On Sunday, I ran in the Cardinals Care 6K. I ran in this race last year and had such a good time, so I had been really looking forward to repeating it this year.
Saturday I went to Busch Stadium (where the Cardinals play) to pick up my packet. Last year, we got a bag full of goodies along with our race t-shirt and bib. This year, all we got was the t-shirt and bib, no bag at all! I was a little disappointed because I had been looking forward to seeing what was in the bag, but oh well.
I arrived to the start line on Sunday about 10 minutes before the race started. We were running a little late because we had a bit of an issue with parking, but I still arrived at the start line in plenty of time. But, because I showed up only minutes before the race, I didn’t want to be one of those people that push their way towards the front, so I just found a place in the middle. I figured it wouldn’t be the worse thing in the world since the race wasn’t as big as some I have been in, it wouldn’t be too hard to get past the usual congestion at the beginning of the race. The race was supposed to start at 8:06AM, but I think they started the national anthem and intro too early, so there was a bit too much time of silence just waiting around for 8:06, that they actually ended up starting a couple of minutes early.
At the start of the race, it was crowded just as I expected. So I pushed myself a little harder and went a little faster than normal just so I could get ahead of people that were slower than me. My first mile was less than 7 minutes, so I was definitely going faster than I had planned! I was surprised though because while I was a bit out of breath, it didn’t seem that fast.
In the middle of the race, I was really happy with how it was going. I could see the faster, more elite runners not too far ahead of me, and noticed I had separated myself from the more beginner runners, so I had a lot of room around me to run. I always like when I have some space because then I don’t feel so congested and feel like I can focus more on going the pace I want to go.
Once I reached mile 3 (only .69 miles to go), we turned the corner and there was a bit of a hill we had to go up as we headed back to the stadium. I wanted to stop and walk SO bad, but knew that would be stupid with so little left to go, so instead of slowing down I pushed myself harder. Once I got up the hill, it was pretty much straight (a bit downhill) to the stadium. I reached the front of the stadium and then the course continued through the tunnel and then onto the field. I was very happy that it was mild weather that day because if it would have been hot, I’m sure the tunnel of the stadium would have been unbearable!
I went through the tunnel and then through some of the stadium until we reached the actual field where the finish line was. It was pretty cool because they have live video of you on the jumbo-tron crossing the finish line! Once I crossed, I went up the bleachers until we reached Jackie Joyner-Kersee who put the finisher’s medal around my neck!
When the race was over, I met back up with Justin and we went home. A few hours later, the results were posted and I was so happy to see that I reached my goal! I finished the 6K in under 30 minutes, with a time of 29:36! I also was shocked to see that I got 4th out of 148 in my age division and was the 9th woman overall! My speed work has paid off, but my goal for this race next year is to place in the top three because those people are recognized on a podium in a post-race ceremony.