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Go! St. Louis Marathon - RunMarathon

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St. Louis, Missouri
United States
58F / 14C
Total Time = 4h 18m 15s
Overall Rank = 840/1810
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 34/90
Pre-race routine:

Routine "off" because we have been staying in a hotel. I didn't go to sleep until around 10:30 or 11. I woke up at 2:00 and 3:30, and never really fell back to sleep completely after that. I set the alarm for 4:30, but probably didn't get out of bed to do anything until at least 4:45. I stubbed my toe on a suitcase in the dark and thought I'd ruined my race day before I could even get dressed for it. I managed to dress, potty, put contacts in, throw hair up in a ponytail, and then shuffle downstairs for the early race participant-specific breakfast. This hotel (Drury Inn)was a big sponsor of the race, so they were very attentive to runners' needs - like having breakfast ready at 4:30 rather than the usual 6. I had raisin bran (with 2% milk, the only one available, yuck, I'm a skim milk girl), a 1/2 a bagel and coffee. I finished the cereal but only took maybe 2 bites of the bagel. I finished the coffee, of course.

I took my time getting ready, as the kids slowly awoke for the long day ahead (the little troopers). We all went down to breakfast at around 6, and I hung out with them (and a bunch of other runners) until 6:20ish. I did manage to have a 'decent' potty stop in the lobby - well, not IN the lobby, but in a bathroom off the lobby... ;)
Event warmup:

The weather was horribly overcast and misting, but not cold really. I finally decided to leave the family and dryness of the hotel and walk the 3 or 4 blocks to the race. I got there and the excitement finally began to set in. The large crowd and the announcer with the big, deep DJ-like voice making announcements woke me up. The Gateway Arch is at the very end of the street the race began on, but you could NOT see it at all for awhile because of the cloud cover and rain. Bummer.

I headed straight for a porta-potty line and stood in that line for nearly 25 minutes. The national anthem was sung by a Navy Seal. They were supposed to have some Navy Seals parachute in, but the weather was too crummy. Rob and the kids showed up with 10 minutes to start and hung out with me in the potty line. During this time, the wheelchair racers were sent off on their race (5 min ahead of time). I finally got business taken care of, said goodbye to the family and walked quickly in the wrong direction to my pace group. The potties were at the 8' pace group, I wanted 10'. I stopped at the back of the 9' group. Pretty much as soon as I got there, the announcer counted down the start, said go, and .....we kept standing there. :) It took probably 7 minutes to make it to the starting line. I was glad that the timing chip didn't start until you got to the line.
  • 4h 18m 15s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 52s  min/mile

The word of the day was "duck." I think I turned into a duck by the end of the race. It rained the entire time. Sometimes just misting, sometimes hard, steady RAIN. It was absolutely awesome! Seriously. If you're going to get wet, then GET WET!!! We were down right soggy. My fingers, and especially my feet were total prunes by the end of the race.

By the time the race began you could see the top half of the Arch peaking out from the clouds, which was cool. We made a right at the Arch and ran past Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. We also ran past Soulard farmer's market. Then we headed straight for the Busch brewery. Once we got to the brewery campus, we made another right and immediately were hit with the strong aroma of malt from the beer. It wasn't awful, but it was a bit overpowering. At least it came at the beginning and not the end of the race.

At mile 6 I saw the family again. The crowds all up and down the 1st 6 miles were great. I had intended on keeping a 10' pace for the first 1/2, at least, of the race, but these first 6 miles it was hard for me to go that slowly. But I tried to keep it at around a 9:50.

At around mile 9 a guy (named Doug) began talking to me then asked if he could run with me. I learned he is from Florida, just ran a marathon 3 weeks prior in WA state, has run 30 or 40 marathons in his life and is running in all 50 states this year and next. He was a pretty nice guy, and obviously a marathon addict. After a few minutes I felt I was going faster than I wanted to (around a 9:30 pace). I said something to him and told him what my race goal time was (under 4:30, closer to 4:15) He said we were running to finish at a pace of 4:45 (??) huh? I'd carefully planned out what I needed to do, and I thought I was sticking to my goal, plus going a little fast. To make a longer story shorter, in a roundabout, semi-unconscious way, I ditched him, but I think I was nice about it. I needed to go to the bathroom, stopped at mile 10, he came with me (come on....), all 3 potties were full so I decided I didn't want to wait and took off again. He stayed back. Thankfully. I know he was perfectly nice, but I needed my "A" mental game here and chatting with a chatter box the entire time was going to do me absolutely no good. Sorry Doug.

