RnR St. Louis Race Weekend Recap – Day 3 – RACE DAY!

If you missed Days 1 & 2, go catch up here.  I’ll wait…

Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s pick up where I left off.  IT’S RACE DAY!!!!  Start time was 7:00, so we had set our alarms for 6:00 with plans to leave the room about 6:45.  We were only a few blocks from the start, and it was chip timed, so none of us really cared to stand around in the corrals forever before the start.  As we were walking up, still several blocks away, we heard the gun but still didn’t bother to get in any hurry.  We still stopped to get pre-race pictures before jumping in the corral.

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Me, Kim, and Trisha. We hadn’t found Tiina yet.
10-19-2014 - Pam & Tiina before RnR St. Louis

Kim snapped this photo from the start line.  The race banner, the sunrise, the arch in the background… best race photo ever.


And just a couple minutes later, we were crossing the start line.  I had absolutely no plans or goals for this race whatsoever except to ENJOY IT!  I hadn’t run more than 8 miles since March, so the only thing I had in mind was to keep it slow and steady so I didn’t blow up halfway through.  I did a pretty good job of that.  I felt really good all the way through, other than being pretty hot.  It was in the 40s at the start and in the 50s by the finish, which I usually wear shorts to run in, but that day I had on tights.  I ran pretty steadily until I hit the 10-mile mark and then I started walking up some of the hills, of which there were plenty.  That’s one of the things I love about this course.  It’s constant rollers.  I have learned that I by far prefer a rolling course to a flat one.  I seriously just love this race.  I crossed the line in 2:21:35.  Out of my 12 half marathons, that puts this one right in the middle time-wise.  Given that this one was run solely for fun I’m TOTALLY cool with that.

10-19-2014 - Pam crossing finish line

10-19-2014 - RnR St. Louis finisher's photo

It’s fun to think that a few years ago I ran a 2:21 fully trained and felt tanked at the end and now it’s my “fun run” time after a full day on my feet and climbing up and through and over shit at the playground…excuse me–“museum.”  And I remember a day when running 10+ miles would put me back in bed for a nap before lunch.  haha  Okay, maybe that’s not a good point because I totally would have taken a nap Sunday if I’d had time.  But instead we all headed back to the hotel for quick showers because we had tickets to go up into the Gateway Arch at noon!  We thought we were leaving in plenty of time, but a complicated checkout at the hotel, lots of traffic because of the Rams/Seahawks game, a walking detour because of construction at the Arch, and a long security line made us a few minutes late.  Thankfully they let us go on up anyway.

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View of the stadium from the top of the Arch.

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River view looking out the opposite side.

And just some more photos from the park grounds…

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One of my favorite pictures from the weekend, taken by some random kid Kim picked out of a crowd.  haha

And with that, our weekend was a wrap.  Kim and Trisha had a plane to catch, and I needed to get on the road home, so we dropped Tiina back at her car where she’d parked close to the start line that morning, and we headed back to the airport.

I had an AMAZING time with these ladies, and I cannot wait to do it again!!!!!

RnR St. Louis Race Weekend Recap – Days 1 & 2

TL; DR version:  Met friends in St. Louis.  Did some stuff.  Ran a race.  Did some more stuff.  Had fun.  The end.  If you want the full story, grab a snack and get comfortable, ’cause this is gonna take a while!

Once upon a time, way back in April, this crazy blogger lady was in town on her quest for 50 half marathons in 50 states.  Long story short, we met for dinner, I mentioned that I was running RnR St. Louis in October, she hadn’t run a race in Missouri yet, my plans became her plans, and BOOM, it was settled.  We were meeting in St. Louis!  Somewhere along the way, she conned a friend into coming with her, and I twisted Tiina’s arm (Not very hard either.  She’s pretty easy like that.) and a twosome quickly became a foursome.

Kim and her friend Trisha were due to arrive at 2:55 Friday, I left my house right at 10:00 and somehow timed it perfectly.  I parked in the airport cell phone waiting area and texted her to let her know I was there, and she replied that they had just landed.  I drove around and picked them up within minutes and we were ready to get our weekend started!

