Spinx Runfest Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Greenville, SC
Saturday, October 29
Half Marathon #48
State #40
Weather - CHILLY at the start, wet ground from TONS of rain night before

South Carolina is my nemesis. I was supposed to have run there way back in February. I had plans on doing a double race with Disney Princess. Then the race director arbitrarily changed the date of the race to a week later. I found out only because I clicked on the link on my blog and it was a dead link. After googling, I found the new information, emailed the race director who told me “the race is still happening, it’s just a week later” and refused to refund me. I had to dispute with my credit card company to get my money back. So you can imagine that when we planned another double weekend, involving the Spinx Run Town half marathon in Greenville, SC, I was a bit apprehensive.

Once again, we had ELABORATE travel plans. The cheapest flight we could get sort of in the middle was into Nashville. Which meant we had to leave early because it was roughly a five hour drive to Greenville. The flight was early enough that L was not going to have time to come home first after work, so I drove myself to the airport and waited for her at the gate. The flight to Nashville was uneventful and I got ALL my homework done that I brought with me. Score. Hit the Sbux in the airport and marveled at the live band. Fancy! For the fist time in ages, we didn’t have to take a shuttle to get a rental car, we were able to just walk and get our car and go. Easy.

We drove for just a few minutes and had lunch at Hardee’s. Burger and fries. Tasty. L needed to rest, so I did the rest of the drive in. It rained the ENTIRE TIME. Like typhoon crazy rain. I really hate driving in the rain. It is hard to see, and it was making me really tired. After a few hours I had to pull over because I was concerned I was starting to fall asleep. So weird, I had gotten plenty of sleep the night before. I put some gas in the car and got a soda, and it seemed to do the trick. About an hour outside Greenville, we started looking for an Applebee’s to eat at. No worries, we found one pretty close by. As always, food was good.

We arrived at our hotel in Greenville around 9:00, and we were exhausted. We were both in bed by probably 9:45.

EARLY wake up… get ready, and head out. We were only about 5.5 miles from the start of the race, but due to the road closures we were having a hard time getting there. We finally found a car that seemed to know where they were going, and managed to get some free parking about a half mile from the start line. Even though we didn’t have our bibs yet ,we figured we wouldn’t have time to get back to the car, so we took everything with us. Glad I had my huge throwaway sweatshirt. It was cold!! But at least it wasn’t still raining, and at least the gale force winds had died down overnight.

Arrive at Fluor Field, and find packet pick up relatively easy. And then, like usual, there is nothing to do but wander around and go to the bathroom a billion times. Since we were at a baseball field, there was plenty of indoor bathrooms – complete with running water! Hurrah! We did bag drop only because we had just gotten our race shirts with the bibs, and then headed to the start line. Did I mention I was freezing?? I was dreading getting rid of my sweatshirt, and I had forgotten gloves. I swear it was an omen that I saw a pair of orange/white striped stretchy gloves lying neatly on the ground. L says I hit a new low because I picked them up and put them on. I don’t care.

Start line
Self portraits somehow keep getting worse. And worse.

Not sure if there was a “go” or a gun going off. People just started surging forward. We weren’t even entirely sure where the start line was because there was no timing mats. The course was described as having “rolling hills” with a “few steep inclines.” Well. At least I was sort of prepared for it. My legs were feeling pretty decent, and I didn’t have calf pain again, yay!! It was cold and I was SO happy that I had picked up those gloves. The first mile or two was in the city, but then we started running through a really nice area, Cleveland Park. With the changing leaves it was one of the more pretty sections of a race I have ever run, even WITH all the hills. The first aid station was about 3 miles out. And I needed it. Bad. From then they were spaced a bit better and I don’t think we ever went more than 2 miles without one.

I don’t remember too much of the course, but it was hilly, and there seemed to be more ups than downs. I started feeling like I would need to use the bathroom again, and luckily there were some potties right around the halfway point. We had to wait a few minutes, but totally worth it. We stayed in the park area until maybe mile 7.5, then we ran a bit in a residential neighborhood. About mile 10 was when we entered the city again, and FINALLY the sun came out and it got a bit warm. I think that was the point I finally tucked the gloves in my race belt.

Maybe around mile 3?

Mile 3?
Mile 4?
Mile 5?

