Race Recap: Go! St. Louis Half Marathon (1:39:50)

Oh man, what to say about this race?  It was a rough one, both physically and emotionally.

The Expo:

My mom and I got into St. Louis early afternoon and went straight to St. Louis Bread Co. (aka Panera Bread) for lunch, then headed to Chaifetz Arena for the Go! St. Louis Marathon & Half Marathon expo.  We met Liz, Casey, Angela, and Emily there and walked around for a bit.  We were on the hunt for black arm warmers, but didn’t have any luck there.  It was a very random collection of expo vendors – some running stores, some local restaurants/gyms, and a guy selling pots and pans.

After the expo, Angela and I took Lulu for a long walk to shake out our legs.  And hers…

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We spent the night making dinner, watching Revenge, and getting all our race gear ready to go!

Pre-Race:

The race started at 7am, so we had a very early wake-up call.  But that allowed us to take our time getting ready and I ate half a bagel with peanut butter and drank water and a cup of coffee.

We picked up Liz & Casey and found parking really easily.  But then we had a little bit of a trek to get to the start area and need a stop at the port-a-pottys which had outrageous lines.  Serious question – is it possible for a race to ever have enough port-a-potties?  I don’t think so.  Every race I’ve ever been at has far too few.  (Except Boston, because Boston does everything to perfection at this point I’m sure.)  I would be OK if race directors wanted to use my entry fee for more port-a-potties and less bags of pretzels and chips at the end of races.

After we finally made it through the port-a-potties, the race was literally starting so we ran to try to get up into Corral B.  We ended up at the back of Corral C, with just a fraction of a second to take a selfie:

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(Sweaty Bands = Wicked Exclusive Fuchsia 1″)

If I had more seconds, I would try to get a better one, but this one will have to do.  Then I scrambled with my iPod, had a moment of not knowing if it was going to work or not, but then it started and so did we.

The Race:

I’m going to lay out my splits according to my Garmin, but splits according to the official race time seem quite different, at least for the first few miles.

Mile 1: 7:16

The race started winding through some streets of downtown St. Louis.  It seemed like there were a lot of turns and we were fighting through people.  I tried not to be too aggressive, but it was frustrating at some points, and then I would speed up whenever I did have a clear path.  It was very hard to judge pace while doing this and I could tell that it didn’t feel easy.  At this point I was still with Angela and Liz, but Liz took off ahead of us right after the first mile.  We passed the 1st mile marker when my watch said 7:06, but then the Garmin beeped for a mile a little later at 7:15.

Miles 2 & 3: 7:06, 7:05

These 2 miles were over the Mississippi River and into East St. Louis, IL.  Not the best smelling town… But mile 2 had a pretty nice downhill and Mile 3 was a few rolling hills.  I felt decent here, but not as good as I would’ve liked.

Miles 4 – 6: 7:28, 7:22, 7:25

This is where things started getting rough.  There was a huge hill, that I was able to see coming for awhile and then finally approached it and hurt so bad going up.  It was at least a half mile long to get up that hill to go over the bridge back to Missouri.

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In case you’re wondering, no, the race’s website does not allude to this misery and shows a joke of an elevation chart.  Everything after mile 3 felt like it was nothing but uphill.

The weather was OK, but there was a part while I was running over the bridge during mile 4 that the wind was pushing me a bit sideways.  Other than over that bridge, I didn’t feel too much wind and the weather never bothered me. (Until I was done, then I was freezing.)

Mentally, I started to go pretty far south during miles 5 and 6.  I had no hope of maintaining under a 7:20 pace and was struggling hard to stay under 7:30.

I also yelled at some water-stop volunteers.  They were all crowding the street, making the path for runners to run through about 2-people wide.  So I told them to back up.  Runners will go to the side when they want water.  They don’t need to keep inching their way to the center with their arms stretched out trying to get people to take your cup.  If you hold it, they will come.  So that’s what kind of state I was in…nasty.

Mile 7: 7:25 + a 1 minute hiatus….

I was so mad.  I tried to tell myself that running doesn’t define me.  But then what does?  I don’t have anything else going on in my life except work.  I stopped when I saw my mom and wanted to quit the race (which is why I stopped my watch).  I threw my iPod off, cried and yelled for a bit, and then Angela convinced me to keep going with her.

Miles 8-12: 7:31, 7:49, 7:55, 7:30, 8:03, 7:38

Everything was hard.  Every thought I had was negative.  I hated myself every step because I had already failed myself by giving up.  But I had to finish because there was no other way back.  Angela continued to help to keep me going though and I tried to just keep my eye on her, even when I slowed down.  There was a photographer somewhere in this stretch:

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I saw that photographer and I made the decision not to smile.  Normally I try to at least fake a smile, but I actually think this worked out better because I look focused.

Mile 13: 7:24

That’s actually pretty surprising…guess I was able to kick it in a little.

Finish Time: 1:39:50.  Actual time running from my Garmin was 1:38:44 since I had stopped it while I was stopped.

Post Race:

The finish area was nice – a good variety of food – toasted ravioli (a St. Louis delicacy), ice cream sandwiches, PB&J sandwiches, fruit, etc.  But I wasn’t interested in any of it.

What was by the far the most poor-planned thing ever was the gear check.  It was in a building across the street from the finish area.  The only way to get there was to cross the street…the street all the runners were running on.  So really, nobody could possibly yell it you for doing it because how else were you supposed to get your gear?

Final Thoughts:

Running really sucks sometimes.  I tried to spin this recap as positively as possible.  Well, not necessarily that, but just didn’t go into as much negative detail as I could.  There was a lot of typing and erasing because otherwise it would’ve just been a rant against myself.

Under 1:40 is still a great time that I am happy with for it being a bad race.  I’m going to try again in another half marathon this coming weekend and can only hope it goes better/I mentally hold up better when it gets rough.

One Thought on “Race Recap: Go! St. Louis Half Marathon (1:39:50)

  1. I ran the full, and by the time I got to the finish (I am a back-of-the-pack runner), all of the vendors were gone and even most of the race officials. I did get my medal, but I sure could have used a heat sheet since I was wet from the rain and cold from the wind. This is one I don’t think I’ll be repeating.

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