Rock N’ Roll St. Louis 10/23/11

29 Oct

I made it through my crazy last minute dream of running a marathon on back to back weekends (with an excessively long taper)  to qualify for marathon maniacs. I’m not only half fanatic #1065, but now marathon maniac #4384! I love running into fellow maniacs and fanatics on race courses and chatting about running. Fanatics and maniacs are so supportive, and just an awesome group of runners that I’m proud to be a part of. Enough about me though, I’m excited to share my first RNR race experience!

I was bad about taking pictures at the expo. It was really awesome walking into the expo with rock music blasting, and getting to walk down the red carpet. I got to the expo right after opening on Saturday, so the crowds hadn’t arrived yet. By the time I left the expo was slammed, definitely arrive early if you plan to enjoy looking around at all the booths.

My first stop at the expo was the running skirts booth to see Heather!

I was thinking about getting the cute paisley skirt Heather is wearing, but she also talked me into trying on the heartstooth. I took both to the restroom to try on, and as soon as I walked out of the restroom to look in the mirror at the heartstooth, all the women in the restroom were oooing and ahhing over it. I ended up with the heartstooth, but loved the paisley too. Maybe I’ll get the paisley at Disney in January…

I walked around the expo a little more. Registered for RNR USA in March, and RNR St. Louis again next year. It was only $50 for each, plus I got a free shirt for each event! I also got my St. Louis rockstar picture taken.

It was starting to get crowded by 10. I had to go back to the official race merchandise area to get a shirt for my nephew, and felt like a fish swimming up streaming trying to get there. I left the expo a little after 10, and walked back to our hotel. I got a great deal on hotwire for the Millenium Hotel downtown, so I was able to walk to everything. It was nice not having to wake up my hubby to drive me to the expo or the race. He’s not a morning person like I am.

We ate an early lunch at our hotel, then headed to the St. Louis zoo for a few hours. Parking was $12 at the zoo. We ended up parking far away and walked so we didn’t have to pay. I was worried that all the walking would be hard on my already hurting knee, and to make things even more concerning, I totally brought the wrong shoes to be walking around the day before a marathon in… After seeing all we wanted to at the zoo, we went back to the hotel to rest for a couple hours before dinner. We ate at our hotel again for dinner. We ate at the top of the riverfront restaurant, which is on the very top floor of the Millenium Hotel, and has a great view. The restaurant rotates, so you get to see some amazing views throughout dinner.

View when we sat down.

There wasn’t anything on the menu that really seemed right to me, so I had a special pasta dish made for me. It was so good!

After dinner I headed back to our room while my Hubby went to watch the World Series. I went to be early, I had my alarm set for 5:30 the next morning!

Sunday morning my alarm went off, I got ready and headed to the start area. It was crazy how busy the streets were so early in  the morning. I met up with other fanatics and maniacs for a picture, then went searching for a short potty line.

The lines for the potties at the start were crazy, but closer to the back corrals the lines were quick. I texted Heather and told her about the shorter lines I found.

The start was quickly approaching, so I went off in search of my corral. There was definitely no one checking to make sure you were in the right corral here. I walked right in, and no one was even standing at the entrance. Maybe in the earlier corrals they monitor who is going in better. I was able to weave my way to the front of the corral and waited for the start.

After the first runners started, it took us about 15 minutes to get to the start line. Since I was in the front of the corral I was right up on the timing mats for the start. I had to try really hard to not start too fast.

We ran by Busch Stadium during the first mile. We were 5 days early for the celebration apparently.

The course was really scenic, and the weather was perfect. I ran the first couple miles, then started doing my Galloway intervals. I knew that I would need to back way off if I wanted to finish, so I took it really easy and just enjoyed the experience.

Around mile 4, my knee started to hurt. I stopped at a medical tent to see if they had any kind of muscle rub, but all the had was Tylenol 😦 I declined and kept running. The pain wasn’t too bad, so I tried to ignore it.

I took pictures to pass the time. I thought these mimes were hilarious!

Running through a balloon arch…

We split off from the 1/2 marathoners around mile 8. It was really lonely on the course fast.

My knee was starting to really bother me, and I seriously thought about taking the left turn with the 1/2 marathoners. I talked myself out of doing it because I wouldn’t qualify for marathon maniacs if I quit, plus I’ve never quit during a race, and I knew I would be so disappointed with myself.

The rest of the race was kind of a blur. I was trying to hard to keep going. There were so many supportive people along the course, it was amazing how many people came out to cheer us on.

The hills started to get bigger, and started coming more often in the second part of the course. I keep running intervals, but started to strategically plan my walk breaks for when I got to a hill.

The worst hill was right after mile 19. It was literally a mile and a half long!

A lot of people who live in that area were out supporting us, and telling us we were almost to the top (even if we weren’t.)

Made it to 35k, only about 7k more to go!

Another hill within 2 miles of the finish, ugh!

I could definitely tell that running previous marathons was helping my endurance. I started passing a lot of people who had simply run out of gas. I might have been hurting, but it actually hurt more to walk than it did to slowly jog.

Finally the end was getting near, and the spectators were saying it was just around the corner!

26 miles and still smiling!

I thought I dug deep and was running at a decent pace near the finish, but watching my finish line video, I look pretty pokey. I thought it was funny that I thought I was running so fast. I guess compared to my slow jog during the final miles of the marathon, I was running fast.

Finished with marathon number 3!

I hobbled to the medical tent after finishing to get ice for my knee. Of course once I started walking. the bag slipped a little and I ended up poking a hole in the bag with my finger when I tried to pull it back up.

Overall, I thought this was a great race. I’m glad that I signed up to run again next year. I’ll be anxious to see how the half course is compared to the full. I thought the full course was tough, but not as bad at the course I ran during my first marathon. I finished in 5:34:44, which is a couple minutes faster than my first, but my Garmin said I actually ran 26.7 miles, so my pace was even a bit faster than my first full.

My only complaints with this race are about the lack of food on the course. There were only 2 official food stops on the full course, luckily there were lots of spectators handing out packages of things along the course. Also, the lack of bio freeze or some kind of muscle rub at the aid stations was a bummer. I don’t know of any other races with medical stops that don’t have some kind of muscle rub available. In the grand scheme of things though, these are minor complaints. I can’t wait to run RNR USA in March now. Competitor does a great job organizing races!

Now that my fall racing is dying down, I’m finally starting to look towards Disney. 68 days until marathon weekend running starts! I have one more local half in a few weeks, but after that I’m done with racing until Disney! I can’t wait to run at my happy place again!

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One Response to “Rock N’ Roll St. Louis 10/23/11”

  1. Heather November 1, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    yay it was so great to get to see you at the race and expo and you did a great job! this flat land running irl was not a fan of the hills!

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