I ran my sixth half marathon this morning. It ended up being my third fastest but I think it was my favorite. The course was so great.
The race began at 7am so I met the training team at 6am. We did a 10 minute warm up jog and I got in line for the port a potties.
It was a smart move using the ones on the north side furthest from the course. The ones next to the corrals had lines of people that looked to be at least 30 deep.
I don’t remember what I estimated my finish time to be but I was assigned corral G.
I suspected this was too far back for me and it was confirmed when I saw a 2:20 half marathon pacer in my corral. I was hoping for around 2:10, so I kept moving up until I saw a 10:07 minute mile pacer in corral D.
And of course I saw my SLU friend Jen, who I randomly run into at nearly every race.
The great thing about Go events is they’re always on time and there’s very little delay between corrals being released. At 7:05am I was off.
We headed east to Illinois. (No big deal, just running to a different state.)
If you zoom in on the second picture you can see the red light of the pace car on the MLK Bridge. I could see the fastest runners already running back to Missouri. So cool!
Then we were in East St. Louis, which doesn’t have a great reputation, but it had some of the best crowd support. There was a group of supporters on the side of the road and I high fived about ten of them. And the mayor of East St. Louis was on the course, greeting people!
The people were fantastic; the city looked how I expected it to–run down in parts and a few shady looking businesses. I will say the buildings had a lot of character and it could be a nice area with some TLC.
Our time in ESL was brief and soon we were heading to the MLK bridge.
I’m usually not a big fan of running in areas with a lot of concrete but it was pretty novel to run on the on ramps and other roads normally just for cars.
And I loved all the views of the Arch.
Around this point it rained on us a little. But it was brief and I didn’t really care. I was on a bridge!
Had my first Gu, Root Beer, at mile 4. Then we descended to the landing. I avoided cobblestone and observed desperate runners go under a chain link fence to use the port a potty at a construction site just ahead.
This part of the course wasn’t the greatest but I understand they’ve got to find some ways to add mileage before taking us back to civilization. On our way back a priest from the church downtown was spraying people on Olive with holy water, as he does every year. I would have gotten some but I was afraid I’d burst into flames. Actually I was just on the wrong side of the street. 🙂
We ended up passing by the start of the race around mile 6 which was great for Tracy, who I was happy to see.
I was still feeling great, as you can see, and zipped through this area aided by the great crowd support. Someone had a “touch this for power” sign and of course I touched it. One of my favorites.
We headed south on Tucker and left on Chouteau, which is the way the Go races used to start. Going down Chouteau I saw a lot of the really speedy runners returning.
As we turned right onto Broadway I saw these people. I think I went to SLU with the one on the right, nicknamed Maddog, so naturally I took her photo then ran away.
At mile 8, I had a chocolate espresso Gu. Gross. Broadway is long and I’m not crazy about long straightaways. I was happy to have a distraction when I saw Shannon and Sarah from training team on the left.
I caught up to them, said hi, and we discussed how we were going faster than planned. I was running 9:30 miles around this point. What?!
I pulled away and focused on my next distraction, the brewery in the distance.
This is the reverse of how we entered the brewery grounds on the old course, and surprisingly hilly.
We turned right and were greeted with more hills.
But also a Clydesdale! Another high point of the course.
Some people stopped to take photos with him but I didn’t load myself down like a horse with supplies in my waist pack just to stop, so on I went.
Leaving the brewery we encountered the fun drunken crowds of Soulard. I’m happy they were able to keep them part of the route.
Then we went back down to Broadway. They were handing out chocolate at mile 11, which of course I took, but it was kind of hard to chew. I guess I’m used to my deliciously smooth Cadbury chocolate.
I saw the Arch from all four sides today. Great course.
Eventually we made it back to Tucker and mile 12.
I reflected back to my half marathon PR a year and a half ago and how the last three miles felt like death. These last few miles were hard, but comfortably so. Although I was a little deflated when I could see the finish to the right but we had to pass it on Market before turning right and heading back after a block or so. When I see the finish I like to be running toward it.
When I was running toward it, I was able to break into a sprint at the very end and pass a whole group of people. Love doing that. I felt so happy to cross the finish.
I collected all my free stuff and passed it to Tracy through the fence. So helpful. The medal looks like this:
Then I got my free beer and had to drink it at 9:15am because it did not come in a can.
I love these Mylar blankets because I feel like a running super hero!
Here’s my splits according to my Garmin:
And my official results: