I have lived in St. Louis a little over 2 years now and ever since I started running around that same time, I have been familiar with the GO! St. Louis organization and the various races they put on throughout the year. Last October, I was able to run in the GO! St. Louis Halloween 10K race and I had an amazing time so I couldn’t wait until my next GO! race.
So earlier in the year when I was looking for potential races for the year, I pretty much immediately signed up for the GO! St. Louis Half. I was even more intrigued by the race because this was the 15th anniversary and they were promising many exciting changes.
One of these changes was huge – a new race course! This course has been notoriously hilly in the past and I have heard many people say that they didn’t especially love the course. So I was very happy when I got the email with the changes and found out we were going to be racing in 2 states – of course Missouri, but also would be crossing the bridge over to Illinois!
I picked up my packet for the race on Friday at Chaveitz Arena where SLU Basketball plays. This was my first time to the arena and I was really impressed by it. The packet pickup was quick and painless and we received a nice navy tech shirt. There were many different vendors at the expo, but honestly I didn’t spend much time looking around because I didn’t want to spend any money!
The race was on Sunday bright and early at 7AM. I woke up at 5AM to get ready and was really feeling tired. I’m not going to lie, in the days leading up to the race I wasn’t feeling very positive. My runs had been slower ever since the Run the Bluegrass Half and I truly think I was still tired from all the hills there! But there was no turning back now so I knew even if I was tired I needed to push through and give it my all to try to get a new PR.
My parents came down for the weekend to watch me in the race which was really awesome. They came to our apartment at about 6AM and Justin drove us down to the race start. Justin had to do some other things so he was going to pick us back up after the race, but my parents were staying downtown and just stopped at Starbucks while I was running.
It was a perfect morning for running. It was around 55 degrees and I felt pretty comfortable in my shorts and short sleeve shirt. I crossed the start line a little after 7AM and immediately felt a surge of excitement about the race! There were so many people cheering us on and it really felt amazing. This is probably why I started off WAY too fast! My first mile was 7:35 which I knew I could not keep up with. My calves started to really hurt and I experienced some shin splints for about the first four miles. It was really painful.
We crossed the bridge around mile 2 and ran a little bit around East St. Louis. You can tell downtown East St. Louis used to be a cool place, but it is so rundown now that it was a sad sight to see. It was really nice though that right when we crossed into E. St. Louis there was a church group that was greeting us and giving us high fives. That was so nice of them to come out to support all the runners! I think it was around mile 3 or a little after when we crossed the bridge and went back to St. Louis. Around this same time, a runner behind me tripped on my shoe and almost fell right into me! Luckily he was smart enough to grab my shirt and keep me up and apologized profusely!
The next several miles were a bit of a struggle because I was trying and failing to keep up with an 8:15 pace. Once I got to mile 10 though and passed the Anheuser Busch Brewery I gave myself a bit of a pep talk. I knew I only had a 5K left and this was no time to slow down. I could rest later. I actually started to pass people instead of being passed by people so that was a good feeling.
Around mile 12 I passed my parents which gave me a surge of energy I needed to finish the race! I crossed the finish line and the clock said 1:52 something so I was pretty confident that I had gotten a new PR. Luckily both Justin and my parents were receiving text alerts so I found out pretty quickly that I had achieved a new PR- 1:51:51! I was very happy with this because even though I wasn’t feeling speedy, I still got a new personal best. We received a really pretty medal at the end and then there was also tons of food available to the runners. I grabbed a water, banana, this awesome graham cracker sandwich filled with PB and jelly, a protein bar, and of course a Ted Drewes ice cream sandwich!
This race was full of ups and downs but at the end of the race I was very content. It was awesome to have my parents there to watch me and I always love running in St. Louis. I will definitely be back to this race for hopefully years to come!