My Missouri Marathon #29th on my goal to 50 states

     My Missouri Marathon was actually my 2nd 26.2 in two weeks. Picked my packet up at the Bass Pro Shop, Outdoor World, WOW can I just say that was seriously one of the most AWESOME outdoor stores I have ever been in!

The morning of the race I woke up and gave myself plenty of time to slowly get ready and drive to the start to find a parking space.  I hate to rush anything the morning of the race, it just sets in nerves (Yes I still get them:)
Got a great parking space and sat in my rental car with the heater on keeping warm (Chilly 37' morning) until it was time to line up.  The race started right in front of the Bass Pro Shop.  They had a male singing group sing the Star Spangled Banner and then the gunshot sent us off.

Before I go into the race, let me give you a little FYI on my bodies recovery from D.C.  It's impossible to fully recover from a race in one week, most people will tell you in reality it takes a month or longer.  This is because a marathon causes a lot of micro tears in your muscles among other things.  So with that said, I am obviously not looking for FULL recovery, what I am going for is recovering just enough to get by and for me I felt I was to that point!

America's ONLY Drive through Cave - Fantastic Caverns
Being a little on the colder side that morning, my plan was to slow the pace the first few miles and let the Hip Flexor injury warm up gradually (although I did again use one of those Tylenol heat patches - I find if I stick them sticky side to the inside of a spandex short, instead of the skin they work fabulously!  Not only that, but not being in the skin, means after the race, I will still have skin (ouchy, made the stick on skin mistake once and that was enough, LOL)

Surprisingly the first few miles, my body actually wanted to run (Almost like it had forgotten I just ran 26.2 a week ago, LOL).
Of course just because my body was enjoying the first few miles of the race, I wasn't naive enough to believe that would last the entire race (hoped though).  The course started in Springfield, MO and I believe stayed in the city and residential areas the entire time, weaving in and out of neighborhoods, around parks, rivers and ponds.  Starting and ending basically at the same place, although (thankfully) none of the course was an out and back, (I hate those) it was a point to point course tour of the community:)

Beautiful, but OH SO HILLY!!!  Technically I was in the Ozarks, so I probably should have known the course would be hilly.  But the truth is, even I can be a total idiot sometimes, I actually looked at this course elevation chart below (when planning the 3 in 3) and said to myself, okay it looks hilly, but this is Missouri and Missouri is likely flat, so the chart probably just looks worse than it is.
Yup, like I said, I am an idiot!

Right from the beginning, the course was I like to call it "Roller Coaster" hills.  They weren't long steep hills.  They were short frequent hills, right back down, then up, and down etc...  It was pretty much like this for the first 10 miles of the course.
My Hip Flexor injury was not handling them extremely well, but I have developed a system for keeping it from getting worse, and I just did what I had practiced and what seems to be working and thankfully it did!

Cave Picture
My body was doing pretty good the first 7 miles.  But like one would assume, eventually the week before caught up to me and I was starting to feel tired and sluggish, the aches and pains were already setting in, or coming back.
Sounds bad, to only be at mile 7 when this was happening.  But the last time I did 2, 2 weeks apart I was already feeling this by mile 4 and 5.
My other BIG issue, I was forced to run this marathon in brand new shoes.  Yup, I know HUGE MISTAKE!  But nothing I could do about it!  I had popped the gel in the sole of my left shoe in D.C. same leg as the Hip Flexor injury, I just couldn't risk running in that shoe and what might happen to the injury if I did.
Sometimes, you can buy a new pair of shoes and they are great and you never have problems, this was my hope.  Unfortunately I was not having that kind of luck on my side.
By mile 10, I was having severe foot pain in my right foot on the outer side.  I looked pathetic, I was doing a running limp like I should only have after a horrible end of a marathon.  I was in SO much pain and could barely stand it each time the right foot struck.  To be honest at this point I was even wondering how I was going to be able to stand the pain enough to finish, I wasn't even halfway.

Drive though Cave Entrance
This is when experience and a very high pain threshold tolerance (LOL) comes in, not to mention lots of prayers!  After a couple of miles of sheer pain, I finally was able to take my mind off the pain enough to clear my thoughts and come up with a solution.
I keep Tylenol on me for a reason, so I planned to take a couple at the next water stop.  At the same time it occurred to me that I have had this horrible foot pain before.  Back in Vermont, I had the same pain, same area that came on intense halfway into that race.
So I started to do the same thing I did during that race to take the pressure off the pain.
Basically I made sure as I ran and my foot would strike the ground I would put all pressure on the side of my foot that the big toe is on and try little to no pressure on the side of the foot.

Interesting History Fact: This stage though history
Held, country singers, moonshiners, KKK meetings
Even a bar fight that resulted in death.
It takes a few miles of running like this, concentrating on it before I am doing it without thinking about it.  Eventually by Mile 18, with the help of the new stride and some Tylenol.  The sheer pain is gone, and the only major feet issues I was having weren't so bad anymore.  I could tell I had a few hot spots and likely blisters, but oh well.  I wasn't going to complain because my biggest issue was now no longer one!

In the later miles, I ran into quite a few other crazy runners who run as much as me, some more.  A few fun chats with them when I was hitting the real tired moments of the race that had to remind me, I do this because I love this:)
Like all races, they all have their odd moments.  Mine came around mile 22-23, I actually started feeling like a 3rd or 4th wind was coming along and my legs started feeling slightly stronger again.  I was starting to pass runners on a steady basis, I was running at the same pace that I had been earlier on in the race.  This lasted a few miles, sort of left as fast as it came:)  But by the time it left, I was so close to the finish and nearing the 25th mile that adrenaline kicked in.  When you only have a little over a mile left you really don't care how much pain you are in, because the end is near and soon very soon you can get off your feet and finishing makes all the pain totally worth it!
And it was!!!

Cave Picture
Small town race, but nice shirt and medals!  Very nice volunteers, I really didn't notice any issues with any of the water stops and after my issues in Hawaii with those I pay VERY close attention.
We ran through some nice communities, some that had gorgeous large homes.  The 2nd half of the race was more like I thought it would be in the form of rolling hills:)  Beautiful fall tree lines streets, excellent police working the intersections, I never had to worry about getting hit:)
Likely if I hadn't of just ran a marathon, I would even say the short hills were fun:)
The course was fairly well marked, although I did see some runners coming back after missing one of the turns, LOL  Glad that wasn't me!  No runner wants to add more steps to the marathon!!!

Cave Picture
I am glad to have this race behind me now, and can say Missouri was my 29th state on my goal to 50 plus D.C.  
I am resting and trying to heal up best as possible.
I rarely ever get blisters, but this time I did and quite large at that.  So I'll have a little medical to attend to with the moleskin before Texas:)
My Hip Flexor is a little more inflamed right now, and I have a bit of swelling that hopefully will go down before the weekend, I am optimistic and think it will all work out fine:)
I think Texas will be a bit on the painful/tired side but it's going to take A LOT more of my mental side than physical for the 3rd in 3 weeks (In theory).
I am REALLY looking forward to it!  I have never pushed this much mileage and (self inflicted pain, ha ha) on myself like this before, and truthfully I am just THRILLED that my Hip Flexor injury is allowing me to continue on!  6 weeks ago I wasn't sure I would even be able to run any marathon's this fall at all, so I am taking it all one race at a time and enjoying every moment!
So now I just get to see what Texas has in store for me:)  
Cave Picture

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