walked through the last water station at the 12.4 mile mark I saw this woman in a knit hat.


She was major motivation for me. She’d walked through the water station too and was now running again. I figured if she could do it, I could, and caught up to her. We turned a corner and I saw the finish line in the distance. I passed some people and then my knit hat friend kicked it up a notch. Inspired by her, I began sprinting, and passed her and a bunch of other people. I love that feeling. I felt so strong as I crossed the finish line!


Then I got my medal.


Per usual, I was not hungry at all immediately after finishing, but I ate a piece of blueberry streusel bread because I knew it would help me recover.
Then I saw this.

I don’t know what chips were doing at an athletic event but given the fact Lay’s plain potato chips are one of my favorite things in life, I wasn’t complaining.

Actually, most of what I picked up wasn’t all that healthy.


I would have preferred a can of beer I could have taken home but you gotta do what you gotta do. And sometimes that means beer at 10am.

My Garmin thought I ran slightly more than half marathon distance.


But here’s my official results.


What a difference a year makes. I’ve gone from not being able to run a mile without pain to running 13.1 pain free miles. Of the five half marathons I’ve run, this may be my slowest time, but this is also one of my most satisfying races.


25 responses to “Mo’ Cowbell Half Marathon 10/5/14

  1. You rock! You must have run along side my friend the whole time. We lined up together, but I slowed after the first mile (wanted to line up with her, but didn’t want to lose steam later). She lined up at the back of the 10 m/m and finished in 2:15. I bet you were neck and neck the whole race! Small world.

    • We probably were! Maybe she’s in some of my photos. Although I did get mixed up with different groups since walked through the water stations.

  2. How’d you get your results?

  3. Awesome job!! Reading your race recap makes me want to train for another half. Hopefully, MRI and doc appointment go alright Wednesday and I can get started!

  4. Awesome! Way to go Nora! I love your dedication to running. πŸ™‚

  5. You ARE strong! I am so happy for you, and proud of you. It looks like an interesting course, but difficult too. And I had no idea that was what Mo’ Cowbell meant! I thought the Mo’ was for Missouri. That was hilarious!

  6. I am so proud of you. xxoo

  7. Ok 1) I see myself in at least one of your pictures,
    2) we finished 10 seconds apart πŸ™‚

    • How awesome!! Which photo are you in?

      • your selfie at the start line – I am about 1 1/2 people behind you, I can just see the top of my head and headband. πŸ™‚ I saw the fireman run by and followed a lot of the same people! Ha! I wonder if we talked during the race! SMALL WORLD! Will you be at the GO races this weekend?

      • That is so cool! I’m considering the 10k. That race is so fun but I want to make sure I don’t have any residual soreness before I commit. I think the prices go up Thursday so I’ll decide before then.

  8. I remember that hill at the end…and you’re right, the downhill is just as challenging. I kept feeling like I would fall forward.
    The fact that you are able to take pictures AND keep great pace is amazing to me! Great job. πŸ™‚

  9. Let me know if you do the 10K! That’s what I am doing. Hoping so yoga tomorrow and Thursday will ellivate the pain in my hamstrings!!

    My kids are doing the fun run too so we’ll be around for awhile πŸ™‚

  10. Great job! I ran in the 5K on Sunday but will begin training for the half next year! Any tips or advice?

    • Now that I’ve been injured, my best advice is listen to your body. Take extra rest when you need it–don’t run through pain. Not running on consecutive days worked really well for me this time. Also, remember training is just training–no need to go all out on every run, that’s what the race is for. Good luck!

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