stlmarathon07.jpg (502704 bytes)St. Louis Marathon Race Report
April 2007

“A race is a process, not just a result.”
-Thomas S. Miller

I was ready for a great race. The week prior I tapered, rested and quit drinking coffee in the morning. Additionally I got up earlier every day the week before to get use to the early start. Sunday morning I got up around 3:45am, and was out the door at 4:45. The race didn’t start until 7 but it was downtown and there was a big NRA convention in town. I wanted a good parking spot and found a great one right at the finish. I parked around 5:35 went to the porta potties and then met the guy in the car next to me. He was in his fifties and a retired air force Chaplin. I think he is still a practicing Chaplin. We talked running and he told me this was his first half marathon. One thing led to another and he told me that he had 4 daughters. Five years ago when one of his daughters was 18 her boyfriend shot her and then shot himself. She had a one year old son. They adopted him and he is raising him. The boy is six. It really put things in perspective for me. How important is a best marathon time?

stl307 sized.jpg (60310 bytes)It was cold. I should say it was cold for me because you know it doesn’t take much to make this summer girl freeze. I had on my race ready shorts a zippered long sleeve shirt and a long sleeve t-shirt on top of that. I wore a trash bag on top until the start. I also had some gloves. The pacers seemed to be lined up too far back so I started by the 3:45 pace group. I figured I would just float back and let the 4:00 group swallow me up. Around mile 3 my right quad locked up. Probably because I went out too fast and it was cold. I stopped a couple times and stretched it. Funny thing was I just stayed with the 3:45 group. Unfortunately at the 10K point I lost my staying power. I ran into a bathroom and that slowed me down more. I realized the folly of my choice to run with that 3:45 group and paid the price for the remaining 20 miles. Around mile 10 the other quad started to hurt and a couple miles later my lower back was beginning to complain. This forced me to do a bit of walk/stretching.

STL marathon 2007 sized.jpg (765372 bytes)The half marathon runners ran the same course with the marathoners until mile 9 and then they turned around. That was kind of cool because I got to see the leaders speed by. I also saw Carol and Katie run by. I was tempted to turn and head back at mile 9 because there were just so many more miles to be done, but I didn’t. Incidentally Carol won the masters division with a time of 1:35:06 and earned $400 and a $100 bonus from her new racing team. Way to go Carol!

stl20075.jpg (59467 bytes)I was not in a happy place as we ran through Forest Park. I heard my name shouted out and saw Josie. Briefly I told her I was having quad issues and that the race was now a training run. Josie smiled, encouraged me and said “I’ll see you at the end.” I wasn’t sure how she was going to do that because we were around mile 20, but sure enough right before the 26th mile marker there she was cheering me to the finish. Josie had driven to a metro link station, then rode to Forest Park, saw me, hopped back on the metro link downtown and caught me at the end. Thanks Josie!

Some fun things about the day. The race bibs had our name on it and people would encourage you and say your name. At one of the drink stations a guy giving out water smiled and said “White wine madam.” For a while I was running next to this girl and guy. They both had iPods on and they were singing along out loud, off key, to two different songs. That was the first time I agreed that iPods should be banned on the course. Oh, yeah, the people doing the marathon relay look like they have the most fun. Those relay exchange points were exciting. I would like to try that someday. A special perk at the finish was the massage. St. Louis Injury & Rehab does them for free and this is my chiropractor Bill Cragg’s business. There were probably 30 people waiting for their turn as I walked up.  Dr. Bill saw me and said “Donna go over to Tracy’s table she just finished up.”  No wait and Tracy was incredible.

stl20074.jpg (27604 bytes) Each race is a learning experience and this time I recognized what I already knew: that I do not like cold races. Cold for me is less than 50 degrees. I would rather be hot. Secondly I learned that I shouldn’t start out too fast. Thirdly that I need to do some more work to get faster. Fourth I don’t like a big taper and may not cut back as much next time. I also need to reduce my calories when I cut the training. That extra weight didn’t help. Fifth no matter how long it takes, or how many you have done, completing a marathon is a great accomplishment. I was graphically reminded of this when around mile 23 this guy next to me ran to the curb and puked. Ok and I’ll get even grosser he just roared this loud barf…ugh. There was an ambulance on the course I can only presume they were taking someone in and then at the finish I saw someone being wheeled away. Marathons are not to be taken lightly.

My finish time was 4:16:18. I was 18 out of 67 in my age group. That afternoon I spent some time in the hot tub and later Maurice took me out to dinner. I am very thankful God gave me the ability to finish another.

" Success isn't a matter of being the best & winning the race; it's a matter of handling the worst & finishing the race."
-Author Unknown