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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!