After checking into the hotel, we walked just a few blocks to the expo to get that part out of the way.  We thought it’d be quicker and easier to get in and out Friday, and MAN we were right.  It was the least crowded I’ve ever seen an RnR expo.  I think a lot of the vendors weren’t even there yet.  There were very few samples being given out.  Although I have to say I got the coolest freebie at this expo that I’ve ever received at any expo ever–A SLINKY!!!  (Side note:  Slinkies do not work on escalators.)

It was while we were at the expo that I got a text from the missing quarter of our foursome telling us that she’d had a family medical emergency and that she’d have to skip dinner with us that night and just meet up with us the next day.  So three tourists set out on a mission to find food, which turned out to be quite the fiasco.  haha  The other girls had BBQ on the brain and we ended up at a place called Marcel’s.  We looked at their menu before we went in, and there were veggie-friendly items on the menu.  Baked sweet potato, veggie of the day, side salad, done.  Easy enough, right?  So we were seated.  We ordered our drinks and three appetizers to share, and then when the waiter came back to take our order, he informed me that they were out of sweet potatoes.  “No problem,” I said, “just change that to a regular baked potato.”  Ummm… yeah, they were out of those, too.  Seriously.  Had I known where the nearest grocery store was, I’d have gladly offered him directions to procure a potato.  As it were, I just ate more than my fair share of our appetizers and said I’d grab a sandwich somewhere when we left.  I used the Happy Cow app and found a sub shop nearby that had veggie options, so we hoofed it there on our way back to the hotel only to find them CLOSED.  I got a little irritated then.  But we had passed another sub shop on the way there, so we went back to it, stopped to look at the menu on the door.  TEMPEH!  WIN!!!  We opened the door to go in and the guy behind the counter tells us, “Sorry, we’re closed.  We close at 7:30.”  It was 7:effing34.  “Oh, you’re closed?  Sorry, I was confused by your unlocked door and your lights being on.”  Ugh.  By that point I was ready to give up and hope for better luck at breakfast.  But then purely by luck we happened by another little restaurant.  Without much hope, I walked up to look at their menu.  The first two things I saw were peanut butter & jelly sandwich and hot dog.  I entertained the idea of a PB&J for a split second and then I saw it–eggplant sandwich!  Ahhhhh… finally a full, happy belly.

So then we headed back to the hotel and started mapping out the rest of the weekend.  We knew for sure we wanted to do three things:  Tour Busch Stadium, tour the Budweiser brewery, and go to the arch.  With tickets bought and plans made, we called it a day.

The next morning, we hit the ground running and didn’t stop till we crashed that night!

Busch Stadium Tour:

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So weird to see the stadium completely empty!
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2011 World Series Championship Trophy
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View of the field from the home announcers’ press box.
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Me. In the Cards’ dugout. HAPPY, HAPPY GIRL!
Picture of a picture.  I usually don't fall into the tourist photo trap, but this one was too good not to buy!
Picture of a picture. I usually don’t fall into the tourist photo trap, but this one was too good not to buy!

The plan then was to meet Tiina for lunch and head to the brewery for their free tour (because the paid tour was sold out).  Thing is, you can’t book the free tour.  It’s first come, first served.  So when we got there at like 3 in the afternoon, the next tour wasn’t until 7 that night.  Had we known how crappy and short the free tour was gonna be, I’d have suggested we skip it, but we didn’t know.  But that left us with lots of time to kill, so we looked to Tiina to entertain us since she knows the city.  And this is why I love Tiina… she took us to a big-ass playground.  Well, she called it a “museum,” but she described it perfectly when she said, “The City Museum is a museum in the same way a tomato is a fruit.”  haha!

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Coolest. “Museum.” Ever.
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My only advice to anyone about to go down a 10-story slide is to wear jeans that don’t have metal on the back. It will light yo ass up!
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Multi-level metal grates should be a mandatory alternative to stairs everywhere.
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Trisha making her way through a wire tunnel a couple of stories up.

After we’d had our fill of the playground, we headed back over to the brewery to hang out in the biergarten until our 7:00 tour, but we just happened to get there about the time the 6:00 tour was starting.  We decided to try our luck at crashing, so we just kind of stood there like we belonged and nobody ever kicked us out.  We started out in the Clydesdale stables.  Those horses have it made.  I’m not one to support animals being exploited or forced to perform or even be on display for human entertainment, so trust me when I say Budweiser is doing it right.  These animals are treated like royalty.  When we arrived, most had already been blanketed and put in their stalls for supper, but one was out being groomed.

