The Skippo Trail Race 2017

Question- Do you do something you know you can do or push yourself to do more?

What if you come in last?

What if you might fail altogether?

That’s the question I kept asking myself leading up to the Skippo Trail Race. I’d done the 20k two times before and thought “What the heck, it’s just one more loop” and “I want that 30K belt buckle” (which I had no plans on actually using as a belt buckle).

So I clicked the 30K option and was filled with anxiety from then on. The cut off time is 4 and a half hours. I’ve finished the 20K in 2:37 and 2:35. I’d looked at my pace and time I don’t know how often. I kept telling myself that if I really wanted to I could drop down to the 20K and that hey, maybe I’d be forced to stop after the second loop because you have to be there by 2:50.

Ugh.

But I know me and I know the only way I would actually stop after 20K was if someone actually told me to.

So….

Race Morning. Also known as.

The race that almost wasn’t.

The race starts at 9:00 in Ballwin Missouri which is about half an hour away. The strongly recommend you take the shuttle to the start. The last one is at 8:45. For whatever reason, my GPS had me go 3 miles on a dead end road only to have to turn around. If I’d known it was a dead end I wouldn’t have taken it and I certainly wouldn’t have gone all the way to the turnaround point! Maybe it’s my fault for not looking ahead but I was trying to pay attention to the road. I’ve never had this issue before.

I was already anxious and this added stress of being late wasn’t helping AT ALL. I honestly thought about just scrapping the whole thing and going home. And I was this close for bursting into tears.

I drove back the three miles (again) and just decided to try to get on the highway next to the road I had just taken. I had no idea if that was the right road or not. I looked at my phone and my ETA went from 8:56 to 8:50. Still just in time to miss the shuttle.  But at least I was now back on my way! I’d figure out parking somehow.

As I was driving up the road where the shuttle parking lot is I just glanced over and saw a van still there and a girl running towards it! If I hurried, maybe I could make it! I quickly turned left and found a spot to park and ran the to van. I told the driver how happy I was that he was still there! I talked to the other girl and it turns out she had gotten half way to the race and realized she forgot her shoes and had to go back and get them!

She helped calm me down by telling me that they release groups in waves. I knew that but in my panic I’d forgotten (it turned out we were both in the same wave too but she was doing the 20K) and we’d still get there in time. The driver said he’d drop us off right next to the start too so that we didn’t have to walk.

We got there and the announcer was still talking. The first group still hadn’t gone yet. We had plenty of time. So all that panic for noting.

I even had time for pictures…

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Once I was finally on my way I tried to just enjoy the outdoors. It was a really nice day and the leaves and everything was just beautiful. I didn’t take any pictures like I have in the past because I can’t get to my phone as easily. That’s something I need to work on.

I’d either forgotten or the sand on the trail is new, either way it’s not fun or easy to run in sand. After about 2.50 miles come the tunnel and then the stairs. About 200 of them. Straight up. But after those stairs you get the most amazing photo opportunity. One worth actually stopping to get your phone.

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Worth it!

The trail is open to the public which adds to the challenge but they often bring dogs so that evens it out 🙂 I saw so many dogs!

I was feeling really good. It was a little warm but still ok. I finished the first loop in 1:20. I passed through the start to continue on to the second loop. More sand, more stairs, more hills, more beautiful view and more dogs!

Then, at about mile 9 or 10 BAM! I got a really good look at the ground. It HURT! The lady in front of me stopped to ask if I was ok.  Turns out she knew my pain because she had taken a tumble going UP one of the hills. There was crusted blood on her leg. My knee and elbow and hip were hurting but I couldn’t stop now! I finished the second look in 1:29.

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Ouchie.

If you add those two times together you know I’m cutting it close. As I was passing for the second time I checked with an official and he said I was still ok to continue if I wanted to. So on I went. I grabbed a GU from a volunteer and pressed on.

There seemed to be less people out on the trail as I was doing my last loop. And I knew there was at least one person behind me. Going up the stairs this time I tried taking them 2 at a time. Not because I was feeling that great but because I was hoping that would somehow be faster. As I was going up I saw someone having to carry his dog down the stairs. That was kind of funny.

