Race Recap: St. Louis Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon
In 2007, I ran my very first half marathon. I wanted to really give this distance running thing a shot, so a good friend and I agreed to train in our respective cities and meet in St. Louis for the race. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, trained horribly, and ran even worse. But somehow, I got hooked.
Nearly five years and seven half marathons later, I thought it might be nice to return to the ‘Lou. After all, it’s the city where I went to school and met my husband. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series was making its first stop to St. Louis, and I’ve been wanting to try out one of these bad boys. As an added bonus, I have built-in-babysitters (aka: in-laws) in town.
As for the Rock ‘n’ Roll aspect of the race, it was — as they all are — rather expensive. The swag wasn’t particularly impressive … just your standard white technical tee. Adding insult to injury was the fact that they ran out of women’s larges, so I received a men’s small. Annoying.
There were probably eight bands along the half marathon course, and they were all good. Or at least the 30 seconds I heard as I whizzed by sounded pretty good. But, I digress.
Race morning was beautiful — 50 degrees and sunny. We had no problems finding our way to our start corral in the sea of start corrals. It was a very well-organized race, and I really loved the staggered start. Each corral walked to the start line for an individual start, so it eliminated that nervous shuffle to the start that usually happens during races. Plus, it was a nice way to thin out the crowd a bit.
We started out running toward the arch, around Busch stadium, and through the cool buildings downtown. St. Louis is a baseball town regardless of the season (one of my favorite things about the city), and the Cardinals’ berth in this year’s World Series meant that Cardinal fever infected spectators, runners and signs all over the race course.
St. Louis gets a bad wrap for being one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S., and the race course countered the stat, showing the city beautifully. The route was scenic, colorful, clean, and took us through several neighborhoods with a lot of personality. It brought back a lot of good memories of the city for me.
The fall leaves were wonderful, and the crowds were pretty darn good (especially considering this was the first year for a race organized out of town). The course was much hillier than I expected. Living in Cincinnati, I forget that just because a city isn’t riddled with ginormo hills doesn’t mean it can’t have rolling hills. FOR MILES. Those sneaky subtle bastards will really wear on you (and your quads) after awhile.
Personally, the best part of the race was running with company. I’ve been a lonely runner since I’ve fought my way back to fitness post-pregnancy, and this wasn’t just any running partner. I ran with my dear friend, Tessa, who I’ve known since I was 8. That’s the great thing about life-long friends — you can meet up after long absences and pick up right where you left off. And that’s exactly what we did. We literally chatted for 13.1 miles.
So, I can’t say this was my fastest race (nor was it the slowest), but it was the most theraputic run I’ve had in, well, ever. We just ran comfortably for almost two-and-a-half hours. It was great.
That said, I came away from the race with something different than I expected. I actually trained faster than I ran the race itself, but speed and pushing the pace wasn’t the point of my race this weekend. It was about something more. — Aidz