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St. Louis trips and half-marathons

I’ve been to St. Louis twice this past week – once to PA announce the Mizzou/Illinois baseball game at Busch Stadium (which I get to below), then today I ran the St. Louis half marathon. The 1/2 mar. went well, I finished in 2:06:40, my slowest of the 3 I’ve run by about 10-15 seconds (off of the Hawaii race last year) but I felt much better during/after this race than I did in Hawaii. I’m guessing when I slowed down and stopped at various water tables – that’s probably what really killed my time. That, and my pace really fell off in the last 3 miles too, and I attribute that to just a general lack of recent long-distance runs, along with the majority of those last 3 miles going at a slight incline. I’m perfectly fine with that time – I ran the whole way, didn’t stop to walk like some people did nearby, and of course being in a big race with a big crowd really made it fun. Again, I had a great time – if I know i’ll be within 500 miles of St. Louis next year, I’d love to run it again. The huge crowd and huge race numbers just really help keep you going. That was a big problem for me in Hawaii last year – yes, it IS Hawaii and it’s beautiful, but there were times in the race where I was the only person on the road. It got very lonely and tough to keep up a good speed. In Hawaii, there was almost no crowd support until the end, so while my time was better by about 10-15 seconds, I’ll take today’s finish and enjoy it a lot more. The goody bag was better (nice t-shirt, good discounts and coupons) and some great post-race entertainment with free beer, food, and good crowd. I didn’t get a chance to see some of my Mizzou classmates running, but I did see Jen Reeves waiting to join the race at the marathon relay entry! I managed to pull over and and say hello while running. At the start, I also saw Max Reiss waving and jumping around trying to get my attention as he cheered on his girlfriend, which was pretty funny. Overall I’m psyched. Only makes me want to do more half marathons again – which, as long as I can get some nice long runs in again, should be very doable.

On a side note, I was mildly amused by how many more people in the crowd and in the race were wearing Illini stuff than Mizzou stuff. I don’t know what to make of it – perhaps people who cheer for Illinois are healthier than Mizzou? – but regardless I kept thinking of this (skip to about 4:10 for what I really mean). Then, when going past Busch Stadium, I put this on repeat on my iPod for kicks & giggles…

Earlier in the week I went to Busch Stadium to do the PA for the Mizzou/Illinois baseball game. Like last year, it was a blast – except I think the game was far better this year than last year. Last year’s blowout 19-6 win over SLU was a joke – boring, sloppy game, poorly pitched, poorly defended by both teams. This year, Mizzou overcame 4 errors to beat the Illini and while the stat sheet shows 4 errors for Missouri and 1 for Illinois, it seemed the Illini shortstop Josh Parr gave Missouri a chance to win by bobbling numerous balls at short and letting Mizzou get several infield singles, which either led to runs or continued Tiger rallies. I was blown away by how good Eric Garcia played at 2b – while he left with 2 errors, he made 2 tremendous stops late in the game on sharp grounders hit up the middle – and quickly stepped up to throw to 1st in time to retire the Illini batter. Overall, the game entertained the fans – several lead changes, a couple of rallies for each team, and the teams using wood bats really made for a fun game. As was the case last year, we did essentially just lineups, batters, pitching/defensive changes, and 7th inning stretch intro. But, the Cardinals people did ask me to do a read for a U.S. Cellular promotion, which was cool. If I can parlay this into another big gig, that’d be awesome (cough cough Mizzou football/basketball) but I’m not getting my hopes up at all – especially with May 20th-July 31st blocked off for living in Palm Springs.

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