2015 Plaza 10k Race Recap

The Plaza 10k took place over the weekend, and it’s time for a race recap!  I ran this race last year, my recap is here.  The Plaza 10k this year was 10k two out of three in the Heartland 30k series.  The first 10k was the Dot to Dot 10k, (recap here) and next week is the final race, the Broadway Bridge 10k.

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Sunday morning came super early, and I, for one, was not quite ready to get up!  Jasper and I enjoyed some chilly temps before I left for the race with Amy.

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Amy and I parked on the Plaza, and walked around for a while to keep warm and get our legs ready for the race.  After a quick bathroom trip, we were ready to go, with over 3000 of our closest running friends.  The Plaza 10k is a relatively young race; this year was the 5th year for the race.  KC Running Co. runs this event, and it’s very well run, organized, and on time.  12033506_10100333975393203_102643097_n

The location for the race, the Country Club Plaza, is just gorgeous, and this is one of the prettiest courses I’ve had the opportunity to run.  We ran on beautiful tree lined streets, by the the Nelson Atkins, the JC Nichols Fountain, and Brush Creek.  There were also lots of spectators and fun signs to read on the way by.  Both last year and this year, I’ve enjoyed the course immensely, and the weather in early to mid September is just perfect.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

My number one goal for this 10k was to run it all.  Before the Plaza 10k this past weekend, I have completed 5 10ks, and I’ve walked in all of them except one.  I know I am capable of running 6+ miles, I’ve done it before, but something always makes me walk (usually my mind!).  There was no reason to walk during the Dot to Dot 10k two weeks ago, yet I did.  I had several pep-talks to myself during the week leading up to this 10k and was determined to not walk.

My second goal for a 10k is to get under 62 minutes; I would LOVE to be under an hour, but my goal for 2015 is to get under 62 minutes.  I didn’t know if this would be possible at this race, but I knew my my previous PR would likely be smashed if I could run the whole thing without walking.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

 Around mile 2.5.  Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

As I said before, the weather couldn’t have been any more perfect.  I was running steady, and felt good through the halfway 5k point.  In the first half, there is one fairly significant hill, but it didn’t go on too long, and was really not as bad as I remembered from last year, plus I have had a year full of hill training since last year’s Plaza 10k, when the KC hills were still new to me.

Around mile 3.5 or so, I saw Amy up ahead of me.  There was a gradual downhill before turning onto Swope Parkway, and I caught up to her by the second water stop, just after mile 4  I wanted to surprise her, as we’ve never finished a race together before.  I tucked in a step or two behind her, and shadowed her for the next two miles.

In hindsight, I should have popped up next to her, and kept my good-feeling pace up, but Amy was trucking along at a good clip too, so at the time, it felt like a good idea to tuck in and let her lead me.  Funny thing about this photo below, she had NO idea I was there.  None, whatsoever.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

I continued to follow Amy through miles 4-6, just as step or two behind her (I have absolutely NO idea how she didn’t feel me right there behind her… she was in her zone, and her music must have drowned out everything else!).  We made it up the long, gentle hill on Swope, and around to Brookside Blvd. With just under a quarter mile of sweet, sweet downhill left, I popped up next to Amy, and she yelled so loudly!  We ran step for step down to the finish line, and finished hand in hand, for the first time ever.

Photos courtesy KC Running Co.

Photos courtesy KC Running Co.

I PR’d by 4 minutes and 27 seconds, beating my PR that I earned 2 weeks ago at Dot to Dot 10k.  I beat my last year’s Plaza 10k time by 7 minutes and 31 seconds.  The official time was 1:03:00, and my goal of 62 minutes was missed by 60 seconds.  Could I have run 62 minutes, I think I could have,  My decision to tuck in with Amy and not truly push through the last 2 miles may have cost me a minute or so on my time, but the feeling of crossing the finish line with her was amazing, and likely won’t happen again for a while! I still remember when Mom and I crossed the finish line of a couple 5k’s together, and it’s really a special feeling.

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I met up with a friend (great job Paul!) while Amy and I were receiving our medals, and shortly after, met up with some KC Running Co. Groupie friends.  We drank our celebratory chocolate milk, got our finish time slips, and had some photos taken.

Photo Sep 14, 7 34 59 PM

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A very scary, but amazing thing happened while we were chatting with friends.  A 10k finisher crossed the line and collapsed, and a few seconds later, CPR and chest compressions were being preformed by spectators and EMT’s.  Several minutes later, an ambulance and fire truck arrived, and he was taken away, while chest compressions were still being performed.  I later learned that he was stable at a nearby hospital, but I don’t know who he is, or precisely what happened.  If you could keep him and his family, and those who jumped in to care for him in your thoughts and prayers, I know it will help him continue to fight to be well again.

