the worst half marathon ever

Let’s call this post – the worst half marathon ever.

Because of me, not because of the actual race at all.  Actually, the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon is one of my favorite races.  It’s near and dear to my heart because it was my first half marathon I ever did (in 2007!) and, of course, it’s in my beloved hometown St. Louis.  It’s always a challenging course with lots of hills, but when properly trained, it’s a great race!  You get to see many parts of our city, run across bridges, see the Clydesdales at the brewery, Busch Stadium, and more.

Barbie and I on the Arch riverfront before the race began.

But you see, that’s where the problem lies.  I was not properly trained for this half marathon.  In fact, I wasn’t trained at all.  Not in the slightest.  Like so little training that I had trouble figuring out my race day outfit based on the weather and was frantically texting Barbie at 4:45 the morning of.  The extent of my training is laughable.  Some may even call it foolish.  Before this race, the last time I ran was four weeks prior.  It was two miles and that was tough.  So you can imagine how the race went.

So why in the world did I do it, you may be wondering?  Barbie.  (Ok, fine “Barbara,” but she’ll always be Barbie to me.  25 years later and I’m not changing what I call her.  Ever.)  Back in 2007, Barbie convinced me to do this very same race.  We were both away at college, and we decided we’d train separately and come back to St. Louis to run together.  Many years since then, we’ve completed this race together.  A couple of months ago while at brunch, she told me she signed up to run.  Sure, I thought, why not?  I’ll join ya!

Thinking the upcoming race would motivate me to get my butt in gear, I happily signed up.  I counted the weeks before, laughed to myself as I realized training would be challenging given my schedule and the weather, but figured I’d be fine.  After all, how many half marathons have I completed?  Fifteen-ish, I believe.

Check out our giant smiles before we started the 13.1!

I kept telling myself that I had done these races a million times, and I’d be fine.  I knew I certainly wouldn’t be earning a PR or anything, but I figured my body would remember what to do and go into race mode.  I also knew I wasn’t going to worry about my time.  I didn’t even wear any sort of running device to track my mileage or time (GASP!).  My last half marathon (also with Barbie) was two years ago and my training consisted of six runs with my longest run being six miles.  We ended up running the entire distance with a final time of 2:12:39.

linking up with healthy diva

This year was a different story.  Right out of the gate I told Barbie I felt good.  She chuckled.  100 feet later, I said the same thing.  After mile three, I begged Barbie to walk for a minute.  Barbie is one of those runners that no matter how “good” of shape she is in, she can always run.  She was basically running circles around me and so kindly pledged to stay with me the whole race.  The first four miles were rough.  Miles four through seven were a little better, and I might even dare to say we found a groove.  Mile eight was hard and my knee started throbbing.  I wondered if I’d be able to finish, but vowed I would since I have never had to have a DNF (did not finish).  We took a few more walking breaks, and somehow mile 11 was upon us.  Mile 11 was also where the first MARATHONER passed us and went barreling ahead to the finish line.  That was amazing to see and provided a bit of inspiration.  This guy was doing double the distance as us and was killing it!

I think we ran the last two miles with no walking breaks.  Although that mile 13 felt like it would never end.  Barbie kept telling me we were almost there, and we could hear the music at the finish line.  Well let me tell you what.  That finish line music was loud because I’m pretty sure we heard it an entire mile away.  But low and behold, we crossed that finish line and earned that pretty hardware!

Every bone, every muscle, every single part of my body was in pain.  When I’m in shape, I’m not even sore after races at all.  I could barely walk and I know it’s just going to get worse.  But you know what?  I DID IT!  Would I do it again?  You betchya!  But you better believe I’ll train, at least somewhat, for it!  It was the hardest race I’ve ever run.  I don’t usually wear my race shirts, but tomorrow I sure am.  That is, if I can get out of bed and actually walk.

Yeah, we were still smiling at the end.  They may not have been quite as big, but they were there.  Then we were laughing in between grimacing at every step we took.  Ok, I’m off to put my feet up yet again, possibly for the remainder of the day.

Have you ever run a race you didn’t train for? How’d that go?