At around mile 9.5 the 1/2 marathoners finally took a right to finish and the full runners went straight. I was looking forward to the drop off a little because up to that point the course remained very full. I zigzagged through runners the entire 1st 10 miles! I wasn't expecting that, but it did keep my mind occupied some, which was good. But, even after the 1/2er's turned off, there were still a surprising number of fuller's continuing on. I was always in some sort of group, but I never once ran with the same people (except for Doug...) Whenever water stops came up people would drop off for that but I typically would keep going.

Speaking of water - my nutrition seemed to go really well. I took my usual gel and water at around mile 6, then every 3 1/2 to 4 miles after that, with regular sips of water in between. So I believe I took gels at roughly 6, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24 mile marks. Some dear woman was handing out pretzel sticks at mile 18 or so which I took one. That was good, but it dried the inside of my mouth out really good. Right before mile 18 I also took an endurolyte tablet because I was feeling like I should.

Physically and mentally, I felt AWESOME right through mile 13. To tell the truth, at mile 0.8 I looked at my Garmin and said, "Well only 25.4 to go...." But quickly drove that from my mind to remind myself I was there to have one of the coolest experiences of my life and to just relax and enjoy the next few hours. And, all be darned, it worked! I had a freaking GREAT time!!!

I did have occasional small "ugh" moments, but mostly I had a good time. Right after mile 13 I started having right leg ITB pain. 3+ months of training and not one ITB pain. But it subsided, only to reemerge again, and then go away again. I also had some left foot pain, which up to then had been nonexistent, but that came and went too. I think I'd trained myself to ignore my right foot pain so well that it really was a non-issue. I hardly listened to my music player at all. I started to in Forest Park but realized it was interfering with my enjoyment of the sights, smells and sounds of the park and of the city in general. I didn't want to miss anything!

The spectators were amazing. To have so many come out in all that rain was simply incredible. I spent as much time as I could thanking volunteers and spectators, giving little kids high 5's or little waves, and that really helped me keep a positive mental outlook on the entire experience.

My pacing was pretty good overall. My original game plan was to go at about a 10' pace up to mile 20 then just go what I could the last 10K figuring that if I'd survived relatively pain/injury free I could do the rest however I wanted. I ended up going faster most of the race than I'd expected, which worked out fine, thank goodness, but I wasn't sure for most of the race if I was screwing myself. Once or twice towards mile 20 I thought I might have screwed myself, but it turned out ok. When I have my Garmin data uploaded at home I can tell you my average pace every 3 miles, but I'm guessing there might be only one 3 mile segment that averages 10+ minutes. At 5 miles left I did plug myself in to my music for a little pick-me-up, which worked wonders. I think I was cruising along at 9' miles for awhile. then settled comfortably into a 9:25ish mile the rest of the way. Eventually the music player succumbed to the overload of water and died on me, but I never intended on finishing the race plugged in anyway.

The runners: Some were dressed in silly get-ups. Like underwear on the outside of their pants, bunny ears and tails, Superman. There were 349 teams, 1810 full finishers, and 8533 1/2 finishers. Quite a crowd.

Walking: I did walk some, but not until about mile 15. I usually did not walk water stops though. They were incredibly crowded and chaotic so I'd walk a little after them and take in my own water. I probably did walk 2 water stops overall. I walked once up to the family at around mile 20 and gave high 5's then went on my way again. The walking was probably a good idea if only to give my legs a different way to go every now and then.

With 4 miles to go the rain really started coming down. It was one of those moments where I just wanted to look up at the sky and laugh and say
"Yeah Mother Nature! Bring it ON!!!" :)

At around miles 20 and 21 I was giddy with happiness! Isn't that weird? It did go away for awhile, because the last 2 or 3 miles seemed soooo long, but I had probably 2 or 3 instances of sheer joy during the race. Once or twice I called Rob on my cell phone just to say hi! (It did freak him out a bit. The 1st time he answered he didn't say Hello, he said, What's wrong!?? :)
What would you do differently?:

Obviously train more, but I really don't think I could have done much differently. I think the training plan I followed worked for me. Everything went well. There was a lot of unknowns to me - what it would be like, was my nutrition plan going to work, and could I really pull off running the entire 26.2 miles!!

I think I need to try to figure out how to run it without water bottles and gels strapped to me. But I am pretty used to it. I did ask a station to refill 2 of my bottles for me at mile 18, which worked out fine. There were a few short instances where I had no water and a station was not in sight and I wished I could have drank something. I think water and gel work good for me, but maybe I should try Gatorade too. I didn't during the race at all, but I had a full cup of some afterwards and it tasted sooooooo good!!
Post race
Warm down:

Immediately got my finisher's medal, drank a full cup of water and a full cup of Gatorade, got in line for my finisher's photo, then got in the food line. Piled up as much as I could for me and the kids, then got in the beer line and managed to carry two cups for Rob (I don't like beer too much).

