Monday, October 24, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll St. Louis Half Marathon (Race Recap)

St. Louis, MO
Sunday, October 23
Half Marathon #47
State #39
Weather - Coolish at start, Warm mid-race and SUNNY

Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis, yet another race I registered for in February. I had another night of somehow sleeping fabulously. Woke up at 5:45, got ready, and then headed out to meet up with the Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics for a group picture. We managed to get there in time and without getting lost. Amazing! Didn’t recognize any of them, although I think I am a (bad) Facebook friend with at least one of them. Realize I forgot my gum. Damn. But probably pretty low on the list of things I try to remember to take with me. Forgetting GU or my iPod would have been much more devastating.

Half Fanatics & Marathon Maniacs
Can you believe that sweatshirt on L was a THROW AWAY??
Decided to head over to the bathrooms before the start. The line took forever. Got to the potty about a minute or two before the start, and of course the one that I used was out of toilet paper. Figures. At least it had hand sanitizer. Once again, the corrals were congested and we were not able to enter.  

I didn’t especially want to go in the corral I was assigned to – Corral 4. When I registered way back in February, I said I could run in 1:55… Heh. I haven’t run anywhere CLOSE to that since January, when I did run a 1:58:30. Anyway.

By the time we sneaked in, it was already about corral 6 going by, which was an ok pace to be running. We somehow got sandwiched RIGHT BY the 2:00 hour pace group. I don’t like pace groups, nor the crowds that occur as a result. But I also didn’t wan to run faster/slower to get around them. Problem. Anyway, pace is pretty good, but the beginning of the course is tough. LOTS of turns, and it is tough to maneuver. There were turns where we practically had to walk. Immediately the temps started heating up. First to go were the gloves. Balled those suckers up and tossed off course. Might have hit someone. Very shortly after that, the arm sleeves went to - I tie them to my race belt. It was hot, sunny, I was already overheating.

One of the things I really enjoy about RnR races is that there are tons of water stations. I’m a bit bummed that most races seem to be cutting costs and no longer have electrolyte drinks at all the stations. First aid station, only water, feeling good.

Shortly after mile 2, we run into a friend, Lauren, that we met in China. She was running the half, and her boyfriend was running the full. In Corral 2. Yeah, he is pretty bad ass. I could already tell that she was running a pace faster than I felt comfortable running, so I wished her luck and pulled back a bit. (Again, what ARE the odds of finding someone I know on the course… especially with 22,000 runners??)

There's Lauren, in the blue by the center lines... so long!
Didn’t feel the calf tightening like before, so that was good. There were more hills/inclines than I was expecting, so I was instead having tight quads. Nothing unmanageable. The course around mile 3-4 was super hard to run, the road was REALLY torn up and I kept thinking I was going to twist an ankle. I hate having to stare at my feet.

Best aid station was right before mile 5, the local YMCA. They had little kids dressed up like the Village People and their own balloon archway. Rad! Just before mile 6, we spot the random Marathon Maniac that we saw in Bismarck AND on the marathon course in Denver. He was super chatty and pretty much told me every single race he is running between now and April (FYI, a TON). Felt like I slowed down a bit to talk to him (he was having some knee pain), but the split at the water station right afterwards showed we were running a decent pace.

Just past mile 7
Another course where I really don’t remember too much. The miles didn’t really “fly by,” but I was feeling ok, and was pretty distracted. At the GU aid station around mile 7.5 I grabbed a few extra. OK, I took 5 total. My fuel belt isn’t big enough to hold my phone AND that many, and since my skirt didn’t have pockets, I had to shove the excess in my bra. Don’t judge me. And as a result I couldn't get my phone out of my belt, so, no pictures after that aid station (I suck, sorry).

The course split around mile 8, and then I go blank again. Although I vaguely remember running by a park, changing leaves… not too much else. Until a huge hill at mile 8.5ish. Almost forced me to walk. It was huge (or it least it FELT huge). Then aid station at the bottom of the backside of the hill. Nice long decline with about a billion timing mats. WHY?? You might think I was exaggerating, but there were at least 6-8 of them within about a quarter mile. A funny thing off the course… a car trying to exit a driveway of some sort. And there were 2 or 3 cars behind him. And they were all just holding down their horns. I don’t understand this. Where do you think he is going to go? And just from the little time I spent in St. Louis, there was LITERALLY SIGNAGE EVERYWHERE. Your fault for not leaving home early enough.

About mile 10, I notice we are still keeping a pretty awesome pace. I figure “it’s only a 5k left” (Yeah, I just keep telling myself that, even though I know otherwise), and I’ll push as best as I can. Last aid station around mile 11.5, and very shortly after that, a beer table!! L and I each took a cup, thanks!

Pretty decent sized uphill the last ¾ of a mile or so of the course and like other RnR courses, the LONGEST CHUTE EVER. L did run ahead of me in the chute, I don’t blame her. By the end I could barely move. Crossed the line and my legs almost gave out on me. But!!! Another really good time!

Bib #4525
Official Time - 2:09:21
Official Pace - 9:53
5K Split - 30:26
10K Split - 1:01:34
10 Mile Split - 1:39:26
Overall Place - 5043/14511
Gender Place - 2377/9635
Division Place - 490/1732
Garmin Time -2:09:22
Garmin Distance - 13.17 miles
Garmi Pace - 9:49
Mile 1 - 9:42
Mile 2 - 10:04
Mile 3 - 9:34
Mile 4 - 10:11
Mile 5 - 9:55
Mile 6 - 9:18
Mile 7 - 9:48
Mile 8 - 10:21
Mile 9 - 9:41
Mile 10 - 10:15
Mile 11 - 9:46
Mile 12 - 9:57
Mile 13 - 9:07 (!!!)
Mile 13.1 - 9:33

Man, this is a BAD picture...

