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.
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.
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.
And just some more photos from the park grounds…
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!!!!!
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:
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!
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.
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.