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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Counting Down the Hours to Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon St. Louis

Because that's all that's left, hours. I have to wake up in 11 hours and race time is in less than 15 hours. Crunch time. It's been an epic weekend though, and I'm fully confident that the race itself will be winning as well.

I began my trip into St. Louis on Wednesday. Let me tell you, Wednesday was insane. Tuesday night I went for one of my last training runs before this race, and things started to unravel.

Many months ago, I battled ITBS in my left leg. I was injured during PHM and after that race I went through over 2 months of physical therapy and many other treatments. Since May, I've been happy to report that my IT band has fully cooperated. I went through all of this training without an issue. I was pumped. Even the last long training run I did of 13.1 miles felt great. I was so excited to do a race without pain and see what I could really do. That excitement came crashing down Tuesday night.

A few days prior, more than 5 days after my 13 mile training run, I felt a little tightness, a familiar tightness, in my right leg. My good leg. I brushed it off. Surely I can't be having IT Band issues now. My suspicions were proven correct on Tuesday night. Not even a quarter mile in, I felt the tightness and pain in my right knee. I stopped to stretch a few times during that 4 miles but by the end, my knee was tight and it hurt. I was in shock. How could this be happening now?? I am less than a week away from my first of 5 half marathons in 5 months and I'm looking to do my first full marathon in the spring. I wanted to cry. I went home and rolled my legs, I stretched, and I hoped it would feel better on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning came, and it did not. I hobbled down the stairs and limped around. I rushed around to get the kids off to school, to pack, to get my hair done(because I can't run 13 miles with roots you know), all while trying to put the pain in the back of my mind. I called my chiropractor, one of my saviors during my ITBS battle, and got an appointment after my hair appointment. Bless his heart, he fit me right in.

I did my packing and my hair fixing and headed his way. I told him to work whatever magic he had. I see my chiropractor every 3 weeks religiously, he knows me, he knows what I went through and he knows how hard I trained. He got to work on the moving and the stretching and the ART, then the electric stim on my leg.
I felt much better immediately and by Thursday it felt completely better. Here's to hoping it holds up for tomorrow.

Our trip from NC to MO was uneventful. Visited family in TN and got in on Thursday. The mister is stuck working so it is all 3 kids and me, all by myself.

Thursday was epic by itself. All running aside, I'm a very big music buff and my cousin's tattoo shop was having a private concert with Steve Ewing, the singer of one of my favorite bands, the Urge, Thursday night. Of course I was all over going. After spending a bit of time visiting with my parents, I kissed the kids goodbye(I had spent hours in the car with them after all, mama needed a break), and headed to pick up my best friend of 23 years. It was an amazing show, maybe 15 other people there with us. Steve Ewing was so nice, and it turns out he actually ran the Rock and Roll full marathon last year and he is a runner too.
Talk about front row seats

Steve Ewing and Me

Me, Steve Ewing and the Bestie
It was an excellent night. Friday was an easy day, visiting with more family and hydrating.

Saturday morning, this morning, was the day my friend Amy and I decided to go to the expo. Amy is a girl that I ran track with in high school and we reconnected because we are both moms of 3 who took up distance running within the past couple of years. We wanted to do the expo early, before it got busy. I have only been to one expo, the expo at Disney during PHM weekend. That was very large and super busy, so I expected the same today. I was wrong.
We got there a bit before the expo opened and there was a small line, which moved extremely quickly once they opened the doors. The first thing they have, much like the Disney expos, was where you pick up your race packet.
There are many booths for each corral, I believe there are 20 corrals. I was originally supposed to be in the corral 15, as when I registered I put down a much slower time. Again, very little waiting, which was a plus.
Much like runDisney, each booth is set up according to bib numbers. I was able to get my packet in less than 5 minutes and was off to the corral change booth because my anticipated finish time was much faster than what I had put down. While I have heard the Rock and Roll races aren't strict at all about corral enforcement, but I still wanted to be in the proper corral as I am a rule follower. I was moved from corral 15 to corral 11. I walked right up, gave them my estimated finish time, was not asked for proof of time or anything supporting my claims of a 2:15 half, and was given a new sticker for my bib that said 11. Much different from runDisney, who requires proof of time when changing corrals and who will be doing away with corral changes at the expo in 2014.
Next up was grabbing t-shirts and swag bags. The t-shirts are very nice, Brooks shirts, but the drawstring bag I was given wasn't nearly as nice as the one I got for PHM.
Wearing the shirt, but I got a bad juju feeling so immediately took it off

Then came the fun, or so I thought. Shopping the expo. Except there was so little shopping to be done. There was a lot of Rock and Roll gear, but if you thought Disney prices were high, RnR merchandise prices made my eyes bug out of my head. Any guilt I felt over spending $70 on a PHM tech jacket instantly disappeared upon seeing the $110 price tag on the RnR St. Louis tech jackets. Aside from that, you had a booth with shoes, a few booths with fuel and other running gear, but certainly far from the huge selection of stuff at the PHM expo. I did load up on my precious salted caramel Gu for race day.
I walked around looking for the KT Tape booth, as I wanted my IT bands and knees taped, but they were nowhere to be found(even though they told me on Twitter they would be there). Most of the familiar booths were not there. runDisney wasn't there, neither was Raw Threads, Sparkle Skirts or Team Sparkle. I did happen upon a display with the medal I will earn tomorrow, and it does excite me, being from St. Louis and being a huge Cardinals fan.
This medal is going to look awesome on the new Sport Hooks medal hanger I won just yesterday on another blog(more awesomeness to add to this weekend). Speaking of Sport Hooks, they did have a booth at the expo. I stopped by and told the woman I had won a new hanger yesterday, which will work great because the first one I bought from them was already full. Oh the bling life problems. It turns out I was speaking with Marcey, the owner and creator of Sport Hooks. Marcey is an AMAZING woman. She designs all of the medal displays, all of the products she sells are made in the USA. She has finished a marathon in all 50 states and she is just as nice as can be. We chatted with her for a good 20 minutes and she is just amazingly passionate about running and her work. I've always liked Sport Hooks medal holders but now I will never buy anything else. I love companies like this, that connect with their clients, existing and potential.
Marcey, owner and creator of Sport Hooks, and Me

Hopefully there will be more to come on Sports Hooks in the near future(foreshadowing!!).

We walked around a bit more, the expo was far from crowded, but there was so little to do that we left a lot earlier than I expected. I could have spent more than a full day at the runDisney expo I attended, there was so much to do and see, between vendors and guest speakers. This was the exact opposite. While I appreciated not having to deal with a big crowd, expos are exciting for me and this was not. We got a few more pictures and headed out less than 2 hours after we came in.

On the way home, we did stop at a St. Louis original, Gus' Pretzels. It's a staple around here. Fresh and hot pretzels, they've been in business for decades. When my husband and I got married, we had Gus' pretzels at our wedding reception. They make them all right in front of you. It is the day to carb load afterall.

The rest of the day has been spent being lazy. I wanted a nap but I didn't think it would bode well for an early bed time, which is needed for my 4:30 am wake up call. I loaded up on my usual sushi for dinner.
It left a lot to be desired but white rice is white rice so I had to make do. Race time is 7 am. It's looking to be cold, in the 30s, something I'm not looking forward to. But I'm going to kill this race, I won't let the idea of my IT bands causing problems get into my head, and I'll be back tomorrow night with a full race report.

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