Last Saturday, I ran the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon for the second time. Rock the Parkway, in it’s 7th year, is one of the largest and best run races in the Midwest. There was a half marathon and a 5k option. I felt like I had a little something to make up, after a personally frustrating Rock the Parkway experience last year, due to a head cold that was plaguing me during the race weekend.
Friday, after work, we checked out the expo, picked up our packets and some fun KC run local shirts. Amy and I had a quite delicious spaghetti dinner, complete wth garlic bread and wine. Then, it was time for bed. I laid out Flat Runner Renee, and headed to bed.
5:30 came very early on Saturday morning, and I got ready to go, and Amy and I headed out to the race. Parking was no problem, and we had about 40 minutes before the race to use the bathrooms, check our bags, and try to keep warm. It was a bit chilly, around 35 degrees, but it was sunny. The cooler than expected weather, and the promise of warmer temps at the finish made me second guess my outfit a bit, but after adding throw-away gloves and an ear warmer, I was set. After one last bathroom trip, we made our way to the corrals, and a few minutes later, the race started!
If only a half marathon was 8 miles, this race would have been the best ever. The first half of the race, for me, was picture perfect. Miles 1-2, I stayed slow and steady, got into a good groove, and ended up tossing my gloves and taking off my ear warmer. Miles 3-5, again, were great. My splits had picked up a little bit, but I felt comfortable, I was enjoying the scenery; I was taking water/gatorade while running through every aid station, and had downed my first gu with no problems. There are a few rolling hills, nothing too terrible, during the first 5 miles.
After mile 5, we turned to head toward Loose Park, the hills were still rolling at this point, but were a bit steeper. There was a beer aid station around mile 5.5, which made me chuckle, as it did last year. The spectators were great, and the signs were funny. The race was going splendidly. Miles 6-8 were good, though I was starting to have the itch to walk. I expected this, because my longest training run has only been 8 miles.
Near the end of mile 7, I began to get a bit dizzy. Nothing like the KC Half Marathon last fall – that was a very dizzy feeling. When a bit of dizziness came on Saturday, I slowed, and then walked. I still don’t know what is causing the dizziness, as it only comes during long long runs, but I’m going to experiment with taking salt/electrolyte pills, as I think I may be sweating out too much sodium (I am a very salty sweater, and I begin sweating very quickly).
Once I walked, I feel like the drive fizzled out of me. I continued with a run/walk/run through the last 4-5 miles, becoming frustrated with myself for not pushing through. Mentally, I have a lot of work to do to improve my half marathons. Physically, I know I am in better running shape than I was last fall, and better yet than I was last year when I ran Rock the Parkway, and even better yet, I’m in much better shape than when I did my first half marathon 2 years ago… but mentally, I have a long way to go. I am confident that if I am not dizzy, I can physically complete a half marathon with no or minimal walking. However, mentally, I struggle, and once I let myself walk that first time, it feels like it’s all over.
Mental rant aside, I finished the last 4-5 miles as strongly as I could, for me, on that day, during that race. I finished the race with my second fastest half marathon time overall, which makes me happy, and shows my progress, considering I walked at least 3-4 times more than I did in October, when I finished the KC Half Marathon a mere 4 minutes faster.
I met up with Amy, and several other running friends, after the race. Lots of my friends had huge PR’s; I’m so proud of all of you! We got changed into some dry, warm clothes, enjoyed our chocolate milk, and celebrated our half marathons!
Compared with last year’s Rock the Parkway, I finished about 15 minutes faster, I felt stronger, and I definitely feel like I ran smoother. I didn’t have a head cold this year, which probably helped some! Last year, Mom and Dad came down, and Mom ran, too. I’m looking forward to having that experience with my parents again next month, at Running with the Cows.
The rest of the weekend consisted of having some post-chafing issues, watching baseball, eating pizza, and getting pedicures after a shakeout run on Sunday with Amy.
Did you run Rock the Parkway, or another race? Let me know how you did! What’s your next race coming up?