Rock and Roll St. Louis
Well this was it, my third marathon in 8 days. I guess like all my other reports I should start at the beginning.
I boarded a flight to St. Louis Early Friday morning. This was going to be a loner marathon for me. I was pretty banged up from the concrete in Omaha and the double in Connecticut and Rhode Island just the weekend before.
As I limped through the parking garage to the terminal I was having some serious misgivings about this trip.
Once onboard the plane I read a book to distract me, which was fine since my seatmate was napping. The plane was very very loud! It wasn’t until we landed and were taxing to the gate that we even talked, and that’s how I met Ed.
I was telling my seatmate about the marathon on Sunday when the lady in front of us turned around and said, “hey my seatmate is running the marathon too!”
Ed, it turned out was in the Army. He had just returned from Afghanistan and was using some of his last leave time to run a few marathons. The 6’2 and 220lb African American man just became my best friend. As we were deplaning I mentioned that I would be taking the train to my hotel the Union Station in downtown. Ed gave me a funny look and said even though he was planning on renting a car, he would take the train with me.
While I thought that was a little strange who was I to say no.
Turns out that not saying “NO” was the best decision of my life.
Have you ever taken the train from the airport to downtown St. Louis? Well if you haven’t all I can say is it wouldn’t be the safest trip for a 5’2 blond traveling alone.
I swear every guy who got on the train looked like he wanted to take off with my bag (and possibly me too). Thankfully Ed, my guardian, literally stared a few of them down and we made it to the hotel safely.
It was too early for me to check in, and Ed was planning on staying with a Marathon Maniac that he met online (and you thought I was dumb right). So in solidarity we left our bags with my front desk and walked over to the Expo.
Downtown St. Louis was a lot like downtown Detroit but instead of a big Fist and Donut in Hart plaza, they have the ARCH!
Once again, I was glad to have Ed with me. We talked so much I felt like we knew each other forever.
Once at the Expo we exchanged numbers and split up. Me in search of all things shiny and Ed in search of the guy he was supposed to stay with.
The Expo was pretty nice but nothing really caught my eye. I did however make a Chocolate Milk promo for a sponsorship contest and got the thrill of my life meeting Dean Karnazes the ultimate Ultra runner.
Now a little about Dean. You see a joke between my friends Leah and Cary, is that when we run Dean’s 50 mile race, at the end, we were going to hold him down so Leah could lick him (you know like a dog does to you after a run), please don’t judge us! It’s all in good fun.
I couldn’t resist sharing that story with Dean and taking advantage of a photo op to pretend to lick him (yes, just pretend gals). He though it was so funny that he signed my small poster of him with “Sue, No Licking, Dean”
I was having a great time when I got the text from Ed saying that he met his host and would meet me outside the expo. With nothing purchased I met the guys.
My first impression of Curtis was not very favorable. He immediately stated that his car was loaded up with stuff so he wouldn’t have room to drive me back to my hotel. By the way I didn’t even ask him to drive me, I had just said hi!
Ed, not wanting me to make the long walk alone, told Curtis that he would call him later. Once we started walking we began to make plans for the evening.
That night was the Cardinals opportunity to clinch the National League pennant. Since game tickets cost 140.00 each for standing room only, I had planned on watching it at the pub just across the street from my hotel. Ed said he and Curtis would meet me there so I wouldn’t be alone.
Once I checked in, texted home, and laid out my race stuff I took a long nap in preparation of a long night.
By 7p I was sitting at the bar talking to Laura, a die hard Card’s fan, watching the first pitch and keeping an eye out for the fella’s. I was having such a great time with the locals that I didn’t even realize the time.
At about 9p Ed showed up but no Curtis. We ended up having shots with the owner of the pub whose name was, you guessed it, Eddie! Even though the Card’s lost the fans were going strong. About an hour after the game I was ready to call it a night. Ed walked me across the street with plans to text in the morning and see the Arch together.
Poor Ed, while I was sleeping away in my nice hotel room, he was looking for a place to stay! It turned out that Curtis didn’t really want Ed to stay and made him uncomfortable. He ended up sleeping in his rental car all night.
After calling my lobby, they were able to find a hotel for Ed but it was 45 minutes outside of the city. Again, poor Ed!
Since he really needed the rest, I decided to just make my way to the Arch myself. We could always meet up later.
It was a glorious day. The Arch was, well honestly, not as impressive as I thought, but at least I got some great pictures.
Ed met me a few hours later and we toured a bit of the city. Because he had a rental car, we were able to go across the river to check out one of the many casinos in town. After an early pasta dinner we decided to meet in the lobby and walk to the race together.
Remember how I was limping at the airport, well after all the walking I did it was a full on limp with a wince thrown in for effect! I was not feeling that confident about this marathon.
The next morning was again, perfect running weather if not a bit warm. Ed and I said farewell and made our way to different corrals. (Ed is a 3:30-4:00 marathoner and I was hoping just to finish)
Holy Hills! When they said the course was hilly I had assumed that there where two or three challenging hills. WRONG! This was hilly from start to finish. If you weren’t going up a hill, you were going down it with a new hill lurking just ahead. I didn’t make it a mile before having to walk! Ouch.
At one point I think everyone in the free world passed me. My face was wet and it wasn’t until mile 5 that I realized it was because I was crying. No this was not going to be a good race for me.
At mile 8 I had a bad feeling. Was this going to be my first DNF (did not finish)? How was I going to make it 16 more miles?
As I turned the corner one of the mile marker bands began to play “I will survive” by Donna Summer. I don’t know if it was that my muscles were starting to go numb or that the words got through to me but for the next 5 miles I had Donna singing in my head.
At the halfway point the clock read 2:30 and I knew I would finish. Even if I had to walk the rest of the way I would still make the 7-hour time limit.
The bands were fantastic and really pulled me through, well that and the Tylenol I took at that 20 mile aid station.
Amazingly enough I was passing people left and right. How, I really don’t know but I managed to cross the finish line. The first person I saw was Ed and I just began to cry. Wow I really did it! My 22nd state, 25th marathon, 13th of the year!
Ed felling bad for me, offered to drive me to the airport so I wouldn’t have to take the train or a taxi. We talked about plans to meet again at another race. He was my hero.
As always times are not important this year but just so you know, I managed to squeak out a 4:51 before once again limping home to prepare for the next marathon just 2 weeks away.
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