Otherwise known as my coming home (to St Louis) half marathon, or otherwise known as my 14th half marathon in 2014. Let me say that again – 14 half marathons in 2014. I’m exhausted just typing that. I think it might be nap time now!
Again, I’m skipping ahead a few recaps because I can actually remember this one.
It seems fitting that this race was my 14th. The course mimics my first ever run in St Louis, when I had flown out for an interview. While my time in St Louis has not been what I imagined, hoped or dreamed, running this same course brought back the feelings of hope I initially had.
Last Monday we had temps of 85. Saturday the high was 50. Quite a swing. The weather forecast called for temps in the low 30’s to start the race off. Which of course brings to mind the ever important what to wear question? Gloves? Jacket? How many layers? If Saturday was anything to go by, it was cold, windy, but when in the sun, it was warm. Jacket, yes. Gloves, I was iffy on but decided to bring them just in case.
Sunday morning was not quite so early for several reasons. Daylight savings for one. A small local race for another. I love small local races with close parking and race day packet pick-up. Even better? Packet pick-up was in a gym! With real bathrooms! And a place to sit down in the warmth!
Waiting in the gym
Of course being inside, I forgot how cold it was outside and was starting to think I really wouldn’t need my gloves. Thankfully I came to my senses and realized I was inside, not outside. Good thing, as the sun never did come out and my gloves stayed on the entire race.
As per usual, I didn’t really have any expectations going into this race. I’ve literally gone from race to race lately. I successfully completed #streakingwiththecoolkids and ran a mile each and every day of October but that was the extent of my “training”. I’d be lying, however, if my good finish at STL RnR didn’t put thoughts in my head of another 2:50 or lower finish. They weren’t strong thoughts because work got even more insane in the weeks between STL RnR and now.
Finally it was time to leave the nice, warm gym and venture outside into the cold.
Ready to go
The race started on an uphill. Which is better than finishing on an uphill. At least at the beginning you’ve got the adrenaline and the energy to get you up the hill.
I have asthma. It was bad when I was younger, but for the most part now is under control. However, one of my triggers is cold air. I was having a hard time breathing the first few miles. Actually, my breathing was probably labored most of race, and not just because I was running! :)
The course winds through Clayton, past Washington University, and into Forest Park. It is definitely fall as leaves were everywhere. The colors of the leaves were amazing! I really do love fall.
The first few miles ticked off fairly quick. And then came mile 5. Not sure what happened there. I think there was a lot of uphill. I ended up walking a good deal of mile 5. But what goes up must come down. Mile 6 involved some downhill. Mile 6 also involved me waiting for a semi truck. Really? Race course. With lots of people. Even though I was towards the end, this was part of the course where we crossed paths with those on their way back. Not sure if the semi truck just went for it because on my side there was only me or what. It was a little frustrating. But then again, I’m sure they were frustrated as well waiting for all the runners.
Mile 7 was uphill. And then it flattened out for a while before a slow incline leading back to Clayton. There were a few rollers, but mainly uphill until finally cresting and the last half mile or so was mostly downhill.
I had looked at my watch at some point and realized I was going to beat 3 hours, barring a full-out collapse. Part of me was still expecting a collapse. But when I got to the top of the last hill, I looked at my watch and realized that while a PR was not going to happen, maybe I could come in under 2:50 again.
Past the mile 13 sign and into the finishing chute! And done! With a time of 2:51:08! Not under 2:50, but way under 3! Not bad.
And so ends my quest for 14 half marathons in 2014. Remind me next year that I want to focus on speed and 10Ks!
I do it for the bling