Today was the last run with the spring training team. We met at the Forest Park visitors center for one of the best long runs, the run to the Arch. Meghan gave the group instructions for the last time (until fall training team).
Then we took a group photo! Here’s all of us…walkers, walk/runners, runners, and people who do long runs under 8:00 minute miles, which I consider an entirely different category.
And then the pace groups headed out. It looked beautiful but was very cold; in the 30s. So we layered up again. Last week tank tops, this week gloves. Oh, St. Louis.
I huddled together with my pace group and soon we were off.
We headed out of Forest Park east on Lindell past SLU. We took a left on Grand. I love this view of the Fox Theater.
Then we hung a right on Washington which would take us all the way downtown and to the Arch.
Due to the construction around the Arch, there was only one way in to it, and we did not choose the correct path.
During this time we merged with the 11-11:30 group and were basically a mass of confusion. But we stuck with it, determined to touch the Arch, and finally made it.
And of course there were photos.
I’m casually photobombing in the back. The Arch feels great to lean against after six and a half miles of running.
10:30-11:30 pace groups!
Then we headed back to the park. I tried a couple new to me gels at mile 4 and mile 8.
The root beer one tasted like those root beer barrel candies and made my dreams come true. The Montana huckleberry one had a mild fruity taste but also really tasted like paste to me. And not the good paste like on envelopes or Elmer’s glue (I was a glue eater as a child). This was an icky paste. But I can’t complain with the results and I had plenty of energy to get up the hills approaching Grand, my nemesis from the 2013 Go! Half marathon and also last fall’s Arch run.
I felt stronger after mile 5 than I did at the beginning and when I got into the double digits I felt my strongest. Another girl and I broke free of the rest of the pace group and did the last few miles at a faster pace.
And I could have gone even faster and farther. I had a lot left in the tank at the end but I decided it was best to save it for my race. So I stopped at the end of the route, which ended up a mile longer than planned because of our Arch detours.
Then I went to Hardee’s. (Guilty pleasure.)
I checked the training team’s Facebook page and saw this photo posted by someone in the 8-8:30 group.
Running is light and joy and freedom. It is something we get to do and I am very grateful.