I didn’t fall this time and when I got to the creek I just ran into it and stopped to splash water on my legs.

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At one of the aid stations I refilled my water both of which slowed me down but at that point I needed it. With about 2 miles left I saw two guys. I wasn’t sure if they were in the race or not but I made it my mission to find out. Turns out they were. And I finished before them. Somehow. I finished the finial loop in 1:31 for a total of 4:21.

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AHHHHH! I DID IT! And I didn’t come in last!

I don’t know if I will ever do the 30K again but I am so proud of myself for not quitting! I will be back next year doing the 20K for sure!

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The Great Go! Halloween Half Marathon 2017

20171022_103029.jpgThe weather was looking really rough for this run. They sent out this email:

“As we plan for tomorrow morning’s race, like many of you, we are watching the weather conditions as they develop. Right now, the race will continue as planned, but we will be updating you as quickly as possible in the morning if conditions change. We will use our social media channels, as well as local news outlets to keep you informed.

Our policy is to continue the race in rain and wind but delay or cancel for lightning/storms. If a storm/lightning happens during the race, our race crew and volunteers will give you instructions on how to take appropriate shelter – all shelters are pre-determined locations along the route.

Please know that the safety of our participants and volunteers is our top priority as we make decisions.

Thank you for being a part of the 9th annual Great GO! St. Louis Halloween Race – we hope that the weather allows us to still host you for a great event tomorrow morning!”

Receiving this made me feel like :/ I was actually kind of curious about how things would go if they did have to cancel the run but I was determined to finish.

Packet pick up was really convenient, or at least it would have been if I had checked the location Friday before I went to get my packet for the Tenth Life run. It’s in Ladue so close to where I work I could have walked there during lunch. I will have to remember that next year! Anyway, I really like the shirt/hoodie. It’s a lot like last years but more of a green color. I also like that they give Chipotle buy one get one cards.

I wanted to dress up but because of the weather I decided not to.

Race morning wasn’t so bad. I was waiting around the start area and saw this guy20171022_065404I could tell from his bib that he was doing the 5k but I still don’t know how he walked in that thing. 20171022_070649

Some of the 5k runners.

Then all of a sudden it started raining. I was glad I hadn’t dressed up. I don’t mind running in the rain but I don’t really like standing around in it. Thankfully it stopped and most of the race was dry.

I didn’t remember seeing any zombies last year and because of the weather I was pretty sure there wouldn’t be any but there was!

I really like this race and will continue to do it but there are a few things I didn’t like this year. Mainly that before the 5k runners started, the announcer was saying there would be trick or treat stops along the way and to get a bag at the first stop. You could put all your candy in that bag or eat it along the way. Awesome! I was all set to make sure I got a bag and save my candy for later.

As I was running and came to aid stations I didn’t see anyone handing out bags. Or candy. I thought ok, maybe we will get ours the last 3 miles. Nope. Apparently the trick or treat stops were only for the 5k runners. What’s up with that?

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The shirt and medal

I had to get my picture with these guys!

At the finish there was chocolate from Crown Candy Kitchen which I did save for later and it was really good. Again, there was supposed to be a trick or treat zone but it was really just advertising booths. I remember that’s pretty much how it was last year and it wouldn’t really bother me if they didn’t call it a “Trick or Treat Zone”. I mean come on, I expected CANDY!

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With all the races (all of them) I’ve been doing I feel pretty good about my time.

Tenth Life Hissin’ Hustle 5K, 10K

I love everything about Tenth Life and was super excited to participate in their 10K. Packet pick up was at Fleet Feet in Des Peres. A lot of packet pick ups are in that area which isn’t really convenient for me but whatever.

I really like the shirt I got.

The only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s white. The bib however, was the most generic bib I have seen in my life. It was just plain white with numbers on it. That’s. It. I’m not complaining. I actually think it’s kind of funny. At the race there were all kinds of bibs. It was just weird.

