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Friday, September 5, 2014

#79- The Heart of America Marthon (misspelling intentional)!

So, I was looking at airfare over Memorial Day and found that Delta was having a great fare special from Salt Lake City to St. Louis. In a conversation I had with Houston Wolf, I asked him if he knew any good marathons in or near St. Louis? He mentioned to me that the Heart of America Marathon in Columbia, MO was on Labor Day.

 I needed Missouri for my 50 State quest so, I went online and was shocked to see that, like Pocatello, this race was only $45!! I signed up right away and bought the cheap airfare!
After running the Pocatello Marathon on Saturday, I hopped on a plane and headed to St. Louis. I checked into a hotel Saturday night and got some rest. Houston was also running HOA and was driving from Memphis through St. Louis. He was AMAZING to offer me a ride to Columbia for the race, saving me a rental car and probably getting lost. THANK YOU HOUSTON! :-D 

Post marathon flying heaven! I actually got a nap on the plane! 

Once we got there and we checked into the host hotel, I went to the packet pick up and picked up my number and t-shirt. I was talking with a few of the volunteers who informed me that it was supposed to rain the entire race! I was happy/sad with this news. Happy because HOA is according to Houston, one of top 5 hardest road marathons in the country and it is notoriously hilly, hot and humid without a spec of shade on the course (all of which are like Kryptonite to me). The rain might cool it off a little.  Sad, because I had used up the last of my Body Glide for Pocatello! If it was going to rain, I had better be properly lubed!
I asked Houston for a ride to a local running store (and again he obliged) where I was able to get what I needed. There we ran into fellow Maniacs, Paul and Lacy and chatted a little. We left the store and headed back to the hotel where I met a few other Maniacs and then went to dinner.
After dinner we went to bed and I forgot to set my alarm! Good thing I woke up naturally 10 minutes before it would have went off! I looked out the window and it was pouring rain and windy! This was not what I had in mind!
The hotel had made breakfast bags for runners the night before, so I started eating this strawberry Special K bar in there before heading down to the lobby. Once we got down there we were told that the race start was going to be pushed back an hour (to 7:00am).
This was fine with me as it gave me time to visit with some friends and get a cup of herbal tea and some eggs from the continental breakfast that opened at 6:00am!

 Maniacs waiting out the storm!
 Houston and I taking a selfie! :-)
 Looks like Denis intends to run this race fast! ;-)
 Denis, Amy, Justin and I  (why can't people wait for the camera to focus?)
 This was Amy's 3rd marathon for the weekend!! She needed her bacon! :-)

At 7:00am, the race finally got underway! this was the first time in the 55 year history of the race that the start had to be postponed. It had stopped raining buckets and was now just lightly raining. The wind however was really strong for the first few miles, blowing of my hat (and others). I had to run chase it down the highway! Thank goodness and runner behind be was able to scoop it up and I just left it off.
About 3-4 miles in the weather turned nice. The rain had stopped and the wind had died down and the cloud cover kept the sun off us. It was humid, but it could have been much worse.
The course was pretty nice, but had more monster hills than I have ever run in a road marathon. Even more than Tacoma. I was feeling pretty strong for just running a marathon with one day's rest.
I am sweaty and wet!
I loved this part of the course!
Me along the river.
Mile 17 and just an example of one of the many monster hills on this course.
A lot of this course was in a very rural area. There were a lot of big dogs walking in the street. At around mile 20 two big dogs ran up beside me and started running with me. I thought it was awesome until they would just shoot off into the street where there were cars. I was getting so nervous that I spent a mile with my hands over my eyes afraid they would get hit! I finally asked some people at the aid station to keep them off the road. I was kind of hoping they would run the rest of the race with me though. :-)
The last few miles were tough. It was a little warm and the hills were still never ending. When I hit that final stretch I was so happy! I crossed the finish line and stopped my Garmin. I had just run the hardest road marathon I had ever done after running a marathon 2 days before and finished in 4:37:29! This would be my 3rd best marathon time EVER! What the heck is going on? This is AWESOME!! :-D


Yep! My 3rd fastest marathon to date!!
When I collected my race medal, I heard other people laughing at the fact that something was wrong with it. It seems the printer who made all the medals and awards, misspelled the word "MARATHON"! They spelled it "MARTHON" and the poor RD's did not have time to get them fixed before the race. Everyone I saw was cool about it and thought it was pretty funny, as did I.

As I was waiting for the shuttle to take me back to the hotel, a car with 2 volunteers pulled up and asked if anyone wanted a ride. I jumped in and got back to the hotel in time to get a shower before check out.
After the race everyone met at Shakespeare's Pizza for a post race pizza party! The handed out age group awards and I sat and talked with Houston, Denis and a few other Maniacs. I had not seen the results and we were getting ready to leave when I thought, let me just take a look to see how I did. I screamed when I saw that I had placed 1st in my age group! I took my "MARATON" plaque and was pretty happy.
We left the party and started the drive back to St. Louis where Houston dropped me off and headed home to Memphis. I can't thank him enough for giving me a ride. One of the many things I love about being a Maniac is the willingness of people to help you out. A special shout out to Houston for reaching his goal of breaking 4:00 on this course! Freaking AMAZING!!

   The swag!
I was really scared going into this race, but I have to say, this was awesome. I really love these small, low cost races that cater to the runners. They are old school and a lot of fun!! I would totally recommend this race, especially if you like hills!

I flew home the next day and my luck continued! :-D

1 comment:

Tommy Handorf said...

Great race report Angie! I'm still flying high over my sub 4 hour time. I also loved this marathon, it was extremely tough but surprisingly enjoyable. I was able to chat with Houston a bit. He passed me at mile 25 looking so strong. Unfortunately I never got to meet you, but am glad I found your blog. (I'm terrible about updating mine). Congratulations on your 1st place in your age group! Good luck to you in your upcoming races!