Today's Running With The Cows Race with Mike DeGhelder exceeded my every expectation. I joined this race for the big 2 reasons of (1) getting in a May half marathon race, and (2) nailing what I assumed would be a great T-shirt (it is!).
Mike and I went and had a ball! This race has huge heart -- very enthusiastic volunteers at the many aid stations, a gently rolling and interesting course, and a fabulous feed afterwards.
Lined up for the half marathon hoping to average 11:00 miles without bonking. It was 50 and cloudy with a strong headwind all the way out. 1st mile was 10:28 and felt good. Meet a runner my age named Dan who lost 120 pounds from 340 to 220 over the last year. We ran the first 5 miles with 2 other guys and then all but the last 2 miles together. Our 10:30-ish pace held the entire race! Only 2 miles went over 11:00 and the 8th mile, which may have been a bit short was 10:00 (it caused the lone 11:23 in mile 9, hence my question on the mile accuracy). Mile 12 was my second slowest at 11:03, but that was uphill into a big headwind on a short dog-leg in the course. Mile 13 came in at 9:51 with a strong tailwind, and the last tenth was :54 (9:00 pace). Overall, time was 2:19:12, which was 10 minutes and 44 seconds better than Rock the Parkway! For the first time in a long time, I truly felt like a runner today -- yeah!
I now own a gorgeus T-shirt and a finisher's cow bell. Ended up 6th in my age group which is also fun. Overall -- this was a big milestone for me!
Closing thought: Mike adds so much to every event we get together for. He went and picked up our race packets Thursday night, and when he realized they were short volunteers, he jumped in and worked till 8:00 pm suppourting them. Today, he dragged me over to meet the race director -- he had told her all about me and our running history! I just can't say enough about how much fun we had going out and running this race today! We must add it to our annual calendar! -- Bill