Of note. Didn’t have to use the bathroom during the race. Again. I think this is 4 in a row!

Got my medal, bottle of water, and a banana. Quick finisher picture, then we headed back to the hotel to shower and check out. We figured we had about an hour to see the RnR band, Sugar Ray, so we walked BACK to the race (about a mile away). We stopped at a booth, where I got this - check out their website:

Isn’t it awesome?? Of course it will stay in the packaging until I have actually DONE all 50… Then we watched the band, Sugar Ray. I gotta say, he still looks pretty good, and they sounded good live. 

Sugar Ray!!
We only had a chance to stay for about 5 songs, then we headed back to the garage to get the car. 

Fountain with red water for the Cardinals
Occupy St. Louis

Not sure what this is...
Best view of the city - The Gateway Arch and changing leaves

Get to the parking garage and notice that there are about a billion people in line for the exit. I jokingly say it looks like it’s going to take a half hour to get out. This was no joke. With about 20-25 cars in front of us, I am NOT joking when I say that it took 45 minutes to get out. FORTY.FIVE.MINUTES. People were getting out of their cars, and after 40 minutes, I’ll admit I got out too (we had moved in 40 minutes about 8 car lengths). We had a 2:25 flight, it was already almost 1:00, and we were still 20 minutes from the place we had to drop off the car, take a shuttle, get to the airport, check in, go through security, use the bathroom, lunch.

I’ll admit. I snapped. The guy claims the gate is broken. I want to know a). why they have a system that is so old/stupid that there is no way to manually override it so PEOPLE CAN GET OUT, and b). who was going to pay for my flight change if I missed it.  Literally the line started to move right then. I’d like to pretend it was because of me.

FINALLY get out at 12:53… Cutting it close. The guy at the gate had the nerve to small talk with us, wanting to know how our race went. Really? Get us the heck out of here. At least the $18 parking fee was waived…

We still have to stop and put gas in the car, but luckily there is a gas station a half block away from the rental car return. You can imagine that the man we returned the car to was the SLOWEST MOVING HUMAN ON EARTH. Finally board the shuttle at 1:16… an hour until the flight leaves.

Go inside and luckily no wait at the kiosk, get the boarding pass and then book it through the airport to get to security. Which is… you guessed it, moving SUPER SLOW. Takes another 15-20 to get through security. Seriously, who ARE these people who don’t know to take off their belts and take the change out of their pockets? Security has had the same rules for like 10 years now.

Anyway. Finally get to the gate, use the bathroom. 30 minutes or so until departure. Phew. Only place to eat is Quiznos. There are about 6 people in front of me. Did you know that Quizonos employ the OTHER SLOWEST HUMANS ON EARTH??? 21 minutes for 2 subs. Seriously. Only 6 people in front. Only people to board behind us were the other idiots who thought Quiznos would be a fast lunch. Flight is fine, arrive without freaking out.

Sigh. What a stressful trip.

Overall about the race/St. Louis

  • Driving in St. Louis is SUPER stressful. Allow LOTS of extra time. With that said. Running St. Louis was actually pretty fabulous...
  • The course is pretty good, but obviously very congested, especially in the first 8 miles before the marathoners split
  • LOTS of great crowd support
  • Plenty of aid stations
  • Actually got to see the concert - so that was nice


  1. We called st Louis the horn happy city- intense! Huge congrats on going sub 2:10!

  2. Oh my gosh - I am so super tense now just reading about your pain in the ass time of getting out of the there and to the airport. I'm so glad you made your flight. I missed a flight to Vegas once because the shuttle driver stopped at EVERY stop and stayed there forever .... we were standing room only. Nobody was getting off and nobody was going to be able to get on. Ugh, pissed me off so much. I did make it to Vegas at least, just a bit later.

    Congrats on another FAST potty-free race!

  3. i know they probably aren’t as entertaining to you, but your traveling stories are fabulous :) i hope when you finish all 50 states you make a book on your race recap pages.

  4. Yummy, yummy, Sugar Ray.

    I love you, B. Mainly because...
    1. You are a bad FB friend
    2. You throw your gloves off the course at people.
    3. You steal Gu at the Gu station (I so want to do that, but my bra is too full already, haha).

    Great recap, as usual.

  5. Sounds like I would lose my mind if I lived in STL. I can't handle slow-moving people. Must be the East Coaster in me.

    Score on the GUs! I haven't been at a race that had GU on the course in a long time. Maybe Carlsbad.

  6. Glad you had a great race & enjoyed the concert. I have to say, I'm looking forward to Cheap Trick post-RNR Vegas. Total cheese!

  7. Okay, I am stressed out now from reading about your airport adventures. I am glad you didn't miss your flight!

    Congrats on your races!

  8. My pet peeve! is people who wear belts and shoelaces and jewelry of any kind who are in front of me at airport security. There should be a separate line for these dumba$$es.

    Awesome red fountain! Go CARDS!!

  9. Nice work on the race, great finish like time - yay!!

    I am guessing a homeless guy is going to be in heaven with the teddy bear sweatshirt. Very jealous!! :)

  10. Great race recap - Love the parking garage part. That would be me - trying to do everything then having glitches along the way - running towards the gate just as it closes.

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