Not sure why almost ALL my pictures were totally blurry. They usually come out way better. I had a lot more that were even worse than these. Bummer :(

We ran through the section where we had started, and I knew we had about a half mile to go. Like usual, I had NOTHING left at the end, and like usual, L pulled off a major sprint and beat me by almost 20 seconds. I don’t know how she does it.  Food at the end was pretty awesome . They had cups of grapes, pineapple, apples, and sandwiches. Picking up our bag was easy too, no wait!

Bib # 2257
Official Time - 2:16:07
Official Pace - 10:23
Overall Place - 858/1266
Garmin Time - 2:16:10
Garmin Distance - 13.04 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:26
Mile 1 - 9:47
Mile 2 - 9:42
Mile 3 - 9:34
Mile 4 - 10:10
Mile 5 - 10:52
Mile 6 - 10:12
Mile 7 - 12:28 (bathroom)
Mile 8 - 10:04
Mile 9 - 10:53
Mile 10 - 11:24
Mile 11 - 10:14
Mile 12 - 10:30
Mile 13 - 10:06
Mile 13.1 - 9:09

The medal was really nice! And FYI, the 5Kers got a medal just like ours only with a different colored ribbon. That’s pretty awesome too! I think this was a great race, and South Carolina redeemed itself to me. Not an easy course by any means, but the aid stations were well stocked, good volunteers, potties on the course, and of course the scenery on the course was amazing too. Plus, it’s always cool to finish on a field.

Can you see my awesome free gloves???

We headed back to the car. Getting back to the hotel was easy too. Shower, pack, then we are on our way. The drive to race #2? Even longer, 6 hours or so away.

First order of business – finding souvenirs. We are striking out again. Like usual. Heading back to the highway, we drive past a Dunkin Donuts, and in the  process of turning around, we see a small pizza place called “Frodo’s” that had a lunch buffet. You don’t have to tell me twice… Right when we get there a little league team arrives so it was LOUD and chaotic. But. We got a salad buffet, some pizza, and a drink for $8. Can’t beat that. Weird thing was the owner/manager asking if he could take our picture and put it on his Facebook page... Uh. OK. Headed back and got a coffee. I just love their pumpkin latte lite! So tasty!! I really REALLY wish they would come to Denver. Sorry, Sbux, their coffee tastes better and it isn’t as expensive…

We have to stop a total of TEN places before we finally find our souvenirs. At Wal-Mart of all places. Then we can FINALLY start the actually drive to Louisville, KY, where we would be racing the inaugural Big Hit half marathon.

Hank Mobley - Remember (2/7/60)

One of my all time favorite solos. Even though Hank plays every lick in the book on this one, the way he strings everything together is just too perfect.

NO Candy today - Who's with me?

Hi friends,

Okay, today is the big day... Halloween.  Happy Halloween to ya'll.  Today and building up to today, I have promised myself that I would NOT give in to Halloween Candy.  NOPE.

It wasn't that long ago that I was snitching more high calorie desserts here and there and was telling Brent how hard it is to NOT eat that stuff.  I told him I needed something to help me "take control".

He said something to me that made SO much sense.  He said "When you were on plan before you just did it!  You simply made that choice."  And he is right!  The truth is, when I really want to stick to my eating plan, then I DO!

So, it wasn't any certain thing, pill, therapy, etc. that I need to avoid my off plan foods, I simply need to get my head in gear and CHOOSE BEFOREHAND that it is NOT an option.  (See previous rationalizing post).  So far, no pieces of candy has passed my lips.

But I have enjoyed some awesome new knox blox flavors:  Lime/Banana/Coconut, and Raspberry/Mango!  I'm enjoying the food I do have, and then not focussing on food at all!

