The Go! St. Louis Marathon was my first marathon of 2015. I had previously skipped the Mississippi Blues & First Light (Mobile, AL) marathons in January, plus a February marathon in Texas, all due to a nasty case of Plantar Fasciitis. So I was looking forward to St Louis and the new course which guaranteed a “flatter, faster” course.
I signed up for this event last year on an early bird special. Before Ferguson. Before family friends began telling us about the gang issue(s) in St Louis. Before my PF took control of my
life running. As the event neared, I ended a running hiatus and started the “Oh Shit” marathon training plan. You probably haven’t heard of that one but it’s the plan that an experienced runner “may” use when they have been forced to take time off and a marathon “sneaks up” on them. About the time I started this “plan”, other Go! St Louis marathoners were probably getting ready to taper. The Plan in its 4 week entirety:
- Week 1 – March 1 – 10 miles
- Week 2 – March 8 – 12 miles
- Week 3 – March 15 – 15 miles
- Week 4 – March 22 – 20 miles
Yep, that was it, then I “tapered”, i.e. ran normal mileage until the April 12th event. This is obviously a “do as I say, not as I do” moment. That’s not a real training plan. Don’t try it unless you want to
cry struggle thru your marathon. I knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy race for me, I was just planning to finish it and knock another state off my list. And that I did. Success.
Expo – Good location in the Chaifetz Arena which was about 1-2 miles away from most of the host hotels. Easy to get too. Lots of metered street parking. A $5 pay lot. Small, crowded expo but lots of friendly people & volunteers.
Race Day – Brought us cool temps (55 degrees) and overcast skies. Yes! Great start location on Market Street down by the Opera House. Plenty of space and well marked corrals. The view wasn’t too bad either.
Race started on time and weaved thru downtown St Louis before taking us over the first bridge, where we crossed the Mississippi River into East St. Louis, IL. Short jaunt on the IL side of the river, then back over a different bridge to head back to MO.
The second bridge bounced. Maybe a suspension type bridge of some sort? Regardless, it was a very odd feeling and some people even shrieked from surprise. However, as soon as we were over the bridge we were headed down by the St Louis River Front via Laclede’s Landing. Ah, The Landing. The place that I heard so much about before our trip. We even had one friend warn us to just avoid it “at all costs”. But on foot, in a marathon, it’s all good. And it was a beautiful area. Flowering trees, lots of parking and restaurants/bars galore. Local rumor is that the gangs have taken over this area and I’m pretty sure that’s a true statement. There were zero spectators in the area. And there were several “young men” walking around various streets dressed exactly the same, even though they weren’t visibly together. So I’m glad I got to see The Landing in a safe environment and I hope that St Louis is able to reclaim The Landing for the residents and tourists because its worth the fight.
The first half of the race was great and most of the participants called it a day with the half marathon. Go! St Louis boasted a net downhill for the first half and it was a nice course with lots of historic sites. I was particularly impressed with the Budweiser campus. Neat, and clean. They even had a Clydesdale out for pics!
Although that first half had a net downhill, there was a continuous grade, either up or down. I tried to stay relaxed and slow that first half because I knew the
lack of mileage hills would eventually take a toll on my body. And I was right. A little “niggle” in my right knee because a major pain in my right hip. Regardless, I kept powering on, past the half, up the inclines on Market Street, up and down ramps and mini bridges, around the endless turnarounds in the middle of roads, thru Forest Park, past the Forest Park mansions (that were spectacular), and eventually back to the finish. It wasn’t pretty. But I made it. I didn’t hate it. And my foot held up well. So I’m happy.
Missouri – DONE! It was a great race. Well done. Nice town that’s working on improvement & restoring old buildings and neighborhoods. Yes, there are hills. And bridges. And ramps. And lots of pinpoint turns around orange cones in the middle of random roads. But overall, it’s a good race and one where you’ll see the peeps ahead and behind you so definitely a good one if you have friends who are also running!
** Amanda – TooTallFritz **