Yesterday, I competed in the annual St. Patrick’s Day 5 Mile Race in downtown St. Louis. The race started at 9AM, so I woke up around 6AM to get ready. I decided to eat right when I got up, so I wouldn’t be full by race time, so I had a piece of toast with peanut butter, and half a banana. I also drank a glass of water so I could get myself hydrated. Then, I was still quite sleepy at this time, so I took a shower to really wake myself up!
After my shower, I got dressed in my race clothes which I had set out the night before. I usually don’t wear the race shirt to the actual race, but I liked the shade of green of the race shirt better than the one I had gotten for the race a few months ago, so I decided to wear it. It was supposed to be about 45 degrees and sunny at the start of the race, so I decided to wear shorts and then a long-sleeve black shirt under my t-shirt. This outfit turned out to be quite comfortable at the start of the race while we waiting to start, but by the middle of the race I thought I could have done without the long-sleeved shirt underneath because I had gotten so hot!
I had some extra time before we had to go, so I foam rolled for a little bit and rolled out my calfs with my special rolling stick. After all this, I definitely was ready to get downtown and run!
Justin and I drove with my friend Rob to the race. Rob has only been running for a few months, and this was the first race he had ever done. He was nervous but very excited about his first race, and I assured him that everything would be fine and to focus on your own running and not to worry about anyone else. I definitely understood how he was feeling though because last year this race was my first ever as well. And it’s normal to be nervous before a race even if it’s not your first one!
We got to the start line about 30 minutes before the race was going to start. And, wow was it packed! I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised with the great turn out for the race because not only is it one of the most popular races that St. Louis has, but it was also such a beautiful day and I’m sure there were many people who weren’t even planning on running until the last minute when they saw how great the weather was going to be.
Figuring out where we were supposed to stand at the start was confusing, to say the least. The crowd was so congested and the people that were holding up the markers on where the certain corrals were supposed to line up at seemed lost in the crowd. We were far, far back from the actual start line and there were two people holding up signs about 20 yards ahead of us that said “Green Numbers start here”. I thought that green numbers meant the elite runners, which confused me why they were lining up so far in the back. But I looked around us and most people just had the black numbers like we did, so I figured we were fine where we were at.
It was about 9:05AM and I was confused why the race hadn’t started yet. Every race I have ever ran in starts with the national anthem and then some announcement to start off the race. But that was not the case in this one. Instead we slowly started moving forward until we were finally at the start line at about 9:13AM and then we were off! I was really surprised there wasn’t a national anthem, or any kind of signal starting the race, but I thought that maybe since we were so far back and because it was so noisy in general there might have been something and we just hadn’t heard it.
Anyways, the start of the race was kind of annoying which wasn’t too shocking given the large number of people. I spent at least the first mile weaving in and out of slower people, and really I felt like for most of the race except for the last mile I was doing this. I think this was because this race is so popular for everyone, not just people that have experience in races, so some people might not have known that slower people or walkers need to start farther back in order for it to not be so congested! I was also a bit annoyed with people walking right in the middle and wished they would have known to go to the side if they wanted to stop or walk. Oh well though, I wasn’t going to let this slow me down!
I was keeping up a really fast pace at the start. I have been running in the 9-10 minute range during my training runs, but now I was running at about an 8:30 pace during the race. I was starting to feel the need to slow down at about 3 1/2 miles, that was until I saw Justin come from behind and get ahead of me! You see, we had a bet and whoever got a better time would have to buy the other a Shamrock Shake. Justin runs every now and then, so you would think that he wouldn’t be able to run at a fast pace for 5 miles. Yeah right! He is lucky and is naturally faster without really even training, so he can definitely compete with and usually beat me!
When I saw him come ahead after 3 1/2 miles I knew I couldn’t slow down now. So I made sure to keep him in sight for the rest of the race. The last mile was my fastest of the 5, but it was also his fastest so he ended up beating me by 22 seconds! Oh well, I will get him next time!
Even though Justin beat me, I was really happy with my time for the race. My goal for the race was to be between 45 and 49 minutes for the five miles. I ended up with 42:47, an 8:34 per mile pace!! I was so happy with my time and couldn’t believe that I was able to maintain that pace for all 5 miles. Just one year ago, my time at this race was 51:18, so all my hours spent training are definitely paying off.
The race overall was very fun, probably because of my time, but there were some things I was disappointed with. As I said earlier the start line was very confusing and crowded. I wish we had been sorted by expected time and then maybe there wouldn’t have been so much weaving in and out during the race. Also, I didn’t even think about it during the race because I carry my own water, but later that night Justin said something about the water stations and I had to stop him and say I didn’t even notice ANY water stations during the race! I usually don’t stop, but I always notice them because I get out of the way so I don’t get stuck in a line of people waiting for water. But I cannot even remember during this race seeing one water station! He told me he did see a couple, but they were very small and there didn’t seem to be enough people working the water stations. Another problem, was at the end all there was for the finishers was water. I thought maybe a banana and some kind of sports drink would have been great, but maybe that just wasn’t in the budget for the race.
Even though there were problems, I will definitely still run in this race for years to come. This race really kicks off the racing season in St. Louis, and it is a popular tradition that I won’t want to miss out on.