One thing I have really enjoyed about this race series is the amazing communication they have with their runners. The first race, they made sure we knew that they were monitoring the weather situation the night before the race, would have race officials out on the course early to make sure the course wasn’t too slick or icy (we had just had an ice storm the night before), and would post on Facebook and send out an email letting us know they official call for the day. After hearing what some people went through with Disney this past weekend, I’m super happy St. Louis Track Club has such great communication.
Prior to the last race (3 weekends ago), they sent out an email letting us know that both the 2-mile and 10-mile courses were USATF certified courses. So what? Who cares? Well, when a course is “official”, you are able to use your times to set state and national records. Of course, I immediately went to the Missouri State Records page to see what the current record was for a 32-year old female. And to my surprise, I found out that the current record was set on the other side of the state at 16:57.
Um… If I decided to race “easy”, I could EASILY beat that record. Of course, I wasn’t going to race easy. I was going to race my butt off because even if I KNOW I’m not the fastest 32-year old female in Missouri, I wanted to at least be able to say that I held the 2-mile record for a little while!
Thankfully, we had absolutely PERFECT temperatures for the 2-mile race. We have really lucked out so far with the series having decent weather during the events. The first race wasn’t perfect because of the cold drizzle, but this race was SO much better – 45-degrees and overcast – PERFECT racing weather for me!
It was kind of nice this time around because I had a better idea of what to expect. I already knew the course would have some sharp turns (of course, it was a different course this time around). I already knew the competition. I already knew exactly what time I needed to get there in order to get warmed-up and make it to the starting line on time. As soon as I was parked, I went and got an easy 1-mile warm-up in and then headed inside the Visitor’s Center to get in line for the bathroom. The line was SUPER long, but I made myself a deal that I would only stand in line until 8:20 (the race started at 8:30) and then bow out and head to the starting line. Of course, once 8:20 came around, there were only like 3 people in front of me, so I threw out my plans and decided to use the bathroom before sprinting to the start. I might have cut it close, but that was definitely the best decision I made that day!
I sprinted to the start just in time for them to start giving directions about the course and race. I lined up about 3-4 people deep, and quickly found out that I was WAY too far back (or people need to learn where they SHOULD line up to start). I ended up getting boxed in for the first half mile of the race. It doesn’t help that the course is open to cars (I literally had to run around a car driving down the road) and there are hundreds of cars parked along the road. I was able to sort of push my way out onto a side walk so I could get around some people, only to have some high school girls box me in again. Ugh.
I finally got into a good groove after the first half mile and actually had somewhat of a strategy going in to the race. I knew I needed to be the first girl in my age group to finish, and I already saw a girl close to my age fly by me while I was stuck behind some slower runners. So, I would find the next girl in front of me and slowly-ish make my way up to her and pass her. Every time I passed another girl, I would set my sights on the next one. Some were easier than others, but it helped me focus a little bit more this race, especially since you don’t get a lot of wiggle room to make up time in such a short race.
Just after the 1-mile mark (which I ran in 6:08 – just 5 seconds off my personal best I set back in high school), one of the race directors was standing and telling us where were were placed. There were 3 girls just a few steps ahead of me – they were in 5th and tied for 6th place. So, there I was sitting in 7th/8th place, with 3 girls within striking distance with a little less than a mile to go. I was able to pass one more girl and catch up to another one but just couldn’t quite get past her. She ended up finishing about 5 steps ahead of me, but I’m actually OK with that because she is in 8th grade and I actually coach against her. I know she’s good and I want to see her do well, so I kind of feel like I let her beat me… maybe. 😉
Time = 12:43
Average Pace = 6:13/mile
6th Overall Female
1st in Age Group (30-34)
I have to admit, these shorter races are really fun, but they are SO freaking HARD! It is literally a sprint for 2 miles, and by the time I cross the finish line, I am DONE. My lungs were burning, my head was spinning, and my calves were sore for 3 days after. I’ve loved racing some new, shorter distances, but I am excited to do some 5Ks in the next few weeks (this coming weekend is a 5K, then 2 weekends later is a 3-mile race).
Oh, and I was definitely the first 32-year old to finish. Which means I am the new + current 2-mile record holder in Missouri for 32-year old females! Like I said, it might not last long, but shoot, I will enjoy it while it lasts!