Monday, April 7, 2014

2014 Go! St. Louis Half Marathon

Last year this was supposed to be my marathon, but I didn't train and I wasn't feeling well, so I was a DNS. So, this year was going to be my marathon but I didn't train so I switched my race to the half marathon. Don't they say that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity? So how many half marathons have I performed poorly in and ended up injured during or sore and miserable afterwards because I didn't train properly? More than half... I knew that I didn't want to have another DNS and I couldn't do the full marathon without risking significant injury.

Still I determined to at least finish the half marathon. My fiancé and I woke up early and headed downtown via the metro link. We got to the start line about 20 minutes before the race started and we walked around for a bit and I got in line for the porta potties before heading to my corral. There were only 5 corrals for 15,000 estimated participants. The first corral was elites only and then they had A, B, C, D corrals. I was in corral D. They have pacers for several different times for both the half and the full, they have a 14:52 pacer which is followed by the sag wagon. I spent just a minute or two chatting with this nice lady and she told me she'd been starting a few minutes after the last person crossed the start line.

I crossed the start line at 7:12 am and took off, I ran at a modest pace for about a minute and a half before spontaneously deciding that I would try to do a slow run for 2 minutes and then walk for 3 minutes and pray that kept me in front of the nice lady with the 14:52 pacer sign! My split for the first mile was 14:42 and I was feeling pretty good. I was enjoying playing with my watch during my walk times and I had set up live track so that fiancé could watch me so I got a nice text to cheer me on. My second mile was even better and I was trying hard to keep a slower pace during my runs, we started seeing the first of the half marathoners that had already made it to mile 5 and were passing us on the other side of the street. I finished the second mile in 14:29. I hit the first hill in mile 3 and couldn't pull off the run 2 walk 3 that I had been keeping up. Those run parts always seemed to come midway up a hill. I still managed to finish mile 3 with a 14:52 pace. Mile 4 was fantastic and significantly down hill so I managed a 14:20 and started scheming that I might be able to actually pull off a decent time (compared to my other halfs). I started doing what I love to do during runs, math. Yes I'm weird, it's part of my charm.

Miles 5 - 8 went by without much trouble, mile 6-8 were mostly uphill but I still managed to be 14:28, 14:12, 14:38 and 14:52. Towards the end my ankle was just starting to bother me and but I was able to manage it while walking with just a little stretch now and then. I knew by the end that I only had 5 miles left and I may have been achy and slowing my pace a bit but mentally I was doing great. I was enjoying the scenery and the people around me. I was focusing on making sure I didn't meet back up with that pacer and when necessary I found it very easy to dig in and give it a little extra when I needed to.

At mile 9, I had just passed the 2 hour mark so I was feeling good about my pace and knew that I only had 4 more miles to go. I got a GU but I had to accept that my pace would need to slow down because my heart rate was getting up into the 180s quicker and wasn't coming back down quickly during my walk breaks and my ankle was starting to get more tender. We made the last turn around about mile 10 and started heading towards the finish. We had met back up with the marathoners at their mile 23 and I was bored and needed something to entertain myself so I started cheering them on and clapping for them. Some of them seemed to appreciate it a lot, while the rest seemed to be very taken aback by the idea. Anyway, there was a lot of uphill in the last 3 miles and my ankle was done, my pace started to slow finally mile 9 and 10 were both 14:50, mile 11 was 15:03, mile 12 was 15:45 and mile 13 was 15:28. At this point I desperately wanted to finish the half marathon in less than 3:15:00. Definitely not the fastest 13.1 ever but it would be a pretty decent time for me so I took off at a jog towards the finish line hoping to beat that 3:15:00, my final time according to my Garmin was 3:14:55.

I was so excited and took off toward the finishers area. I grabbed my snacks and stopped by the medical tent to say hi to a bunch of the doctors I used to work with. I was already starting to get sore and I knew that I wasn't going to want to be on my feet all afternoon so we headed home.

My official time is 3:14:53. I'm happy with this time given the circumstances surrounding the race.

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