So, I'm not feeling as sore as I did after my Austin half, but with that being said, I'm still feeling the after-effects of running a very long distance yesterday. The scary part: I'm going to have to run about that long now at least once every 2 weeks until my marathon.
(the rest of this post is probably not for the faint of heart. endurance running is just plain disgusting when you get down to the nitty gritty.)
It rained down on us for the vast majority of the race. Amy and I woke up early, had our mini-breakie and headed to the start line, which was only a couple of blocks from our hotel. She had an emergency poncho and our hotel was kind enough to be handing out giant sized trash bags to the rest of us, which I sported until about 500 meters into the race. The first five miles took us through Soulard, which, to me, is like the French Quarter of St. Louis. We ran all the way to the Budweiser Brewery, saw a Clydesdale, and turned back toward downtown. It rained a lot for those first few miles. I was personally miserable because I had to go to the bathroom super bad and there were huge lines at the port-a-potties and no toliet paper when we finally did stop. Imagine if you will, pounding your body on the pavement and with every step praying that you can hold it in... and yeah, that was my first 11 miles.
Racing is unfortunate that you can prepare and work at it for months, but it's really all about what your body is telling you that day. Case in point, our friend Kristen, who was supposed to run the race with us but had a major cold all last week. No way she could run 13.1 in the rain! I didn't have a cold, but it just wasn't a good race day for me. I don't know if it was the need to use the facilities or what but I just plain didn't have the kind of day I wanted to. I am so blessed that I had my "Coach Amy" kicking my butt, all Jillian Michaels style, for the entire race or I might have walked the whole race and ended up with a 4 hour time.
Back to the race, we got back downtown, passed the finish area and ran several miles west before turning around and heading back to the finish line. It was hilly in a completely different way than Austin, which I remember to be shorter but more intense hills. In St. Louis, the hills weren't very steep but they stretched for blocks and blocks. I was so annoyed waiting for the point where we'd turn around and head for home. There were a couple of points where we weren't getting rain pounded on but by mile 9 it really started to come down on us. The last couple of miles weren't too bad because I found a potty with tp- HORRAY!! At that point, my legs felt like boulders because I'd stepped in so many puddles and been splashed with so much water that everything was completely soaked. I just kept ringing out my ponytail in the hopes that it would help me shed some of the excess water weight that I was carrying. Maybe the last couple of miles were made easier by the beer they gave out around mile 11... YES!
I ended up finishing right around my previous time of 2:34 although my chip time is going to show much higher since we stopped for bathroom breaks and attempted bathroom breaks. I'm not entirely pleased with that effort but considering it was a really tough race day for me, I feel like I learned a lot about what I need to do to go forward. The reality is that it could be raining, snowing or sleeting in Chicago in October so this race was really good preparation for the various elements that could strike on my marathon day. I am determined to only do this once in my life, so I want to make sure I can finish and feel satisfied.
I have a long way to go, but I am looking forward to getting some outdoor training in now that it is getting steadily warmer every day. (I think I heard the weatherman say something about 80 degrees later in the week? I hope he meant here!!) I'm also hoping to get some shorter races in during the summer to work on speeding up my times.
I didn't have my camera but Bazan took some very fun pictures so I will post about our weekend in STL with pictures soon. Now, I must stretch out these old legs...