William’s first race

Yep, William’s first race was this past weekend.  Well, technically he did the same race last year, but he was in a stroller the whole time.  It was a biathlon and consisted of biking and running.  We have one of those Radio Flyer bikes with tall handlebars on the back, so it makes it really easy for parents to push.  William’s feet reach the pedals, but he can’t quite pedal completely on his own yet.  Of course, at the race, he wanted to get on any bike besides his own…

For the “race,” he ended up riding a tricycle that was extra.  I pushed him around the loop while he kept his feet on the pedals.  The second lap was running and he crushed it.

running race may16

He and I both loved every minute of it!

It was an adorable event, and while it was a smidge chilly, everyone still had a blast.  Love Grown so kindly sponsored the snacks and provided individual cereals.

lovegrown cereal

These “adventure cereals” are AMAZING for kids and adults alike!  They’re made from navy, lentil, and garbanzo beans, but pack a ton of flavor and so much crunch.  The bright packaging is fun, and of course, appeals to the tiny tots.  Adults (me, especially!) approve of the flavor and the nutritional punch they provide!  (They’re gluten-free and corn-free, too.)

Besides the race, the event had many other fun activities to keep the little ones busy, like ring toss, hopscotch, hula hooping, and more!

biathlon

Kids were busy the whole time, and while there were scheduled activities, families could do their own thing if they wanted.  A yoga instructor came for a short yoga session, and a soccer coach came to lead some drills.  That was obviously William’s favorite part.

soccer may16

William first started organized soccer when he was 18 months old.  Then, it was more about the kids having fun and learning how to follow directions.  He was a little young for it as most of the other kids were closer to two years old.  We did one eight-week session and then stopped for a break.  Now, I’m thinking, it’s time to sign up again as William did such a great job following the directions and seriously loves anything with a soccer ball.  He may only be two years old, but he can do step overs, toe touches, and dribble pretty well!  (Yes, clearly I’m a proud mom thinking her kid rocks, but it’s true.  I should capture some video to prove it, haha!)

All in all, it was a fabulous event!  William and I both love being outside and being active, so this was perfect and made me even more excited for summer as we’ll spend the majority of our days outside!

Who has raced recently?  How about your kids?

The Great GO! St. Louis Halloween Race

Another nonstop weekend in the books, and just like that, it’s Monday again!  However, this Monday I’m off work thanks to Columbus Day.  We’re not usually off, so it’s definitely a treat.  Our weekend, as usual, was go go go.  It was jam packed with a lot of fun, and several highlights.  It began on Friday evening when I went to a Tori Kelly concert with some friends.

angel jeannie

I had never even heard of Tori Kelly, but my friend loves her.  She was great!  Beautiful voice and a very talented performer.

Saturday began bright and early with Audrey’s fourth birthday party.  Stephanie went completely over the top (as she always does!) and every last detail was perfect.  Check out her Instagram (@scpstudio) for the photos.  I snapped one quick picture of William climbing on the playground.

climbing oct15

He has seriously turned into a little monkey.  I’m constantly amazed at his coordination and how quickly his motor skills are developing.  It also means he needs to be watched all the time because he’s so fast to scamper places!  I love how active he is!

Stephanie and I went to Game 2 of the Cardinals vs. Cubs series.  It was the perfect late afternoon for a game and Busch Stadium went wild at the first homerun!  We’re the number one baseball city in the nation for a reason!

cardinals15

Despite the Cardinals’ loss, Stephanie and I still had a blast!

steph cards

linking up with katie and erin

Sunday morning was The Great GO! St. Louis Halloween Race.  I ran the 5K.  It was a chilly morning – ideal running temperatures.

go halloween race

Despite a late evening the night before, I still pulled off a 28:46 end time which was an average of a 9:16 minute mile.  I would have liked to break 27 minutes, but considering, I’m happy with it.  Especially when I looked at the stats (yes, I’m super competitive!).

  • 105th of 680 overall
  • 48th of 475 female
  • 6th of 79 females 30-34

And post race?  Chipotle was serving little cups of chili!

chipotle

Definitely warmed the belly and was a good way to refuel.  Although I could have eaten ten of those little cups.  A Chipotle run will most likely happen this week.  The hardware of the race was pretty and the tech shirts were a bright lime green.  GO! always puts on stellar races! Thanks to Chipotle for my entry!

The rest of Sunday included errands, grocery shopping, baking, laundry, and family dinner.  It was the perfect end to a great weekend, and I’m excited for my day off today!

What did you do over the weekend? Are you working today?

