Monday, April 18, 2016

Dear St. Louis,

Picture taken by NSM - View from Hotel

I'm not sure I could live in St. Louis, but I could spend lots and lots of many, many days there.

Like the last two years, I ran the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon again for Stray Rescue of St. Louis. This was my easiest least miserable half so far, the third best time of all my halfs, and my second best St. Louis half time. Still much slower than I want, but progress not perfection.

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Last Friday I headed to St. Louis with the Texas Guy (who now lives in Wichita) and Non-Stop Mom where we dropped our things at the hotel and headed to Pi Pizza. I was so excited to go here because they have vegan pizza! I've had vegan pizza since I made the "transition" to veganism, but it was in the form of frozen pizza from Green Acres (which was SO GOOD, don't get me wrong), but wasn't fresh pizza in a pizza restaurant - and this is important - to know that I can still get pizza! So I ordered a thin crust cornmeal dough pizza with Daiya vegan cheese, match italian sausage (mock meat), roasted garlic, and sun dried tomatoes.  It.. was.. delicious. And THEN.. I ordered vegan cookies. Chocolate sandwich cookies. They brought me two, and these things were even more delicious. I offered Non-Stop Mom half of *ahem* one and she took 1/4th, I then gave up begrudgingly offered the other 1/4th to Texas Guy. And then refused to share after that. Don't judge me. Best vegan cookies EV-ER. I think my co-travelers enjoyed Pi Pizza as well.

On Saturday, we met up with our runner friend from Indiana and went to Stray Rescue to pick up my race shirt and drop off the donations my Mom got together for the pups.  I always love visiting Stray Rescue, but I haven't seen Mr. Randy Grim since my first trip to St. Louis. It was wonderful to meet him! Maybe next year!

If you're looking for a new furry family member, interested in fostering a needy furbaby, or wanting to donate money or goodies, PLEASE consider Stray Rescue! They do amazing things! 

Pic by NSM
Pic by NSM
After Stray Rescue, we met up with our runner friend from Indiana and went to the Expo. As usual, this  Expo is one of the best I've been to, although this time I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't get another Go! St. Louis BeeCause Shoe Charm because they didn't appear to be there. For the first time in I think ever, I didn't buy anything at an expo. Amazing! I think I could walk around expos for hours and hours. There should be an expo every weekend. Of course, I'd need a second job.

Six Flags of St. Louis was next on our list. I've never been, and I haven't been to an amusement park for.. a lot of years. It was smaller than I expected, and two of what are supposed to be their best rides (Mr. Freeze: Reverse Blast & The Boss) were shut down waiting on "warmer temperatures". It was 50-something degrees, I don't know what they were waiting for! The other rides were pretty great, anyway, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed rollercoasters. All the walking irritated my knee, and I was concerned about the race the following day, but not enough to call it quits of course! I'm now on a mission to visit every Six Flags.. With races at all locations, most certainly.

After Six Flags it was time to eat and crash. We stopped at Starbucks where I had my usual Vanilla Soy Latte and a bag of chips. Don't worry, I had some fries at the park. Eating and rollercoasters aren't the most perfect of matches. The hotel was next, where I took a shower and went to bed.

Morning came too soon, as always, and I don't know how many times I hit snooze. If Non-Stop Mom hadn't been up and moving, I might not have either.

Non-Stop Mom (NSM) and I ended up in different corrals, so I started in hers so we could run together. This race felt good, no crazy inner commentary like before. Even after my left knee started to ache at Mile 4, I still felt good. Onward to somewhere around Mile 9, the miles flying by to this point, I lost NSM. I noticed my hips were both aching and my knee was getting more and more pissed off. What's a girl to do? You just don't make it to Mile 9 of 13.1 and give it up, so I kept going. The hills as expected, were rough, the downhills hurting my knee more than the uphills but the inclines wearing me out faster than the declines. As last year, this race ended with a hill.. going.. up. Bastards!

NSM and I were aiming for <3 hours, I ended up at 3:01:15 - and the distance stretched to 13.23 miles. No PR for me, but I knocked off about 7 minutes from my half marathon the Saturday before (13.28 miles in 3:08:52) so I'm happy about that. This race was my 3rd best half marathon time.

Before we left St. Louis we stopped at Fozzie's Sandwich Emporium which is also very vegan friendly.  I got the Veggie Gyro without cheese and I'm not exaggerating when I say it was amazing. I think my travel and racing companions agreed with my assessment.
The ride home was a nasty bitch full of pain and hunger. My knee was miserable and if the pressure on it wasn't just right, wouldn't hold my weight. I was afraid that this time, I had actually done some real damage. We stopped multiple times to get out and walk and I wore my compression socks which I feel helped the fatigue in my lower legs. Even if they didn't help, they felt nice. I've been doing my physical therapy exercises again hit and miss, from back when the knee pain started, and I'm looking into KT Tape with the hope that just maybe it'll help.

I did do a 10k a couple days ago (4/16) without any knee pain during and minimal afterwards, so that was encouraging. 

Have you ever used KT Tape? Would you recommend it?

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