I ran last Sunday in the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon. The day dawned clear—a little chilly, but no rain. I ran with my friend, Amy, who I’ve been training with since January. As usual, my 20/20 hindsight really doesn’t know why I was so worried. We finished with a time of 2:45:56 (that includes a line at the bathroom in the middle). We had a great race—no walking breaks at all—and at the end I felt fantastic—no knee pain. We even crossed the finish line to Kiss’ Rock N Roll All Nite. Epic!
I learned something this time around about Gu. If you’re not familiar with it, Gu is a product that runners “eat” during a race to keep the carbs/electrolytes in check. There are various other products that you can eat to accomplish this…some people eat Stingers or Chomp Blocks or even just gummy bears or candy. I love the gummy products if I’m going to be able to actually chew and eat them—say before a long run when I’ve not eaten in a while, but during a long run, I just need something simple that won’t have me landing on my face. Gu is the consistency of cake icing. You rip the top off, squeeze and slurp it in. It makes me gag, but I’ve gotten used to it—the citrus ones are pretty good, and so is the salted caramel (my favorite). The chocolate and vanilla ones I can do in a pinch, but I think they’re a little too sweet. In any event, I’ve had training runs where I’ve waited for a specific mileage or time to use the Gu instead of just seeing how I feel. The problem is, you don’t necessarily know you’re in need of Gu until you feel like a deflated balloon and then it’s too late. So at my race Sunday I adjusted when I did the Gu to mile 4 and 9, and I really think it helped me. I know adrenaline at the race also plays a part in your energy level, but moving up when I did the Gu kept my energy level strong.
The other highlight of our race was the Will Ferrell impersonator who banged on the cowbell with his belly sticking out of his half shirt wearing a curly-haired wig. (In the fall, St. Louis is host to a race called the MO Cowbell. Last fall, the theme song for the race was Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper. You have to watch the SNL skit with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken to know why that song was chosen. https://screen.yahoo.com/more-cowbell-174128899.html) This course-side cheerleader had enough energy he probably could have ran the full marathon, but I’m so glad he decided to cheer for the runners. There’s nothing like running and seeing something that makes you belly laugh. And yes, I’ve been told I’m easily entertained!
Speaking of easily entertained, the Comic Con convention was in town the same weekend as our race, so we got to ride in an elevator with Gandalf, spot a fully decked out Transformer and sit next to a guy at lunch who had buttons glued to his face over his eyes. No celebrity sightings, but who needs a celebrity when you’ve got these people with amazing costumes! The people watching was fantastic.
So to summarize this race/weekend:
- No logistical worries (those who know me know how I freak out about being late, lost or in need of a bathroom!)
- Great running buddy! (Thanks, Amy!)
- No knee pain issues/hitting a wall/sag wagon
- Awesome personal Cheer Squad of Darrell, Tina, Rich and Anna to see us through to the end
All in all, I couldn’t have pictured it any better. Okay, maybe not hitting that post in the garage at packet pick up. But overall, a successful race—and one I will remember for the rest of my life!