They also had a bake sale and I made pumpkin spice cookies the night before. It started at 9am in Tower Grove which is about 3 miles away from home. I woke up super early and decided to go to Schnucks to also make some rice krispy treats.

I got to Tower Grove and wasn’t expecting parking to be such an issue. I went down one street only to have to turn around. It would have been nice if the volunteers standing there would have said something. Oh well. I eventually found a spot and had to rush to drop off the baked goods and then to the start.

We got started a little after 9. The people doing the 5K went around the loop once and the people doing the 10K went around twice. There wasn’t a crazy amount people there but I made sure I start at the front of the pack because I was ready to give this race everything I had.

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I am really happy with my results! My goal was under an hour and to totally met that goal. I’ll definitely be doing this race again next year!

Mo’ Cowbell 2017

It’s been more than a week since the Mo’ Cowbell but late is better than never right?

Packet pick up was the day before at St. Charles Community College so I had to go St. Charles twice.  I was hoping there would be something I might want at the Ex Mo’ and it would be worth the drive but there wasn’t. It was actually pretty small.

I had a late lunch of a baked potato and went to bed pretty early. I knew I’d have to get up extra early because the parking situation is not the best at the race. Fortunately I was able to find parking pretty close. Well I thought it was close anyway. Turned out to be about half a mile away. Oh well. Warm up walk! On my way I ate my pumpkin pie Clif Bar. Yummy!

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I sat on so train tracks to pin my bib on and spotted these ladies in these awesome socks!

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Right before the race they play “Don’t Fear the Reaper”!

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Getting excited now! More COWBELL!!

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There’s supposed to be a bucket on the side the you can put your cowbell in after you cross the start but it was missing so everyone just tossed theirs by the curb. We were able to pick one back up after the race.

 

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The start and a nice shot of the back of someones head…

I had been feeling a little bit of pain in my left hip but was feeling really good until about mile seven but I just pushed through.

I hadn’t done Mo’ Cowbell since 2013 and forgot about the bridges when you go into Newtown. Again, I don’t know why they had bridges like this but they are not fun to run on. Maybe it’s so water can go through and not just sit on concrete?2418SF_A_MO_SFNewTownAtStCharles_0280.JPG

The elevation for the course is pretty flat. There are a few little hills but nothing bad until you get to Mo’tivation Mile. They had this awesome bubble bus blowing bubbles everywhere!elevation.JPG

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After that there is a “nice” long downhill before some more flat terrain to the finish!cowbell.JPG

I have a habit for stopping Garmin before I actually get to the finish so there’s always a little bit difference in time there.

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One of my fastest finishing times! I actually need to look back and see what my fastest half marathon is.

 

 

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The medal is really neat and for the next four years the medals will fit together. I suspect it’s an attempt to get people to come back but I really enjoyed this race and would like to run it again next year! 🙂

As a side note- this was the first year I used bag check and it worked out really well. I got my bag and put on my compression sleeves and changed my shoes as I had a chocolate milk before heading to my car.

Equinox Night-time Half Marathon

On Saturday was my first official night time half marathon but, because of the not guilty verdict in the Jason Stockley trial I wasn’t sure if it would be canceled. There were some not so peaceful protestors and a lot of other things had already been canceled.

I messaged the race director on Facebook and then, just in case, I went for a 6 mile run.  I was hoping I would have a response by the time I got back.

And I did! Race is still on!

The Equinox Half and 5k was in Westport Plaza which although is only about 30 minutes away I’ve never been.  The race started at 7:30pm and packet pick-up was until 6:45 so after I got there I had plenty of time to go back to my car to bin my bib, attach my timing device and put my swag away. I love swag and there was a lot of it! We got socks, a hat, a pint glass and a bunch of coupons for restaurants.

I was hanging around waiting for the start then things took a turn. For some reason my tummy started really hurting. And I was really thirsty. I had brought my Camelbak but didn’t want to drink all the water before even starting so I went to the finish area to grab a water. I saw others drinking it so didn’t think they would mind.

The half marathon was a two loop course and we got going right at 7:30pm.

