Longview Half Marathon Race Recap

On Saturday, I completed the Longview Half Marathon, which was my 12th half marathon, and my last race of 2016.  Friday night, Mom and her friend Denise got to town, and we had dinner and set out our flat runners.  It was supposed to freeze in KC for the first time this fall, and was supposed to be around 38-40 degrees at the start.

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We got to Longview Lake around 7:00 Saturday morning, and watched the sun rise and waited for the race to start.  This was the third year for the Longview Half, and the weather was gorgeous for a fall half marathon along Longview Lake in South KC.  It was a bit chilly, and we stayed in the car until about 20 minutes before the race.  I think there were about 2000 people running, and I’m really glad Mom was able to come down for the weekend.

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Photo courtesy KC Run Co Smugmug.

One of the hills along the course is right about about a mile long, and the race has a “King/Queen of the Hill.”  There is a timing mat at the bottom of the hill, and again at the top.  This was a decent hill, and I was proud of myself for not walking it at all, even though I sure wanted to.  Here’s the hill, from the bottom:

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Photo courtesy Denise Orth.

By the time I got to the top of the mile long hill, around mile 3 or so, I was warm! It had warmed up a bit, and the sun felt warm, especially with the wind being blocked by the trees.  We turned around and went down the hill right after we got up it, so I spent most of the next mile taking off my shirt so I could take off my fleece lined base layer, and then putting my shirt/bib back on.  It was not as easy as it should have been, due to my gloves, visor, and earbud situation.  I finally got everything situated, and ran the rest of the race with my base shirt tied around my waist.

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Photo courtesy KC Run Co Smugmug.

Miles 4-9 were rolling hills along the roads around Longview Lake. I was kind of disappointed we didn’t see the lake at all until around mile 9.  Coincidentally, around mile 9 is when I kind of fell apart.  Miles 9-11 are along the dam, and it was more wide open, so the wind picked up a little, and though the lake was gorgeous, I was feeling fatigued, my hips were very tight, and there were a couple long inclines to get to the dam. I started walking just after 9 miles, and walked on and off for the last 4 miles.

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Photo courtesy Denise Orth.

I ended up coming through and feeling strong, but I did feel like the last 4 miles were a disappointment for me.  There was no reason that I stopped to walk.  I was not injured.. sure, my feet and hips were sore and tight, but there was nothing wrong.  My knee was acting up and achy, but there was nothing wrong.  Mentally, I decided that mile 9 was where I needed to stop and walk, and I let my mind win, and let my body lose.  I’m proud of myself for finishing.  This was my 12th half marathon, but I have a lot of work to do, mentally, to get where I want to be.

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Photo courtesy KC Run Co Smugmug.

After the race, I met up with Amy, Melissa, and Sandey, and then later, found John, and Mom and Denise.  We ended up hanging around and watching the rest of the half marathoners finish, and took some pictures by the lake before heading out.

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Left photo: Mom, Denise, Me, Amy, and John.  Right photo: Sandey, Melissa, Me, and Amy.

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Saturday night, after the race, Mom, Denise, Chris and I went out for Mexican, including yummy margaritas.  We did some shopping Saturday, too, and got pedicures, which felt amazing.

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Sunday morning, we went out for a shakeout run, and Chris joined us.  It was such a beautiful day on the trails, we even saw 5 deer!  Mom and Denise had to head home later on Sunday afternoon.

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Overall, I’m pleased with how the first 2/3 of the half marathon went, and I have a lot of work to do before my next half marathon, in April.

I’m also 95% sure I’ll be doing my first full marathon next spring, so I’m going to start training for that in January.  I’m glad to be done with races for a few months, I enjoyed all the races I had this year, but I’m ready for a quiet few months, especially with the holidays coming up!

13.1 Tips for a Successful 13.1

It’s fall racing season! I have a half marathon coming up this weekend, and another in about a month.  Lots of my friends have been running half marathons and full marathons and doing so awesome!  The KC Half Marathon this weekend will be my 11th half.  I am not an expert by any means, but I have learned a fair deal about running half marathons, and these reminders are as much for me as for someone tackling their first half marathon!

1.  Nothing new on race day! No new clothes, no new foods, no new pre-race rituals… nothing new! Practice what you’ve been using during training runs.  And practice different things during training to see what works and what doesn’t.

2.  Arrive to the race plenty early.  Limit your race-day stress.  Get to the race and parked with plenty of time to make your way to the start line, use the restroom, check your bag, and warm up.

3.  Have extra safety pins, extra fuel, extra clothes.  I will bring my closet with me to a race, I’ll have extra clothes for after the race, including sandals, but I’ll also have body glide, safety pins, extra gloves, extra gu, etc. Just. In. Case.

4.  Have multiple goals.  I always have a goal of trying to PR, of course.  But some days, it just isn’t in the cards.  It could be too hot, too cold, too windy, or my legs may feel extra heavy, or I may not have trained well enough.  So I always have multiple goals.  Goal 1: PR. Goal 2: secondary time goal, or other goal, such as running it all, etc. Goal 3: FINISH.

5.  Start SLOW! It is so easy to get caught up in the race-start-excitement.  Start slow, slower than you think, because you can’t bank time! Running slower conserves energy, then you can push it when you need to.  On the contrary, if you start out too quickly, you risk burn out, and the second half of your race could be very painful.

6.  Hydrate often.  I take water/gatorade at every water stop.  I might not drink it all, but I take it, even just for a sip.  It’s important to not fall behind and be feeling super thirsty, because that can signal dehydration, plus you’ll be more apt to drink too much and then feel sick.

7.  Run your race, run your pace.  Just because someone else is running faster, slower, easier, etc, does not mean you need to stick with them or try to pass them.  Run your own race.  Everyone is out there for themselves, so don’t concern yourself with trying to “win,” because for almost everyone out there, it’s about completing the race and competing against yourself.

8.  Stick to your fueling plan.  Same as hydration, stick to your plan.  You’ve (hopefully) been working with fuel on your long runs, so you should know how much fuel you need, and when.

9.  Enjoy the run; run in the mile you’re in. If you’re having the race of your life, enjoy each mile and enjoy the run! If you’re having a rough race, stick to each mile, and focus on that mile only, to get you through.

10.  Keep a steady effort up hills and down hills.  Don’t worry about pace on the uphills, but keep your effort steady.  That way, when you reach the top, you won’t be dead, and then you can coast on the downhill and make up some of the time.  Keep your effort steady, and the pace will even itself out.

11.  When you start to fatigue, think about why you started running, why you signed up for this race.  When you want to walk, when you want to quit, think about why you started running, why you signed up for the race, and who you are running for.  Use the support of others to push yourself through.

12.  Smile when you see race photographers, cute kids, funny signs.  Smile at everyone! The spectators, volunteers, and police are all out there for everyone running, so thank them, smile, and enjoy it all.  Racing is something special, so definitely smile at everyone!

13.  Run happy, this race is a celebration of all your hard work and training. Enjoy every step!

and 13.1  Sign up for your next race!

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Do you have any tips and tricks for racing? Good luck to everyone racing this fall!!