It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

October 08, 2014

Mo Cowbell Half Marathon

Re-enactment of our first Mo' Cowbell shot
What a great weekend.  It’s been a long time since I had fun;  since I laughed, really laughed.  I posted the pic below with the following caption on FaceBook and it is so true.  “Nothing mends the heart like good friends and laughter “.  I needed this weekend.  It was a nice break from the grief and loss I’ve been dealing with.  No, it didn’t make it magically all go away, but it certainly helped in the healing process.

I drove the 3 and a half hours to the St Louis area on Friday afternoon.  I got to my room right about 5pm.  Coy wouldn’t be there until around 10pm.  So I just decided to chillax.  I turned on the TV and ordered ridiculously expensive room service.  I kicked up my feet and waited for her to arrive. 
She finally got there and I was so excited to see her!  We watched the KC Royals play yet another overtime game – which they won (and if you don’t know won the series – Go Royals) and then we both fell asleep.  To my surprise we both slept in the next morning.  It was nice to just relax…no rush.  We got up around 8 and headed downstairs for breakfast.  Then we headed out for the day.

Coy had never been to St Louis for more than just the night so we set out to see a few sites and pick up our packets of course.  We headed over to St Charles, MO which was about 10 mins from our hotel.  The expo and the race has grown exponentially since the first year we did it together.  They had 1500 runners that first year and around 5000 this year.  We browsed a few things at the expo and got our packets.  It was a pretty easy process and then we headed out for some site seeing.

Coy & I under the St Louis Arch
Our first stop was the Arch.  It is always pretty amazing if you’ve never seen it.  It is just so massive.  If you are up close, there is just no way to get a picture of the entire thing.  I asked Coy if she wanted to ride up in it – I made that mistake once and told her there was no way I was going with her..but I’d go wait with her if she wanted to go.  When I described the ridiculously small “pod” they transport you in she opted to just look at it.  Youtube it if you want…if you are at all claustrophobic it is not for you!
The outside of the City can just see how fun it is

Acting silly in an airplane

Everyone needs a pic in front of a rooster
After that we went to the City Museum, which is really not much of a “museum”, but more like an attraction.  It is similar to a Science City if you’ve ever been to one.  There is a lot to do and see.  It is really meant for kids, but two big kids can still have a blast.  We took some great pics and laughed a lot.
Just outside of Busch Stadium - Go Royals!
Our last stop was to Busch Stadium – home of the St Louis Cardinals. Now, us folks from KC are not big Cards fans…esp right now since we are both in the playoffs, but it is a beautiful stadium and Coy wanted to see if so how could I say no J
We finally headed back to the hotel for some dinner – at the hotel bar and then back to our rooms to get some sleep before the race.

In our race packets was the parking information which clearly said get to the race early.  Everyone will get there an hour beforehand, get there sooner…to which we both laughed…ha, we’ll leave about an hour ahead of time.  Um, we should have listened.  We got up about 5:30 for the 7:30 start and were out the door about 6:20. It seemed like plenty of time.  It wasn’t.  Traffic was backed up way off the highway just to get off the exit.  By the time we finally got parked, I dropped my bag and we hit the potty it was literally 2 minutes til go time.  Well, at least we didn’t have to wait around!

This was my first race since my Mom & Dad passed so I wanted to do something special to honor them.  I created a sign which I wore on my back for the entire race.  A few people commented on it, but most didn’t.  I was kind of surprised more people didn’t say anything, but maybe they just didn’t know what to say.  I wanted them to be with me during the race and I know they were.
It was a pretty cool start at about 45 degrees, but it was absolutely perfect running weather.  We both wore a cover layer to start, but quickly shed it before mile 2.  I was never hot and never cold.  It was seriously perfect weather for a run.

Now, let me remind you that I’ve had a lot on my plate.  I have lost both of my parents in the last month and I’ve done a lot of traveling.  I hadn’t ran over 4 miles in about 2 months.  So I had no idea what to expect really.  But, I did expect this race to be slow and painful and have lots of walking.  To manage it I put us on a run walk ratio of run 1:30 walk 30 seconds.  It’s amazing how fast that 30 seconds goes by.