Triathlons are hard

Triathlons are hard.  That’s no secret, and you’d think I would have learned my lesson after the Kirkwood triathlon, but I went for it again this past weekend.  The Kirkwood triathlon was just the second one I’d ever done and it was four years after my first.  Finding time to train was difficult, but I kept telling myself it was short – a sprint triathlon.  I struggled big time during the race.  However, I learned there are several additional sprint triathlons in the St. Louis area, and I do love racing – no matter how hard it is.  I signed up for my second sprint triathlon of the summer, but training didn’t go much better.  In fact, it went worse since school started up again and I literally only had time to train once on the weekends.

Eh, it’s another sprint, I’ll be fine, I kept telling myself.  Well Sunday morning came, my car was packed, and I was ready for the Sunset Hills triathlon.  I set my station up, got my numbers drawn on, and anxiously awaited the start time.

triathlon before

The distances were similar to Kirkwood: 300 yard swim, 11.8 mile bike, 3 mile run.  I was actually really excited for the 300 yard swim compared to the 400 yard swim in Kirkwood.  The swimming really wiped me out last time, so I thought I’d have more energy this time around.  But… I hadn’t swam at all since the last triathlon.  Definitely not ideal.  We were lined up by our numbers which was determined by our swim time that we entered when signing up for the race.  They were very strict in the order which you started since it correlated to your chip start time.

This felt a lot different than Kirkwood.  While we waited to get in the pool at Kirkwood, the race directors were telling us about the course, explaining proper race etiquette, and pumping us up.  This time, it was much more serious though the racers were still friendly.  Racers dropped in the pool every 15 seconds.  It was a serpentine style swim.  I ended up getting passed by three swimmers which was frustrating because I hate getting passed.  (I’m a wee bit competitive, can you tell?)  I finished and trotted toward the transition area to get ready for the bike portion.

The 11.8 mile bike was a three-loop course.  I thought looping twice during Kirkwood wasn’t great, but three times really stunk. I would much rather do one long loop and not know what is coming.  This course was HARD.  It was crazy hilly, both uphills and downhills.  The downhills were so steep that I held on for dear life and hoped I wouldn’t fly off.  Directly after one particularly downhill was an immediate uphill.  You had momentum for the first little bit, but obviously that wore off and then you were in the middle of a very steep hill.  I saw quite a few people fall off their bikes on this part, and several people were walking their bikes up.  My goal was to stay on my bike the whole time which I did.  That was a positive, but the biking was still so tough.  “On your left!” was a phrase I heard way too often.

Then came the run.  My legs were jello and the run, too, was a three-loop course.  Argh.  I tried to get out of my own head and stay positive, but the run was crazy hilly, as well!!  Even the immediate downhill was so steep that you had to exert more energy making sure you didn’t eat the asphalt rather than letting gravity do it’s thing and embracing the downhill.  There were quite a few uphills, in addition.  Sadly, I walked a few times.  My goal for running is never to walk, so that was a major fail.  And I didn’t break my under-30 miunte goal either.  I told you, this triathlon was rough.

As much as I’m complaining about the race, it really was my own fault for not going into it properly trained.  And I didn’t feel like dying as much as I did during the Kirkwood one.  You better believe I was happy and proud to have finished, despite my slow times.  Now I can say I’ve done three triathlons!  That’s an accomplishment!

The after photo:

triathlon after

Still alive.  Still standing.  Still smiling.

Even though I’m not impressed or proud with my times, I’ll share them anyway:

  • Swim Time: 7:50
  • Tran 1: 3:29
  • Bike Time: 1:04:57
  • Tran 2: 2:52
  • Run Time: 30:54
  • Finish Time: 1:50:04

All in all, I was much slower (except for the swim) than Kirkwood, even my transitions.  Hey, at least it gives me a goal to beat next summer!

Have you ever been disappointed / frustrated with your race results?

Tour de Kirkwood Sprint Triathlon 2015

I’ve done lots of races.  Tons of 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, mud runs, and even one sprint triathlon in the past.  None were as difficult as the Tour de Kirkwood Sprint Triathlon 2015 that I completed yesterday!  The first time I did this same sprint triathlon was before William was here, so I had all the time in the world to train, and I did.  I worked out six or seven times a week.  Now?  Not so much.  I trained when I could, but in reality, I only got in a few swims, two long bike rides, and several runs.  When people asked how I planned on doing the triathlon without training, I kept saying how short the distances were and I’d be fine.  (400 yard swim, 10 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run)  After all, I ran an entire half marathon without running more than six miles prior.  I’d be fine.

