Monday, April 11, 2011

St. Louis Marathon Recap

Well, I did it!

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It was HILLY, HOTTTTT, AND HARD, but I successfully completed my

SECOND MARATHON!!!!!!

I think the conditions of this marathon make me appreciate the accomplishment even more, because I really had to dig deep to find the strength for this one.

My morning started with an alarm at 5am, which I shut off about 15 minutes before it went off.  I had my usual race morning breakfast of a bagel and PB2, and a banana…eaten in the bathroom because I didn’t want to wake up the kids.  The hubby took me to the station and I rode the Metro downtown at 545am, the whole thing was full of other runners all decked out in their gear.  It was pretty cool to be one of them!  We were like a army heading to do battle. 

The temperature at the start of the race was 68*, not really ideal for 7am, but it felt great outside and the thousands of people milling around the race start area in downtown St. Louis made the atmosphere electric!  I bummed a post-race water from a race volunteer (thank you!!!) and drank it while I was in line for the port-a-potty…a 45 minute line!

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It was completely daylight when I reached the front and finally had my turn.

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After that I headed to the start line and secured my place in Corral B.  Excitement!!!!! 

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After a beautiful singing of our National Anthem by a Marine Corp member, we were off!  With the MC shouting “Go! Go! Go! St. Louis!” into the microphone, 20,000+ runners took off!  I started my Garmin as I crossed the start line at 7:06:59.

The course started in the heart of downtown and went through such areas as

2011-04-11_0930stlmarathoncourseSoulard,
Anheuser-Busch Brewery,
Busch Stadium (!!!), 
Gateway Arch, 
St. Louis University, 
Forest Park Ave., 
Barnes-Jewish Hospital,
 Siteman Cancer Center
Forest Park,
Washington University,
and Clayton,


before heading back downtown for the finish line.  It was a great course, but HILLY!  Long, sloping inclines are no longer my friend (if they ever were!), and they totally kicked my booty.  But, I did kick back just a little. Winking smile

I was so excited because, for the first time ever in a race, I got to see my family!  Not once, but twice!!  The course took us right in front of our hotel at Mile 10 and Mile 22, and they came out to greet me both times!

It totally made my day to see them!  The first time, at Mile 10, consisted of quick high-fives and hellos and the hubby telling me to “Go!  Run!!”

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So I did.

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The second time we passed back by the hotel was a different story.  I was thissssss close to quitting.  I was so tired, my feet felt like they were on fire, and everything hurt.  After an ice cold towel from them (which I carried with me til the end because it felt SO good), and some water and powerade, I felt like I had the strength to finish.  Thank you, Lord, for placing them at the right place and at right time.

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And I was off again…  Only 4 more miles to go!  Hallelujah!
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It seemed like the longest 4 miles of my life!  It was a walk/run battle til the very end.  But, eventually the end did come and I was SO HAPPY!

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Crossing the finish line was felt amazing!  My Garmin showed the stats of

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26.45 miles

4:28:26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which I am more than thrilled with because, while I didn’t PR, the obstacles of the hills and the heat were brutal.  So I was a minute and a half slower this time, but I’m actually surprised it wasn’t more.  I’ve been running long enough to know that I have to adjust my goals according to race day and personal conditions.  So Boo-Yah!

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I was so wiped out and HOT that I completed skipped the post race festivities and had a security guard let me through the fence so that I could be with my family.  The next day after every race I always wish I would have taken the time to go through the finish area and spent some time and looked around with all the other runners, but I know how I felt at the time and there was no way I could have done it.  I was actually craving my ice bath.

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This is what I COULD NOT WAIT TO SEE at the finish line!  My family…and of course my mom and dad were there, too, but are not in the picture!  They were all an amazing sense of support for me yesterday and I honestly think I couldn’t have finished without them.  Knowing they were there to support me and cheer me on made all the difference in the world. THANK YOU GUYS!  I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

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We headed back to the Metro to get back to Central West End and our hotel.
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Believe it or not, I was CRAVING an ice bath.  I had the boys go get buckets of ice and I chilled (literally, ha!) in the tub before about 15 minutes before we had to pack up and get ready to head home.

Here, in the car, the temps post-race…oh my goodness it was so crazy hot!  This is the first part of APRIL! IMG_2505

And check out my swag, baby!  I sweated GALLONS for this one! 
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The pink lei was being handed out by a group of race fans and supporters so I took a pink one and gave it to Katie when I saw everybody at Mile 22. 

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And I know this post is crazy-long, but here are my splits…boy you can tell when the heat started to get to me! 2011-04-11_1209marathon

Crazy.  Exhausting.  Amazing.  And so Satisfying. 

Thank you, Lord, for the ability and the desire to run, and the strength to take every step.  I love you.

And if you’re still reading this looonnngggg recap, thank YOU!  Believe it or not, I’ve still got some more to tell you, but it will have to wait til tomorrow…I’m worn out just writing about the marathon. Winking smile

Love y’all.

xoxo

3 comments:

Pen said...

Awesome time for that tough marathon! Loved reading your recap. I posted one too, feel free to read it if you want. It was my first and even though it was tough, I'm ready for my second! Great job!!!

Wilnellys said...

Amazing job! Thank you for sharing your very moving experience with us!

Donna said...

Erica, you are so amazing and I know that you always give credit to the Lord for your accomplishments and you just can't do any better than that! I loved seeing all the photos and what you wrote about each one. You are an inspiration to so many!! You did GREAT!!