Hey Big River Racing!
I hope you’re all staying healthy and doing well! I’ve missed running with you all these past three months! The last time I saw most of you was at the Racing Team meeting at the UCity store the week before St. Pat’s. I was so pumped to see the team really coming together, and I was excited to race St. Pat’s with so many of you. Then it was supposed to be onto the WashU Invite and finally onto the London Marathon with my wife, Sarah. Wow, have things changed since then!
The COVID-19 pandemic hit. There was no St. Pat’s. There was no WashU Invite. There was no London Marathon. There were no races to be run anywhere. It was a tough pill to swallow for me. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, though. I’m doing just fine. I’m not a college or high school senior missing out on my last track season with my teammates. I’m not an Olympic hopeful that will have to wait another year to try to qualify for Tokyo. Like I said, I’ll be fine.
Sarah and I both had put in a lot of training over the winter and were in the best shape of our lives, so we wanted to take advantage of our fitness this spring. In April, we decided to shoot for half marathon time trials. Sarah was up first. The first weekend of April, on a beautiful, crisp spring morning, we took to the roads of Forest Park, and I paced Sarah to a two-minute half marathon PR! Three weeks later, on the day that London was supposed to be run, it was my turn. Sarah and I drove out to the Katy Trail in St. Charles, and Sarah paced me on her bike to a 90-second half marathon PR of 1:09! It was gratifying to come away with something from all of our training even if it wasn’t shiny, new marathon PRs in London.
I kept training through May, wondering what I was working toward. I’d always thought about doing an ultra, so I figured with no live races of any kind on the horizon, now was a good time to give it a shot. I set my sights on doing a 50 miler. I would start way out on the Katy Trail and finish downtown at the Arch. Sarah agreed to bike with me and carry along my hydration and nutrition. Last Saturday, I gave it a shot. We drove all the way out to Augusta, MO and started just before 6 am on a beautiful morning. I felt pretty good for most of the run, but while I have a good idea of how to approach a marathon, I had no idea what to expect from an ultra. I ended up getting a bit dehydrated when it started heating up, and I also dealt with some GI issues. I maintained a steady pace throughout the run, but around 35 miles, I decided I’d call it at 40 miles when I would be running by home, anyway. While I didn’t do the full 50, it was still quite an experience!
I just finished taking a week off, and I’m looking forward to getting back out there. I’m not sure when we’ll be meeting again as a team to run and/or socialize, but I can’t wait to see you all! We are still discussing the logistics of when and how we’ll be running together, and we’ll keep you updated.
In the meantime, one way to stay involved in the running scene with Big River is to participate in the Macklind Mile this month! Most years, this Big River timed and sponsored race is the fastest downhill mile race in St. Louis. This year, like many other races, it’s gone virtual. Please consider signing up and participating (https://macklindmile.com/event-details/). Our fearless leader, Matt Helbig, set a pretty high bar with his 5:09 mile that he ran this past week for the Virtual Festival of Miles. Way to go, Matt!
I’d also love to hear how you all have been doing and what you’ve been up to since the pandemic started. Please feel free to share your Macklind Mile results and/or how your training or racing has been going!
Stay well, and I hope to see you all soon!
Matt Kruger, Team Captain
PS: The Big River stores are currently open if you are in need of new shoes or gear. The staff is happy to help you and would love to see you!