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Now that’s a big horse’s ass.
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Massive beautiful beast. I just wanted to go hug it.

Then we went inside the brewery where basically we saw some big tanks where the beer is stored and that’s pretty much it.  It kind of sucked.  I guess they know that and that’s why they give you a free beer at the end as some sort of atonement.

After that, we grabbed some grub and headed back to the hotel to turn in.  We WERE there for a race after all!

Okay, that’s long enough for one post.  More tomorrow.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I’ve been playing out a lot of “if this happens” scenarios in my head lately hoping like crazy that things would work out where I would get to go to a St. Louis Cardinals division championship game at home this season, and all those “ifs” fell right into place last week when San Francisco knocked out the No. 1 seed Washington Nationals and St. Louis defeated the Dodgers.  With the NLDS starting on a Saturday in the higher-seeded team’s home town, that put Games 1 and 2 in St. Louis this past Saturday and Sunday!  D and I treated my parents to tickets and the four of us roadtripped it up to St. Louis on Sunday afternoon.

Me, D, and my parents.

Me, D, and my parents.

I’ve been a huge Cardinals fan as long as I can remember, so I’ve been to lots of games and always thoroughly enjoy them, but there’s just something about the post-season.  The energy, the electricity, the excitement… it just doesn’t compare.  We were lucky enough to score World Series tickets last year when the Cards played the Red Sox, but it was during my blogging break, so you guys didn’t get to hear about it!  But if any of you are baseball fans… remember Game 3 when it went into extra innings and ended with the Cards winning on an historical obstruction call at home plate?  Yeah, we were there!  Couldn’t have picked a better game of that series to go to!  And it happened again Sundayt.  Whatever the outcome of the series, this game is one I’ll remember forever!  Everyone goes to a game hoping to see their team hit a home run and we saw FOUR.  Taveras’s homer put us ahead in the 8th, bringing the stadium to a high, then our closing pitcher Rosenthal blew the lead in the top of the 9th, firing everyone up even more, and then when Wong nailed a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th, the crowd was deafening.  I’m just now getting my voice back myself!

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Giants’ buses arriving at the stadium

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My boyfriend, Matt Holliday
My boyfriend, Matt Holliday


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I can’t wait to be back in St. Louis next weekend with friends for the race and to enjoy more of the city!

Three Things Thursday

1.   We received a lot of plants and flowers at the funeral last week.  The flowers are beginning to look a little sad, but so far I haven’t killed any of the plants.  It’s a modern-day miracle.

2.   I’ve proven to  myself a couple of times that I’m unable to quit the blog, and since I’m gonna stick around I need to make some changes.  I’d like to rename it to something more personified and maybe migrate it to WordPress, but that all seems like a gigantic pain in the ass.  But you know what else is a pain in the ass?  Blogger.com.  It’s latest thing is telling me I’m not following any blogs.  It does it almost every day, but I can refresh the page over and over and finally it will pull my blog roll up.

3.   I finally found a shirt for RnR St. Louis next month!  I’ve got several Cardinals t-shirts, but they’re all cotton.  You wouldn’t think it would be this hard to find a ladies Cardinals tech shirt, but it was!  All I could find were men’s until I found this one on fanatics.com.


Sometimes the route you were planning to take changes.  Sometimes you encounter roadblocks and have to go off course and do some unplanned twisting and turning.  You’ll still get to your destination, but it may take you a little longer to get there.

I won’t be ready to race RnR St. Louis in October.  Due to the circumstances with D’s mom, I just haven’t had the time to invest into quality training.  I’m running here and there and will no doubt be able to cross the finish line that day, but it will not be in a PR attempt as originally planned.  I’m spending the weekend with two FABULOUS LADIES, so there will be no shortage of good times, and October 19, 2014, is going to be about having fun running through Cardinal Nation and showing my team pride!!!  One of those ladies will be racing her first 70.3 only two weeks before this, so depending on how recovered she is, we may just have to shoot for a new personal worst!  haha  If I remember right, there are plenty of bars on the course.  And how cute will I be in these?!

WTF is it about an article of clothing in the floor that attracts animals???

