Last weekend was the Kansas City Marathon, and I completed my second half marathon! Mom and Kristen traveled to KC for the race, and we got to hang out all weekend! Thursday night, we had a chance to run with the KCRC Groupies at Martin City. There was a fantastic turn out (the pic below is just a few of us at the end), and we had pizza and beer after. Thanks KCRC and Martin City Pizza Co!
Friday morning, we went to the Marathon Expo. Mom and I had never been to a race expo before, so that was a ton of fun. We got our packets and shirts, spent some time and money at the KCRC store and the “custom shirts” store. Mom and I also signed up for our next half marathon, the Rock the Parkway half marathon next April.
Once we finished up at the expo, we drove around the Plaza a bit, had some lunch, and went back to my apartment to rest our legs for the half marathon Saturday. We also had to lay out our “flat runners” in preparation for Saturday morning. I was proud and happy that we all wore KCRC shirts.
Saturday morning, we were up at 5:00, and out the door by 5:30 ish, heading to Crown Center for the start of the race. James was kind enough to come with us to spectate. What a trooper, up at 5:00am on a Saturday morning to stand around waiting for us to run by him for 5 seconds.
Kristen had written “For Dad” and “Cancer Sucks” on Mom’s calves, and I wrote “For Grandpa” on my hand by my watch. It was very touching during the race, many people came up behind Mom and I and spoke to Mom, or placed their hands on her shoulders. There were many kind words about sending prayers for Grandpa, all from fellow runners during the race. It was really special to see.
James saw us run by 3-4 times I think, in different parts of the course. Our “official” race photos won’t be up until later this week, so I only have photos taken by James for this post. If any of the professional photos turn out, I’ll put them in here too! This was around mile 2 or 3. Still smiling. 🙂
Mom and I tried to stick to our pre-race plan of sticking together and running 2 miles at the beginning, then using a 4 minute run alternating with 2 minutes of walking to complete the rest of the race. About halfway through the race, Mom convinced me to continue without her, as she was struggling a bit with the 4/2 plan. I was feeling pretty good, so I went on without her.
Shortly after I left her, I started struggling too. The hills, the lack of training properly, and just not being in the right shape to conquer the race got to me, and I ended up having to walk quite a bit more than I hoped. I was also battling being cold. I thought I had dressed appropriately, but my hands and ears were cold the whole race. I’m sure if I ran more, my hands would have kept warm. I nearly (x50) picked up a pair of throw away gloves that someone ditched, but just kept the forward progress as my goal.
At about the halfway mark, I thought a PR might be within reach, and I gave it a good effort to keep pushing, but by mile 8, I accepted that I wouldn’t PR, but wanted to finish as strong as I could.
By the end of the race, I just wanted to be finished! The arches of my feet hurt more than anything, but I remember feeling decidedly stronger than my first half marathon this past April. I saw Kristen and James at about mile 13, and the finishing chute was lined with hundreds of spectators. It was a really cool finish, lots of love and cheering.
I was freezing after the race, and just could not get warm. I’m so thankful the race had heat sheets. I’d always thought they were a little silly, people wrapping up in shiny sheets, but it did help me stay warm! Mom and Kristen both PR’d on this course, I’m so proud of both of them! Congrats Mom and congrats Kristen, you guys are amazing.
During the race, there were 4 or 5 areas that had either live music or DJ’s. It was really cool to see people singing or dancing during the race. The aid stations were also run so well, with gatorade or water, some had fruit, and there were restrooms too. There was also countless random “GO ROYALS” cheers and signs on the course. The volunteers, crowd, and spectators were amazing, all of it really made it the best atmosphere for a race.
After the race, we walked around a little, got our free BBQ sandwich and beer (Kristen and I gave our beers to James), and changed out of our wet, cold, sweaty clothes. There was live music, massage stations, and food at the finish festival.
Congratulations, especially to Erica Staab who completed her first half marathon in KC, and to Mom and Kristen for their shiny new PRs. I had lots of friends who ran, and I’m so proud of all of you! We saw a few friends and old classmates at the finish festival, had our picture taken, and headed home to shower.
We all showered and laid around for a bit after the race, then went to dinner and got to bed early.
Sunday morning, we had a short shake out run, and I was stiff, but it felt pretty good, especially by the end. Kristen and Mom headed home Sunday evening. It was a really great weekend, I’m so thankful Mom and Kristen came to KC and that we ran together and CAN run together.
Overall, the course was quite hilly, but also insanely beautiful. This being my second half marathon, I can say I definitely loved the crowd support and running through the city, compared to the solo running and wide open spaces of the Eisenhower Half Marathon. Both races have been so special to me, but I can confidently say I will conquer the KC Half Marathon again!
Now, 2 days after the race, I can say easily this half marathon was easier on my body than Eisenhower, but I am still pretty far away from the shape I need to be in for Rock the Parkway next April. I plan to use the next 6 months to build a strong and true running base, increase my mileage to 10-12 miles for long runs, and get in some much needed speed work and tempo runs.
Did you race last weekend? Do you like hilly courses? Only 6 months until the Boston Marathon!