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There wasn’t a corral start, waves or anything like that so it was kind of crowded in the beginning. Even though it was pretty crowded I heard someone calling my name! I know hardly anyone but I looked over and saw my friend Nicole. She’s a Fleet Feet coach and we talked for a bit. She told me that she had ran 12 miles with her training team in preparation for Mo’ Cowbell on October 1st. Holy cow!

This race was VERY well organized. There were cones all along the route and water stations at every mile. There were volunteers or police at every turn and there were also signs pointing which direction to go when there was a turn.

I was trying to focus on the run but my tummy and head were just not in it! I was hot and still really thirsty. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t feeling well but this course was also harder then I thought it would be.

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Here’s a look at the elevation. It had some pretty good hills. When I saw the turn for the 5k I was really tempted to cut things short. BUT! I didn’t. I just decided to do my best and not focus what finish time I would get. Although I had my own water I had used it all before finishing. I not only walked when I got to an aid station I stopped to drink the water making sure I put the empty cup in the trash and not the grass or street.

I was feeling like crap but when I saw this place I had to take a picture.

20170916_203652There used to be a bakery outlet or whatever close to where I live. Kelly and I would get bread and other baked yummies on the weekends. Then they closed. That was a sad day. Then there was a place within walking distance of when I work. I would sometimes get the pumpkin seed cranberry bread. So good! For whatever reason they closed too! Trader Joe’s used to carry Companions five cheese focaccia bread that’s gone as well. What is the world coming to?!?

Anyway, back to the race. Because it was two loops we had to actually go through the finish area half way through the course. I didn’t mind though because there were a lot of people there cheering. The second loop seemed easier then the first time. Maybe because I already knew what to expect. At one point I heard someone coming up behind me. She eventually passed me and I saw that she was carrying the 2:45 pace sign.

I had no idea really what time I would finish in but when I finally got to the end (again lol) I was SO happy. I happened to see Nicole sitting on the curb near the finish line and called out to her.  I also saw the clock and that it wasn’t at quite at 2:45. That pacer was a little faster then she should have been. I guess it didn’t matter to her because she was alone but I wonder if she had been, maybe others would have been able to keep up?

I was given my medal and headed over to the refreshment table for more water. There was also bananas and small bags of chips. I didn’t hang around long. It was late, I was tired and gross. I just wanted to get home to my shower and bed.

This was probably one of the best organized races I’ve been to. I’m really thankful to the volunteers and the police/fire department for keeping us all safe while we were out. We wouldn’t be able to do this without them!

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Really nice glow in the dark medal!

 

 

 

Heart of America Marathon 2017

The race hadn’t even started yet and I had already peed in the woods.

I don’t know whose job it was to rent potties but didn’t happen. To make matters worse there WERE potties all around us because the start was in the parking lot of the Hearnes Center which had potties available for the football tailgaters the previous day. BUT they were all LOCKED! Maybe the race organizers thought we’d be able to use them, I don’t know.

Ok so a rocky start but oh well. I wasn’t the only one peeing in the woods and it was so dark at 5:30am no one could see anything.

This was my third time running the Heart of America Marathon and they had a new start and finish. The middle was the same.

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I talked to another lady who was using this as a training run for a 50k or 50 mile or something. Wow. We both got ”interviewed” by a college journalist. I’d like to find the interview but I didn’t think to ask her where it would be. Oh well.

I knew it was going to be hot and I brought my Camelbac which was awesome! I loaded it up with gummy bears and had them whenever I felt like it. I also brought tow GUs, toasted marshmallow and s’more. They were both good but the marshmallow basically tasted like extra vanilla. The s’more was mostly chocolate but I could totally taste graham cracker! I’d get that one again.

I didn’t take any pictures this time because although the start was new it wasn’t long at all before we were on the old course. Also, it was HOT but mostly I didn’t because my phone was in my Camelbac and I didn’t feel like go thru the hassle to get it out.

If you really want to see pictures look at last year or the year before that.

It’s strange that even though we go out into the country (feels like the middle of nowhere) there is not much shade at ALL so it was really nice that last three miles were on the Katy Trail and that DID provide some shade.