The PR attempt will be delayed by at least six weeks when I’ll be running St. Jude in Memphis again.  And I’m even toying with the idea of running Mississippi Blues in January since it JUST SO HAPPENS to be on my birthday!  (And probably Little Rock again too since I’m so in love with that race.)  So yeah, my route has had to be recalculated, but I’m not one little bit upset about it.  The time I would have been running (and everything else, for that matter) has been spent with family, and that’s where I both need and want to be right now.  There’ll be plenty of time for everything else very soon.

The Outtakes:

Race Recap: Rock N Roll St. Louis Half Marathon

I’ll just get right down to it.  I blew my own mind this weekend.  I ran faster and stronger than I ever expected, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself right now.

Let’s see… where to begin… I made it to St. Louis around 3:00 Saturday afternoon.  For the most part the drive up was uneventful, but about halfway there my phone’s car charger quit working.  Ordinarily that wouldn’t be a big deal, but since I was using the GPS feature, the battery was draining FAST.  Then when I got into downtown St. Louis, there was a lot of road construction and I got all turned around.  By the time I found my way to the hotel, my battery was in the red zone.  Again, this wouldn’t have been a big deal either… IF I had brought my wall charger.  But I didn’t.  So to preserve the battery I had to keep my phone off most of the time, thus explaining the very few photos from my weekend!

Anyway, after I got checked in, I did the expo thing, grabbed a to-go plate of spaghetti from a little pizza dive near the hotel, ate, and was in the bed by 8:00.  I was up late the night before and had to get up early to work half a day that morning, so I was pretty worn out.

Up at 5:00, Clif bar for breakfast, dressed and ready to head to my corral by 6:00!

The outfit.  And photographic evidence of why I always wear my hair covering my ears.

It was still dark and a little on the chilly side just standing around.  There was a beautiful view from the corrals though.  The sun rising behind the arch was so pretty!  

I took this one right after I got there.  It got prettier as the sun rose, but I didn’t want to turn my phone back on and waste any more juice.
By the time we got moving, the sun was well on its way up.  It didn’t take long at all to get warm.  Within just a couple of miles I had a good sweat going on, but I never got uncomfortably hot.  Sure I would have preferred it to be a little cooler (It was like 55.), but otherwise I can’t complain at all.  It was a beautiful day for running!

As of the time I crossed the start line, I still hadn’t fully made up my mind how I was gonna run the race.  I figured I would know within the first couple of miles whether I was going to race it or just run it.  Well when I felt how naturally the 9:30s were coming, I decided to just hold onto that as long as I could and see where it took me.  Little did I know I’d be riding that pace all the way to the finish line.  A few things of note…
  • The course started and ended downtown with some parks and residential areas in the middle.  It was really pretty nice!  The spectatorship was great.  There were aid stations aplenty, and they were all super well organized.
  • I passed several people on every hill.
  • I hit the 10k mark in PR time.  When my watch read 6.2, the time on it was 59:09.  When I crossed the 10k timing mat, my watch said 59:45.  So either way I got my sub-1:00 10k.
  • My watch showed a distance of 13.2 at the end.  I did a decent job of running the tangents, but there were a few times that I chose to run around the pack rather than slow down and run with it on the tangent line.
  • I hit a rough patch around mile 8.5.  It was right after I had stopped for a few seconds at an aid station.  I had walked through a couple of them prior to that so that I didn’t drown myself trying to take a drink, but I actually pulled off to the side and stopped at this one to dig the compression shorts under my skirt out of my crotch and launch a couple of snot rockets.  I know.  I’m such a lady.  For a few minutes I was afraid that by stopping I had lost my groove, but I just keep pushing and eventually came through it and found my stride again. 
  • The mile that included the aid station stop was my one and only mile over a 10 min/mile pace.
  • I had three Clif Shot Bloks at mile 4ish, three more at mile 8ish, and about half of a vanilla bean GU that I had grabbed from one of the earlier aid stations at mile 11ish to get me through those last couple miles.
  • I hit the lap button when my watch read 13.1 at a time of 2:06:30.
  • I crossed the finish line feeling positively triumphant.  My goal was to average less than a 10 min/mile, and I crushed that.

