As we’re prone to do, Steph and I headed down to St. Louis this weekend to visit a couple of friends (Becky and Simon), enjoy some good food, and oh, yeah, torture ourselves by running the St. Louis Half Marathon. In short – a typical vacation for the Hughes family.
Let’s start with the running. The half marathon course (13.1 miles) was challenging, scenic, very well organized, and the city brought out plenty of spectators.
Steph finished in 1:55:14, a mere 14 seconds off her goal.*
My goal was 1:40 and I finished in 1:41:54. Despite missing the time I wanted, I’m considering it a triumph.
Why? Well, around mile 6, the whole thing almost ended when I started having tunnel vision. My feet felt like lead bricks and even the slightest incline felt like climbing up Longs Peak. In short, the symptoms of dehydration.
It was a simple miscalculation, really. The race started at 60 degrees and finished in the mid-70s. Nice weather until you realize that all of our training had been done in 50 degrees or cooler temps. That’s a huge difference and I nearly paid the price and dropped out. I opted instead for Gatorade (4 cups) and water (10 cups) between miles 6 – 10. Despite suffering through that, I still finished just under two minutes off my goal. That makes me feel pretty good about my conditioning – both physical and mental.
What else can I say about the race? I’m convinced the Bagpiper’s Union of North America has a deal to have a member at ever race. I’ve never run a marathon or half-marathon without seeing a bagpiper. It was fun running past the Catholic Church with the priests standing outside in full attire, cheering on the runners, and blessing us with Holy Water. (Simon remarked “You should have run past and screamed ‘It burns! It burns!'” So wrong, but we laughed so damn hard).
I also came across a very interesting runner. About mile 9, I passed two guys. One was obviously a guide, like the sort used for blind runners. As soon as I passed, I heard ‘ASICS Gel Cumulus 11’. A few seconds later, ‘Nike Air Pegasus’. It took me a bit to remember that I was wearing ASICS Gel Cumulus 11 shoes. The guy was autistic and calling out the brands and models of the shoes worn by the runners who passed him. The people you meet …
Of course, what would be a visit to Becky and Simon without food? They are Foodies like us and it’s always an adventure to find out where we’re going to dine. So far, in multiple trips, we’ve eaten at the same place only once or twice.
So for those who are interested, below the cut is a listing of the places we dined. St. Louis – it’s more than just BBQ and Blues.
* Steph is now laid up with tendinitis in her foot, which started bothering her about mile 10. She toughed it out and finished up. I didn’t even notice when I watched her finish so it’s damn impressive she finished so close to her goal.
Boogaloo : An excellent Cuban/Latin restaurant. I was hesitant at first but the Louisiana Crawfish Cakes w/Jalapeno Tartar Sauce was a good starter, followed up by a Jerk Chicken Sandwich (for me) and a Mango Beet Salad and Mushroom Cubaniche (for Steph). Please induce your drooling now.
Winslow’s Home : This place is sort of like a small grocery store/gift shop with a small cafe. And the food was good, all of it local and freshly baked in their kitchen. I ended up with Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes (there were more blueberries than pancake) and Steph dug into the French Toast with Caramelized Banana.
Acero : One of the better Italian restaurants in St. Louis. Excellent bread (made with honey instead of sugar), some wonderful Bruschetta topped with sauteed romaine hearts with chili oil and anchovies. Being the night before a race, we had to carbo load and did so with a great Cavatelli dish.
Schlafly Bottleworks : This place we’ve been to before. A great brew pub with plenty of options for recovering marathoners. Nothing too fancy but neither too simple. Steph went with the Huevos Rancheros and I had a Chipolte Black Bean Burger.