This will be my 6th time running a GO! St. Louis race. It all started way back in 2005 when I was a sophomore in college. My roommate Katie had just run the Chicago Marathon – she was the first person I knew to run a marathon – and I decided it would be fun to train for something a little bit longer. I had never really trained for a race before besides in high school track, so this was a pretty big endeavor for me. I had been running consistently for about a year and a race just felt like the natural next step.
Katie, our friend Ashley, and I began training for the April race in January. At this point, I discovered Hal Higdon’s training plans and have based my training plans off his ever since. I also feel like this really sparked my love affair with running. I really don’t remember a time before then that I didn’t want to or crave a good run.
12 weeks of training later, the 3 of us ran our first half marathon together – Ashley and I actually finishing together – with a time of 2:01:46. Not too shabby for my first half.
Since that first half marathon, I have run GO! St. Louis 4 more times, including my first full marathon. While many of the races are a blur of memories, there are certainly things that stick out in my mind as some of my absolute favorite running memories.
Running my first full marathon in 2008: Some of my favorite memories of that race are seeing my parents in Forest Park at mile 20-ish and finishing the race with one of my BFF’s Elena, who came and found me at mile 25 after she had finished the half. I finished my first marathon with a time of 4:00:13.
I ran the GO! St. Louis half marathon for the second time in 2010 and set my first PR, taking a good amount of time off that first half marathon. (Note: I had run a few other half marathons between my first half and this one, so I had already set some new PRs.) I ended up running the first half of this race with my friend Michelle, who I feel is the one who really helped push me to run a time of 1:37:26. I don’t think I would have run as fast had I not started the race with her.
GO! St. Louis was also my first post-baby half marathon in 2012 and also my first race I ran for charity. I raised $300 for Girls on the Run St. Louis while training for this race. While it’s definitely not my best time, it helped me get back into post-baby shape and really kicked off a couple of good training years after that point. Finish time was 1:46:38.
The last time I ran this race was also my PR race. It was probably also one of the most memorable races I have ever run since I was able to run the entire race with my brother. Again, if it wasn’t for him, there is no way I would have set this PR. It’s pretty incredible for him to run a 1:35:36 for his first ever half marathon too!
So, next weekend, I’ll start GO! St. Louis for the 6th time. While I’m nervous about trying to set another PR, I also cannot wait to try! I will also be running the new course for the first time. They changed the course last year so that now you run into East St. Louis, Illinois, taking out some of the bigger rolling hills of the race. Any time anyone asks me about the race, I always tell them how much I hate it because of the numerous rolling hills. Those hills totally, totally suck, so I’m hoping this new course will be much better and not as grueling.
To some point, I feel completely prepared for this race – I feel confident in running a smart race and that my training will help me finish the race strong. However, that 1:30:00 goal time my brother wants makes me nervous. Just like my love/hate relationship with hills, I have a love/hate relationship with time goals. I love pushing myself, but those goals totally mess with my head. Running is much more mental for me than it is physical, so I can only trust my training and that my body will do what I trained it to do.
I’m positive I will have more to share later regarding preparation for the race and of course a race recap! 11 more days…
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