Hula Hoops and Waffles? Don’t mind if we do. – Go! St. Louis Marathon Race Report, Part 2

Last we left off, I was hating my life at Mile 9 of the Go! St. Louis Marathon as my blister popped (or at least, I think that’s what happened) and I debated whether to split off with the infinitely-smarter-than-me half marathoners or stick it out for the full. You guys have been on the edges of your seats waiting to find out, I’m sure.

Ok, no you weren’t. Because you know me. You know there was basically no way in hell, minus a possible nuclear attack from North Korea and/or a suddenly broken leg, that I would drive all the way to Missouri just to run a half marathon.

I’m getting too predictable. I need to start randomly quitting races to keep you guys guessing.

We continued on, heading towards Forest Park, which is apparently a gigantic park in the middle of St. Louis. People tell me it’s bigger than Central Park, but I don’t know that to be true and don’t care enough to quickly Google it and find out. We stayed with Terri and her group still, which was quite amusing since many people ran by and congratulated her on her 100th marathon. The rest of the people were confused by the various signs on everyone’s backs and kept asking whose 100th marathon it was, but they meant well. Around mile 12, we caught up to Abbi, who had adopted a walk/run strategy because of the heat. The temperature at the start of the race was in the mid-60s and humid, which is pretty warm for a race this time of year. It quickly rose higher and we were often running in full sun, making for a really warm and pretty uncomfortable day. Add that to a bunch of hills and a few people who had run a marathon the day before, and you were looking at a lazy bunch. JC’s ankle was bothering him, Amanda and I were feeling lazy, and Abbi was hot, so we all started running and walking together, picking up a first time marathoner named Jessica along the way. She was really amused by our antics and horrified by the number of marathons we have run. But I mean, how could you not be amused by us?

Check out the air Amanda got!

OK, so we’ve still got a ways to go on coordinating the jumping thing. Terri and her group went a little faster as the four of us continued to hang back, but we caught up to them around mile 14. For some reason, at this point in the race, we were just really unmotivated. Like, exceptionally unmotivated, even for us – and y’all know that’s saying something. The good news was we had lots of photo opportunities to distract us! Terri had really planned ahead.

The group with Terri’s family. They had signs!
They also had hula hoops…

The course next took us through some of the nicest neighborhoods in St. Louis and through the Washington University campus, which is where one of my best friends went to school. I was looking for his fraternity’s house along the route, but couldn’t find it. Come to find out that they got kicked off campus a few years ago…awkward.

For some reason, these little stick houses that look like they’re straight out of Super Mario Brothers are on the Wash U campus.

This portion of the course was pretty hilly, but at least it was slightly shaded. It was just me, Amanda, and JC now, and JC was wearing a sign on his back that said “It’s her 100th marathon!” with an arrow pointing to a picture of Terri. The problem was that Terri was now ahead of us, and with sunglasses and a Maniacs singlet on in the photo, everyone just assumed it was either me or Amanda’s 100th. The whole experience made me pretty excited to run my 100th (or hey, 50th would be good too) and make a sign, because people were real excited about it. As we approached mile 18, we were feeling ok, just tired. All of a sudden, an oasis appeared in front of us. It was so beautiful that it almost seemed to be a mirage.

Free Belgian waffles for runners? Holy shit!

This would have been much more exciting if I could have sugar, but since I can’t, I was mostly sad while Amanda and JC were beside themselves with anticipation. Apparently Belgian waffles take like 6 hours to cook, though, because we were there for about 20 minutes. I was allowed to get a tiny free sample of frozen yogurt, though, which made me happy.  It became quite the party at the mile 18 waffle brunch, and fortunately we were far enough in the back of the pack that people weren’t really judging us for stopping.

I’d be interested to know how many people that were just randomly running by tried to get a waffle.