The grassy park the after race amenities were in was just a muddy, soggy, wormy mess. I started out tip-toeing around, but my legs were really not nimble enough for that, so I just gave in to the puddles. To get to my family quicker I decided to take a brilliant short cut - right through a puddle that went up to mid-calf....

After handing off some food and beer, I went to the massage tent and got a good stretching out and massage. Nice! Then slowly walked the 4 blocks back to the hotel. Of course, Tyler wanted to take me through the Union Station to show me something. I wasn't in much of a condition to do that, but I went ahead.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I don't think I could have done any better this time around, assuming I do this again. Experience and training will always be valuable.

Event comments:

I chose the right venue for my 1st marathon. The volunteers were incredibly nice and there were a lot of them. The course was well marked, everything was on time, everything was no hassle - from picking up the race packet to getting your medal, food, beer, massage, meeting your family afterward. They provided a spectator guide to help family find you on the course, and the participant guide was very informative. The course was challenging, but not crazy hard. I love hills, so I was in my element. And the course takes you by and through lots of great historical and beautiful places in St. Louis.

Last updated: 2009-02-03 12:00 AM
04:18:15 | 26.2 miles | 09m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 34/90
Overall: 840/1810
Performance: Good
3.14 mi: 9:54 pace 2.87 mi: 9:58 pace 3.02 mi: 9:40 pace 2.97 mi: 9:41 pace 3.00 mi: 9:59 pace 3.23 mi: 9:42 pace 3.14 mi: 10:08 pace 3.01 mi: 9:06 pace 2.18 mi: 9:17 pace The total here is actually 26.56 miles!
Course: Pretty much flat for the 1st half, with 3 or 4 largish hills the last half. A couple out and backs, but mostly different streets. Great route through historical places of St. Louis. Loved the course.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2009-04-23 10:28 PM

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Rochester, NY
Subject: Go! St. Louis Marathon

2009-04-24 5:09 AM
in reply to: #2107082

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Elmira, NY
Subject: RE: Go! St. Louis Marathon

Great RR!  You are simply awesome!  After the marathon what are you thinking about?   Your family.  Your not thinking about yourself, insted you get a couple of beers for Rob and some food for the kids.  You turely are one amazing person. 

2009-04-24 7:18 AM
in reply to: #2107082

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Canandaigua NY
Subject: RE: Go! St. Louis Marathon

You worked hard preparing for the race and it shows!  I am happy that your first marathon was a positive experience and you enjoyed the event and all that was going on around you!  Not to mention you put up a great finishing time for your first marathon!  Especially considering that most of the time training was done in upstate NY during the winter!  Not an easy task, and yet you rarely, if ever missed a scheduled training run!  Great job!

And to stick with the "duck" them; your race report was quacktastic!

2009-04-24 7:33 AM
in reply to: #2107082

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Go! St. Louis Marathon

Awesome job training for and sticking to the plan for your first full marathon!  Terrific finish!

2009-04-24 10:46 AM
in reply to: #2107082

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Rochester, NY
Subject: RE: Go! St. Louis Marathon

What a great write up of a life memory.  You'll never forget that day.  Awesome!

2009-04-27 2:10 PM
in reply to: #2107082

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Malvern, England
Subject: RE: Go! St. Louis Marathon
great race report. It never even crossed my mind that you could chat on a cell phone whilst running a marathon.

2009-04-27 8:03 PM
in reply to: #2107223

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Binghamton, NY
Subject: RE: Go! St. Louis Marathon

mtimofeeff - 2009-04-24 6:09 AM

Great RR!  You are simply awesome!  After the marathon what are you thinking about?   Your family.  Your not thinking about yourself, insted you get a couple of beers for Rob and some food for the kids.  You turely truely are one amazing person. 

There, fixed that for Mike. I second what Mike said! You ARE amazing!!!

Nice job! Congrats on a great race!

2009-05-02 10:16 PM
in reply to: #2107082

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Subject: RE: Go! St. Louis Marathon
I agree with ^Bob^ "amazing.  Great job Kam.  I remember when you scoffed at running 6 miles. 

"Tyler wanted to take me through the Union Station to show me something. I wasn't in much of a condition to do that, but I went ahead. "  and an awesome mom!
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