I have a love/hate relationship with Forest Park.
I love that we have a place like Forest Park for events in St. Louis. It’s the second largest public park in the US (behind Central Park in NY), and it seems like it’s almost always got some kind of big event taking place on the weekends. And naturally, there are a lot of races that take place there, given that it can be blocked off and not foul up “regular” road traffic.
But there’s something about running in Forest Park that just brings out my average races. Today was no exception.
I hadn’t originally had this race on my calendar. I’ve supported this race financially in the past. A co-worker of mine, Sandy Butler, contracted brain cancer some years ago, and succumbed to it just a year ago. Sandy was a fun person, and happened to also be married to another co-worker of mine, Rick.
I’m in the office infrequently, and happened to see Rick on a recent visit. He follows my crazy racing, and knew that I was chasing medals. New for this year, he told me, was a finisher medal.
It’s a nice event, very reminiscent of the Undy, with teams supporting cancer victims, and keeping the memory alive of those folks no longer among us. In the case of Sandy’s team, we were the third largest team, and the second largest fundraiser. I was pretty proud to be a part of that.
The race course was familiar, using many segments I’d run on so many courses at Forest Park over the last three years, and as usual, I was sluggish in the park. My first kilometer was smoking (for me) at about 8:30, but I think I used up my tank of fuel, and wound up sorta just chugging through the rest of the race.
Like last weekend, I kicked it in at end, and ran like a crazy person to the finish line. I still love the response of the crowd when they see an old, fat guy kick it in turbo mode, and hustle across the finish line. That definitely takes the edge off how tired I am at the end of a race, and is thrilling for me.
(Beneficiary: Head for Cure Foundation. From their website: The Head for the Cure Foundation mission is to raise awareness and funding to inspire hope for the community of brain cancer patients, their families, friends, caregivers and other supporters, while celebrating their courage, spirit and energy.)