Everyone’s spirits were up after that waffle stop, although I feel like mile 18 is a tough mile, for some reason. It’s like, you’ve run really far, but you’ve still got 8 miles to go, which isn’t really a short run. After mile 20, I feel like things aren’t so bad anymore, but mile 18 hurts the soul. Anyway, we were mostly trying to run more at this point. We had some renewed vigor and will to live, and even though we were pretty far back in the pack – ok, really far back in the pack – there were still great volunteers out and random spectators. The city really supports the race, and it shows. The volunteers were fantastic, and although I heard a lot about problems with the aid stations not being prepared in previous years, that was definitely not the case this year, thankfully. It was really hot and I was getting violently sunburned, but what else is new? At least we had each other and I had my Juicy Juice.

If you can make a trash can fun, then your race is awesome. Bottom line.

We genuinely were trying to run more at this point, although we often walked up some of the steeper hills. Ok, almost all the hills. We mostly just wanted to be done running. It’s kind of strange – you can really enjoy race but still really want it to be over, and that’s pretty much the boat that we were in. Is that obnoxious? Whatever, I guess that’s what we get for running a double. Fortunately, there was a beer stop ahead. Baby likes beer stops.

I just really appreciate the enthusiasm of the woman in the background.

It wasn’t very long before we unexpectedly caught up with Abbi and Ruth! They had been just a couple of minutes ahead of us but had slowed down quite a bit. Meanwhile, we were speeding up and trying to get this show on the road. The longer we were out there, the hotter it got, and everyone was in some kind of pain or another. I guess that’s a silly thing to say about mile 23-ish of a marathon, but whatever. We made one last stop for a photo op at an aid station thoughtfully set up by fellow Maniac Nancy, and then decided it was time to get our asses in gear and get to mile 25 for the T-Rex.

I seriously don’t know what I would do without this girl in my life. For those keeping track at home, only 3 people asked if we were sisters/twins this particular weekend.

As we approached mile 25, I looked at my watch and saw that we could get in under 6 hours, but that it would be close. All of a sudden, that became THE MOST IMPORTANT GOAL IN THE WORLD. I know that’s completely stupid, because I mean, at the point that it’s taking us 6 hours to do a marathon, we haven’t been making much of an effort for the entire race. To decide in the last 1.2 miles that we had to break 6 hours or the world would end doesn’t really make sense, but little about our racing “strategy” ever does. So we kicked it into high gear for the 1.2 mile T-Rex, and when I say high gear, I mean high gear. As in we did that last 1.2 miles at 8 minute pace. And that blister? It came roaring back to life with about 0.3 miles to go – as we were running uphill, of course!

We even look fast in the picture! Slash I look like I’m going to fall over. Accurate.

And finish under 6 hours we did. In fact, a whole 2 minutes under 6 hours, thank you very much! The best part? That last mile-plus was the fastest mile we ran the entire weekend. That’s right – after 51.2 miles, Amanda and I ran our fastest on the last 1.2. Try and look me in the eye and tell me that’s not badass. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. I guess we still had some kick left in those legs after all! We finished the race about to vomit and pass out, but happy. The double was complete!

I can’t imagine better running partners – except Kate. We miss Kate!

Overall, I have to say it was a pretty amazing weekend. I can’t really think of a better way to come back from my surgery than a double, even if it was a double that definitely had a few more rough moments than I would have preferred. It was great to spend the weekend with so many people that I love – both family and friends – and I feel incredibly fortunate to have run two really great races. Could they have possibly been more different? No, not really. And that was part of what made them both so much fun. Southern Indiana was an unexpectedly excellent tiny race, while Go! St. Louis provided the big city atmosphere with some great touches. Getting to run with Terri for a good portion of her 100th marathon was pretty awesome too! In fact, they ended up finishing just 15 minutes ahead of us. They must have stopped for waffles too.

At the end of the weekend, the count was:

  • 1 weekend
  • 2 marathons
  • 45 days since surgery
  • 52.4 miles run
  • ZERO REFLUX.

