Cowtown Challenge: 5K and Half Marathon

The last weekend in February, I completed the Cowtown Challenge by completing a race on each day.

Saturday, I ran the adult’s 5K. I took it slow and didn’t have to walk at all. A lot of the course was downhill, and I think I would have had a good chance to PR had I not been saving myself for the half the next day.

Sunday, I ran my first half marathon. We got there early. This was the largest race I have run, because the ultra and full marathons start at the same time as the half. There were 8 corrals of runners. The race starts at Will Rogers Coliseum. The clouds started to roll in just before the start of the race.

#runcowtown

A photo posted by Andrea Felder (@andrealf_96) on

The course then heads down Lancaster to Trinity Park, then on to West 7th, through some neighborhoods, and eventually onto University. The Elvis impersonator was was just before the turn onto University. Before this, we had already passed a couple of bands, and some girl scouts giving out free cookies to runners. I kept a decent pace until the first hill on University, where I took a quick walk break, then we went through more neighborhoods, with more bands, aid stations, and people cheering us on.

Then, we arrived in the Fort Worth Stock Yards. I didn’t find the bricks as bad as I have heard some runners think they are, but I ran a 5K last year that started in the Stockyards, so I had a little experience running on them.

A photo posted by Andrea Felder (@andrealf_96) on

We turned south to head to 23rd street. I didn’t get a photo of the Swift Armour ruins, but they were eerie looking in the cloudy weather. We turned on 23rd to head back to Main Street. That stretch never seems long at all when I drive it, but this is where my feet were starting to hurt, so it seem to take awhile. After this, we were on Main Street for awhile. That bridge going into downtown is no joke. There were a lot of spectators on the bridge, so that helped, but it was still hard. I do love looking at the Tarrant County Courthouse, so I had to get a couple of photos.

Mile 9 #runcowtown

A photo posted by Andrea Felder (@andrealf_96) on

Houston Street is where most of the spectators were. Mayor Betsy Price was even on the street giving high fives. We turned onto Lancaster, and this is where the ultra and full marathoners split off from us. The hill at mile 11 almost did me in, but at least there was a bagpipe player here. Starting with that hill, the rest of the race was a struggle for me. My feet and ankles were really hurting, and I ended up walking a lot of mile 12. But, I finished! I’m so proud of myself for doing it, and I plan to run the half again next year. And, I got my challenge medal.

2:48:51, but I earned that 13.1 sticker. Those last 4 miles were hard!

A photo posted by Andrea Felder (@andrealf_96) on

Pumpkin Spice 10K (aka My First 10K!)

On November 21, I ran my very first 10K – the Pumpkin Spice 10K in Fort Worth. We had a cold front blow in that morning, so it was windy and cold. It wasn’t bad while running, but I think it got colder and windier by the time the race was over. My chip time was 1:09:37, which was faster than I expected. The race shirt is my favorite race shirt so far. It’s long sleeve and so soft. The swag also included a mug and sunglasses.

In other news, I registered for The Cowtown half marathon in February, so I’m several weeks into training for it. I also registered for the 5K, so I’ll complete the Cowtown Challenge.

Turner Falls

On October 10, we went to Turner Falls, Oklahoma with some friends.

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We parked in the lot near the entrance and walked. Our first stop was the castle.

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The kids seemed to really enjoy climbing around in it. Some of the stairs were steep!

We walked up to the campground above the castle and got our first view of the falls.

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Then, we went down to the pool and falls.

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There wasn’t a lot of water coming over the falls, but it was still pretty.

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We took a trail past the falls, to this quiet pool.

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After that, the kids played in the pool by the falls, and we attempted to get to one of the caves but chickened out before we went back home. It was a nice, short trip, and the weather was perfect!

Rahr Oktoberfest 5K

On September 26, I ran the Rahr Oktoberfest 5K for the first time. It was so much fun, and I got a PR! In fact, I was having so much fun that the only photo I took was the one of my watch when I finished. My official time was 32:09. I was surprised I ran that fast, because it was already warm by race time. Instead of a finisher medal, you get a finisher pint glass, which you can fill 3 times. I tried an Oak beer (I didn’t catch the full name), and the Oktoberfest beer. The Oktoberfest was my favorite. There were a lot of people in costume, but I wasn’t one of them – maybe next year. We’ve already decided we must run this 5K again next year.

North Carolina Vacation – Waterfalls

I love waterfalls! I love taking photos of waterfalls! So, our last day in Asheville, we visited waterfalls. We drove to Whitewater Falls, near the South Carolina border.

