Saturday, October 29, 2011

St Louis Rock and Roll Half Marathon

I went into this race with a good deal of trepidation. I was not well trained. My last half was more or less a tear jerker (also not well trained, but with unreasonable expectations). But, I went into this with a better attitude and a goal of finishing in 2:15, which isn't bad for my very minimal training.

The race started on a good note with a nice, well organized, uncrowded and excellent vendor-ed expo. Love.

Sunday morning, the temperature was perfect, and the weather was beautiful.  I was dropped off at the start(ish) at 7:05 and had EXACTLY enough time to gear check and pee. EXACTLY. I could not have planned it better. I was still in line for the potties when the wheelchairs took off. By that point, I also needed to do more - thanks AM caffeine! - so there was no leaving the line. Thankfully, it moved pretty fast and I got to my corral right as it was walking up to the start. I ditched my throw-away tee, and off we went.

Since I like to go out too fast, I hung with the 2 hr pace team for the first 5 miles. There was talk about this being a hilly course, but it really wasn't. There were a couple in the first few miles, and a few minor ups and major downs at the end, but nothing serious. AND I love end-of-race downhills. After I let the 2 hr pacers slip away, I just tried to keep it up. My plan was to walk water stops, and I managed to stick to it except two brief walks around miles 10 and 12. There was water an average of every 1.5 miles, so that helped a lot. I had some Gu Chomps around mile 8, and shortly there after put in my headphones. There WERE lots of bands and a reasonable number of spectators on the course, but I was pretty spent by this point and needed more distraction.

Overall, I felt pretty good the whole race, considering how little I trained. My left calf was tight for a few miles in the beginning - likely due to my scraped up knee from a fall on Thursday changing my stride - but it stopped bothering my around mile 9, mostly because my right calf was also burning by then :) There was only one time I got upset - when the 2:05 pacer chugged by me at mile 12 telling his group to pick it up till the end. I had no pick up. In fact, I kind of wanted to puke around here and teared up. Once we got off the bridge and there were people again I got over it though.

I finished around 2:07, I think about a minute less than at the MORE in April (which I was slightly - slightly - better trained for) so I think that's a win. And the medal was terrific. I need to get a picture. The arch is a little glittery, and it is a heavy medal. I hate cheapy race medals, so this was a bonus. The finish area and gear check/pickup was also fabulously well organized as well.

I had to walk a few blocks up the street to meet up with my family, so I stopped to see (I was crossing around mile 12.75/26 or so) the elite finishers of the marathon and some more of the half runners. I saw the lead female just behind her pace car - that was pretty cool. She had a good few minutes lead on the next woman. I could almost see her thinking "don't look back don't look back I'm behind the PACE CAR don't stop".

While I am still a little sad about my training, I've done ok writing it off to newborns and construction, and I hope to run this race again (for time perhaps).

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