I went into this race with 3 goals: run a 1:45, achieve negative splits, and finish. Though it wasn’t easy, I’m happy to say that I was able to accomplish pretty much each one of my goals.
Our morning started early, with a 4 AM wakeup call, which luckily is my usual wakeup time thanks to being a new mom who is dedicated to her sport. I got ready, woke both M’s up, prepped my bagel, and loaded the car. We went back and forth on whether we should drive downtown or take MetroLink, but decided driving was our best option since we had lunch plans downtown and didn’t want to have to go out of our way to get our car just to drive back downtown.
We arrived downtown around 5:30 AM with plenty of time for me to feed MacKenna in the car, make a pit stop at the portapotties, and find my way into my corral before they closed them at 6:40 AM. This is the first year GO! decided to do a corral start. After running the Chicago Marathon, I expected the corral start to make the start more organized and efficient, but I think it actually made it more chaotic. They were adamant on everyone being in the corrals by 6:40, but the road was so narrow that they couldn’t fit everyone into the corrals, and once you were in a corral, you pretty much were stuck where you were. I ended up lining up next to the 2 hour pace group, but I just reminded myself that it was my race to run – their pace doesn’t dictate my finish time.
It took about 2 minutes for me to cross the start line. Luckily, the first few miles are fairly downhill, but we were packed in like sardines for at least 2 miles. I was completely boxed in part of the time, which was a good and a bad thing. It slowed my pace down quite a bit which was helpful, but I hated feeling like I couldn’t go past anyone. My first mile split came in at 8:31.
This is my 4th time running the GO! race – 3 halfs and 1 full. It never ceases to amaze me just how hilly the course is. If there are any flat parts, they are right at the beginning. After about 3 miles, it’s loooooong uphills with absolutely no flat parts whatsoever. And not only did we have to battle the hills yesterday, but we had to battle some serious wind. Mile 7 was by far the worst – almost completely uphill with the wind against you. It was definitely my slowest mile. I kept thinking of my friend Elena, pushing a grown woman in a wheelchair the entire course. She kept me motivated to keep going.
Matt randomly took this picture at the start line – Elena is in the lower left hand corner. She’s a rockstar!
I was feeling surprisingly good until right around mile 9. By that point, I started feeling every little ache in my legs and shoulders and mentally, I was just trying to hang on. I kept repeating my mantra: I feel good, I feel strong. Did I believe it? Well, to a point. I knew I could finish, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
Thankfully, at the turnaround point towards the finish at mile 10, I looked over and saw a girl wearing a SoleMates shirt. We immediately started chatting – Courtney works for Girls on the Run St. Louis and was running the race just for fun, no time goals. Not only that, but she is a new mom as well! We had plenty to talk about and it made those last 3 miles fly by. She was running really strong and she helped push me when I was feeling my weakest. Had I not run (no pun intended) into her, I’m not sure I would have finished as strong as I did.
Even with Courtney though, that last mile was torture. Once you hit mile 12, you can see the finish line – and the giant uphill towards the finish. It’s definitely the longest mile of the entire race and I was so ready to cross that finish line. My official time was a 1:46:38 – not quite the 1:45 I was hoping for, but I definitely can’t complain. My average pace was right around 8-minute miles (8:08/mile) and I actually ran a smart race – something I very rarely do.
I couldn’t be happier with my race, but it definitely reinforced in me that I would rather run a 5K or 10K any day. I can’t wait to start training for shorter, fast races and hopefully see those average paces drop farther into the 7’s and maybe 6’s. Of course, I’m sure there will be other half marathons someday, but for now, I’m so ready to train for speed!
After the race, we went to our car so I could feed MacKenna (who was wonderful for her daddy during the race) and headed out toward Maplewood for lunch with Katie and Maddie (who both ran the race as well) at Schlafly Bottleworks. After that race, I was so ready to sit and drink a beer. While I absolutely love their coffee and oatmeal stouts, I wanted something light + refreshing, so I went for the Raspberry Hefeweizen. As for my meal, the only thing that sounded good was a classic grilled cheese – with some asparagus on the side.
The grilled cheese was just OK, but tasted amazing after a long run. The asparagus was awesome though! Asparagus is quickly becoming one of my favorite vegetables and this was especially good grilled to perfection.
I love getting to meet up with my blog friends. I feel like even though we don’t really know each other, we do. Matt was asking about Maddie’s little girl Emmie and I could pretty much tell him everything about her! Ha! It was great to be able to meet up with Maddie, Chris, and Emmie one last time before they move to Georgia this week.
Go check out Katie’s + Maddie’s blogs for their race recaps!
In other running related news, I’m the featured blogger of the month over on Digital Running! I’m so honored to be recognized with some other amazing runners and bloggers!