Go! St Louis Half Marathon Race Recap

What a day!  I already recapped the expo here.

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The forecast was for 70 degree temps at 7 am going up to about 75 by noon.  On the hotter side, but not unbearable.  Or at least the last time I checked (the night before?)

Jen picked me up at 5:50 am and we headed downtown.  It was already warm. We parked in a lot a few blocks from the start for $3.  Then we headed towards the start, stopping at the porta potties.  There were plenty and they were NOT BAD.

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I debated putting in the second picture, but it’s fun too!  I’m not doing what it looks like, I’m stretching my calves.  Sorry it’s blurry.  You may already have gathered I am not a real photographer.

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Jen was stretching too!

I felt great!  I was pumped and ready to run some 11:30 or so miles.  Jen felt good too.  We got into corral D together and waited for the start.

 

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The view of the arch/our corral sign (technically I was supposed to be in E but we found the opening for D and it just seemed easier). You can just barely see the start line!

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We asked a lady to take this—for some reason she thought the first one wasn’t so good and we needed another.

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Ah!  That’s better.  Lost the crazy eyes.

It took about 15 minutes and then we were off.

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Passed this right at the start!

The first five miles were FANTASTIC!  We headed out towards Soulard.  It was fun when the route doubled back because we saw the leaders coming back already (and Mike not that far behind—he looked like he was doing well and far ahead of the “pack”)

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Okay, so that’s Mike—my trainer—not from this race though, but I’m very good at the internet so I found it (from the Lewis and Clark).  Now you can picture him!  Someday maybe I’ll take a picture of us together but I’m always, you know, sweaty and at the gym and stuff.  Plus then I wouldn’t get to use my awesome internet stalking skillZ, right?

Anyhow—like I said, I was feeling fantastic!  The first five miles were GOOD.  Right on track.  Then I started to get hot.  Now, yes, I do work out now, but I still don’t do well with the heat.

The next mile was awful.  We kept running (and I should say, I did have a bottle of water with me) but I was really struggling.  I wanted to stop and walk.  I did briefly around mile 6 and kept thinking I would feel better.  Usually that is what happens—I run, I have a rough patch, but I run through it or take a short walk break and then I feel great.  Not so.

I told Jen to go ahead.  She seemed to be doing well, so I didn’t want to hold her back.

I ran slower, and realized I was going to be hard-pressed to meet my goal.  I thought, that’s okay, that’s okay.  But then my mind went to some VERY dark places about my failures in life and how perhaps I weigh too much, or hadn’t trained enough, or always choke under pressure and here I was choking under pressure just like I do in all the orchestra auditions.  Then I started to worry this would affect Chris’s day tomorrow and decided that we were both failures at life…  Tough times!  I can be super emo when called upon.  Suffice it to say: Mile 7/8 SUCKED.  Then I thought, I really need to pull out the ipod or I just might commit suicide.  I actually considered calling Chris for inspiration, but figured he would just think I was weird!  (Also, didn’t want to bother him—originally I had hoped he would be able to come cheer me on for the race, but it turned out he had a rather important audition the following day.  Oh well.)

Then I ran into some women who used to train with Joe, and we chatted briefly.  They had schooled me in the Lewis and Clark, but here I was right near them!  We were both walking through a water station and one of them said I looked like I had lost more weight and that helped me feel better.  (Totally haven’t…but maybe I did in the first 6 miles of the race.)

Then I learned that they had shut down the marathon course to new runners (it turned off from our route around mile 9) due to the severe heat.  Evidently it was 85 degrees and many people were collapsing.  So…it wasn’t me.  I wasn’t a total failure in life.  I just wasn’t prepared for the heat!  Mentally that was huge.  It gave me enough energy to take a GU.

I started running again, and soon found myself on another road (forest park parkway) which was doubled back, and I saw Jen!  She looked good still.  I called out but she didn’t hear me.

I started cramping up, and I was still really overheated.  I kept dumping water on my head and back but that was only temporary.  We were on Forest Park Parkway nearing where it goes under Grand Blvd and I realized I was going to be sick.  I “pulled over” to the side and did a bit of…throwing up.  I tried to be quick because I was afraid if anybody saw me they would try to get me to stop or something.  Then I kept moving.  At that point, I thought…well, now I just need to finish.  If I finish that is all that I can do.

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My splits.  You can see the collapse…

I did run the last mile.  It was so hard.  I was afraid I was going to pass out.  I wanted to finish as strong as I could.  As I got near the end I kept looking for Jen, thinking maybe she would be nearby, but I didn’t see her.  People kept calling out my name (on my bib) and cheering me on—I am sure I looked AWFUL.  I don’t even really remember crossing the line.  I stopped running and started walking slowly and a medic came up to me and asked if I needed help.  I said I didn’t know but maybe.  He walked alongside me a bit and poured water down my back.  I got some water to drink and the medic said there were other medics if I decided I needed help.  I was really disoriented, but I didn’t see any others!  I think I likely DID need help, but they must have been really busy.  I couldn’t eat anything, I couldn’t focus, I just sort of wandered.

I did get a medal!

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I left the finish area and decided the best move was to head for the car.  I had my phone on me but Jen didn’t have hers so our backup plan was to meet at the car.

Where WAS the car though?  I was so upset!  I just started walking, trying to remember where we had parked, and finally found my way back.  I hoped I would see Jen there, but no.  Instead I sat down and started to sob.  This was seriously the hardest race I’ve ever done, and I had high hopes for it and instead ended up just barely making it.  And now I was just sitting by a car… It turned out that I probably walked right by Jen and didn’t notice—she too had had a really tough finish and was feeling really lousy (and continued to, poor thing!  We didn’t even get to go out for a celebratory lunch AND WEAR OUR MEDALS IN PUBLIC.) But she did great, finished her first half-marathon in about 2:36, a great time!  My time was 2:40:02 (8609th place). I think I could have met my goal IF the weather had been normal.  Or maybe I started too fast.  I don’t know…but I do know that I don’t have another long race till fall so I’ll have plenty of time to work on my speed.

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Total fail from the 6 mile to the 11 mile…

I texted Mike that “I may have thrown up a little on the course.”  He replied “It was very tough out there.  Congrats either way!”   (He finished in 1:29:06, 70th place overall)

Overall:  I’m just glad I finished.  I’m bummed I wasn’t able to do as well as I wanted, but I learned that 13.1 miles isn’t easy, and that every race can’t be a PR.  Oh well!  Oh, and I guess I do have a nervous stomach.

3 thoughts on “Go! St Louis Half Marathon Race Recap”

  1. man, I did 4 miles on a hilly trail last week and thought I was going to die from that–so naturally I think 13.1 is impressive! Every time I go for a run–usually b/t 4-6 miles–I can never fathom doing anything longer than a 10K and I start beating myself up over my other goals (like someday running a marathon)–and my mind ALSO goes to very dark places, too!

    Amazing how running (and everything else in life) is purely mental at times. Thanks for describing the half-marathon!

    P.S. Hope your bf has a good audition–no way I can compare myself to him since I’ve barely done any professional auditions or even made it past the first round in the few I’ve done–but I’ve been a little deflated about playing the violin lately and surviving as a musician these past few months. Trying to stay positive, though:)

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