Monday, April 16, 2012

Go! St. Louis Marathon

I feel pretty proud of myself although I'm sitting here in quite a lot of pain! Whew, that was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. My goal was to do it in 5 hours. I knew that wasn't good by any means, but I was not "in it to win it". My dream finish time was 4 hours 45 minutes.

I had been so nervous about the weather all week. First they said it was going to be nice, sunny, highs in the low 70s. That sounded pleasant. But as the week went on, the weather just got worse. Rain, thunderstorms, severe weather, heat...wind. But in the end, Sunday morning turned out to be a beautiful day. It was a bit on the hot side and it was breezy, but at least it wasn't pouring down rain (like the day before).

My friend Eric drove in from Columbia to run the Half-Marathon. Josh dropped us off near the starting line. I was feeling pretty nervous. I knew I was going to be in a lot of pain. We had to be in our corral by 6:40 am. They really packed us into those corrals... I really think they should have given us more room. I was already so nervous and to be crammed in with all those people made my annoyed.

I took it nice and slow starting out. I tried to stay at 10:56 min/miles. I enjoyed this slow pace and not once did I think about the full 26.2 miles. I had run this part of the course before and I've been training in Soulard so I knew there would be no surprises. Soulard definitely had the best cheer zone. I love my neighborhood!


I was feeling really good. I dominated the Victor hill, passing tons of people already walking. I ran by Josh around the 3rd mile. It was really nice to see my neighbor Gail out there cheering for me as well! Here I am waving at Josh.


I also ended up in the Soulard Restoration Group twitter pic! I thought that was cool and kinda ironic.

The Soulard part of the run was a lot of fun. Then we headed back downtown. I took my GU at mile 6 and I HATE those things. So gross. I literally gagged trying to "eat" it. I only had half and threw the rest away. I had a couple more GU's on me, but I just couldn't do it again. There were water/Gatorade stops around every two miles (and then every mile after the 17th mile). I stopped at every one for a quick drink. I wanted to stay hydrated. It was feeling pretty warm out.

Then came the Olive hill. I didn't really fear it because I ran it a couple weeks ago. It wasn't that bad. I ran the entire way up, passing some folks. Around the 10 mile mark, the groups split. Half-marathoners turned around and headed back downtown, while the marathoners kept going straight. It was so weird...running with tons of others, then all of a sudden you are out on your own. It was like I just entered a different race entirely. I did like the space, but at the same time I felt like I needed all those people to push me.

We entered Forest Park and I ran with a pacer for a bit. However, she slowed down on the hills and it actually hurt to run that slow. There was one killer hill in Forest Park, not because of the hill but because of the strong headwind. I had to walk some of it. Forest Park wasn't really all that exciting. It seemed really dead. Usually there are so many people there. They handed out sponges that were in a bath of ice cold water. I loved that sponge. We carried on down Forsyth into Clayton. Someone had a sprinkler going in their front yard and I put my head into it. That felt so good. Clayton is pretty hilly. I tried to run most of it, but had to walk up some of the hills. 

I was running alongside this guy named Dennis for a while. This was his 100th marathon!!! I couldn't believe that. I wanted to tell him that this was my first, but I wasn't in the mood to talk and he didn't look like it either. He pushed me to keep moving though. We finally got to the turnaround back to downtown around mile 18. There was a lady cheering for us saying, "You all are about to be awesome is that". Yup, I started to tear up a bit. Then there were some dudes handing out Stag. Really?? I for sure would have puked if I had some beer. There were some more rolling hills...but there was shade and for that I was grateful. 

I think the worst part of the race was mile 22. It was a very long stretch with no shade. It was getting pretty hot outside. One of the volunteers around mile 23 asked me if I was okay, ha. Did I not look ok?!? Of course I was tired. The last 4 miles of the race were killer. I ran what I could. My legs felt like bricks. Some guy patted me on the back and told me I could do it. I guess I really looked like I was struggling. I saw some guy puke around mile 24. Glad that wasn't me. There was a beautiful downhill portion and I could see the finish line!!! I started to get pretty emotional, but kept it together. There was one more hill and I really wanted to walk it. I felt like I had no legs. I then spotted my friend Eric at the bottom of the hill and he started running it with me. I really really needed that. He pushed me to run the entire way to the finish line. Here are some pictures of the final 0.2whatever miles. I was so incredibly happy even though I was in so much pain. I also high-fived Jay Jacobs on this final stretch..! He is one of my favorite Biggest Losers.




And there I go...almost to the finish line!!


This is how Josh found me after the race. I could barely walk.


Pure joy even though I look pretty worn out. 


I finished the marathon in 5:01:45, pace 11:31. I was 1 minute, 45 seconds over my goal time, but whatever. I'm just happy I finished. I'm not sure if I'll ever do another marathon. If I do, I won't do the Go! St. Louis Marathon. It's way too hilly. The volunteers were wonderful though. I just thought some parts were boring, especially on Delmar after exiting the Loop. There was a ton of trash on the street and didn't really showcase St. Louis all that well. 

This was a wonderful experience. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I'm just so happy I can finally say that I'm a marathoner.

Check out that elevation profile!!!
Never once did I feel any groin or knee pain during the race. I couldn't do several of my training runs because of it.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats!

    I came across your blog on day and since I also live in STL I added it to my favorites.

    If you haven't heard of it you should try Hammergel instead of GU. I made the switch last year and couldn't be happier. It's not as thick and I think the flavors are better.