Sunday, November 3, 2013

Through the Gateway - Rock n Roll St. Louis Half Marathon 2013

What do you do when you over-deliver?

In 2005, we completed our first marathon. That was part of our Life Top 10. Since we crossed it off the list we had to replace it.  At age 38 and 36, respectively, we thought a reasonable next goal was "50 events by age 50". Including full and half marathons, we crossed that off the list earlier this year in Phoenix and St Petersburg.

So what's next? We celebrate the milestones as they come.

Rock n Roll St. Louis was my 50th Half Marathon and my 10th Rock n Roll of the year, earning me a third Rock Idol Medal. Susan wasn't able to pick hers up at Brooklyn, so she claimed hers in St. Louis as well.

It was in the high 30's at race start. It was actually good preparation for a warm day in Antarctica. We added a few extra layers and kept the gloves on until the race start.

We met Rhonda and Rick on the way in from the train station. Both are Half Marathon veterans. Rhonda has completed 30. Rick will complete his 50th in early 2014 and run his first full marathon in late November.
I like to see my Facebook feed the days after race weekend because I always see friends adding other friends. Connecting in this community is easy since we all have something in common right away.

I also get to catch up on some pictures of the weekends that I missed. I'm glad I don't miss some of them myself!

Beth Austin-Deloria representing well for getbackuptoday, dressing in the local spirit.
I can't remember many starting guns this spectacular. It even rivaled our Solar Eclipse in Port Douglas last year.

I was wearing Susan's "Celebrating my 50th Half Marathon" sign on my back right over the I Rocked 10 Races in 2013 Rock Idol bib. I had dozens of people congratulate me on the achievement, many saying it was their first half marathon. My answer was always "we all start somewhere!" A few people wished me a happy 50th birthday. I can see how they could interpret the sign that way, but I would have hoped I don't look older than I am.

A lot of things go through your head during a race when you're targeting a time - what's my pace this mile? when's that next aid station? when do I eat again? For this one it was nothing like that.

I thought about the other Half Marathon's I'd done, starting with Nike in 2005. I went through what I thought were the prettiest natural course (Avenue of the Giants, 2006, 2007 and Kauai 2010), my favorite urban course (RNR Chicago 2011, 2012, 2013), the hilliest (San Francisco First Half 2013), hottest (Maui 2007, 2008 2009), coldest (RNR Las Vegas 2011). I ticked off my personal bests (Nike, RNR Seattle 2010, Eye-Q Twin Cities 2010, RNR Providence 2011, RNR Chicago 2011, RNR San Jose 2011, RNR San Diego 2012, RNR San Jose 2012, American River Parkway 2013 and San Diego 2013 - yes, I remember them all).

I was moving pretty well to stay warm, but it wasn't until I saw our friend Jennifer near the finish line that I realized the 50th Half was almost over.  Funny how time slips away when you're walking down memory lane.

Jennifer was our maid of honor at our wedding in grad school and drove down from Springfield to see us despite having her foot in a boot. Before she knew we were dating, she always ended up sitting between us in classes. Here she is in her usual position. 
There are other opportunities that present themselves when you're on the race circuit. Before we left, Susan asked if I wanted to see the Red Sox play the Cardinals in the World Series, a thought that somehow hadn't occurred to me. A painful trip to StubHub and we were in the third deck over the Red Sox dugout, watching Uehara pick off Wong to win Game 4 and send it back to Fenway where they clinched the title at home for the first time in 95 years.

The Red Sox jerseys were delivered to our hotel the day before the game.
Because my wife is awesome that way.

October finishes with both of us having 50 Half Marathons and 3 Rock Idols on our racing resume.

I like to believe that as long as we look for opportunities to do something new, then we can continue to deliver on my only New Year's resolution - "Every Year Better Than The Last". It's going to be hard to top this one. But it will be a lot of fun trying.

And by the way, the next bucket list is "100 Events (Half and Full) by age 50". We're 38 away with 37 months left. 

And through the Gateway we go...


The Rock n Roll St. Louis celebrated it's third running in 2013. The even has a full (1543 finishers, median finish time of 4:29) half (7471 finishers, median finish time of 2:17), wheelchair and Half Marathon relay division (winning times were 2:17:58 and 1:34:12, respectively). The loop course starts on Market Street off Poelker Park into an amazing sunrise behind the Gateway Arch and the old Capitol Building. We passed Busch Stadium (home of the St. Louis Cardinals, 2013 National League Champions) and Keiner Plaza before turning west on Washington and Delmar. The parks near mile 7 - 8 were a refreshing contrast to the city landscape. There were a few long grinding hills but the elevation changes weren't very severe enough to slow you down for long as the downhills were just as friendly. 

Weather (2013): 37 F and at the starting line, warming to 55 at the finish. While we seem to be able to hold off precipitation, we can't do anything about the temperature.

Race weekend activities: 360 Restaurant on top of the Hilton gave us stunning views of the Gateway Arch and the preparation for Game 3 and 4 of the World Series. Jennifer came to watch Game 3 from our hotel room. There was a very annoying 18 second delay between live action and the TV broadcast, so the fireworks went off before we saw the obstruction call on TV.

RNR St. Louis was our first race in Missouri, checking of our 17th state including Washington DC. This was Susan's 51st Half Marathon and Ron's 50th. Susan finished in 2:35:10 feeling really good considering she walked most of the way in the mid 11:30 minute/mile pace. Ron walked a 2:31:15, beating his goal time of 2:35:08 (no reason other than it's a Fibonacci sequence).

We're now two weeks away from our Double Live Album Tour

Two Cities, Two States, 11 Hours
One Epic Day

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your 50th, Ron, and on such a wonderful year...with so much still in store before 2014!! SO happy to know you and Susan and to share in some of your cool adventures. --Beth