This morning I ran in the Freedom 4 Miler, a 4 mile race downtown:
It was a nice morning for a run; 66 degrees and sunny at the 7am start.
I got settled at the starting line and I heard Jen, who I just met at the Macklind Mile, say hello to me. Shortly after, Jenni, who I know from Zumba and who introduced me to Jen, showed up. Over 1,300 people in this race and I run into the only two people I knew were doing it. That’s St. Louis. Jen says she’s aiming for a 8-8:30 minute pace, I say that sounds good to me (a bit ambitious), and Jenni says she’ll see us at the finish line.
They had one of the original Tuskegee Airmen announce the start, which was pretty awesome.
Then we were off. I stuck with Jen and Jenni for a little while, then Jen pulled ahead of me and Jenni fell behind me so I went at it alone, which is my normal race procedure. We immediately headed down to the river, which was a pretty big drop in elevation.
Then we headed south along the river, which was gorgeous.
Further ahead there were food trucks set up for Fair St. Louis. One of them was a truck serving Hamburger Helper. I can think of few things I’d like to purchase less than Hamburger Helper, especially at a fair that has options like those chips they make while you wait.
After we’d finished the river portion of the course, we headed west and fortunately it wasn’t a huge incline, at least compared to the sharp decline we’d taken to get to the river.
I love living in a city where I can run past this:
We wound around and passed Busch Stadium.
Around this time I saw the second water station which I ignored as planned. It wasn’t very hot and I knew there would be water at the end so I didn’t want to slow myself down. I was feeling pretty good, letting my body dictate my pace, which was just under 9 minute miles. My plan was to focus on my breathing, don’t start too fast, and ideally I’d have something left in the tank at the end and be able to speed up.
I was about two miles in so I just relaxed and tried to focus on people just ahead of me to gradually get closer to and pass. We were heading north past Busch Stadium and I caught sight of Jen in the distance. I hadn’t seen her in a while and was thrilled. I set my sights on her and felt myself getting closer as we turned left past Busch. When we were just passing the Jack Buck statue I finally reached her. I said hello, realized I was going faster than her, and pulled away as we turned right on 8th street.
At this point I was about 3 miles in and still feeling good. I watched in amazement as a woman pushing a stroller passed me going up a hill. At least that was the only child that passed me today.
We went north on 11th street, came back on 10th street, then we were back on Market heading east toward the finish. I knew the end was near so I kicked my pace up a notch and passed several people, which is my absolute favorite. Then I put on my Serious Runner Face, and these photos happened:
Apparently I love finishing races alone, which is fine with me if it’s because I’ve passed a whole mess ‘o people. I’ve been trying to work on smiling when finishing races because I know photos are being taken, but somehow I still end up with this face of death a good bit of the time. I actually felt pretty great.
So here’s the final results:
Faster than my normal pace of 9ish miles but not as fast as my best 5k times of 8-8:15 miles. Still, I’m very happy. I’m not very far removed from a time when breaking 40 minutes was a major accomplishment, so I’m happy I’ve made so much progress. And I’m working on not obsessing over the fact that had I been 5 seconds faster, I’d have broken 35 minutes. There’s always next year. 🙂