When I woke up at five o’clock in the morning, it was thunderstorming.  Grrrreat.  I did my usual routine to get ready and left my parents’ house (they were watching William) by 6:15.  We were sent an email saying the event was still on, but they would make a decision about the bike at 7:00.  The thunder and lightning stopped, but the rain continued.  The race was postponed til 8:00 (rather than 7:30), but other than that, it was on.

triathlon

The “before” picture.  When I was still smiling.  And standing.

It was a pool swim, serpentine style.  We lined up according to the time we thought we’d get.  I guessed between 10-11 minutes, so I was pretty far back.  I didn’t get in the pool until 8:40.  Waiting at a race for two hours is not the most fun.  I don’t get nervous for races until right before.  Two hours is a long time to have jitters.  I just wanted to begin.

Linking up with Katie and Erin!

I felt good during the swim.  I passed a few swimmers, didn’t stop to take a break, but was definitely tired at the end.  I definitely felt it once I got on my bike.  Biking is probably my weakest sport of the three, and there were looooooong uphills.  Plus, we had to do two loops, so as if the first wasn’t hard enough, we had to do the whole thing again.  Oy.  My quads were on FIRE.

Then came the run.  I felt most confident for the run.  That is… until I started running.  My legs were jello and the beginning of the course was on mulch and through a trail and pretty hilly.  I struggled big time.  I literally couldn’t believe how much trouble I was having.  I mean it was THREE miles.  I could do three miles in my sleep, regardless of how little training I’d done.  Not yesterday.  I was spent.  The run was an out and back and we had to do two laps of the run, as well.  Killer.

How’d I finish?  Two minutes and thirty seconds faster than my last one!  That’s all I wanted – beat my previous time!  I did this race with a friend and was definitely pushed.  Otherwise, no way would I have beat my time.  Here are my results:

  • Swim Time: 10:46
  • Swim Pace: 2:42
  • Tran 1: 2:37
  • Bike Time: 53:17
  • Bike Rate: 11.26
  • Tran 2: 1:40
  • Run Time: 28:43
  • Run Pace: 9:35
  • Finish Time: 1:37:00

See my 2011 results HERE.

Bike was still my slowest and the run, somehow, was my fastest.  Other than that, my numbers were pretty similar to 2011.  Usually I take a million pictures, but I wanted nothing to do with the camera when I finished.  I was exhausted.  This was the most difficult race I’ve ever done.  I do want to do it again… and train a lot better.

For St. Louis friends or people near St. Louis, I highly recommend the Tour de Kirkwood Sprint Triathlon.  It’s a GREAT first race!  This is Big Shark’s 12th year hosting it, and they’ve got it down.  The atmosphere is very supportive, positive, and encouraging.  The race director was giving lots of tips before the race started, sharing proper race etiquette, and explaining parts of the course.  He said this is a great first triathlon to do because you really have to earn it; it’s not an easy race.  He was SO right!

While I kind of thought I was going to die during the race, I’m glad I did it, I’m happy I finished, and I’m definitely proud I cut down my time… even just a little!

Did you race this weekend? Have you ever done a triathlon?  Any desire to?

best race photo ever

How many of you generally like your race photos when you see them?  Not me.  I feel like they’re usually super awkward.  Eyes half closed, arms in awkward positions, legs confirming that I don’t have perfect form, and what is going on with my face?  Am I about to sneeze?  Am I in pain?  Oy.  Race photos are usually less than flattering.  When I was racing more frequently, I would at least attempt to get a semi-decent picture at the finish line by throwing my hands up in the air.  Sometimes it worked, most of the time it didn’t.

Anyway, as you know, during the All American 5K this past weekend, it rained the entire time.  Poured.  My sister and I (and every other runner out there) were drenched.  When we saw the finish line in the near distance, we were stoked.  Yes, that meant the race was concluding, but more importantly because it meant we could get under some shelter, dry off, and eventually shower and get out of our sopping wet clothes that were hanging off us due to them being so wet.  When I was crossing the finish line, I threw my hands in the air and smiled like I just won the race…

itzlinz 5k race photo

[photo credit]

…which I didn’t, of course, but you can’t really tell that from the picture.  Stephanie was cracking up in the background.  I love the picture.  I love it because it shows what running should be all about: FUN!  Sometimes we get so caught up in the numbers that it’s hard to remember that running and races, while good exercise and very healthy for our bodies, is fun!  While I’ve tried to have this pose captured in other races, they’ve never been caught like this one.  Pure joy!