Below are some tips I liked from Dr. Anderson (co-founder of Take Shape For Life):

Well, there are a few helpful tips to remember when your sweet tooth is twitching…..
  1. DO NOT buy any Halloween candy! Or, buy candy that you do not like. It is better to give out small packets of pretzels or play-do or fruit roll ups.
  2. Keep in your mind that there will always be candy, but you are choosing to improve your health right now, and candy will not help you reach your goal!
  3. Make your own fudge cycles by freezing the chocolate shakes.
  4. Freeze crystal light for a fruity, candy-like desert.
  5. Sugar free jell-o is a great candy-like snack (KNOX BLOX!!)
  6. Do not stay at home on Halloween handing out your treats.  Instead, grab a bottle of water and take a nighttime walk around the neighborhood to take in all the ghoulish sights!
  7. Bring healthy snacks to work (see Healthy Snack list) to keep from being tempted by candy in the office.
  8. Cut up a Medifast bar and put it in a baggie.  Freeze it for a sweet treat later!
  9. A great idea to help keep the piles of candy from going into your children’s body…Have them pick out 5 pieces of candy out of their bag and “buy” the rest of the bag from them for 10 dollars and then take them to the toy store to get a prize! Remember to throw the bags of candy away or give to a shelter!!!!!!
  10. Stay in touch with your Health Coach, he or she can help you stay strong
Remember, a great analogy is the concert pianist… If you were a child, and you wanted to be a concert pianist (primary goal) you would need to practice every day (secondary goal), and make choices that may not be your favorite (not get to play with friends, travel, lessons, miss parties, miss play dates, etc…) But… you would perform these secondary goals if it helps you to reach your primary goal.

Well, we are doing the same thing… our primary goal is to lose weight and get healthy.  Some secondary goals are…exercise daily, drink water, stay away from extra carbohydrates and starches, do not drink alcohol, possibly decide not to go to some parties, and do not eat Halloween candy!  And we will make these secondary choices because it will help us to reach what is most important to us right now… to lose weight, feel great, and to look and be healthy!!
Halloween 2007 and then 2011

Horrid Happy Birthday Table

So as you all know, it was my dads birthday last weekend.
I made him a peach cobbler and a variety of other treats too.
As we are so close to Halloween, I decided to go with a horrid theme for his mini treat table.

We had Poisonous Peach cobbler, Murderous Meringues, sinister Stripes (everton mints), Malicious Marshmallows, Crazy Cupcakes, contagious cookies and Jealous Jellies.

The evening was laid back and relaxed. We had good food, delicious desserts and lots of laughs.
All in all it was a lovely bithday bash.

Hope you all have a lovely Halloween
Natty xxxx

Despicable What?!

As often happens in our house, a random question was dropped in my lap during the morning school rush.

"Mum, what does despicable mean?" asked Ducky.

I dislike these kinds of questions. I know what many words mean, but when I am concentrating on something else I can't always find other words to explain the meaning.

"Um .... well .... " I started as I was trying to remember which one of the girls it was who had asked for peanut butter and which had wanted honey and which had wanted both on their toast, while also jotting a few items on the grocery list, while also finding the Coles sports vouchers to give to Kitcat, while also checking the time, ".... errr .... it means contemptible."

"What does that mean?"

"Ummm ... " I said while trying to think of a simpler way to explain it at the same time as I was rinsing out coffee cups and calculating the odds of a revolt if I packed a red apple in Mousie's school lunch again when she had been asking for a green one all week, " .... it sort of means like 'vile' and 'disgusting' and 'horrible' all rolled in to one."

"I see," replied Ducky, in that voice which means they really don't see.

Then Kitcat piped up with, "I know - it means like oysters!"

"Oh! I see!" exclaimed Ducky. And it seemed like she really did understand the concept now.

Arresting the Decay of Language, Cont'd

All right, listen.

There are two ways to say the word "the". You can say "thUH" (short E: phonetically spelled thĕ [the underlining of th indicates it's the "voiced" th, as in "they" - as opposed to the "voiceless" th, as in "throw"]), or you can say "th-EE" (long E: phonetically spelled thē).

Generally speaking, when "the" precedes a word beginning with a consonant (or hard) sound, you would use the short "the", as in this phrase:

The dog ran past the car.

"Thĕ dog ran past thĕ car".

But if "the" precedes a word beginning with a vowel (or soft) sound, you would use the long "the", as in this phrase:

The owl hunted the otter. 

"Thē owl hunted thē otter."

What you'll find, in these troublous times, is that people use only one version of "the" - the one with the short vowel sound "thUH". But if you use a short "the" right before a word that begins with a vowel (osprey, end, abstract), the sounds run together and you end up with a phrase like "the udder" sounding more like "thuhuhdder". Well, obviously that doesn't work: there has to be some kind of delineation between the two vowel sounds.

