Sunday, October 10, 2021

MO' Cowbell Half Marathon - #55

Last Sunday I walked the MO' Cowbell Half Marathon with my running/walking buddy Stephanie.  It was technically her 2nd half marathon but 1st in-person half marathon, having completed the virtual Single Chuck Challenge with me in 2020.  We decided to walk this race since our training was not consistent this summer and I was bouncing back from an injury incurred during my last 5k, more on that another time.  I told her that this half marathon was very walker friendly and she was pleasantly surprised to see that I was right!  Despite walking the entire race, we were constantly passing other walkers and also being passed by faster walkers.  The original forecast was not looking good going into the weekend, but the weather ended up being very pleasant for our long walk and I've included a few photos from the course below.

This was the 10th year for the MO' Cowbell Marathon weekend and my 5th MO' Cowbell half marathon.  I also ran the 5k two years back when the 5k was also on Sunday, and then I volunteered instead of running for a couple years as well.  I've been involved in this race in some way since 2013 and I just love it!  This year, I volunteered at bib pick up at the expo on Friday and at the post-race food tent for the 5k on Saturday night and I included a few photos from those volunteer shifts below.

I just can't say enough good things about this race and if you haven't run with us yet, go ahead and flip to the first weekend in October of 2022 and plan to make the trip to St. Charles for one or two of the races.  I hope to see you there!

Monday, May 31, 2021

University City Memorial Day 5k

I finally felt comfortable enough to run an in-person 5k this morning, the annual University City Memorial Day 5k!  I last ran this race in 2019 when there was also a 10k option and my running buddy and I decided that running a 10k untrained was a good idea.  Oops!  So this year's 5k race was much more manageable and we felt great afterwards.  

We initially rushed to register for this race because there was a lower cap of around 300 runners but with the updates to the CDC recommendations for vaccinated individuals, the cap recently increased to 700 runners.  This year the start line and finish line were separate, porta-potties were spaced out, volunteers and police officers were all wearing masks, runners were assigned to corals based on their estimated pace, and four runners started at a time and were staggered a few seconds apart.  In the Covid-era I have been overly cautious and basically became a hermit, but this race setup felt safe to me.  

There were two packet pick-up options available: one the day prior (Sunday) and on race day.  Both packet pick-up options were outdoor this year as well.  Our start time was at 7:30 a.m., but we still arrived and parked around 6:30 a.m. since Coral 1 was supposed to start at 7:00 a.m.  The start ended up being delayed by 15 minutes due to a police situation on the course, but everyone went with the flow and our coral ended up starting just eight minutes late.  The delayed start gave us some time to take pictures of the area and explore a bit, which was nice.  We estimated that our overall pace would be in the 14:00 range, but we ended up with an overall pace of 12:57 so we were pretty excited.  Unfortunately all of the snacks were gone when we finished, so we just celebrated with breakfast at a nearby Starbucks instead.  

The University City Memorial Day 5k is a great race to kick off your summer with.  It's usually humid and warm on race day but in 2021, it was absolutely perfect with temperatures in the high 70's and low humidity.  I highly recommend this race and hopefully in 2022 they are able to get back to having various food and beverage vendors on-site after the race, ESPECIALLY Fitz's!

University City's beautiful city hall

Monday, February 22, 2021

LoveStruck Run Indy Virtual 5k

I'm going to be honest.  I signed up for this race because of the sweet SWAG!  In the virtual race era that has absolutely exploded due to Covid, I find that signing up for virtual races fuels my motivation to run consistently.  Pre-Covid, I would sign up for races based on the location more than anything.  Since I choose to only run virtual races until I am fully vaccinated, the location of the virtual races is always here in St. Louis County, although I may drive across the river to St. Charles County from time to time for a little variety.  There are no runcations right now, so the SWAG matters more now than ever before!  

This particular race was put on by a company called Racemaker Productions, based just outside of Indianapolis in Plainfield. In 2014 I ran their Litchfield Route 66 Half Marathon in Litchfield, Illinois and ABSOLUTELY loved it!  I have followed them on social media for years now so when they posted pictures of their SWAG options for the LoveStruck 5k, I immediately fell in love!  I'm guessing that was their intent....

They offered two colors of the hoodie, a sweet medal, and a customizable race bib that is color-coded to the relationship status that you selected. 

Their in-person race took place in downtown Indianapolis on February 13th.  Virtual runners complete the 5k anytime between February 13 and 28th.  My intent is always to run virtual races outdoors but the St. Louis area was hit with a snowstorm on February 14th and temperatures stayed WELL below freezing for several days afterwards, so I opted for completing the mileage on a treadmill on February 16th.  So although the scenery was limited to watching traffic attempting to drive in the slushy remains of the snowstorm, I can honestly say that I would not have been motivated to run a 5k that day had I not had a virtual race to complete.

Those who know me (or read my blog regularly) know that I consider it bad luck to wear the race shirt (or even wash it) before completing the distance.  So as soon as I completed the virtual 5k on February 16th, I laid out the SWAG to take a few pictures before washing the hoodie.  My cat had to get in on the photo shoot as you can see below.  I also opted for the blue hoodie because I rarely wear pink.

Both the hoodie and the medal have the Indianapolis skyline in the background.  The back of the medal has the name of the race engraved on it and it is reflective, hence my cat admiring her reflection. If you've never visited Indianapolis, you have to find a reason to check it out! You can read more about why I love visiting Indianapolis in my 2014 One America 500 Mini Marathon race recap or my 2014 Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon recap.  I can't wait to visit Indy again, but I will try to schedule my next visit around a race of course!

You still have time to complete the virtual 5k and you can find more information by clicking here. I also recommend checking out Racemaker Productions Facebook page and their event calendar for upcoming race.  I'm really excited to see what they will do next!