It is a short hike from the parking lot to Upper Whitewater Falls.
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The best vantage point requires that you climb down some stairs, so, of course, you also have to climb back up the stairs.
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I had never visited South Carolina, so, in my quest to visit all 50 states, we drove across the border to hike to Lower Whitewater Falls. While driving to the parking lot for the trail, this deer ran across in front of us and paused long enough for me to snap a photo.
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We actually missed the parking lot at first, and ended up at a viewpoint for Lake Jocassee.
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Most of the trail is through trees, so you don’t see much scenery. But, you do cross the Whitewater River.
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At one point, the trail follows a gravel road for a bit, and then it’s back into the trees and down to the falls viewing area.
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Here’s a close-up view of the top of the falls.
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According to my phone, we hiked 4.21 miles out and back.

After driving back into North Carolina, we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls.
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And, then, a short drive away, we stopped at Dry Falls.
Dry Falls, NC

Dry Falls was my favorite, because you can walk behind it and stay “dry”, even though it involved more stairs.
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According to my FitBit, this day was 7.09 miles and 129 floors.

Since I haven’t mentioned food for this trip. Our favorites were Central BBQ in Memphis (The brisket nachos and pork ribs were delicious!) and Moe’s Original BBQ in Asheville. We found Moe’s the first time we were in Asheville. This trip, we picked up food from Moe’s twice and had leftovers for lunch one day.

North Carolina Vacation – Blue Ridge Parkway

On our second full day in Asheville, we drove southwest on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was cool and cloudy. We stopped at most of the overlooks.
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We left the parkway for a quick side trip to Looking Glass Falls.
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Back on the parkway, a view of Looking Glass Rock.
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We decided to do a short hike at Graveyard Fields to a waterfall. I will admit, I was a little cold here when we first got out of the car. The elevation is 5120 feet, and I was wearing shorts. We heard that the upper falls trail was closed, so we set out for the lower or “second” falls. More stairs were involved.

The trail crosses the Yellowstone Prong above the falls.
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And, then, goes down to a lovely view of the falls.
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One last look at Graveyard Fields back at the parking lot.
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Our last parkway stop was Devil’s Courthouse. We had planned to hike here, but both decided we were tired and ready to get back to Asheville and lunch.
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Just after leaving the parkway, we stopped at one last waterfall.
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North Carolina Vacation – Chimney Rock State Park

I’m finally getting around to writing about our vacation we took in June. We decided to drive back to Asheville, NC, and do the things we didn’t get around to doing the last time we visited. At the top of that list was Chimney Rock State Park. We got a later start than planned, because we were afraid it was going to rain. We finally decided to take a chance. If you like stairs, this is the place to be.
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A view of Chimney Rock on the way up.
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A view of Lake Lure from the top of Chimney Rock.
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We decided to go up further, to Exclamation Point. Look! More stairs.
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In the Opera Box, looking down on Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.
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Devil’s Head.
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We made it to Exclamation Point.
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One more view of Chimney Rock on the way back down from Exclamation Point.
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After we got back to the parking lot, we decided to take the much easier hike to Hickory Nut Falls.
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My Fitbit said we did 101 flights of stairs. We decided to take it easy for the afternoon, and went to see a movie. A thunderstorm hit Asheville during the movie, and briefly knocked the power out. That was our second movie in a row to be stopped in the middle due to a thunderstorm.

Snow!

After a relatively mild winter, north Texas decided to try to cram an entire winter into about a week and a half. On Monday, February 23, we had ice and sleet, which closed schools for two days. Then, on Friday, February 27, we got snow. It took me over an hour to drive home from work, and I left before the mad dash that occurred when most of the area schools released early. We ended up getting about 2.5-3 inches of snow, followed by ice. I took this picture of my favorite holly bush while we were getting snow.

It partially melted and re-froze, causing my 5K to get canceled Saturday morning. We didn’t get above freezing until late Saturday night, and our neighborhood streets were still icy that evening. It was so bad everywhere, Cowtown ended up canceling all races for the weekend, except for the half marathon on Sunday morning. This wasn’t even good snowman-making snow. It was dry and powdery, and ended up coated with a glaze of ice.

And, finally, Wednesday night, March 4, we got more snow. This is the closest we ever get to a blizzard.

Thursday was another school snow day. I measured 4 inches of snow in a few places, but with the wind the night before, I don’t know how accurate that was.

The kids finally got to build a snowman before it all melted.

I was able to run my 5K “virtually” on Saturday morning, so I’ll still get my finisher’s medal.