After everything settled down, we watched the Kids Run, talked with a few more friends, and made our way home.  Later, I was looking through last year’s 10k pictures, and made the collage below, comparing last year to this year.  I don’t generally post transformation pictures, because to me, it doesn’t seem like much has transformed, but looking at a 1 year span, I can see many things are different within myself, both inside and out.  I feel pride when looking at what has changed in the last year, and I also feel hope and joy for the journey that I am on.

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Next Sunday is the Broadway Bridge 10k, the final 10k of the 30k series.  My hope is that the weather is just as gorgeous as it was for the Plaza 10k.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull out a 3rd straight 10k PR, I guess all we can do is wait and see!

Trolley Run Recap

This morning was the Trolley Run! I have been looking forward to this race for quite a while, and I’ve heard great things about it!  My Mom drove down for the weekend, and we had a great weekend visit and ran the race this morning.

The Trolley Run is one of the largest 4 mile road races in the US, and this year was the 27th year of the race.  The Trolley Run is the largest annual fund raiser for Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired.

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The course is unique because is a point to point course, beginning on 75th and Wornall in Waldo, and ending on the Plaza.  We met up with my Mom’s cousin, Kim, and my running buddy Amy, and took the bus from the Plaza to the starting line.  It was a dreary and chilly morning, but luckily, the rain held off!

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Me, Kim, Mom, Amy

We tried to stay warm around the start line, and listened to a beautiful Star Spangled Banner, and then the race began!  Each wave had about 5 minutes between it, and there were 6 waves of runners.  I think I heard someone say there were nearly 10,000 runners and walkers, which was a great turnout!

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My strategy for the race, which was mostly flat and fast, with some nice downhill stretches, and only a couple small uphills, was to just go out strong and steady and try to hang on!  There were some fun signs, one said “Running 4 miles is easy, getting up early on Sunday morning is HARD!”  So true.  There was also a really cute family grilling bacon and the little kids were holding plates of bacon out for the runners!

I finished the race about 3 and a half minutes faster than my previous best 4 mile race (last spring in Hays).  I was really happy with my race, I felt like I left it all on the course, and now I have a shiny new PR! In looking at my mile times, I negative split the race perfectly, meaning the second half of the ride was faster than the first half. Each of my mile splits was faster than the previous!  

If any race photos turn out (there were a TON of runners all around!) I will edit the post and add them later this week.

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Mom, Kim, Amy and I all met up again after the race, and we enjoyed some of the finish festival, but it was pretty chilly, especially since we all ran hard!  Another buddy from our running group also found us after the race, so of course we had to get some photos with John!

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Me, Kim, Mom, Amy

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Amy, Me, John

All in all, it was a fantastic race!! Amy and I both PR’d, the weather held off, no rain! Later this afternoon, the sun came out and it warmed up really nicely.  I will definitely do this race again in the future, it was a beautiful course, a well run race, and a really great local cause!

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Evening at the Plaza

James’ parents came to town this weekend, and while they were here, we went to see the Country Club Plaza to see the Christmas lights.  Since we moved to KC, I’d heard people talk about the Plaza Lights over the holidays, and we knew we wanted to check it out!

I did some reading about the Plaza and the lights when we got home, it’s pretty interesting! I had no idea, first of all, that this has been a tradition since the 1930s!  From the Plaza website:

“In 1925, Charles Pitrat, head of the Nichols Company maintenance operation, placed a single six-foot strand of sixteen colored light bulbs across the doorway of the Suydam building, the Plaza’s first building. …The tradition grew just the way the Plaza did. As buildings were added, so were lights. When the Plaza Theatre was completed in 1928, Pitrat strung lights across 47th Street to reach the theater building. The next year he outlined the buildings and towers with lights. And so it went, adding more lights to frame more buildings. Putting up those first lights took one man and a ladder. The chore is definitely more difficult today.”

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We also saw quite a few horse drawn carriages that had lights on them, it reminded me of Cinderella!  We were even lucky enough to see Carriage Ride Picketers on a couple corners.

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We were very surprised, also, to learn that the lights are taken down every spring and put back up every fall, and the bulbs are checked and tested daily to ensure they are all in working order.  I couldn’t find the number of lights anywhere online, but there have got to be tens of thousands of lights!  We mostly walked around and watched the people shopping and the lights, but we also ate at Panera and did a little shopping.

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The plaza lights are on Visit KC’s list of Holiday Attractions, and I would definitely agree with them, it was really cool to see all the lights and people shopping, it was very festive, and definitely put me in the Holiday mood!

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I definitely think seeing the Plaza lights will become a holiday tradition for us!  Do you have any city-specific holiday traditions?  Have you seen the KC Plaza Christmas lights?

Photo courtesy of google.com

Photo courtesy of google.com