The Hospital Hill Half Marathon was my third and final half marathon this spring. I previously ran the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in April and the Scout Strong Challenge Half Marathon in May. I was anticipating Hospital Hill to be the toughest of the three, and I do think the course was the hardest, but mentally, Scout Strong was the toughest.
Friday, Amy and I went to pick up our packets at Crown Center, and then my parents got to town and I had some Chicken Mac to carb up for the early morning race.
Saturday morning, I was up at 4:30, and Amy, Mom, Dad, and I were on our way to Crown Center by 5:30. SO EARLY! We had about an hour to wait before the race; we watched the finish line volunteers finish up their preparations and had ample time to use the port-a-poties. Mom made a couple signs, which makes me happy. She had several runners comment on her ZOOM ZOOM! sign, and a few even stopped to take a picture with her!
About 10 minutes before the start, Amy and I made our way into the corral. The weather was warm and humid, and it looked like it was going to be a warm race. There were huge tubs full of frozen sponges waiting at the finish line. I will also say that this race was very well run. The expo was very smooth, I’d say it was larger than Rock the Parkway, but smaller than the KC Marathon expo. There were ZERO problems along the course; the volunteers were amazing, and police officers did a great job of keeping everyone safe. THANK YOU to all the volunteers!
The race started about 5 minutes before 7:00, I think it started early because there were no wheelchair participants. Mom and Dad were out about a half mile from the start line, and Mom took some really great pictures of the horde of runners running down Grand Blvd.
Onto the race itself. It was hard. The air was humid and my hamstring and glute were sore and tight. But I was happy! My plan of attack was to run as long as I could, and when I started fatiguing, I was planning to walk the uphills and run the flats and downhills. It began raining around mile 5 or 6, which felt really good, the rain was a cooling rain, and wasn’t a downpour like I heard occurred in Hospital Hill years past.
My plan of running when I could and walking the uphills when I needed to was a fantastic plan until about mile 8. I was running/walking/running/walking, and feeling okay, tired, but okay. My right leg hurt, but it wasn’t really getting worse, so I just kept at it. Then, Broadway Hill came along, and for well over a mile, we climbed! It felt like we would never get to the top, but around halfway up the hill that didn’t end, it stopped raining.
By mile 9 or 10, I was so ready to be finished. My triceps hurt, my butt hurt a lot, and my hips and lower back were tightening up. I just wanted to be finished! I saw a photographer at the top of Trinity Hill, and managed to run up most of the hill with a smile on my face, so thanks, photog, for sitting right at the top of that tough hill, it was super nice of you. 😛
The finish was just over a half mile of glorious downhill. I could hear the announcer, and could see lots of spectators cheering the finish. I have never been so glad to finish a race! I was soaked to the bone, foot sore, and just wanted that medal! I will say, for the very first time, the medal was placed over my head by a sweet volunteer, rather than just handed to me. I have always wanted a medal placed over my head, and Hospital Hill was the first time! I was handed a frozen sponge and chilled water bottle, and shortly after, was handed an ice cream sandwich.
I made my way to Mom and Dad, and found Amy shortly after. We picked up our Half Marathon finisher sandals (we got flip flops AND a medal AND a shirt!) and headed to the car.
Overall, this half marathon was a tough one, and the hills were killer, but it was not my slowest half marathon time. I am disappointed that I still have not been able to run without walking, for the entire 13.1 miles, but I know I have been dealing with a glute and hamstring injury, and have not been putting in the long run miles like I need to in order to run the distance. I have signed up for the KC Half Marathon this fall, which I also ran last fall, and I am confident that I will have a successful summer of building up my mileage safely.
A huge thank you to my parents, who came down for the weekend and cheered me on, and a huge thank you to Amy and to the KCRC Groupies, for always pushing me and motivating me and being there for me week after week. I wouldn’t be where I am without ya’ll, and I couldn’t go where I’m going without yawl.
Half marathon #5 done! I conquered you, Hospital Hill!