Enter the glottal stop: Ɂ .

Do you know what a glottal stop is? It's a tiny halt you make in your throat, during speaking, to cut off the flow of air for a split second. It sounds weird, but try saying "thEE udder", and then try saying "thUH udder" and you'll see what I mean...you have to do a glottal stop whether you've heard of it or not. You'd write it "thĕ Ɂ ŭdder".

Well, glottal stops are all very well - nice and technical, and all, but why use them if you don't have to? Why not just use the correct pronunciation of "the"?

Good question.

Thē ĕnd.

Three Things Thursday

1. Random race pictures I found but never posted.

Horsetooth Half Marathon - Ft. Collins, CO - April
Cincinnati Half Marathon - October
2. Leave in the morning for another double weekend. Last races for a few weeks, kinda excited about the break. If you are going to be at the Spinx Half In SC or the Big Hit half in Louisville, KY - shoot me an email and maybe we can meet up (although, warning, I'm on a tight schedule). squirrelgirl44 (at) hotmail (dot) com

3. I just realized I have only 4 weeks of actual class left. A week off for Thanksgiving and a week of finals. How did that happen already??? Time flies.

Happy running!

Warne Marsh - Yardbird Suite (1/16/58)

Warne Marsh's birthday was yesterday (October 26, 1927). He would have been 84. This solo is from the classic trio recording with Paul Chambers and Paul Motian. Also, check out this sweet video.

Drumroll Please!

What some of you may (or may not) have been waiting for!! The big reveal is here! Ready to find out where and when the 50 state challenge will be completed? Well, here it is! My newest race schedule!


October 29 - Spinx Half Marathon - Greenville, SC (State #40) Registered
October 30 - Big Hit Half Marathon - Louisville, KY (State #41) Registered
November 19 - White River Half Marathon - Cotter, AR (State #42) Registered
November 20 - Route 66 Half Marathon - Tulsa, OK (State #43) Registered
December 5 - Las Cruces Half Marathon - Las Cruces, NM
December 31 - New Years Double Half Marathon - Allen, TX Registered
January 1 - New Years Double Marathon - Allen, TX Registered
January 15 - Rock 'n' Roll Arizona - Phoenix, AZ (half? full?)
January 29 - Tinker Bell Half Marathon - Anaheim, CA Registered
March 4 - Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans - New Orleans, LA (State #44) Registered
March 24/25 - Moab 100 Miler - Moab, UT (still giving this thought...)
April 15 - Platte River Half Marathon - Littleton, CO
April 20/21 - Ragnar SoCal - Huntington Beach to San Diego, CA Registered
April 28 - Rock 'n' Roll Country Music Half Marathon - Nashville, TN (State #45)
May 5 - One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon - Indianapolis, IN (State #46)
May 6 - Pittsburgh Half Marathon - Pittsburgh, PA (State #47)
May 13? - Superheros Half Marathon - Morristown, NJ (State #48)
May 27 - Edinburgh Marathon - Edinburgh, Scotland (full) Registered
June 2/9 - Incan Trail Marathon - Peru (27.5 mile trail marathon) Registered
June 23 - Rock 'n' Roll Seattle - Seattle, WA (full) Registered
June 24 - Vancouver Half Marathon - Vancouver, BC, Canada
July 29 - San Francisco Marathon - San Francisco, CA (full) Registered
August 3 - Legacy Midnight Run - Salt Lake City, UT (half)
August 11 - Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon - Idaho Springs, CO
August 19 - Pikes Peak Marathon - Pikes Peak, CO (full?)
August 20 - News & Sentinel Half Marathon - Parkersburg, WV (State #49)
September 9 - Maple Leaf Half Marathon - Manchester, VT (STATE #50!!!)
September 23 - Rock 'n' Roll Montreal - Montreal, Quebec, Canada (half)
September 29 - Wine & Dine Half Marathon - Lake Buena Vista, FL (half)
October 29 - Marine Corps Marathon - Arlington, VA (full)
November 6 - New York City Marathon - NYC, NY (full)
January - Goofy Challenge (half & full)
May/June - Comrades Marathon - South Africa (56 miles)
Australia - No specific race selected yet.
February/March - Antarctica Marathon - the waiting list puts it out this far. Plus it is INSANELY expensive. I'll have to save for this one. Probably will be my only out of state race that entire year.