A few pics we took along the way - there's a horse see
The pace ended up being perfect.  We were 7 miles in and I was still feeling great.  I was really expecting to be really slowing down by this point.  Right around mile 7, someone from behind us says “Michael – Coy”….it’s always a shocker when someone recognizes you in a race.  It was a reader named Susan who had just told me she was going to be at Mo’ Cowbell and Indy – small world.  We ran with her and chatted a bit and she went on her way.  She was doing the full marathon.  She was looking super strong so I’m sure she had a great race.  So a huge shout out to Susan – Thanks for saying HI!!!
At the 7.5 mile point we were still just under a 12 minute pace which wasn’t bad.  And we were stopping to take pictures pretty frequently.  But at 7.5 I also had to stop to go to the bathroom and apparently so did everyone else.  There was one porta potty and a line of about 7 people.  We lost a good 5+ minutes here.  Our pace went from 11:55 per mile to 12:20 per mile.  I knew we couldn’t make that up and I figured we’d just slow down after that, but I was ok with that.  I had originally thought – just finish, but if I finish under a 13 min pace I’d be happy.

We maintained the run/walk pace most of the rest of the race (other than the one really hilly section in mile 9 where I took a few extra breaks).  The miles between 9-11 are pretty boring and I was glad to get back into town.  At mile 12 there is the final aid station which is manned by what looked like was maybe a local fraternity…it was definitely college aged boys…   When we start toward the aid station, Coy says “well we get to choose which one to get water from, so there’s that”.  The first guy was much older than the rest of the guys, to which she said “so not him”.  LOL, this made me laugh…my favorite quote of the day.  We finally see the finish line and start heading toward it.  We ended up crossing the finish line with a 12:17 pace.  I was thrilled with this because it meant that other than the “pee mile” our pace was pretty consistent throughout.  It is still one of my slowest half marathons to date, but I’ll take it!  I knew 13 miles would be hard, but it went by in the blink of an eye.  I know my Mom & Dad were with me every single step of the way.
As far as the overall race goes I would recommend it.  If you are looking for a race in the St Louis area this is a great one.  It’s in the quaint little town of St Charles, MO and it’s very pretty.  It is also a very flat race other than a section of about one mile between miles 9 and 10 where you just seem to climb forever.  The rest of the race is pretty darn flat.  A few small hills here and there, but that’s it.  You get to run through the cute little historic downtown area, and then you run through a housing community called New Town which is just awesome.  It seriously looks just like a movie set.  It’s beautiful.  It makes me want to live there!!  As far as race swag you get a nice long sleeve technical t-shirt and a cowbell of course!  They have great course support and volunteers!  It’s really a great fun race!

Race Swag
Coy and I headed back to the hotels for showers and to say our goodbyes.  I was sad to see her go, but it was so great to get to spend the weekend together.  As a little added bonus, my niece who lives in St Louis, but just happened to be out of town for the weekend text me that she would be home by noon.  So I got to have lunch with her before I headed home.  That was a great little extra surprise.  All in all, it was just one great weekend!!!  And, it was wrapped up with a Royals Sweep of the Angels on Sunday night!!!  Wahoo!! Go Royals!




  1. Sounds like a really great weekend, so glad you were able to enjoy it and have a great time

  2. "Ahhhhh, you're my best friend!" (sang in my best Queen voice) I had a GREAT time. It was what I needed too! It was cool not only to come back to the same place where we met but to see St. Louis and clown around. Makes me want to make it a ritual, but next time I wanna take off and get there earlier! Or maybe we should just fly somewhere and take 4 days and find another cool race to take over! I'm so happy you had a good time and that you managed to locate those cookies at the front desk! When I win the lotto we're gonna do the 50 state challenge!

  3. I love City Museum! Glad you guys got a chance to hang out and see some of the area. You definitely had a beautiful day to race!

  4. I love the city museum! Glad you guys got to visit while you were in town. One of these time we will actually have to meet up! This is a race that has been on my to do list for a while.

    It's good to see you smile again. And your parents certainly were with you every step and I am sure that it made them happy to see you laugh again.

  5. Michael,'s me, Susan! :-)

    Michael, I am happy that you had a fun weekend,,,it was great to see you both!

    Looking forward to catching you and Jim in Indy!
    All the best,

  6. So good to see you had a great fun weekend. A great race as well, congrats!

  7. Glad you and Coy had a great weekend! It looks like you two had a blast.

  8. I'm so glad that you had such a nice time away. You deserve a little light and laughter in your life after what you've been through.

  9. I'm so glad you had a great weekend! You definitely needed it!