Tuesday, March 14, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Parade 5 Miler

Despite the face that I have been running fairly consistently since joining the Galloway Method Training Group in December, the St. Patrick's Day Parade 5 Miler was my first race of 2017.  The last time I "officially" finished this race was in 2011.  In 2016, I attempted the race and then had to walk from mile two - the finish due to the pain from a recent back injury.  I finished un-timed because I had ripped off the timing chip from my bib because I knew my time would be horrible.  My finish times for races weren't any better the remainder of Spring 2016 either but since then, I have slowly been working my mileage back up to where it had been and I have been incorporating more cross training and stretching into my routine.

I felt prepared for race day as it approached and I kept an eye on the weather since it has been so inconsistent this winter in St. Louis.  Snow was in the forecast for race day this year, but the race and parade that followed would be held regardless.  Packet pick-up was held the week of the race at several local running stores, so I picked mine up on Monday at Big River Running - U City. It was quick and easy!

Pre-race communication was timely and detailed.  It included information about parking, road closures for the race and the parade, and information about packet pick-up.  I could have paid for premium parking at Ballpark Village, but I wanted to get in and out of downtown easily, so I just parked at Union Station on race day.  Union Station is by no means the closest parking lot, so my walk to the start line served as my warm up.

There were plenty of porta-potties at the start/finish line area and lots of excitement and music.  Not long after I arrived at the start line, the race started.  That was probably the closest I have ever cut it!  I ran the first mile before the mob of runners thinned out enough for me to run intervals without tripping anyone.  The remaining four miles were run using 30:30 intervals which seemed to work well for me.  My finish time this year was exactly one minute slower/mile than 2011, but I was still happy because I finished WITHOUT pain and WITHOUT feeling exhausted!  After the race, I quickly grabbed water and headed back to Union Station so that I could meet my parents for lunch.

What makes this race worthwhile:

  • Plenty of porta-potties at the start/finish and on the course
  • Well-placed water stops
  • Great course through downtown St. Louis
  • The parade starts at Noon and there are plenty of food vendors along the parade route
  • Easy packet pick-up options throughout the metro area
  • Ample parking on race day
  • Great pre-race communication
  • Nice t-shirts

I also ordered Race Dots a week or so before the race, and they arrived just in time for race day.  I have been coveting these for probably a year now, but I finally decided that I didn't want to mess with safety pins and the holes they leave behind any more!  Race Dots offers many different designs and colors, so be sure to check out their website for more information.  

Due to my upcoming wedding and honeymoon, I will be taking a few weeks off from blogging.  
See you again in April!

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