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Fort Worth, Texas
February 27, 2009 - March 1, 2009


Traci and I traveled to Fort Worth, Texas so that Traci could run the Cowtown Half Marathon with one of her running clubs. I am not a runner but I was looking forward to this winter getaway.

Things I Really Enjoyed

Things I Would Do Differently

Trip Report

This was the second year that Traci and I attended her club's running summit. Last year, it was held at the Lost Dutchman Marathon in Apache Junction, Arizona. We had a great time out there. Unfortunately, I never got around to writing a trip report about our Arizona sightseeing weekend. I made sure I would not make that mistake again this year.

Traci booked the Courtyard Marriott Downtown/Blackstone many months in advanced. This turned out to be a smart move on her part. The hotel had an excellent location for getting to and from the race. The starting line was three blocks away; the expo was two blocks away; and the finish line was in front of the hotel. In fact, we could watch runners cross the finish line from the comfort of our 9th floor window. The hotel's location also offered other advantages such as being located across the street from the theater where the running club held their meetings and being located in the heart of Fort Worth's Sundance Square. This section of the city has restaurants, shopping, concert halls, and theaters. For dinner our first evening, we walked two blocks to the Ferre Italian Restaurant for Traci's ritual carb-loading pasta meal the night before a race. I thought the food was okay but over-priced. On the other hand, the apple/ricotta ravioli dessert that Traci and I shared was worth every calorie-loaded spoonful.

our view of downtown Fort Worth


viewing the finish line from our room


We had a nice room on the ninth floor (Room 907) with a view of downtown. Our stay was not without some minor annoyances. We had to return to the front desk for a room change because the initial one we were given appeared to be already occupied. We saw someone else's luggage when we entered. Fortunately, the owners of the luggage were not there when we opened the door.

There is not much free street parking in the area. When Traci inquired at the front desk, she was given the impression that our only parking option for our rental car was the hotel's valet parking garage at a rate of $12 per day. We found out the next day that there is a large free parking garage two blocks away.

The final annoyance was not limited to the hotel. It had more to do with me not being used to the chemical treatment of the city's tap water. It seemed to always have an earthy/soil smell.

Cowtown Marathon - Race Day

Since the members of Traci's running group were not successful in convincing me to participate in at least a walking event, I was put on photography duty. They needed me to show up at 6:45 AM to take a group photo of the runners before they headed to the starting line for a 7:30 AM start. I also photographed as many of the 50 or so members as I could during the race consisting of more than 12,000 runners.

Traci and I were not prepared for the weather. We had checked the Fort Worth forecast on the internet before packing for this trip. We were expecting highs in the 60's and low's in the 30's. The morning of the run, the temperature was 29 degrees with a wind chill that made it feel like the teens. The temperature never got above the low 40's the whole weekend. I had to wear two shirts under my light spring jacket. Traci was glad that she had decided to pack her long running tights for race day as a last minute precaution.

"Mike, hurry up and take the picture. It's cold!"


Traci at mile 13...still smiling


Traci tied her PR (Personal Record) for the 13.1 mile half marathon event. She was a little disappointed because she was hoping to beat her PR by 3 minutes. As for me, I'm always proud and amazed that she has the will to run in these events.

After Traci cleaned up and got changed, we joined other members holding a banner to congratulate our friend Tony when he crossed the marathon finish line for the 100th time. It was a joyous time for all as Tony and other marathoners crossed the finish. The announcer gave a special shout-out to Tony over the PA system.

Sightseeing in Fort Worth

Now that the Cowtown Marathon events of the morning were behind us, Traci and I were anxious to hop in the car and do some sightseeing. I had done some internet research before arriving in Fort Worth to find out the must-see attractions for first time visitors. Over and over, the top recommendation was the Fort Worth Stockyards.

The Stockyards is where livestock are bought and sold. It was about a 3-mile drive from our hotel. Everyday at 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM, the cattle are herded through the streets. Unfortunately, Traci and I arrived just after the last migration had completed; therefore, we had to settle for looking at the long horns in their pen. I had no idea these bovine are so large.

Fort Worth Stockyards


saddle bar stool


cattle are bought and sold at the Stockyards


"Yep, I'm in Texas. Check out these chairs."


In addition to being a business area for ranchers, the historic Stockyards district has a worthwhile tourist infrastructure. There are Old West storefronts for general stores, saloons, honky tonks, souvenir shops, museums, and plenty of steakhouses. Traci and I found a great parking spot on the street and then wandered in and out of a few souvenir shops each greeting us with their own distinctive aroma - leather, scented candles, etc.. We also took a peek inside the Stockyards Hotel where we were intrigued by the saddle bar stools of the hotel's saloon. Continue...


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