Back in September I posted that I was selected as one of the MO' Bassadors for the MO' Cowbell race in St. Charles, MO. A few weeks later I ran my 35th half marathon, and the plan was for the MO' Cowbell race to be my 36th half marathon. But a week and a half prior to race day my uncle (step-dad's brother) was moved into hospice care. He started declining rapidly and he passed away a few days prior to the race. One of my duties as a MO' Bassador was to work a shift at the expo on Friday or Saturday, but the funeral was scheduled for Friday night back home. As soon as the funeral was scheduled, I emailed the race directors to let them know that I would miss the expo and would likely miss the race. Even if I was back in time for the race, I just didn't feel right about running the race after not working the expo. I shouldn't have been surprised because the race directors have been nothing but amazing the entire time, but their response to my email about the funeral was nothing but kind and understanding. They told me that I could still use my comp entry and run the half marathon, but I offered to cheer along the course instead if I was back in time.
The rest of that week was a blur. I went home for the funeral on Friday but decided I wanted to get back Saturday night. My mom and step-dad had both signed up for the 5k again and they had planned to spend the weekend in St. Charles with me. But when they realized that they wouldn't be able to make it, they had one simple request which was to pick up their packets.
As I was coming back into town Saturday night, I decided to pick up poster board and markers to create a few signs. I already had the half/full marathon course printed and a spot picked out. I also had a few cowbells that would come in handy. Race day morning I went to Frontier Park to pick up all of our packets an hour or so before the race. My intent afterward was to get to this dog park where I would be able to see runners pass multiple times but due to road closures, I wasn't able to get to the park. I settled for an area where I could park and be right at Mile 12 but walk to Mile 1. I was the first one to this spot and I quickly became knowledgeable about the other road closures as people started asking me for directions. Luckily I came prepared with a map in hand! Eventually others realized it was a prime location and a crowd had formed by the time the mass of runners started coming through that stretch. After the long week I had, shaking cowbells (yes I shook two at once) and holding a sign to cheer on the runners just made me happy and cheered me up. I think I just needed to be on the other side for a race to give myself a break and refocus. I got a lot of smiles and thank you's as the runners passed by. I can't explain why, but it just ended up being a good way to end one week and start another. This experience also made me so proud to be associated with race that has such amazing and understanding directors, staff, volunteers, and MO' Bassadors. I am really glad that I had this opportunity and I look forward to promoting MO' Cowbell's 2015 races!