The course was a bit long but I stopped my Garmin at 26.2.

One the race Facebook page they asked if there was any personal story we wanted to share as we were crossing the finish line. I commented:

Cassie Acton To make myself proud. I’m capable of more than I ever thought.

Heart of America Marathon You sum it up well, Cassie! What a great example for all. We’re glad you’ll be here. See you soon!

It was really neat hearing the announcer say that as I was crossing the finish line. I was never really athletic when I was younger.

In school when we had to run a mile I would be one of the last people. I remember once, one of the first girls to finish came back around to encourage me to keep going, telling me I “was doing great”. It actually made me feel worse. I wasn’t doing great. I knew that, she knew that and everyone else that was already done knew that. I know she was trying to help but it didn’t. Besides, she had already done her run, she shouldn’t have to come back and “help” me. It’s something I’ve remembered all these years later. I wish they could see me now! I really am proud of myself. That’s not something I say often enough.

Ok, ok, back to the race!

I was SO glad to be done. I was handed my metal and a cold towel. I stopped so that Kelly could take a picture of me and then I walked around.

One of my favorite things about this race is the ice baths at the end but I couldn’t seem to find them. I asked Kelly if she’d seen them and she hadn’t. Ok it’s not the end of the world. I wanted to get back to the hotel, shower and get to Shakespeare’s for the pizza! So I grabbed a cookie (or 2) and some fruit and we headed to the car.

I found out later they aren’t able to have the ice baths anymore because of “sanitary concerns”. After rubbing down my legs with the towel I guess I can see why… I was DIRTY!

My Splits-

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Maybe not as fast as I would have liked but with the hills and the heat I’ll take it. There were times that I was walking and looked at my watch. I kept thinking that any movement I was doing that wasn’t walking was faster then walking but there were parts that I just couldn’t. I’m going to try to remember this next year.

I did swipe some pictures from Facebook…

21414731_1830059690339354_6655639167010148086_oHere is a picture of my metal

I love this race and it will also have a special place in my heart.

Heart of America Marathon 2017 Training

I’ve been training for my 3rd Heart of America Marathon and now it’s 4 days away!

AAAHHHHH!

Training has been going surprisingly well considering how hot it’s been this summer.

My longest long run was 20 miles.

On one hand I like that it’s “only” 20 because I want to save the actual distance for the Big Day but on the other hand I’ve still have 6 miles to do. Do I have 6 miles left in me? I’ve done marathons before so the answer is yes I do but….there’s always the but….

Yes each mile split is in the 11 range but it was hot and I knew I had 20 miles to do so I was really pacing myself. I’m happy with the results.

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Never one to stick to a plan I ditched my schedule in the last week and decided to do 6,5,4,and 3 miles before taking a few rest days before Marathon Day.

Monday I wanted to do a 10k and see what my pace was like. I’m really proud of these splits. It’s one of my best 10k’s. 🙂

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Yesterday I wanted to try to do my best 5 miles. It wasn’t my all-time best but it’s up there. 🙂

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Today I wanted to try to finish 4 miles in less than 40 minutes and I DID IT! Each mile is in the 9 range except for the darn 3rd mile because I just had to stop and pick up a nickel I saw on the ground. BUT that still gives me a 9:56 pace average so I’ll try not to beat myself up about it too much. 🙂

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I haven’t done my 3 miles yet. That will be done tomorrow but looking at this I know I have faster in me. I also know to expect the 11 range during the marathon. I’m ok with that. I always have two goals. 1 is to just finish and the other is to finish in 5 hours or less. After last year I am adding one: DON’T FALL!

Before I really got into the long long runs I bought a Camelback.

It is so much better the the hydration belt because it can hold more water and it’s right there. No reaching for the bottle or any of that. The only draw back is if you want to get anything out of it you pretty much have to take it off. And because it can hold so much more water it is a little on the heavy side but I do like it more then the belt so I do recommend it.

 

After HoA I want to take a break but I have a bunch of other races I want to do.

So that’s a lot and sometimes I feel like maybe too much and I don’t have to do EVERY race but oh well. Theres that but again…..