State 18:Go! St. Louis Half Marathon

The road to all the states continues and for number 18 I took some friends with me.  I’m still working on getting all the states that my new home touches: MO, KS and NM remained.   St. Louis quickly won out among the group vote and so we began to plan for the April 9 race.

I had the privilege of coaching a group of friends through the first of 2016 leading up to the run – 2 who had one half under their belts and 2 who had none.  We had a great spring season and I was so confident in each of the runners.

Nicole and I drove up a day early to have some time in St. Louis to hang out.  We explored the city, picked up our packets and of course took some time for yoga under the arch!

Due to some shitty life circumstances, our 3-D friend Alexis couldn’t make the trip.  We took a flat version along all our adventures with us.  She went to the expo, the arch and enjoyed coffee at all of our stops around town.  I hate it when one of my kiddos trains for a race and for one reason or another can’t make it.  But that’s how racing goes, and life.

Katie and Justin joined us later in the day for some fun around town.  We walked around way too much for the day before a race but it was a beautiful spring day and we just couldn’t help ourselves.

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Dinner was of course, pizza.  We ate at a place recommended by local friends called Pizzeola.  They’re a wood fired thin crust place in a neighborhood east of the city.  Pretty tasty but be warned, there are no meat options!  It was fun watching the boys try vegan sausage and pepperoni though.

I was lucky enough to find an amazing downtown Air BnB to stay in for the weekend.  We were just a few blocks from the start line so we all met there on Sunday morning for bananas, low-quality coffee and a bathroom.  The plan was for me to pace Katie and Justin to keep them from that early stage energy that can sweep runners away and Nicole would enjoy her first half at her own pace.  Flat Alexis would tag along in Justin’s pocket!

We were worried about rain but otherwise it was a perfect morning weather wise.  The first 5k took us across into Illinois.  That bridge really sucked because there were construction cones adding to the already crowded and narrow exit ramps.  Katie had to stop to pull glass out of her shoe and we weaved in and out of the cones, dodging runners and watching our step the whole way.  The streets widened for a bit once we were across the river but then it seemed to get pretty crowded again.  It was great to not feel alone but a little too tight for my preference.

Even with my pace assistance, we went out a little too fast.  But managed to fall into a right-on-target pace for the rest of the race.  Justin pulled ahead and I stayed with Katie, enjoying a Sunday morning long run.  All was going great until we came up to the Brewery. We were chugging along, Katie had Taylor Swift on and I was listening to Sam Hunt.  Then out of nowhere this horrible smell of literal shit hung in the air.  We both looked at each other in horror “WHAT IS THAT?”  We had two ideas: the clydesdale horses or someone had pooped their pants.  Based on several pieces of evidence we found 1. Neither Justin (in front of us) nor Nicole (behind us) smelled it and 2. The horses don’t live at the brewery, we came to our own conclusions.  I’ll let you be your own detective.

Katie and I turned it on at the end to push for that sub-2.  We knew Justin made it since we never saw him again and we were cutting it close.  It was one of those finishes where you could hear the screaming and announcing but the line seemed to never appear.  We turned corner after corner until finally it was in sight.  Katie nailed a PR and they both made it under 2!  We hung around for a bit in the finish area and then I went in search of Nicole.

By this point the temperature was dropping and I was a little chilly even in my space blanket.  I ran upstream of the runners cheering them on and scanning the crowd for our smallest runner.  I spotted her and ran with her as long as I could hang.  She kept a steady pace to the end and finished her first half!

After cleaning up and packing up, we went out to a little coffeeshop and grabbed a brunch. Nicole and I hit the road again while Katie and Justin stayed behind.  This was not in the top half of my favorite races but I loved St. Louis and definitely want to go back when there is more time to enjoy the park, the City Museum, the baseball field and nightlife.

NEXT UP FOR THE STUDIONE RUNNERS!:  We will have our fall training groups starting in August.  We will target locally the Tulsa Run and Route 66.  I am taking into consideration our spring race options for next year but KS is in a strong first place!  Leave a comment if you’re interested in coaching – either electronically or locally in Tulsa :D.

 

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