I did it!!!
Nick and I arrived in STL late yesterday evening to his parent’s house. We settled in, ate my last carb-loaded pasta dinner, and headed to bed by 9:30 to get a good night’s rest before my race. My stuffy nose had other plans for me though.
I slept through half the night fine. But I woke up with a plugged nose around 3 AM and could barely get myself back to sleep. I propped myself upright with as many pillows as possible and prayed for another hour or 2 of sleep. I dozed in and out until my alarm clock (aka Mac) woke me up at 5:50 AM. He needed a potty break and I needed some coffee to work it’s magic. So we got up and started my prerun ritual: half a mug of coffee and a piece of toast with jelly. This morning I also had some Powerbar fuel for extra sugar and carbs before we left the house. My head cold was in the back of my mind, but I just packed some tissues and tried to ignore it. 🙂
We arrived at Forest Park around 7:40 and headed into the Visitors Center to get my bib and wait. There were tons of people inside waiting until the last minute to head out into the cold.
I paced myself through the first 1.5 miles to around a 8:55/mile pace. I was feeling great and decided to push it up to a 8:45/mile pace but no faster. The wind was picking up a bit and I had no time to beat. I settled into a good groove with a middle-aged man in a red jacket (strangers can make great pace buddies!) and completed the first loop of the course like a breeze.
The hills were intense, but I was prepared. I was sure to take some sugar and water before the hilly section. I also tried a new technique today… When I would approach a daunting hill, I would look towards the top and tell myself “I love hills. This flat pavement running is killing me. Push harder.” Then as I headed up, I kept my head down and looked only at the road right in front of me. Looking at the rising hill ahead of me never works so well for me. So I thought I would keep my head down and just pretend the crazy hill wasn’t really there. And you know what? It worked great. Until mile 8, I never even felt pain from the hills today. 🙂
When I started loop 2 on the course, I could see dark storm clouds coming our direction and the winds were beginning to really gust on the open stretches. It was not easy running up those hills the 2nd time with 35 mph wind gusts coming at me. But I was thankful for the runners around me. We were all struggling but knew we had to keep pushing. I lost many people on the hills today late in the race. Runners that had been nearby the whole time began to slow and fall back. This motivated me even more to keep pushing. I didn’t want to be one of those people who let the weather get the best of them!
I made it through the hills the second time and knew I was in the home stretch. My phone said I was at 11.9 miles. Around 1:42 and I became extra hopeful that I would make it under the 2 hour mark. The wind was still getting worse and I started feeling some sprinkles. Push harder. It’s going to start pouring on you. I picked up my pace as much as possible and pushed past the stragglers in front of me to beat them to the finish line.
When the finish line was right in site, I pushed faster than I thought possible.
I was so happy to see Nick that I kept running past the finish line and right over to him. Sweaty hug time! But the rain was picking up and I had to potty (too much Gatorade!!), so we headed inside ASAP.
Two minutes after we walked inside, it started pouring SNOW outside! I was beyond thankful that I had beat the sleet and snow. It was getting nasty fast out there. So I got a Frostbite Series shirt, took some photos and we headed out.
Tonight I’m just relaxing with my compression socks and sweat pants on. I’m in total post-race recovery mode.
Well have a great night everyone!! We will be heading home tomorrow afternoon, so I’ll see you once we are back in Springfield. Nighty night!