After my volunteer shift, I met my co-worker/training buddy so that we could pick up our packets and walk through the expo. We then decided to eat on The Hill, which is St. Louis' famous Italian area. She chose Favazza's, and the weather was perfect for sitting out on the patio.
|Favazza's on The Hill|
|The Fleet Feet Training group - Full and Half Marathoners of various paces|
|Our 10:1 pace group|
Our group started together running 10 minutes and walking one minute before repeating the process again. I was able to stay with my group until we were crossing back into Missouri. This is where two of us fell behind and I saw the group slowly disappear in the mass of runners. At first I wanted to fight to keep up, but I have run most of my races solo so I was OK with finishing on my own. The great thing about being part of a large training group was that I never felt alone because I kept seeing other Fleet Feet runners and we would yell words of encouragement to each other. While I was on my own, I wasn't sticking to the 10:1 pace. I just ran and walked when I felt like it. Then just past the halfway point, my pace coach appeared out of nowhere. She was at the base of a hill that I had every intention of walking up, but she wouldn't let me walk it. We started back on the 10:1 pace, but by that point I was pretty exhausted. Luckily, she is a talker so we kept talking (I was mostly listening) and that helped the miles pass. There were so many times that I wanted to walk, but she wouldn't let me. The hills seemed so steep, but she wouldn't let me walk and kept encouraging me. Her energy and determination to keep me moving was amazing.
Once we were finally making our way to the finish, we ran by the Fleet Feet tent and everyone screamed. This was a great spot for them because you see the finish line, loop around the block, and then head uphill to the finish and I really needed that last boost before the uphill to the finish.
My coach stayed with me all the way until the finish, and then she went back to find the other woman in our group who fell behind on that bridge. I don't think I have ever been that happy to be done with a race. I was just exhausted and so thirsty! Although my 2:42 time was nowhere near the time I had hoped for, I knew that I wouldn't have even gotten that time had my coach not been there. I thanked her for being there for me on race day, but I get a little emotional when I think about how great it was to have her there.
The Fleet Feet training experience was a great one, so I am already thinking about joining their fall training group, which starts in July. I had another half marathon lined up in May in Indianapolis but my parent's kitchen renovations had some unexpected delays and I am moving into St. Louis County next weekend, so this spring is just too hectic for all of us to go out of town. I was incredibly sore for several days after this race, so I think I may start all over with my training, literally ground zero with a couch to 5K program until the half marathon training program starts again. I also know that I am not going to get any faster until I can drop some of this extra weight, so I am going to spend more time at the gym and try to eat better too. So although my time wasn't what I had hoped and the race was literally painful, I learned a lot about myself and have many new goals going forward.
Have a great week!!!!