**Keep in mind some of these races do not have a 2012 date officially set, so the date might be from 2011, and I'm just assuming it will be roughly the same time**

So. With all this in mind... seems like I am going to have an even BIGGER 2012 than I had originally planned. Will I see any of my bloggy buddies at any of these races? Well, besides RnR New Orleans and RnR Seattle. I am obviously pretty full already, but am ALWAYS open to suggestions. And my February is completely naked...

I have MONTHS to work on it, but I plan on an AWESOME giveaway when I complete my final state next fall.


Versatile Blog Award

Ver-sat-ile...that must be Italian.

So I finally won an award from a fellow blogger.  Katie @ Will Race For Carbs must have been drinking to many "liquid carbs" when she “highly recommended” my blog.  Even Bonnie didn't believe it (nor does she read this blog).  I had to convince her last night.  After some fast talking I convinced Bonnie how awesome my new award was.

Mr. HalfTRIing: It's a Major Award!
Bonnie: HalfTRIing, I wouldn't know that. It looks like a green, square photo.
Mr. HalfTRIing: What is a green, square photo, you nincompoop? It's a Major Award. I won it!
Bonnie: Damn, hell, you say won it?
Mr. HalfTRIing: Yeah, mind power, Bonnie; mind power.

I won the Ver-sat-ile Blogger Award.  That must be Italian.

This is like a chain letter (god help me).  Here are the rules:

1) I must thank the person who have me the award and link back to her post.
Thank you
Katie.  BTW I love her blog and she has the same weird sense of humor as me.  She also had a crush on Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles and looks like Velma from Scooby-Doo. 

2) Share 7 random facts about yourself (I believe that means me).

3) Award 15 other newly discovered blogs the same award.  Wow, that maybe hard since I do not read
that many.

Random Facts about me:

1) I HATED running till about 1.5 years ago.  Running to my car would put me out of breath.  I started running because of a health scare and got hooked.

2) In college I was a limnologist.  That's a fancy word for someone who studies lakes, rivers, stream and their wildlife.  I spent most of my college days on a lake, fishing in a john-boat fishing with college girls in bikinis.  Ya, it rocked!

3) I never used my degree (wow that’s surprising).  I now am a software developer (i.e. computer nerd).


Don't laugh. 
You once had a moment like this.

4) When I was younger I sported a the McGuyver haircut (see my multiple Throwback Thursday posts)

5) I still dream of being as cool as Morgan from CAUTION: RedHead Running.  She once mentioned me in a blog post and I “marked out" and was the "king of the world for a day".  See here.

6) My first marathon was not planned.  I was doing a 16 mile trail run when I got lost and accidently bumped into Bonnie on her first ultra (30 mile run).  I felt good when I completed the first 16 miles and decided I would run with her to help her out for the next 16 miles.  So my first marathon was also my first ulta.  I never plan on doing that again.  Ultra’s sucked.

My first crush was Winnie Cooper and Alyssa Milano.
I still have a crush on Alyssa Milano. Winnie grew up to be hot also.

7) I also had a crush on Winnie Cooper when I was young.

8) All the people who read my blog are really searching for Silly Girl Running.  I am just a accidently stopping point to get to her blog.  No one actually reads my crap.   She is secretly stealing all my followers. She is the #1 search term people used to get to my blog (no joke).  She was also the Magical Musical Thing (by Mattel) girl in the early 80's commercials.  For proof see here.

9) I did my first 70.3 this year and I will complete a total of for 70.3 by the end of 2011.

I was pretty cute.
 10) I was a 7 foot bunnie rabbit at Give Kids the World for 3 years.

I recommend all the blogs I follow on the right had side.  Special notes are:
Bake Bike Blog – She makes some great food and even took me up on my SPAM challenge and made EmSPAMadas.

Becoming an Ironman – I love his writing style and his weekly recaps (which I have not seen in a while).

Blood, Sweat and Cupcakes – I got to name her punk rock cupcake. His name is "Cool Whip."

