This morning dawned clear and cold, 39 degrees. Brrr! A cold start, but perfect running weather. MO CowBell is advertised as fast and flat, which it is for the 1st 10 miles. They saved a couple moderate hills for the last 3 miles of the race. It is a medium sized race w/a little over 2000 entrants.
This was my 10th HM and, since the StL RnR in 2 weeks is my target race, this was to be a "training run". My plan was to run 3 min : walk 1 min at an easy pace and practice my fueling strategy. I was pretty stiff for the 1st couple miles, but after that things began to hum along smoothly. I was going faster than anticipated, but since I wasn't even breathing heavy, decided to go w/it. I was particularly pleased that the hills were no problem at all. Hills, or even long slight inclines, have always been my nemesis. I attribute my new found success to several factors: 1) I have been working hills off and on thru out the summer and fall, 2) I'm a little bit lighter than I used to be (still have a ways to go on that score), 3) I've been more consistent w/ my ST, particularly working on my glutes, quads and hamstrings, and Finally) I've learned to attack hills w/a shorter stride, rather than waste a lot of energy trying to bound up to the top.
For 3 years, I have been pursuing a 3:00 HM. This fall training for the RnR is the 1st time I have felt I had a realistic chance of making it. I intentionally did not check my overall time until mile 12, imagine my surprise to see I had a real chance to make the 3 hour cut off in THIS race. I gave the last mile everything I had and crossed the finish in 3:00:19 - 13:46 min/mile.
My splits were:
5K - 44:25 - 14:18 min/mile
10K - 1:27:19 - 14:04 min/mile
15K - 2:10:26 - 14:00 min/mile
Sooo, I was getting faster as the race went on. Imagine what I can do w/a proper taper! The RnR is a more crowded, hillier course, but I'm hoping to take a few seconds off that and finish in UNDER 3 hours.
Yes, in addition to a medal, we each got our own cowbell.