To outsiders, St. Louis doesn’t seem like a big racing town. Compare us to New York, Boston, or Chicago and we pale in comparison. But, I assure you, St. Louis is much more of a running town than it appears to be. With 3 large running stores in the area (Big River Running, Fleet Feet, and Ghisallo), you can usually find a race almost every weekend year round.
When I heard about Big River Running’s inaugural Valentine’s race, the Truffle Shuffle, I knew it was a race I wanted to do. Plus, it was only about 10 minutes from my house – a definite win-win situation!
I actually went into this race without a time goal. Since I am in the midst of training for the half marathon in April, I really just wanted to do a fun training run and get a shirt and a chocolate medal in the process. Yes, that’s right. I said CHOCOLATE. How can you go wrong?
Well, Big River did a great job, as always – organized, professional, great shirts, great awards, and fun. I, however, went very wrong from the get go. As I said earlier, the race is only 10 minutes from my house. I was fortunate enough for it to start at 9 AM, so I figured I’d leave around 8:15 and get there by 8:30, no problem.
Problem #1: I completely forgot to pick up my race packet the night before. Doh. I mean, didn’t even think about it until 10:30 PM. So, getting there at 8:30 for a 9:00 race sounded like a grand idea, until I realized I was going to have to stand in line for 10 minutes waiting to get my number. And, they had ran out of small shirts. I’ve learned in the past that mediums just don’t work for me, so my small is being sent.
By the time I finally got my number, it was 8:40. I went back to my car, pinned on my number, and headed back to the start area. Only to realize something:
Problem #2: I totally had to pee. Ugh. It was 8:53. I knew there was NO WAY I was going to make it 4 miles on a full bladder. So, I darted inside only to find a line for the bathroom. Luckily, the line moved fast and I was back outside by 8:57. Whew…
I positioned myself in the middle of the pack. I decided NOT to race this for time – just to enjoy the run and the atmosphere and the streets I run in the summer. I actually found a woman to pace myself with so that really helped me to find a comfortable pace and not go out too fast. At the last second, I decided to start my watch at the starting line just to get my finish time.
Problem #3: When you are NOT racing for time, DON’T start your watch. We winded around the streets and at one point, got to an icy turn. The man warning us about the ice told us we were a half mile in. I looked down at my watch and saw a number I was NOT happy with. Grrr. I immediately decided to stop my watch and just go with what felt comfortable and I could hold a conversation with the people around me (which I did not do).
Besides dodging patches of ice around corners and on one of the paved trails we ran on, it was a great race. I felt wonderful and enjoyed just running for the sake of running and not actually racing the race. It was nice to be around people who weren’t constantly checking their watches or having their Garmin’s beep every 5 seconds. I will definitely be doing a lot more races without a watch and just running to enjoy the company of fellow runners, and of course for the tech shirts and post-race snacks!
I loved the medals! Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company has some of the BEST chocolate I have ever had, so I was ecstatic that they were the ones making the medals! But, of course…
Problem #4: I dropped my medal! And of course, it broke and I hadn’t gotten a picture of it yet. You can’t tell too much in the picture, but I’m still sad. Thank goodness it was in plastic, otherwise I would’ve really been ticked!
I wasn’t very hungry after the race, so I only settled for half a banana, but grabbed some Lindt truffles to go, but they did have plenty of sweet treats to choose from.
I don’t know my time at all – I really just don’t want to know because I know it’ll make me mad – but it would’ve been pretty cool to get one of these mugs.
Mugs for age group winners, a dozen rose for the overall female, a wine basket for the overall male, a wine bottle for anyone who beat Cupid (yes, really), and the winning couple (combined overall time) won a night at the Lodge at Grant’s Trail.
I take back what I said earlier… I’m racing this next year just for the prizes!