The June Run Down

2016 is half over! With June’s miles, I’m over 500 for the year, on track to hit 1000+ miles for the first time ever! I finished with 92 miles for June, bringing my total to 503 for the first half of the year.  I’m really happy with 503 miles, especially considering my first 2 months were about 50 miles each. You can catch up on my year so far here: January, February, March, April, and May.

The month started out with a half marathon! I ran Hospital Hill on June 4, and it was my hardest half marathon physically, and my slowest time.  I’m not proud of the time, but I’m proud that I stuck with it and finished, rather than taking a DNF.  The very next weekend, I went to Milwaukee to visit Kristen and Thayne, and ran my first quarter marathon (6.55 miles), the Rock ‘n Sole, with Kristen.

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I also had my longest bike ride, just over 25 miles, while I was in Milwaukee.  I decided to sign up for my first duathlon while on that bike ride with Kristen, so I’m really looking forward to trying that out in July! There are quite a few triathlons and duathlons in the KC area, so if it’s something I like, I’ll definitely look into more.

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I ran with the KC Running Co. Groupies 5 times.  Amy and I ran before work several times, to try to beat the heat and humidity.  There were so many hot and humid days, it was even uncomfortable to run early, before work!

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Looking forward to July, I am running the Wild West 5k in Hays tomorrow, and I’m doing my first ever Duathlon (running and biking) at Shawnee Mission Park on July 10!

June Run-Down:
Running: 23 runs, 92 miles total.
Cycling: 4 cycling classes, 2.5 hours, and 2 bike rides in Milwaukee, totaling 66.5 miles.
Longest Run: 7 miles, June 19
Races: Hospital Hill Half Marathon and Rock ‘n Sole Quarter Marathon

Ten

I’ve now completed 10 half marathons.  Each one has taught me very important things, about myself and about life…

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My first half marathon, April 12, 2014, Eisenhower Half Marathon.  I learned that 13.1 miles is a damn long way to run.

My second half marathon, October 18, 2014, Kansas City Half Marathon.  I learned that Kansas City is super hilly.  And beautiful.

My third half marathon, April 11, 2015, Rock the Parkway Half Marathon.  I learned that running with a sinus infection and bronchitis is not fun.

My fourth half marathon, May 16, 2015, Scout Strong Half Marathon.  I learned that not all half marathons are created equal. Some are never to be repeated.

My fifth half marathon, June 6, 2015, Hospital Hill Half Marathon.  I learned that I prefer fall half marathons to late spring/summer half marathons.

My sixth half marathon, October 17, 2015, Kansas City Half Marathon.  I learned that I can push past my comfort zone.

My seventh half marathon, November 15, 2015, Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.  I learned that this race is overrated, and Vegas is smelly.

My eighth half marathon, April 9, 2016, Rock the Parkway Half Marathon.  I learned exactly how amazing the running community in KC is.  How amazing? SO VERY AMAZING!

My ninth half marathon, May 14, 2016, Running with the Cows Half Marathon.  I learned that having someone to look forward to on the course, my special people, can help get me through a rough race.

My tenth half marathon, June 4, 2016, Hospital Hill Half Marathon.  I learned that no matter what, relentless forward progress will get me through each and every race.

Be who you want to be

Hospital Hill Half Marathon 2016

The Hospital Hill Half Marathon has come and gone again, perhaps for the last time, for me.  Guys, that’s a tough race.  It’s not just the hills, it’s the weather conditions too.  Let’s get into my recap.

Friday night, Amy came over, and brought my packet to me.  She went and picked up our packets earlier in the day, to save us both time and money! I cooked up some super fancy spaghetti and meat sauce, and we had garlic bread and wine, too.  I got flat Renee ready, and went to bed, as my alarm was set in the 4’s for Saturday morning.

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We got to Crown Center and parked at Union Station, and boy, was it humid.  You could just feel the thickness of the air.  We found some of our running buds, quickly checked our bags and used the port-o-potties.

Ok, onto the race itself.  Amy and I had planned to stay together, something we haven’t done before during a race.  Typically, we start the race together, and run our own races, meeting up again at the finish line.  This race, each of our 10th half marathons, we wanted to stick together.

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Left to Right: Kevin, John, Mark, Me, and Amy.

Miles 1-3: I knew this was going to be a tough race from the very first mile.  It was humid.  The air was thick, and miles 1-3 felt rough.  That’s never a good sign.  After the 3 mile water stop, we stopped to walk.  I wanted to cry; I felt like we were barely moving, and I felt like there was no way I could possibly go 10 more miles.

