State #12 is DONE!! Missouri was crossed off the list this past Sunday as I completed the St. Louis Rock N Roll half marathon!!
Tomorrow’s post will be all about the incredible weekend I had before and after the race with some AMAZING running friends! Today’s post will be about the 13.1 miles that taught me a valuable lesson…one that I was NOT expecting.
Race day. I woke up Sunday morning at 5am, ate my usual breakfast: cereal brought from home – a mix of shredded wheat and crunchy granola – and milk from the hotel’s breakfast buffet that they opened at 5am for the runners.
I got into my running gear…which turned out to be a whole lot more clothing that I had planned on…as this was the temperature we were dealing with!! WHY?! I’m in the south, not at home in Canada!!!!
Sigh. Until I got there, St. Louis was balmy, but the minute I arrived (seriously), the temperature plummeted and stayed that way until I flew out yesterday.
Normally I’m a bit of a stress case on race morning. I need to be at the start line, in my corral, at least 45 minutes before the race, I don’t like talking to people, and I’m in a very serious mood. But like I said last week, I’m tired. I haven’t been training. I could probably count on two hands how many times I have run since Atlanta 8 weeks ago. So I was going into this race with the simple plan of having fun and running it easy.
I was going to start off with the 1:45 pace team, enjoy the sounds and scenes along the route and if I couldn’t keep up with the 1:45 team, I was ok to let them go on.
With this attitude, I was able to leave the hotel only 30 minutes before race time, walk to the start line with friends (see below) and be completely calm. Just really, really cold! lolI was slotted into Corral #1 and I could see the 1:40 pace team was around 10 feet behind me and knew that the 1:45 wasn’t far off. I decided to just stay where I was in the corral and let the pace team just catch up to me – they really weren’t that far behind.
In my calm and nerveless state, I was able to enjoy the beautiful sunrise…
While waiting for the gun to go off (I arrived in my corral with just less than 15 minutes until go time…I have NEVER been this “late” to a race before), I decided that when I crossed the start line I would hit “start” on my garmin and not look at it again until I crossed the finish line. This is not something I have ever done before. I was going to run PURELY based on how I was feeling and adjust my pace to never allow myself to feel discomfort. My goal was to truly enjoy the 13.1 miles.
The gun signaled us off at 7am.
The first few miles I thought nothing of…I felt that I was not allowing myself to get caught up with people running faster, I was adjusting my pace so that I always felt comfortable…and I was starting to get some feeling in in my hands and arms as the moving blood started to warm me up! lol
But by 5k, I was getting confused. Not only had the 1:45 pace team not caught up to me, but the 1:40 was nowhere to be seen. Still, I refused to look at my garmin. I was feeling good and would keep running as I was…in total comfort. And I refused to do the math as to what my pace was when I saw on the timing mat + clock at 5k that my current time was 22:57. I am TERRIBLE at math while running so not doing the math, was actually pretty easy! lol
By 10k, I had given up trying to figure out where the pace teams were and again, refused to do the math when I saw my time was 46:12. But I was starting to get a little suspicious. What the hell was happening?!
As I cruised along, I was able to appreciate things I normally wouldn’t…I found humor in the guy dressed up as KISS running near me who got the crowd going at every turn (normally I might find that an annoying distraction – dude in a costume running just as fast as me! lol) and I even found myself missing him when he slowed down and I lost him around mile 7. I was in awe of the historic buildings I was able to actually notice along the route, the gorgeous houses in the residential areas, and the blinding brilliant sun as we climbed hills looking east. And yeah, I didn’t mind the hills and this course wasn’t like a pancake.
I was completely enjoying my time out there. Body felt good, mind felt great. I kept thinking, I have done very little training, my body is going to give out soon…and I will be ok with it, I will just slow down when my body tells me to.
But it didn’t happen. And for the first time in my racing life, I rounded the final corner of the course and approached the finish line with absolutely no idea what my finishing time was going to be.
I sprinted the last 100m (I’ll admit, my competitive spirit reared its awesome head when I purposely sped up enough to pass a girl who looked like she could be in my age category) and crossed the finish line in 1:38:00. Yup, exactly that.
I WAS ECSTATIC!!
And was also…
I trained my A$$ off all last winter to break my 7 year old PR with a 1:36:14 and then I basically don’t train and I’m only 2 minutes slower. I know, 2 minutes is in some ways a lot…but the difference in the quality of training I have done between my spring race and this last one is far more than 2 minutes.
Lesson learned: My physical training is great…my mental training needs a whole lot of work. I need to figure out how to put that lesson to use…I need to figure out how to train like I did last winter and mentally race like I did this past weekend. And only I can do that. And I will.
After getting my medal, some Gatorade, chocolate milk and some food, I found a spot in the sunshine and waited for the others to appear…while waiting for my crew, I was able to meet two other Twitter friends – Ryan and Tim!
Here is a group shot of some of us after the race as we stood around, drank beer, and celebrated our individual successes. I’ll be honest, it was really awesome. In many ways, these people are strangers…but in other ways, these are my peeps! My running peeps.Can’t wait to tell you about the other adventures of St. Louis!!