So, two weeks ago I roadtripped it to the STL with some friends to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Half Marathon. It was pretty epic.
First, the road trip. Annie, Nadia, Bob and I met up at the State Fair park ‘n’ ride and before we left, Annie had to pee. So we drove down to the Pettit. We got refused. HOW RUDE. The guy wouldn’t let Annie use the ATM, either.
Our trip was off to a great start.
We finally got to a gas station which had A CALIFORNIA RAISIN!
We got back on the road and played “Who can check in to more funny places on foursquare while we drive?” We all won. Here are some of the beauties from the weekend:
Once we got to St. Louis, we headed to the race expo. I’ll tell you one thing, the Rock ‘n’ Roll series knows how to do an expo. I bought things I needed and some things I didn’t (per usual). After I said adieu to Annie, her sister Beth, Nadia and Bob, I headed west to visit one of my bestest friends, Holly. And her mom. And her THREE adorable dogs. We went out for dinner and had a great time that night, and the next morning watching a horror film and playing stupid games on our iPads, whilst cuddling with the dogs. It was a great visit.
Then I met up with Patrick and Lindsey (my friends living in DC) who are from STL and were home for the race. We sat and talked for HOURS. It was so great to catch up with them, talk about geeky stuff, journalism (and me getting out of the biz). I’m so glad I got to see them the day before the race, because I never found them on race day! (Which reminds me, I missed Sam from Sacramento too!!!) BOO.
Fast forward to an evening with three Munkwitzes. Thats Munkwitz overload. But awesome. I spent the night with Annie, Beth, Kim and Beth’s hubby Adam. Adam made us a great pasta dinner… of course we had to carb load the night before the race!
The next morning, we woke up and got ready for the race. I had gotten everything ready the night before, so there wasn’t much to worry about. I nibbled on my Clif Mojo bar, drank some water and anxiously waited to leave for the race. I wasn’t very talkative, but I wasn’t nervous, which was a new one for me. I had a feeling things would go well for me during the race. I was excited to do the race with all my friends from across the country, even if I didn’t see them, I knew they were there. 😉
We dropped off our bags at the gear check and headed to our corrals. I said goodbye to the Munkwitz girls and went to Corral 22 (second from the last, of course). It took about 30 minutes from when the race started to when I finally crossed the start line! That’s what happens when you have 21,000 runners!
It was such a beautiful morning, and pretty cool to run through downtown St. Louis. We passed Busch Stadium (where I stopped to get a picture of me flipping the Cards the Bird)…
… and a bunch of other cool buildings.
But now, on to the ACTUAL race recap.
The race started off really well for me. Except for stupid people who think that just because I’m fat, this was my first race. I can’t tell you how many times someone said, “Good for you! This your first?” I know they were being encouraging, but I took it as a dig. Yes, I’m fat. Yes, I’m slow. But I know what I’m doing.
In fact, about 10 minutes into the first mile, I realized I was going to have a split in the 12s. THE FUCKING 12s! I knew this would mean T-R-O-U-B-L-E for later in the race so I forced myself to slow down and walk a bit. After the first mile, I pretty much stuck to a run 5-6 minutes, walk 1 min interval ratio. Of course, I was flexible with the intervals due to the rolling hills and water stops… and maneuvering through groups of people. I was pretty proud of myself when, at about mile 5, I was encouraging a fellow racer (who WAS a race virgin)… telling him he had it and not to worry. He was asking about time limits and I told him that if he kept his pace going, he would be fine. Then he realized I was 5 corrals behind him and had caught up to him. I told him not to worry and that he was doing great… and I kept on trucking.
For the first time, I left the iPod and my Nathan handheld water bottle at home. I’ve recently become very annoyed by carrying water on long runs, and I knew there would be water every 1.5 miles, so I’d be fine. And as for the music, it was a Rock ‘n’ Roll race so there were bands along the course. I’ve also been avoiding the iPod during runs lately. I’ve been getting rid of everything except for my phone and shot blocks. And inhaler, of course.
Running without the iPod and water bottle was FREEING. It was also scary. I was alone with my thoughts. MY HEAD YOU GUYS. I had 3 hours of just me and my brain. I got a lot of thinking and soul searching done. It was a very, VERY personal experience for me. I don’t even know how to describe it. I dug deep into my soul, examined some priorities in life and even questioned if running was something I wanted to continue. At one point, I thought, “seriously, what the fuck am I doing?” Yes, I’d say I hit the wall alright. I worked through some things during this race. It was all very unexpected. Maybe that is why I haven’t written the race report for two weeks – I wanted to keep it all for me. And I’m not going into specifics for that very reason.
Woah. Back to the race.
I was rocking until the 8th mile (9th was even worse). It took 2 hours for the first 8 miles (incl. water stops and photo breaks), so I was PUMPED! I knew if I could keep things going, I was going to obliterate my PR.
And then, there were hills.
Well, they weren’t so much hills as they were inclines. Long, slow, drawn out inclines. My quads were on FIRE.
Things started hurting. I started getting snarky. Well, you know, more than usual. I took longer walk breaks (2-3 min). I wasn’t going to let a little pain keep me from beating my PR.
As I approached the finish line, (you could hear it before you saw it), I got excited. I was almost there. I turned the corner and sprinted the last quarter mile to the finish. I wanted to finish strong. And I did.