And since it’s Thursday, I’m linking up with Amanda to do some thinking out loud…

I attended a BodyPump class yesterday.

It’s such a good workout.  Pre-baby I used to lift weights all the time, but now BodyPump is definitely the best weight lifting routine I do.  I wish I could go multiple times a week, but when I do have time to workout, I’ve been dedicating it to running, biking, or swimming in preparation for my upcoming triathlon.

No shame in taking selfies either!  Especially after reading THIS POST!

You can see in that picture how bad my roots were.  Luckily, I was able to get into Preston Salon yesterday, and Zac fixed me right up.

audrey

I swung by my sister’s after the salon as it was on the way to the nail shop.  I asked Audrey if she wanted to come get her nails done with me, and of course she said yes.  So we had a little day date.  I love my mini-me.

And how about this guy? Teething monster, but always a #ladiesman!

ladiesman

Are you usually happy with your race photos? Do you try to pose for the camera?

All American 5K | American Flag Tank

I love love love that I’m back into running again, particularly racing.  It’s so much fun, and I adore the atmosphere of race day bursting with excitement from all sorts of runners.  That’s yet another reason I love running and racing – the community.  It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, how big or thin you are, how fast or not you are.  If you run, if you signed up for the race, if you’re there at the starting line, you’re a runner!  Sometimes races can intimidate people, but don’t let it!  Every race I’ve been to has been full of supportive people cheering each other on with one similar goal – to cross the finish line.

Sure, some people are faster than others and race to compete, but that’s the nature of the sport.  You can be as ambitious as you want.  You can try to achieve a PR (personal record), you can try to place, or you can aim to finish. No matter what, we’re all running the same race!  That’s my take on it anyway.

My sister Stephanie and I ran the All American 5K in St. Louis this past weekend.  I ran as a Chipotle runner, and like I always do, I set out my outfit the night before.

A few weeks ago, someone from Tipsy Elves reached out asking to provide me with some of their new patriotic gear for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. You’ve probably heard of Tipsy Elves before.  Their brand and products were first featured on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank in 2013 and have received favorable press with the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, New York Times, and others. Tipsy Elves started as a Christmas sweater company, but has since evolved and expanded into a one stop shop for all fun and unique holiday apparel.

As I was browsing through their selection, I couldn’t help but chuckle.  I mean, they have everything from American flag tank tops to long sleeve shirts to fanny packs to dresses to jackets to FULL JUMPSUITS!  It’s funny, too, because Stephanie is kind of obsessed with all things with the American flag.  So much so that we often tease her about it and send her pictures of the most ridiculous American flag stuff we can find.  Anyway, I chose this American flag tank top.

It arrived just in time for the All American 5K. They kindly sent one for Stephanie, as well, which was a nice surprise for her.  She was ecstatic because the tanks really are so cute and crazy soft! They were perfect for the race!

fourth of july tanks

We were literally standing beneath the tiniest ledge on the side of a building before the race started as it was pouring down rain!  As we drove to the race, the skies were dark and threatening.  By the time we were on the shuttle, it was raining.  We stepped off the bus into pouring rain.  We tried to camp out under the ledge before the race began, but it was pointless as our shoes quickly became soaked with the standing groundwater.

The race was showcased as “The Fastest 5K in St. Louis!” as the majority of it is flat or downhill.  However, we didn’t want to bust our butts in the rain, so we stayed at a comfortable pace.  It literally rained THE ENTIRE RACE!  It let up a couple of times, and I would make some remark about how it stopped, and then instantly it would begin again.  It was unbelievable how hard and how long it poured.  Everyone, everything was absolutely drenched.  St. Louis is totally over this rain.  But… we finished and proudly sported our medals!

post race sisters steph

27:58 to be exact!  It is faster than our last 5K and not too shabby considering the torrential downpour!  Post-race goodies included ice cream which you know I was a fan of.  I can’t wait to see which Chipotle race is next in the Go! St. Louis series!

