Tomorrow, I will be participating in my first race of 2014 in the first (and only!) Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge 6K Run. The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial bridge connects Illinois and Missouri and it has been under construction for a few years now, and will be reopening on Sunday. So on Saturday, we get to run on it!
I have been looking forward to this race ever since I got the email about it about a month ago. At first, I thought I wouldn’t get to run because I usually work on Saturdays, but luckily I got the day off so I am able to participate. I am even more excited because my boyfriend, Justin, is doing it as well and he rarely ever wants to do races. He was actually the one that asked me if I wanted to do it, which is quite shocking because he usually makes fun of me for how many races I do! I also feel really good about my running right now. I have already had 4 runs this week, and they have been pretty strong so I am happy at the progression I am making with my training.
Yesterday, I picked up my race packet at the new Big River Running Company store in University City. Big River Running is the major running store in St. Louis, and they recently opened this location. When I got there, I was given a special medallion to commemorate the race, a t-shirt, and my race bib. The new store was really nice, but I made sure to get out of there quickly before I made any unplanned purchases!
The race is a 6K, so about 3.75 miles. I presume that it is a 6K, instead of the standard short-race 5K distance, in honor of Stan Musial who wore #6 for the Cardinals. I have only raced one 6K before, which was the Cardinals Care race that was this past August. At that race, my time was 34:43, so I would love to beat that. I’m not sure if I will be able to, though, because that day there was near perfect conditions, while this Saturday is likely to be quite chilly for the 8AM start and still have snow on the ground. But I will do my best to beat that time, while also trying not to slip on the snow!
Another goal of mine is that I want to make sure I don’t start off too quickly, because I have a bad habit of doing that during races. I feel the adrenaline and excitement at the beginning of the race, and I bolt for the first .5 miles feeling like I am running on air and nothing can stop me! Then, inevitably, I start gasping for air and having sharp pains in my side, simply because I cannot keep a below 8 minute per mile pace up for long. As a result of this, I have to stop and walk (which I hate doing) for about 30 seconds until I start to feel normal again. So, on Saturday, I will work to contain this excitement and just settle into my own rhythm and run the pace I know I can keep up with for the full 3.75 miles.
On Sunday, I have a scheduled 8 mile run in preparation for the Nike Half Marathon. This will be my longest run of 2014 so far, so I will take it nice and easy. I am really hoping to be able to run this outside, because doing 88 laps on the indoor track at the YMCA (11 laps =1 mile for their indoor track) is basically my idea of torture (and it makes me dizzy). I also have really enjoyed exploring my new neighborhood and the large park right across the street from my apartment, so I would be even more upset if the weather will not cooperate for me!