Go! St. Louis Half Marathon 4/10/16

I went into Sunday’s race feeling pretty good; I’d nailed my taper week–ate well, slept well, and my body felt good all over. I felt so optimistic I thought starting at 9:30 miles and getting faster every three miles was a real possibility. 

Spoiler alert–my race went like this.  

 

I met the Big River Running crew around 6am. We warmed up for about ten minutes and then hung out until closer to 7am.   

Anna, me, Elizabeth, Nicole, Meghan

 Then we got into our corrals. 

 I was in D with Elizabeth. I knew she planned to run a minute or so slower than me so we suspected the corrals weren’t sorting people correctly. We were right; almost immediately after I crossed the start line I was weaving around a walker. What! If you’re walking, you need to start in the back corral, or at least have the decency to be on the side. Argh! 

Still always cool to run toward the arch. 

 
Mile 1 took us toward the Eads bridge, and I was feeling pretty good as I finished it in 9:35.   

Then we were on the bridge. I looked to the left and I could see the police car leading the first runners across the second bridge back from Illinois.     

As  we crossed our bridge into Illinois I decided to take advantage of the downhill and bank some time. Mile 2 in 9:19.   

Then we were in East St. Louis. Last year the mayor of ESL was on the course cheering for runners along with a big crowd. This year they were gone and I missed them.  Not a lot going on over here. Mile 3 in 9:39.  
  So I’d basically stuck to my 9:30/mile for the first three miles plan and now it was time to make a decision. I tried to speed up to 9:15 but we were approaching the second bridge and the endless uphill made speeding up a challenge.  

    

    
 
I completed mile 4 in the middle of the MLK bridge in 9:52. 

Then we passed the dome, former home of the Rams, and headed down into Laclede’s Landing.  

 We ran across some cobblestone, because that’s what the landing is, and came out the north side by Lumiere Place casino.  The Stan Musial bridge in the distance was lovely. 
 Just before mile 5 is when the wheels fell off. We turned left, I saw a sizable hill, and I walked. Mile 5 in 10:01. 

I knew walking that early meant today was not my day, but I didn’t let the walking last too long. North St. Louis wasn’t super interesting but I did enjoy seeing the praying mantis and Ferris wheel in the distance on top of City Museum.  Mile 6 in 9:45. 

 

Then we headed back through downtown where the crowd support increased along with the poop themed race signs.  

 

I saw the 9:33 pace sign just ahead of me and regained some momentum. Mile 7 in 9:21.  

 

Then we headed south on Broadway, my least favorite part because it’s long. Mile 8 in 10:18. 

This guy is amazing.  I saw him on the Eads bridge too; he has one leg. He had a couple guys pushing him up the hilly parts but was mostly doing it on his own. 

 
  

Thanks kid. Mile 9 in 10:02. 

I don’t like seeing Budweiser so far in the distance and knowing I have to get there.  

 

But (with more walking) I got there.  

 
Maybe I’m just a giant wuss but going into the brewery was hilly and I didn’t like it. One thing that was motivating me was the chance of seeing a Clydesdale out on the course. Last year there was one standing there with a handler. I didn’t stop last year because I felt great so I planned to this year. But there was no horse! I was so disappointed. 

I knew my training team friend Ellie would be with her Girls on the Run group at mile 10, so that lifted my spirits. She didn’t disappoint, yelling NORA!!! when she saw me. Mile 10 in 10:11. 

Right after that was a favorite part of the course…near a bar in the Soulard neighborhood outside the brewery is a large group of neighbors who gather every year to dress up, drink, and cheer. They’re great.  

    
    
  

   
Then the fun was over and we were spat back out on Broadway. 

A neat thing the Go! people do is a chocolate station, where they give out little chocolates from Crown Candy.  

 
A neater thing random people of St. Louis do is  a Bloody Mary station.  

  

 
I spent most of mile 11 being jealous of that woman who made a better beverage choice than I did. And she was pacing someone! Mile 11 in 9:40. 

Mile 12 took us up Chouteau, which is hell when it’s mile 12.  

 
After we finished the uphill we turned right and I had a chance for beverage redemption!  

 
Some guys were giving out beer and pretzels. I took the beer and said yes! thank you! I’ve seen beer offered on race courses so many times but never accepted it until Sunday. It was fun! Mile 12 in 10:25, my slowest mile. 

We approached downtown again and made a left on Market. Another uphill and then a downhill approaching Union Station.  

 
This downhill helped me regain my speed which I kept as we turned right and headed uphill (really!?) toward the finish.  

 
Mile 13 in 9:29. 

I passed a bunch of people at the end, which I am sure is annoying but I love doing it, especially in a race that felt awful most of the time. 

And then it was over.  

 
Writing this recap, I’m feeling a lot happier about my performance than I did during the race.  

 I mean, I count 8 times my pace dropped (=walk breaks).  

 
And I still did this.  

 So my running pace must have been pretty brisk. On a better day things may have turned out differently. But things still turned out pretty good–my 4th best half time out of 8.    

And I met a whole bunch of new running friends as part of the 10:45 group.  

Laura, Meghan, me, Anna, Nicole, Steph

Official results: 

 

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8 responses to “Go! St. Louis Half Marathon 4/10/16

  1. Nice! Congratulations on your half marathon. 2:09 is a really good time!

  2. Congratulations! I hate Broadway/7th street too and was disappointed not to see a Clydesdale! Maybe next year. I love going through Soulard and seeing all the people cheer. It’s a pretty good motivator towards the end. That second to last picture looks like you had a really good time!

    • It’s funny that had I run the whole time I would probably have a different view of my time. But walking just makes it feel like I gave up; I didn’t train walking, after all. I think I just need to learn to adjust that mentality because racing a minute faster than I trained is pretty great.

  3. You did great! I love all of the pictures–especially of Soulard, and of you finishing! Keep running, keep writing!

  4. Congratulations on a strong race! It might not have been the race you hoped to run, but it seems like once you realized it wasn’t the day for a PR, you ran a super consistent race. Plus, you had enough energy to pick it up at the end, which is fabulous! I really enjoyed reading your recap and all of the pictures you included! Great shots. I felt like I was running with you! I don’t think I would like a bloody mary while running, but I always drink beer when I run. I will drink a beer in Boston on Monday regardless of whether I am running my way to a PR or a PW (personal worst, hehe!). It always tastes great in the later miles of the race. After all of the sweet stuff, like Gatorade and Gu, beer is a welcomed flavor!

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I’m beginning to see the positives of my race and am at peace with it. Plus there will always be more races.
      Beer while running has disgusted me in the past but you’re right, after the Gu etc it is a welcome change. I love that you do it as fast as you run!
      Boston Monday–eek! I’m excited to read your recap.

  5. Congrats! I love a fast finish. I always try to fly by people. It makes me feel good about my race to be able to still finish hard.

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