We raced (ha!) home and speedily showered and got dressed before heading to our parents’ house for a delicious Father’s Day brunch.  I was starving by the time we got there and ate a ton.  If you know my parents, you know what amazing food (and how much!) we always have, and this brunch certainly didn’t disappoint.  But more importantly, we celebrated my amazing father – the smartest, kindest, most selfless and talented dad we’ve ever known!

dad fathers day 2015

We love him so much and William has the BEST “Pops” in the world!

momma william june2015

How adorable is his outfit?! My mom got it for him! LOVE it!

No family brunch would be complete without some cousin love and William-squeezing:

cousins 615

(This was the best we got after many arguments of who got to hold William; they finally compromised on putting him in the middle, but they both got to “help” hold him. Must be touching baby at.all.times!)

Running in the rain – yay or nay? I don’t love it, but we survived!

The Next Chipotle Race

The Next Chipotle Race is the Go! St. Louis All American 5K and Fun Run on June 21, 2015 – I’m running & Chipotle is sponsoring me! Sign up to run with me!  My sister Stephanie is running with me and she’s American flag obsessed, so I’m thinking we’ll be putting together some fun outfits for this All American 5K!

Unlike the last race we ran, this course is supposed to be mostly flat and downhill and perfect to PR on. Not only that, but this All American race is complete with apple pie and ice cream.  Oh yes!  You know I love a good post-race treat! So, St. Louis friends, who will sign up to run with us? Would love to see you out there!

steph linz july 4th

Really old throwback picture – closest thing I could find of us in anything red, white, and blue! We need to start working on our race day outfits! Clearly the bikinis won’t cut it!

I know this girl will be the other Chipotle-runner at the race, too!

In blog news, you bloggers should sign up with TapInfluence. FitFluential uses it which is why I originally signed up, but it’s a good way to get in touch with brands, get your name out there, and do some paid campaigns. It walks you through making a media kit, and that’s it. Pretty easy. Use my referral link and get yo’self signed up!

In healthy deals news, you can save 20% on Skoop superfood blends and plant-based protein for the whole month of June! Fuel yourself up right for a super summer. Enter code ‘BAG20’ at checkout to apply the discount. (A-Game greens are my daily favorite!)

In baby news, my poor William has another ear infection!

On top of his molars coming in, now his poor little ear is infected!  Sleep has been rough, so he’s been needing some extra momma snuggles. While nights have been harder, he is still his same happy self during the day…

…raccoon jammies and all! We like to stay in our pjs all day in the summer. No shame.

And on this lovely Friday, I’ll leave you with one last photo – me and my mini-me (Audrey Rose, my niece) who insisted we do “this” for our picture:

Threenager, for sure.

Talk to me! What are you up to this weekend? Any upcoming races?

U-City Memorial Day 5K

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I ran a 5K on Memorial Day.  It was the first race I ran since my half marathon a month and a half ago.  I’d only run a couple of times since then. My sister and I signed up to run the U-City Memorial Day 5K together.  I love having races to train for; it definitely keeps me motivated.  Before the race began, Jackie Joyner-Kersee led stretches.  We jumped at the opportunity to get a picture!

How awesome are her pants?  I want them.

I was recently sent a pair of Champion CSX Compression Socks in exchange for my honest review.  I had worn them once before and decided to test them out again during the race. (Never wear something new for the first time during a race!)  I used their sizing chart to determine which size would fit me best, and it was very accurate.  The socks were tight, but not uncomfortable. I didn’t have to worry about them falling down throughout the race either.

I think it’s hard to judge if compression socks “work,” but I will say this: the course was hillier than I anticipated. I think the compression socks helped my calves not scream at me so much during the many uphills.  Afterwards, I didn’t feel any soreness at all.  I actually thought I would be pretty sore due to my lack of running, all the uphills, and just the general post-race soreness that generally occurs.  But I didn’t.  I’d like to think the Champion CSX Compression Socks had something to do with it!

More than just compression: CSX Compression Sport Socks feature built-in arch, ankle, calf, and Achilles support using the most advanced sports yarns available coupled with a sleek, vibrant look. Our socks are designed to give athletes and active individuals the decisive edge in performance, injury reduction, and recover.

And because I didn’t really understand how compression socks work, I found this blurb on their website:

CSX Compression Sport Socks work to reduce the diameter of the superficial veins in the lower leg, thus helping to improve blood flow. This helps to protect, energize, and renew tired leg muscles.

