I was rockin’ and rollin’ Sunday morning. Followed a lot of cars down Hwy 40 with running stickers on their back windows, bumpers, etc., Like rush-hour there were so many. All heading to Union Station area for race.Had to be parked by 5:50 am. Driving in from Brentwood. I had everything planned out except for the $10 cash had to pay parking attendant after waiting in line for 15 minutes to park. So used to using debit card – everything automated. Never gave cash a though. So at 5:55 am – knowing the roads were closing at 6 and also needed to meet up with my LIFE Runner teammates for pics at 6 am, I negotiated with attendant (with 10 cars waiting behind me – anxiety building). Finally, he let me park and I had to agree to go get cash and bring back. So I went and took a couple of pictures about a half mile away with my team and then ran to the nearest hotel (The Sheraton) ATM for the cash. This is me with friend and teammate Dan Hinrich’s. Thanks Jeff Pauls for taking picture of us. I located attendant back in the dark streets of St. Louis – behind Scot Trade Center – I made it. Then ran back to race – took a couple more pics and joined my Corral at 7:55 as it was moving up closer to start line “wave” start (7:15). The closest I’ve ever cut it.
Around every corner, another slow, long hill. Check out the elevation of the St. Louis Rock and Roll Half Marathon course (ran full marathon there last year and this years half).
Last year, Shane Logan, who finished the second place in 2:34:36, describing the (marathon) course as the hardest he had ever run. He was hoping to set a PR but missed by more than five minutes.
“If I had known how hilly and tough this was, I’d have picked another race,” Logan said. (SLPD, Oct 21, 2012).
I have yet to run a half or full marathon that isn’t full of hills. Here is KC Waddell Reed’s course elevation (3rd half marathon).Here’s More/fitness Half Marathon‘s course elevation (ran this course in 2010, 2011 and 2013). A runner that competed in the New York City Half Marathon had this to say about the Central Park loop, “I knew the Central Park route well and knew it was going to be the toughest part of the race (hilly).” Now look at the elevation of the course for the Crazy Horse Half Marathon that was canceled due to worst snow storm to hit South Dakota.
The one course after 5 Half’s and one full marathon that was going to be literally all downhill, was cancelled.
I was supposed to run that half marathon on Oct 6. So when it was canceled I signed up for the St. Louis Half.
My training was kind of messed up because I tapered the two weeks before Oct 6. Then didn’t run for the week following because of travel back home (from Keystone, SD) and such. Then ran following week (Oct 15) and did a semi long run 9.5 miles the week before (Oct 19) St. Louis Rock and Roll Half (Oct 27). I’m not crazy about my form below but always protecting my knees. Maybe too much so. I felt I was moving at a pretty good pace and was really watching the time.
Yet, what I thought, and what was reality, were two different things.
So here are the stats:
- Time: 2:59:29
- Overall Place: 6391 out of 7442
- Division Place: 245 out of 376
- Total # of Women Over Age of 50: 711 or 10%
- Pace: 13:42
- 5K 37:07
- 10K: 1:19:14
- 10 Miles: 2:13:45
Mile 1 and 2: I remember the first two miles thinking, “Okay, this feeling of anxiety is going to pass – including that pain in my left lower leg.” It did.
Mile 3: So glad to see it. Felt I was at 34 minutes not 37 which is what clock showed. Never saw signage for mile 1 and 2 – probably just as well.
Mile: 4, 5, and 6: Probably my best miles. Was past initial issues and into cruise control phase. Then I ate some Energy Beans to refuel (in place of Gu). They sat in my stomach like a rock.
Mile 7: Getting tough and tired of these darn hills. Feeling like Energy Beans were not digesting well. Drinking water to help them pass.
Mile 8 and 9: The signs came a little faster. Trying not to drink much water – not wanting to stop for bathroom break. Didn’t think I needed it since it wasn’t that warm.
Mile 10: Hard
Mile 11: Harder – remember a group in their front yard with a funny set up and playing the theme to Chariots of Fire. Normally it would have been hysterical. At that moment, I couldn’t even smile.
Mile 12: Hardest – Don’t talk to me and no more high fives. Every microscopic millisecond of energy is moving me towards the finish.
Mile 13: Got some relief with a downhill slope, and then looking ahead…”Why do they have to end this thing on a darn hill?” Finally, at last 1/10th of mile, relief with downhill slope to finish line.
As soon as I could stop, I braced the rail to catch my breath and recover some before walking forward (3 minutes). Medical personnel came over to see if I was okay. This while the rest of those runners around me ran on passed as if they were completely un-phased by the 13 mile run. After collecting a bounty of snacks, water, sport drink and fruit and not to mention, my finishers medal (in a daze),I found my way over to a spot to sit down with my post race feast.
With all of that said, I ran my best race and finally have one that the time has a 2 in front of it. It was a long time coming. That 2 meant more than the time itself.
Half Marathon Times:
(2010) 1st: 3:49 (April)
(2011) 2nd: 3:27 (April)
(2011) 3rd: 3:28 (Oct)
(2012) 4th: 3:17 (Sept)
(2013) 5th: 3:01 (April)
(2013) 6th: 2:59 (Oct)
I’ve lived for that moment to be in the 2 hour zone and no longer in the 3’s.
I don’t play down my other times though. They were each hard fought for especially the first one that was in constant sometimes even heavy rain and with windchill of 37 degrees. We were soaked before we even started running. I remember being so cold. Hurt my knee around the 3rd mile and had to fight through to the finish. I limped for a day or 2 afterwards (wore a knee brace and that seemed to help). Some were treated for hypothermia and one third of those that started race dropped out many have since referred to it as “brutal.” I barely made it in before cutoff (only 70 women finished after me) but all I cared about was that I finished. This year there were over 1,000 that finished after me.
I never like hearing my time after a race – it is always slower than what I’m expecting. Not always realistic when I finish.
A friend of mine sent me this recently – I ran my first full marathon last year. It makes me think of Cypress. Will run another full marathon again some time.
The races leave me so exhausted that like after this one, I doze off trying to eat my favorite post race snack, “Cheez It’s” with my hand aiming for my mouth and wake up as it misses it with “Cheez It” in hand hitting my cheek…That’s exhaustion.
I think its important to visualize success, pray about it and believe in yourself. Running a long distance race teaches you many life-lessons about yourself. When you run your first marathon, after finishing, you feel you can do anything.
My recovery is going okay. Still pretty tired, legs sore. My toes are sore and bruised, but fortunately nothing more. I will wait a good week before I start running again and wearing flip flops for a few days while soreness present. Pushing fluids and taking extra vitamin C – bought some “Airborne” for lowered resistance while recovering.
I was able to raise $2,662 for Vitae Foundation from some good friends, family and teammates (click here to see list of sponsors). So appreciate the generous donations so many made towards that effort and each of them over the years. Since I started running in 2010, funds raised for pro-life charities comes to $7,662.
Additionally, training for a half or full marathon takes a great deal of time and you won’t make it across the finish line without the support of your family and especially your spouse. Thanks to Jim, Alex and my sisters and all of our family for their great support through out all of my training and races.