This past Sunday, November 3, I ran my thirteenth half-marathon, the 2013 Saint Louis Track Club Half-Marathon. I finished the race in 2:07.31. Here are my race day observations.
1) This continues to be a well-run and nicely-organized race:
This was my third time at this particular half-marathon, which is sponsored by the main running club in the city of Saint Louis, the STL Track Club: http://stlouistrackclub.com
There's also a 5K at this race, and a youth run.
I keep coming back because it's a nicely done race, and I like the opportunity to run in Forest Park--the course route goes from Clayton, MO, past the campus of Washington University, into Forest Park and back to Clayton. If I lived in Saint Louis, I would regularly run in the beautiful wide expanse of Forest Park. It looks especially nice at this time of year, with the fall leaves in lovely color. The weather was a little chilly to start, but as the crowd got moving, it warmed up nicely.
2) I was not as well-organized as the race:
Last year, I gained a half-marathon PR at this race at 2.01.06. This year, I wasn't as fortunate. I was much slower, and made some basic mistakes that made the race harder than it should have been. My basic problem was fueling--I didn't have enough in my system (only had one gel in me prior to race time, and I should have eaten one on the course). I should have eaten one about mile seven, but I waited too long. By the time I got to right before mile 11, I stopped to walk--not because I was bonking in the jelly-legs fall-down way--but because I was tired. TIRED. I kept moving through miles 11 and 12, alternating walking and running--doing whatever my body would allow. When I got to the clock at right before mile 13, I saw I was at 2:02, which surprised me. I thought with all the walking that I had ruined my race and would get in at about 2:15. So I began to run again, and crossed the finish at 2:08 unofficially (chip time was 2:07.31).
3) Spotting fast people:
At last year's race, there was a particularly fast field, given that there were some displaced elite runners from the cancelled NYC Marathon. This year's men's winner, Geofrey Terer, was in at 1:07.36--a 5:09 pace! Amazing. The women's overall winner was Liza Hunter-Galvan, who came in at 1:18.31. Since this race is an out-and-back, us slow-pokes can see these amazing runners in action--they are headed out of Forest Park as we slower runners are making our way in!
4) Meeting a goal:
With this race, I've met a goal--I wanted to do 13 half-marathons before the close of 2013. I did it, and even though I was not at my best or fastest, that goal is accomplished. The new goal is not to count them anymore, and just do them.
5) Final stats:
time: 2:07.31 (chip time)
average pace: 9:44/mile
gender rank: 184
age-group place: 22 of 52
My last race of the year will also be a race I've done before, a ten-mile race in Alton, IL--the Great River Road Race. I promise I'll fuel better for that one.