Sunday, November 4, 2012

Eleventh Half Marathon (finally): Saint Louis Track Club Half Marathon

Today (November 4) I ran the Saint Louis Track Club Half Marathon in Clayton, Mo. I am thrilled to have achieved a new PR! I completed today's race in 2:01:06.

Last year this race yielded a half-marathon PR for me at 2:04:14. So as soon as they opened 2012 registration, I signed up. Little did I know I would hurt my ankle in April 2012, and not run a half marathon until today.

I really love this race, but it's deceptive. You start out going downhill on Forsyth Blvd, thinking that you are flying. You head into Forest Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the country. There's a lot of territory to cover in the park, but before you leave it, there's one gnarly little hill. If you get over that hill, you are still in the park for quite some time before you head back to Clayton. Heading back to Clayton, you pass the Washington University in St. Louis campus, and you are on an incline--not a steep one, but one that requires concentration and focus.

Last year, I had my first race sighting of a truly elite runner--Sammy Rotich, who won the race in 1:09. This year there were more elite runners, and Sammy's 1:09 this year was only good enough for fifth place! Such fast runners! This year's winner, Geofrey Terer, came in at 1:07:15. On the women's side, the winner was Jenny Schulze at 1:23:32.

Eight runners at this race were displaced runners from today's cancelled NYC Marathon. This race, however, is as low-key as the New York race is flashy, though there were a few more spectators than last year. Most encouraging were the volunteers and members of the STL Track Club who manned the water stations and held the impatient traffic at bay.

I didn't listen to music. My mp3 player didn't seem to want to work, so I just concentrated on my footsteps and breathing. I had my Garmin, but I never seem to get it to work right in actual race conditions. I was thrilled to see by the big race clocks that I got to the halfway point in one hour, and that I got to the 10 mile mark at about 1:32:30. I was following runner 1121--thank you, fast lady, for having your race number on the back instead of the front. That gave me a focal point, and I have you to thank for this PR!

Final Stats:
537th of 1071 total runners
179th of 552 female runners
21st of 72 runners in F 45-49 age group
63rd of 211 female masters runners
average pace: 9:15 min/mile

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