The normal weekly training review is being preempted this week to bring you a recap of the GO! Saint Louis Halloween Half. And even the recap is a few weeks late. Last week I spent a (somewhat) unexpected week in NJ. My apartment is still a mess, with boxes everywhere, but right now I am enjoying sitting on my couch (for basically the first time) and watching TV!!! Hallelujah!! I have internet and cable!
Back to the GO! St Louis. I had this race as a potential in the back of mind, especially when I saw packet pickup was available race morning. I was still debating Saturday night, but then I saw a picture (courtesy of Instagram) of someone’s bib and shirt and was sold. I’m a sucker for a cute bib!
I left work and was home relatively early on Saturday night and laid out my clothes and settled in to bed. When the alarm went off, I thought good and hard about going back to bed. Instead, I got ready and made my way downtown. I still don’t have a good feel for the downtown area but ended up in line of cars and figured who else would be up so early? It was a good call and I ended up in a parking lot a few blocks from the starting area.
I got my shirt and debated running back to my car to drop it off, but decided instead to use the bag check, which was located inside the City Hall building. Which also had real bathrooms! Score!
I didn’t have a costume prepared (and didn’t want to recycle Minnie since I had just worn that) so I settled on my orange Sparkle Athletic skirt. There were a lot of costumes. Super heroes were in abundance!
The minutes ticked by and soon we were toeing the start line waiting for our signal to go!
As much as I would like to say I didn’t have any expectations coming into the race, except to finish, in the back of my mind is that elusive 2:45 (if you didn’t know before, I am slow). I lined up a little ahead of the 2:45 pacer.
Deciding on a race at the last-minute sometimes means you forget things. Like a hat or sunglasses. It didn’t matter as the race started off but then we turned the corner and hello sunshine. My eyes were watering and I attempted to run with my eyes closed. That didn’t work too well.
We zig-zagged up and down several downtown streets before heading down to the waterfront. The best part of the waterfront? It was along the river and not facing the sun!
Waterstops were about every two miles and I started counting them down. One stop down, two stops down. Just after the second water stop the course split with the half marathoners turning to the left and the 10Kers turning to the right. Believe you me, I was highly tempted to keep to the right.
It was at this point the 2:45 pacer passed me for the first time. It hit me hard. Going into the race, I knew this was not going to be my best effort. Not enough training or sleep do not equal PR. But still seeing the 2:45 pacer pass me so early on was a blow. I leap-frogged with the pacer for a good half a mile or so, before finally seeing the invisible band holding us together break and watching the group move farther and farther away from me.
We passed by the Anheuser-Busch building and continued through neighborhoods. This was actually the first year they had added a half marathon to the event. Previously the longest distance was a 10K. As we continued ticking off the miles, the mile markers were no longer Halloween themed, but plain numbers.
At this point, spectators were sporadic at best. The race had really thinned out by this point.
The course took us back to the Anheuser-Busch building and through the campus. I noticed a woman slightly ahead of me break off and take a picture. Naturally, the curious side of me wanted to know what she was taking a picture of. Clydesdales!!! Side note: I have been talking incessantly about how I want the Cardinals to win the World Series just so I can see the Clydesdales and here they were!
At this point, I was really struggling. But the good news was mile 11 was in sight. One foot after the other.
As I hit mile 12, I heard the announcer call out “here comes the 2:45 pacer right on schedule”. And I still had a mile to go. I had a mini pity party before continuing my one foot in front of the other routine.
I continued to hear the announcer “let’s bring these folks in under 3 hours” which became my new mantra. With the exception of Disney races (and all the picture stops), once I broke 3 hours, my underlying “B” goal is always to beat 3 hours.
Why is it that the last tenth of mile seems so long? But finally I was there and across the finish line! And in 2:54:27. Really when you consider the absolute lack of training and sleep, it’s not so bad.