I can’t really argue with that. Thank you all for the amazingly encouraging and supportive messages throughout the weekend! You’re all awesome and a huge source of inspiration for me. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t quite motivating to know that I’d have to come back here and tell you all what a quitter I was if I didn’t finish the double, so thanks for virtually kicking my ass, as always.

Did I mention Amanda survived her first double? And she didn’t even want to kill me at the end!

24 thoughts on “Hula Hoops and Waffles? Don’t mind if we do. – Go! St. Louis Marathon Race Report, Part 2

  1. Congratulations! I knew you could do it! So proud of you!! FYI it does not take hours to make belgin waffles, karen makes them w/ chicken gravy (I eat just the waffle not the gravy). I cannot wait to see you next month!!!! Giddy.

    1. Apparently it takes hours to make them in Missouri. I have no idea why. Looking forward to seeing you too!

  2. So glad you had a great experience at Go! It seems like they’ve finally got their official aid stations together. I was just past the one past mile 6 about half way up the first Holy Hill. I looked for you, but knowing now your attire you probably got a random “go Maniac!” from me. Congrats on your first double post-op! Glad it turned out well!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! I wish I had seen you out there! I bet spectating for that race was really fun with so many people.

  3. A double so soon after your surgery…you are amazing! I’m aiming to run my first full later this year & you are my motivation. When you’re done with your 50 states head on down under & run one here in Australia!!

    1. You don’t have to tell me twice! I will totally come to Australia and run a marathon. After I do all the states, I want to do one on every continent too 🙂

  4. Damn you’re awesome. You totally kicked ass! Love all of the photos. Glad to know it’s okay to have fun and not be so intense during these races. I did my first half in Feb. and thinking one more half this year then do a full in 2014. 26.2 seems like an awful lot of miles. But you make it sounds so much fun and doable! Congrats and yes you are a badass!

    1. 26.2 is an awful lot of miles 🙂 That’s why you have to have fun with it and not make it a stressful thing. Everyone has a different way that they prefer to run and race, but mine is to enjoy the experience – whatever that may mean on any given day. Congratulations on running your first half!!

  5. Wow! Can I be like you when I grow up? 😉 I ran the hilliest half I’ve ever run yesterday (in my vast number of 5 half marathons and 1 full now, LOL) This was an awesome one as it was a Pub to Pub run that almost passed by my backyard. Nice when it is local and awesome. It was brutal, but I actually had fun with this one. I ran it for the beer and no other reason. The local high school teams did the water stops and they were great. Came in dead last, but I am still cool with that.

    1. That sounds like a great time! I too came in last in a race this weekend, but there was no beer at the end, so it sounds like you’re much better at race planning than me and I need to aspire to be more like you instead of the other way around!

      1. This is a great one so if you ever decide to do half marathons around the US the date for next year is 4/19/14. 🙂

  6. You really DO just crack me up. Your stories keep us all motivated as well as we hit the road in our own pursuits. Happy that you are feeling better and that you have been brave enough to share your ED with others.

  7. It was well worth the wait!! 🙂
    I didn’t realize this was Amanda’s first double!! Congrats Amanda!! Congrats to you too on your first post- surgery double!!
    PS. Count me in for Australia whenever you decide to run a marathon there!

  8. I feel like I need to clarify, Ruth & I were not hurt…. we just stopped at Starbucks at mile 18 while you were getting your waffles, that’s how you caught us! 🙂 Because everyone knows a race just isn’t complete without a frappachino!

    I had such a great time running with you! I have the hot weather to thank for that one. Until next time… stay strong & keep eating your waffles!

    1. BAH I can’t believe I left out the Starbucks stop. That was extremely awesome. I think I was most impressed by the fact that you guys all got like Venti sized drinks – that’s a lot to carry! Y’all are awesome.

  9. You are freaking kick ass! I couldn’t even imagine doing a double! Counting down the days till I stalk you at the Wisconsin Marathon/Half Marathon in Kenosha!

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