I am having a major case of the Woulda Coulda Shoulda’s following the Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis half marathon yesterday (hence the title of the post). However before I get into the reasons for this, I want to share with everyone what an awesome weekend I had in St. Louis. So here we go!
On Saturday morning, I picked up Stacy, my Mom and friend Kara and began our journey to St. Louis. Our journey took much longer than expected due to us having quite a few pit stops (staying hydrated on a road trip does not equal fast travel time!). Once we arrive in St. Louis we got checked into the hotel and Stacy and I took a run around the city to freshen up our legs. Following the run, Stacy, my Mom and I headed to the Expo. At the Expo we finally got to see Diana, who had been in the city since Friday. We maneuvered our way around, shopped a bit and then headed back to the hotel to see my Dad, Aunt Holly and friend Emily (who was also running).
The nerves really started to set in on Saturday afternoon and I began having a minor (or major) meltdown over my outfit. I was worried I would get too hot during the race. Oh well though, there was nothing I could do at this point. I got a pep talk from Zack (my bf) and took some deep breaths. Our group then headed to dinner at Charlie Gitto’s for a pasta dinner. When we got to dinner I was still a bit on edge (ok, a “bit” might be an understatement) and asked my Dad permission to have a glass of wine. He told me one glass wouldn’t hurt me, so I slammed it and felt better.
After dinner, Diana, Stacy, Emily and I had a pre-race pow wow. We committed to our goals, planned out our water stops, and decorated our race numbers. We also enjoyed some cookies and frosting – a pre/post race ritual for Stacy and I. Then it was time for bed. We went our separate ways and attempted to get a good nights rest.
The alarm went off at 5:40am, and I was ready to face the day. I got dressed in my lululemon outfit, put on my make up (yes, I always run races in my full make up face), did my hair and ate half a zone bar. I also drank half a cup of coffee and drank some water. I headed up to Stacy and Emily’s room to pick the girls up and then we went to meet Diana. We found Diana on the corner of the street dressed in a trash bag. Apparently she had been told that she should do this to stay warm(?). After quite the entertaining walk to the starting line, we got situated. We said bye to Diana, and headed to our coral. Next thing I knew – the gun went off and we were running.
I was running, and I felt pretty good. Mile one hit and I was on my pace to PR, then mile two and mile three hit and I realized I was slower than what I needed to be. It was ok though – I had miles to make it up. I decided that mile 4 would be where I got in my running “groove” and tried to start hitting those 7:10 miles I needed. Well, mile 4 ended up being a 7:26 – far from my 7:10 pace I needed. I had quite a pick me up at mile 6 where I heard familiar voices cheering me on. Kara and Lindsey were yelling loud and clear “Go Alicat!!!” and it was the best thing ever! It motivated me SO much that I ran a 6:58 mile! Finally – I was getting on pace!
The second half of the race wasn’t at all what I had been imaging and envisioning. I was hot, I shoulda worn a tank. My energy was depleting, I wish I woulda eaten the entire zone bar. Had I not had these issues, I coulda been running my PR pace. I am not a mental runner. I can usually block out my head and continue to run without trouble. But during this race I was really struggling. At no time did it feel easy or feel like I remembered that 1:34 feeling 3 years ago. I was constantly telling myself that, “you can do this, you can do this. Don’t lose hope, you can do this.”
The last few miles of the race flew by. I was high fiving anyone that would offer one up, and encouraging any of the runners I was passing that I knew could use it. My focus was on the finish. I knew I wouldn’t be hitting my new PR, so I just ran as hard as I possibly could. Finally I saw the finish line and started pumping my little arms and legs as hard as I could. I heard Lindsey scream “Go Alicat!” and I threw up my arm to acknowledge that I knew they were there and cheering me on. Then the finish line appeared. The relief I felt crossing that line was unbelievable. I was so happy to be done and proud of myself for finishing. Then I looked at my watch and felt the disapointment – 1:36:39. I didn’t PR, I didn’t even come close.
I stayed at the finish and waited for Stacy and Emily to come through. Stacy wanted to run under 1:40, and she made it with 5 seconds to spare. We found our families after getting our post race photo together, and took a few photos.
After Emily finished we got in the car and headed to mile 22 to cheer on Diana. The spirit she had at mile 22 was amazing and inspiring. She was so happy and running steady with the 4 hour pace group.
Next stop was the finish line, where Diana graced us with her happy face far ahead of her 4 hour goal. We screamed at her and cheered our hearts out as she crossed the finish line. We hugged, jumped up and down and screamed together. She did it – she ran a freaking marathon!!!
Post Race Thoughts
As soon as I got back to my hotel room, the “woulda coulda shoulda’s” really set in. I wasn’t happy, I was straight up disappointed. I felt like a failure. I hate not meeting my goals, and today I was far from meeting my goal. I started thinking of all the reasons why I didn’t make it. I wish I woulda trained harder, maybe those track days I coulda run a faster pace, and then I shoulda been happy with the results. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of myself. I know what I accomplished is a huge deal and I did amazing, BUT it is still hard to be happy with.
I have been thinking about that PR I so deeply crave. Is it possible to ever run a 1:34 again? Or is it the same situation as my 5k time (which is that I know will never be able to run a 19:40 again)? I know what I need to do. I need to be happy with what I ran and move on to the next big race. But it might take a few days to do that. I apologize if my enthusiasm is lacking when you tell me “good job!”. I appreciate everyone’s support so much, and hopefully soon enough I will let it go and move on.
Thank you again to everyone that has supported me throughout my training and throughout this race. I cannot wait to return the favor to you all when you are working hard towards something in your life 🙂