So it all makes sense now.  My legs aren’t magical; the compression socks must have done their job. But….. post-race fro yo probably helped! 😉

I’m all about sweet treats after a race!  Even if it was 8 a.m.!

The results? Our time was 28:35 which was a 9:12 pace.  It’s faster than when I’ve been running by myself, so I’ll take it!  And because I love stats and competition, here’s how I ranked compared to the others:

  • 224th of 645 overall
  • 71st of 348 females
  • 4th of 19 females ages 25-29

I’m happy with it, but I’m definitely ready to improve my speed.  Time to go to work!  I’ve got plans this summer for training and racing and gains to be made. Details coming.

Did you race during Memorial Day weekend?

Why the Go! St. Louis Course Changed

Yesterday I blogged about my experiences in the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon.  Almost immediately, I received feedback from race sponsors about my posting, including comments about the new course, which took racers through East St. Louis.  I wanted to clarify a few thoughts, lest I leave people with the wrong impression of my experience!
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Born and raised in St. Louis – nothing but love for this city!
As a West County girl, I haven’t spent a lot of time in East St. Louis, which is an area of the city that struggles with crime and is sorely in need of economic development.  When the race course included sections of East St. Louis with boarded up shops and chained up businesses, I wondered why race organizers had decided to highlight that part of St. Louis.  Well, race organizers reached out to me to explain why they did so.
Jeff, Director of Business Development for Go! St. Louis, wrote:

“GO! St. Louis is a VERY customer centric organization. We’re all about the runner, sponsor and spectator experience. We’re very dialed into feedback. Candidly, almost to a fault.

When we surveyed the St. Louis running populace over the course of the last couple of years, the most common reasons for NOT signing up for the Half Marathon and Marathon were that the course was ‘stale’ and/or ‘too hilly’. So, we undertook a 10 month effort to organize and align all the political entities to make a new course possible. That process involved a lot of work, a lot of meetings with various factions of the City, the City of East Saint Louis, The East Saint Louis Police Department, The State of Illinois, MODOT, IDOT, the St. Louis Police, St. Louis streets, special events, Lumiere Place, etc.

Given the explosion of running events across the country, most events are experiencing a downward trend in race registration. The new course, in large part, provided GO! with expanded race registration, particularly in the Half Marathon.

East St. Louis has been fantastic to deal with. They were excited about the race coming to town as a chance to showcase their community. They organized their city, their community organizations and fully staffed the first Water Station in East St. Louis. By all feedback, they did a tremendous job!

From a race operations perspective, there are only two bridges we can use, the MLK & Eads. Clearly, volume prohibits use of the Poplar Street Bridge and the Stan Span is federally owned. It takes, literally, an act of Congress to use that bridge.

I can share that I personally spoke to hundreds of half marathon and marathon finishers after the race. The course changes are being very favorably reviewed as evidenced by the comments on our Facebook Page. A litany of people mentioned how beautiful downtown St. Louis looked as they returned via the MLK bridge and how neat it was seeing the Eastbound runners on the Eads Bridge.”

eads bridge

photo from Go! St. Louis Facebook page

After reflecting on this some more, I’m so glad they changed the course.  Here’s why:
First, the Go! St. Louis half celebrated its 15th anniversary this year, and feedback from past races indicated that runners thought the old course was getting a little boring — and way too hilly. The new course took runners across the bridge into East St. Louis (which is technically in Illinois), then looped back around and returned to Missouri for the rest of the course.  The return trip into the city offered amazing views of the St. Louis skyline — a fact which might have been obscured in my memory because that was also a point in the race when it started to rain on us!  But I remember the views, and they really were great.
The second, and more important, reason that organizers chose to take runners into East St. Louis was to make sure that community could be involved in the race, which made the overall experience much more diverse for everyone — always a good thing!  While the buildings and landscape were a little run-down, the people in that community were AWESOME.  There were groups of people from East St. Louis churches (dressed in their Sunday best!) who cheered us along the course as soon as we crossed the bridge into their community.  And the water station in East St. Louis was staffed entirely by volunteers from that community, including high school kids.  I love that East St. Louisans came out to support runners–many of whom (like me!) are from a very different part of the city.
 
I may have been a little too glib in my post yesterday.  I certainly didn’t mean to speak poorly of ESTL.  If anything, the race showed me that the spirit in that community is strong, and that those of us from other parts of the city should be proud of the diversity our city offers and encouraged to get involved to help out when and where we can.