CAUTION: Redhead Running: For just being a really cool person.  She was really nice to Bonnie when they met and she helped me out with the blog many times

Chad’s Triathlon Blog – His story it is inspiring.  He overcame a life threatening battle.  He is also a really nice guy.

Silly Girl Running – Why? Because you really only got here while searching google for her blog.  She is the #1 search term people used to get to my blog.  LOL

Will Race for Carbs – She has the same humor as me.

Gobble, Gobble!!

I forgot what it is like to be so busy! With my crazy traveling/racing, work, school, I have NO free time. Super quick blog today, just want to post about my FAVORITE headbands, from Razzy Roo. For limited time only, she is offering TURKEY TROT HEADBANDS. Here is a picture - aren't they adorable?? Use link and code at the top left corner of my blog and save 10% off your entire order!

Coming later this week?? Revealing the rest of my 50 state races! (And by the way, my overall calendar for 2012 is already SUPER.FULL.)

Post Race!

We felt our 2nd Annual Gunstock Trails half marathon and 5k went really well and were so happy with the cool morning and know that most of you enjoyed that little bit of rain right after the gun went off! We were so impressed by all of you! It amazes me how fast some of you can run on that terrain. It amazes me what good attitudes you bring and share with other runners around you. It amazes me to learn of your "why's" for running and some of the amazing things you've overcome. It really is a privilege to put on this race for you!

We are so excited about next year that we are offering a HUGE discount on registration if you sign up by this Halloween. That's Monday! Next year's race will take place on October 13, 2012. You can sign up now on active.com. http://www.active.com/running/laie-hi/gunstock-trails-half-marathon-and-5k-2012?int=29-6

You can view Race Results at http://www.timelinehawaii.com/2011_races.htm

We would love to hear feedback from you-please email gunstockhalfmarathon@gmail.com! We would also love for you to share your pics with us (crossfit peeps - I know you all took a few ;-). You can email them to us or share them on our facebook page - speaking of which, if you don't already like us - please do! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gunstock-Trails-Half-Marathon-and-5k-Laie-Hawaii/185622024842091

Mahalo - until next year!
the Gunstock Team

Difference, Kids, and Argentinean Beef Cook Up

When I was growing up, I was a frequent flyer at my local library.  Though I read wide and deep, there were a few books I remember checking out again and again, like a chain-reader: Louisa May Alcott, Girl of Old Boston ... Free Stuff for Kids ... and Many Friends Cooking.

Many Friends Cooking was published by UNICEF as a "hey, look how much fun other cultures can be" educational tool for kids, back when we thought intolerance could be overcome by international cuisine immersion.  Though we are now a little more willing to admit that food and "cultural dress-up day" isn't the answer to getting kids to appreciate and embrace diversity, I still like the book; it gets kids to think about sampling new, non-threatening but different foods and making that experience fun.

When my son was about two, I started to hunt for Many Friends Cooking, wanting to pass on to him my love of cooking and international foods and stories from around the globe.  I found a used copy online, along with its companion Many Hands Cooking, and every once in a while we pull them out and cook something together; most of the recipes are extremely kid-friendly, so much so that a child can take the lead in the kitchen.  I hope that I can teach both of my kids that difference isn't insurmountable; that we can learn each others' languages; that we can work alongside one another in the kitchen and in many places; that we can be friends.

This recipe isn't all that "different" from a traditional stew you'd find in the U.S., but its origin is Argentinean (hence the meat ... which is apparently what the cowboys eat). You can veganize it by omitting the meat and tossing in some beans after sauteeing the onions and pepper.  It's a perfect dish for the chilly nights that are starting to become more the norm now here.

Beef (or Bean!) Cook-Up

2 lbs. stew meat, 1" cubes (or equivalent beans of your choice)
1 large onion, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
6 potatoes, 1/2" cubes
3 ears corn, 1" rounds (1 c. canned)
3 T. vegetable oil
4 c. broth
1 bay leaf
1 T. oregano
salt and pepper to taste
4 peaches or apples, sliced

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and brown meat on all sides.  Remove it to a plate.

Add onions and green pepper to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Return beef to the pan and add the tomatoes, potatoes, and seasonings.  Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook 1 1/2 hours.

Add corn and fruit to the stew and cook 5 minutes longer.  Enjoy!

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