Joker’s Wild Half

Distance: 13.1 miles

Time: 2:58:00

Ran the Joker’s Wild Half Marathon in St. Louis today.  Good race.  Nice support.  Bluddy hot…  Nothing the race organizers can do about that except move the event earlier in the year, which, with the way the schedule goes, doesn’t make any sense… So I guess we’re stuck with it.  There were about 450 people in the race of most shapes and sizes.  I was decidedly pear shaped compared to most of them.

The starting mile or so was a little tight on space since the entire thing was on a trail, but still, with the small number of runners, we thinned out pretty quickly.  After that the course was two, 6.5 mile laps.  It was nice for a couple of reasons.  First, spectators didn’t have to run all over the course to see the race.  Second, you knew what was coming in the second lap!  It started by a lake and then ran for a couple of miles in the woods, then came out into a long stretch the pack I was running with dubbed “Hades”.  It was long, mostly flat, but seemed to run right into the sun no matter which way you were going.  Oh… and there was absolutely NO wind.  Yeah… that hurt…

I decided to try to run with the 9 minute pace group.  A couple of guys from Columbia Multisport Club were the pacers.  Nice guys with several marathons and Ironman’s under their belts.  The only thing I didn’t like about them was that they made it look too easy.  At one point I chewed them both out for not sweating enough.  And their faces looked too pleasant.  There was not nearly enough pain…

Anyway, I managed to hang with them the entire way and they brought me home in a dead on 9:00 flat pace.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  I felt really good up to about the last mile and then started to fade a bit.  But the promise of the finish line, lots of cool water and a finishers medal gave me the charge I needed to get home.  I feel really good considering that was much faster than I usually run that distance.  I’m tired, a little sore/weak, but that’s to be expected.  My previous best for 13 miles was 2:07…!

I think the only complaint I had was the heat.  By 8 am the heat index was already way over 90 and I’m sure it was closer to 95 by the time I dragged my saggy butt across the finish line.  It was good to see that my fitness level was such that I could handle the heat, at least somewhat.  But I’m really not interested in running any more hot weather races.  I’m afraid it’s early mornings or late evenings for me for the next few months.

Now the big push begins.  It’s time to bump up my mileage toward marathon distance.  I think the suggestions I have gotten about eating more during the run will help.  I have re-routed my long runs so that they loop past the truck at the halfway point.  I have been encouraged to pack not only more water but real food as well and to actually take a short break of a couple of minutes and eat before I continue.

I have also been re-thinking some things about what I am doing.  If my only real goal is to  get to the STARTING line and I really mean it that to finish the marathon is just icing on the cake, then I may experiment with what some people have suggested for me which is taking regularly scheduled walk breaks during my long runs.  I know… I know… it’s a marathon… you are supposed to RUN it.  And I will… all but about 20 minutes.  Again… I don’t care about time.  I just want to do it…  and finish it… and get it over with… and live to tell about it…  So I can move on to something else just as fun but less… abusive…

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