Miles 4-6.5: Rough.  Walking, running, uphill.  Please just rain, it would be less humid than this.  Did I also tell you it was hot? I’m sure it wasn’t that hot, but the start was 70 degrees, and about 90% humidity.  An angel of a spectator had his sprinkler set up to cool the runners in the street.  A reader said hello as she ran by (great job, by the way!), and I think I mumbled something back at her and maybe tried to smile.

Mile 6.5-7.5: Internal struggle, and struggle with Amy.  I convinced her to go on, as I knew my race was all but over.  My knee was in pain, but ok.  My feet were sore from walking.  I was drenched with sweat and water.  Around mile 7, I began drinking gatorade and dumping water down my shirt and on my head at the water stops.

Miles 8-10: Another kind spectator and his family had ice cold water bottles they were handing out.  I saw my first downed runner, the first of 3 that I saw.  I believe one person tripped and face planted, the other 2 appeared to be in heat distress.  More hills.  More water dumped on my head.  I walked.  I cried.  I called Kristen and Mom, yes, while walking, in this half marathon.  Who calls someone during a half marathon? Me.  I was mentally completely checked out.  If anyone would have asked me if I wanted to quit, the answer would have been yes.  But nobody asked me, and I kept moving forward.

Miles 10-12: Broadway Blvd.  For anyone who has run this half marathon before, it’s about a mile and a half of steady uphill.  It’s not overly steep, but it just doesn’t end.  A group of women had orange slices, buckets of ice, and bubbles.  Why bubbles?  No idea, but the ice down my sports bra felt amazing, and the orange was a nice change from yellow gatorade and gu.  I saw Paul at almost mile 11, and he had a big smile and yelled some encouraging words.  I stopped and hugged him, and I think I apologized for being wet or sweaty or something.  I promise, it was maybe half sweat, half water, and some melted ice and bubbles.

Mile 12-13.1: I imagine I walked at least 5 miles during this half marathon, which is probably the most I’ve ever walked during a half.  Once I got to the top of the last hill, Trinity Hill, around mile 12.5, I knew I had less than 10 minutes of pain left, even if I kept walking.  I saw a photographer with about a half mile left, so I made myself smile, and I started running.  I ran down that hill, turned the corner down another hill, turned the last corner, and I could hear the announcer at the finish line just up ahead.

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Photo courtesy marathonfoto.com, Hospital Hill Run, and Sun Life Financial.

I came across the finish line with a smile, and finished my 10th half marathon with my slowest time out of all.  It was the very opposite of a PR, it was still a win, because I didn’t give up.  I wanted to, I cried, I walked, I wanted to lay down and call someone to drive me to the finish line, but I didn’t.  It may have been my slowest half marathon, but it won’t be my last, and I didn’t let it beat me, though it tried hard.

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Photo courtesy marathonfoto.com, Hospital Hill Run, and Sun Life Financial.

I met up with Amy at the finish line, got my medal, had some chocolate milk and an ice cold sponge.  After a few pictures and chatting with friends, we changed clothes and went to brunch.  I’m glad Amy and I tried to run it together.  We made it over halfway before splitting.  After all our training runs, it was neat to run a race together, and I’m sure we will do it again, and finish together.

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Photo courtesy marathonfoto.com, Hospital Hill Run, and Sun Life Financial.

The course support, spectators, and volunteers are great, but for the second year in a row, this race kicked my ass.  The hills, yeah, they are hard, but KC is hilly, and I know that.  I think the toughest part about this race is the heat and humidity.  In the first week of June, it’s usually getting hot, truly hot, for the first time of the year.  My body hasn’t acclimated yet, and it’s apparent when I run Hospital Hill, at both last year’s race and this year’s race.

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Hospital Hill, you are a beast, and I conquered you for the second time, but I probably won’t again.  This was my third half marathon in 3 months, much like last year, when I ran Rock the Parkway, Scout Strong, and then Hospital Hill.  This year, I ran Rock the Parkway, Running with the Cows, and Hospital Hill.  I have yet to feel truly confident in the half marathon distance, and I feel like focusing on one or two each season, instead of several, might help.  Plus, the course for the KC Half Marathon, in the fall, has many of the same hills, but I like the course, and the fall temps, better.  I’m not saying I’ll never run Hospital Hill again, but not anytime soon.

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After a delicious brunch and a much needed pedicure, I spent the rest of the day relaxing.  Sunday morning, Amy and I ran a few shakeout miles, which felt pretty good.

This year’s Hospital Hill Half, and my 10th half marathon, may have been my most difficult to date.  But I’ve learned a lot from it, and I’ll be running more half marathons in the future, just you wait.