As you know, Sunday I ran the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon with Team in Training. This is my recap of how the race went for me. Since I haven’t run the Go! in forever, and they’ve changed the course, I will probably do a review as well.
I spent a good portion of the weekend watching the weather, because it constantly bounced back and forth between “Hey, it’s going to pour buckets on you while running!” and “Nah, just playin’!”. I did know that it was going to be fairly cool so I opted to wear my CW-X full length tights and a lululemon Run Swiftly long-sleeve shirt under my TNT jersey. I asked for the tights for Christmas, because after doing a few halfs with compression sleeves/socks, I could tell a major difference in my soreness levels between my calves and the rest of my legs. I’m completely sold on compression wear after this half!
I got to the race with about an hour to spare, but sat in my car for 15-ish minutes before heading to the TNT tent to check in and hit up the rest rooms. I missed the group photo, but I’m not overly upset with that fact.
I’d been feeling pretty good with how things were going with my training and the paces I was managing for my long runs. I had 4 different goal levels (A, B, C, & D), which I did manage to get at least my D goal, which was to finish this race faster than my last half marathon. My A goal was to finish at 3 hours or under, my B goal was to hit 3:15 (which would have been a new PR), my C goal was to just hit a new PR (faster than 3:18), and then my D goal was to just improve my time.
I’d been working really hard during my runs to try to maintain a nice even pace, instead of starting out WAY too fast and then crashing, or constantly ping ponging back and forth with paces. I’m pretty happy to report that my strategy of taking 2 minute walk breaks at each mile worked well for me (until the end) and I did manage to hold a pretty decent pace.
So-back to the actual running part.
I was in the very last corral, which wasn’t a huge deal to me, and it took me about 10 minutes to cross the start line. I struggled a little bit with maintaining pace, because we were in the city and I think the tall buildings played with my Garmin a bit. I just kept telling myself to slow it down and take it easy, which worked, although I went a bit slow for my first mile (15:31), but picked it up on the second mile (13:55). We crossed the bridge to go into Illinois during the first 3.5 miles of the race, and the bridge coming out of Missouri wasn’t awful. But the incline for the bridge coming out of Illinois felt like it was never going to end. I chose to walk most of that, and I feel like that was a pretty smart move, and it didn’t affect my over-all time goal negatively, as I managed to maintain my pace and brought the third mile in at 14:13. So I was pretty close to my 5k PR for this race. I slowed down a bit for mile 4 (15:20), as it had a few steep uphills weaving through the landing and such to get back into the city part, but I was still feeling really good and had eaten my first gel. I hadn’t seen any of the TNT coaches, but I was trying to pull away from this girl who had her watch set for 30 second run/walk intervals. So not only was her watch chiming constantly, but she’d run as fast as she could, cut over directly in front of people, and then slow WAY down and walk. Which is really annoying. So I was pretty focused on getting the heck away from her, and didn’t encounter her again after mile 5 (14:25). I was on pace to hit my B goal (and technically C goal), but not going fast enough to hit my A, so at this time I decided to scrap it and focus on goal B. I kept pace for miles 6, 7, & 8 and saw the first TNT coach at mile 6.5 and she helped me pick it up a bit. (14:53, 14:36, & 14:37 respectively). I also saw the head coach around mile 7.5? I think. It was such a boost to see them out on the course!
Then came the slog into the brewery. Long, slow inclines are 10 times worse than any shorter, steeper hill. Because you don’t feel them at first. But then they bite you right in the ass! I was still feeling pretty good during mile 9 (15:56), but the climb into the brewery was taking it out of me pretty quickly, and I wasn’t feeling my second gel, although I tried to choke it down. It was still pretty overcast and cloudy, but not raining at this point, so I wasn’t feeling overly hot or anything like that. I was just starting to feel tired and really full feeling. I walked a little over half of mile 9, and probably a third of mile 10 (16:48), but managed to pick it back up a little bit a mile 11 (16:01). If I could have recovered, I probably could have made a new PR and would have been just over my B goal time. But miles 12 & 13 were just brutal for me. I walked a lot and was just feeling really tired and my left hip was starting to get quite cranky. And then the finish just felt like a total slog. I felt like had almost nothing left in the tank to give a good final push and there was a pretty stiff breeze blowing my face at this point. So I was just ready to be done.
I crossed this finish in 3:25:18, which wasn’t a new PR (about 7 minutes to slow), but I did shave 25 minutes off my previous half marathon time, so I am happy with that!
Overall I’m happy with how the race went. I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t rally and get back on pace for the end, but I did a much better job of pacing myself and pushing myself for the majority of the race. I do wish my training could have gone a little bit better, but that’s really my fault and no one can be blamed (except maybe working on group training days).
I’m more excited to do the Cowbell half in October and hopefully continue this trend in shaving time off my races! Perhaps my new PR will come in October 🙂