Last Saturday, I ran in the St. Patrick’s Day 5 Mile Race in Downtown St. Louis. This race has around 10,000 runners and is the big kickoff to racing season in St. Louis. This is my third year participating in this race, and I have consistently improved on my time each year!
The race started at 9AM, which is very nice since it seems like most races have a 7am or 8am start at the latest. I’m pretty sure they were able to start the race later because there was a big Irish parade after, so the roads wouldn’t need to be reopened quickly.
I got to the start line at about 8:30 and seemed to have to wait FOREVER for the race to start! Even though the high for the day was supposed to be in the 60s, it definitely wasn’t this warm at the start. In fact, it was cold and windy, and the sun was nowhere to be found! As Justin remarked later, the weather was very reminiscent of Ireland, so it was fitting for this race.
There was a DJ at the start line who seemed to talk forever. He introduced people and then they would talk but I have no clue what anyone said because the microphone they used echoed and most people around me were talking. So the actual race didn’t even start until after 9:05! Which I know is not that big of a deal, but I like to start things on time – especially when it is cold and I am anxious!
This race had corrals, and I was lucky to be towards the front of the pack, so once the race started I really didn’t have any problems with weaving in and out. My biggest hurdle was just to keep up with the fast runners around me! Because of this, I started off way too fast for my liking and after .5 miles I was at a 6:56 pace. I knew I would have to slow down so that I would keep myself from burning out!
I settled in on a much more reasonable pace, but I could really feel the rolling hills start to hurt my legs. I hadn’t been running outside much because of the weather, so it definitely was taking a toll on me! Running on the treadmill is great, but definitely not the same as running outside!
I was getting pretty tired when I passed the 5K marker, but tried to keep myself from slowing down too much so that I could still achieve my time goal. Finally, (I don’t know why, but it felt like I was running FOREVER!) I passed the finish line and saw the marker above me say 38 something. I was very happy because not only did I reach my goal of going under 40 minutes, but I did it quite easily! I walked through the finish line area (all that was available for finishers was water in a Dixie cup 😦 no bananas?!! No Gatorade?! ) and went over to the tent where you could check your time on some laptops they had set up. I was thrilled that after I put my bib number in, I saw my time – 38:06 (7:38/mile pace)!! Over 4 minutes better than last year! And even though I didn’t place in the top 10 in my age group, I was REALLY happy with where I did end up. There are so many amazing runners in this race, so to be in the top 20 for my age group was really amazing. Can’t wait to see where I will place next year!
All in all, this race was fun, but it was definitely a challenge for me. I was really tired about halfway through but I am happy that I kept going and kept going at a pretty fast pace. I definitely realized that if I’m going to be on the treadmill, then I need to switch up the incline settings and not just run at 0.0 all the time. This race was a good warm-up for my half marathon coming up next week, and a great way to really start my racing year!