For now I’ll have to use my Garmin stats because, for some reason, according to the official results I wasn’t even there yesterday.  Faulty timing D tag?  I dunno, but from the looks of the event’s Facebook page, that happened to a lot of us. I’ve turned in an error correction request, but I don’t know how long that will take; if it will have my 5k, 10k, and 10M splits; or even how accurate any of it will be.

After collecting my bling and some snacks, I headed back to the hotel to clean up because I had plans to meet THIS GIRL for brunch!  What better way is there to celebrate a PR than with good company, food, and booze?!  Valuable lesson learned:  I am a CHEAP DRUNK immediately after running.

So half marathon #9 was one for the record books (well, MY record book anyway) and has left me looking forward to December 1st more than ever! 

One more for the ever-growing collection.  My precious…

Three Things Thursday

  1. I bought a pair of black CEP socks as the final piece of my Rock n Roll St. Louis Half Marathon outfit.  Yes, it’s still a month away, but it’s never too early to plan the outfit.  I wore the tech tee I bought for it on a run a few nights ago.  No issues there.  I’m set!  I’m still not sure how I want to approach this half.  I can’t decide if I want to race it or run it for fun and wait until the spring to go for a PR.
  2. I’ve gotten two estimates for having our tree that was struck by lightning cut down.  I’m in the wrong business!  The first guy told me $500 without grinding the stump, and I thought, “HA!  I’m getting another estimate…”  The second guy told me $850 to cut it down and grind the stump.  I wish the storm had just uprooted the damn thing.
  3. Seriously????  TWO PEOPLE have entered my Lavoro Designs Runner’s Necklace giveaway.  Go.  Now.  Enter.  Yes you.

Races: I Can’t Register for Just One

I had a pretty severe case of race brain this weekend.  It all started with Adam and his Freeze Your Thorns Off Virtual 5K on Saturday.  I had been looking forward to that for a little while because I haven’t run a 5K since last March.  I wanted to see how much, if any, improvement I had made since then.  And with all these 5K thoughts floating around, I just couldn’t get the Cupid’s Chase out of my head.  It’s a 5K about half an hour from here that I did last year but that I had sworn off this year because they had nearly doubled their registration fee.  (It went from $20 in 2011 to $35 this year.)  But, dangit, I just really wanted to do that race!  So Friday night I bit the bullet and registered.

Having an actual 5K race with real, live people in two weeks, that made me change my mind about “racing” the FYTO5K.  So I decided to just turn my missed track workout from Tuesday into sort of a 5K on Saturday.  I warmed up for one mile, then did 800s (well, mostly 800s…there was one 1200 and one 0.60 mile) with 400 recovery intervals for a total or 3.1 miles.  I felt pretty good about that because even with my recovery intervals, my 3.1 time was 27:59, which is only eight seconds slower than my 5K PR from last year.  So now I’m pretty excited about getting a new PR at the Cupid’s Chase in a couple of weeks!

Now, for me, when that race bug bites, I can’t stop at just one.  I’ve had my eye on an October half for a little while but have been unsure about whether or not I wanted to register yet.  Well, the fee was scheduled to increase by $15 on 2/1, and then I JUST SO HAPPENED to come across a $15 coupon code for registration, so I am now also registered for this!

Woot!  That’s sure to keep my butt moving this summer!
And then I remembered that the mortgage payment is due on the 1st, so I stopped while I was ahead.

Three Things Thursday

1.   I am HATING myself for not running RnR St. Louis this weekend.  I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan, and in case you missed it, they are in the World Series.  Even though they will be playing in Texas this weekend, I can guarantee that city will still be rocking.  It would have been a heck of a good time.

2.   Everybody needs earrings for Halloween, and my friend Shelly makes some awesome ones.  You should totally check out her etsy site.  She makes way more than Halloween stuff (Anything you could possibly want, really.  Even custom stuff.), but I’m loving these right now.  I bought a pair of each!  (And a pair of the spidery ones for my sister!)

“Canaima” – For the obviously Halloweeny look

“Jack” – For the more subtle fall look

3.   I started Christmas shopping this week.  I bought two things, and they are for people I usually have NO idea how to shop for.  I always say I’m gonna get an earlier start on the shopping, but I think this year is the first year I’ve actually done it.  I’m very happy to have two of my most difficult ones crossed off my list already!