Sunday, November 28, 2021

Girl Scouts Go: Run for the Cookies 5K Race Recap

The Saturday after Thanksgiving I ran the Go Scouts Go: Run for Cookies 5k in Maryland Heights, MO.  Just like the Olivette Turkey Trot, I have known about this race for years but just ran it for the first time this year.  Also like the Olivette Turkey Trot, this race course was VERY close to where I live.  

What I really loved about this race was the option to save money by not getting a race t-shirt.  If I remember correctly, it saved me $5 (which I just used towards my pre-race Starbucks).  I opted to pick up my packet on Saturday at the Des Peres Fleet Feet and it only took a matter of minutes to get my bib.  

This race course is close to my home but it is also right off of I-270 and Page Avenue, so it is super convenient for locals.  The race started at 8 a.m. so I was parked by about 7:15 a.m.  It was a bit chilly again that morning, so I just waited in my car until 7:50 and I walked right up to the start line.  This race had corrals that were released roughly three minutes apart.  Since I couldn't remember which corral I signed up for,  I just started in corral two.  The race course took us through the industrial park area of Westport Plaza, which was surprisingly hillier than I expected or was prepared for.  

Right off the bat I felt slower than I did at the Turkey Trot.  I just felt sluggish, so I started my intervals a lot earlier at this race.  Once the flow of runners started to thin out, I kept pace with a couple pre-teen Girl Scouts.  They would run while I was walking and I would run while they were walking.  Eventually there was one Girl Scout running alone after her friend ran ahead, and we started talking.  We talked about the hot chocolate at the finish and she reminded me that there would also be Girl Scout cookies.  We talked about the new Girl Scout cookie, which I had not tried yet.  Talking to someone else, especially about Girl Scout cookies, was a welcome distraction from feeling sluggish and it honestly helped me finish the 5k faster than I would have otherwise.  Despite feeling much, much slower than I did at the Turkey Trot I ended up only being 34 seconds slower, so I was very happy with my time.  Once you crossed the finish line you were greeted by volunteers, a medal, and water.  Then back in the parking lot were the much anticipated Girl Scout cookies and hot chocolate.  They had my favorite cookie the thin mints, so I was beyond excited!

After the race as I was stretching, I was approached by a fellow runner who thanked me for keeping her at a good pace.  I guess she is like me and tries to find someone to pace with to avoid running too fast, and also finding someone to follow for motivation.  It was a nice compliment and I even turned around to make sure that she wasn't talking to someone behind me.  I am normally silent and don't talk to anyone during a race unless I am running it with a friend. This was a nice change and I just left the race feeling really happy and excited for the next 5k. 

Olivette Turkey Trot Race Recap

Thanksgiving Day seems like ages ago already, but I am still on cloud nine about my Turkey Trot finish time.  Now 37:49 is likely slow for a 5k to most runners reading this, but that is my fastest 5k time since 2017!!!  

In 2020 I just ran a virtual Turkey Trot due to Covid and I think all of the local Turkey Trots were virtual last year too, so it was nice to have an in-person option close to home.  The race started and ended in Stacy Park in Olivette, which is near my home and my work.  This park is very easy to get to since it is just off of Olive Boulevard between I-170 and I-270.  

Before Covid I had run the Turkey Trot downtown, the St. Charles Turkey Trot, and the black Friday Turkey Trot in Town and Country.   The Olivette Turkey Trot is technically the closest race course to my home, so it has been on my radar for years and I was happy to finally be able to run it.  Packet pick-up was held on the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving at Olivette City Hall. Since I picked up my packet on Tuesday, it wasn't busy at all.  There was also a race day option for packet pick-up.  Swag included a long sleeved blue tech shirt and you had the option to purchase previous years shirts for $5, which I took advantage of again. 

I often run and walk in Stacy Park, so I knew that it had a small parking lot and I wasn't sure where overflow parking would be, so I arrived around 7:10 a.m. to ensure that I would snag a parking spot.  Upon arrival, several Olivette fire trucks and police vehicles were already on-site and the music was going.  The mayor was present as was our St. Louis County Executive (he's become locally famous during Covid).  Hot chocolate, coffee, and tea were available adjacent to race day packet pick-up and there were plenty of porta-potties available in addition to the park's permanent restrooms.  Stacy Park has a nice walking path, and I saw plenty of people warming up before the race.  As the parking lot filled up, I realized that overflow parking was being directed to the grass in between the ball fields but I loved that I was able to park right at the start/finish line.  As a result, I was able to stay in my warm car until five minutes before the race started.  

The race course was basically one large loop with a few small hills.  I was so pumped about this race that I didn't even switch over to my intervals until about halfway through the race.  I just got into a good pace and was fueled by all the people around me.  The other runners and walkers were people of all ages and abilities, a lot of strollers, and lots of dogs.  Spectators along the course were friendly and were cheering us on, despite the cold morning.  Waiting at the finish line were snacks like hot chocolate, coffee, tea, water, beer, bloody mary's, and chips.  The Olivette police department opened a separate exit for people to be able to easily leave the park, and it was actually a breeze leaving the park which is one problem I came across at the downtown and St. Charles Turkey Trots. I would highly recommend this race to anyone living or visiting the St. Louis area for Thanksgiving.  It really was a great race!