2016 KC 13.1 Race Recap

Last weekend, I ran the KC Half Marathon for the third year in a row (see my 2014 recap here and my 2015 recap here).  As in previous years, I went downtown for packet pickup.  Chris and I checked out the expo for a bit, got our packets, and headed home for a spaghetti dinner.  After setting out my flat runner, it was early(ish) to bed.

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It was much warmer this year, compared to last year’s frigid temps.  It was warm enough for a tank top; I wish it would have been a bit chillier, it kind of felt more like late spring than early fall.  I went to the race with Chris and Amy, and after using the bathrooms and checking our bags, we made our way into the corrals.  The race started right on time, with fireworks going off at the start!

I started off and stuck to my paces, slower than previous halves, as I was trying to run the whole half marathon without walking.  The course was pretty familiar to me, having done it twice before. I made it through Hospital Hill, Liberty Hill, and Trinity Hill with no problems.  I was enjoying the race signs, listening to snippets of conversations as I passed people and as they passed me, listening to my music, and enjoying the course.

I knew by about mile 5 that this was not my race.  Since the start of the race, I’d not had any pep in my calves; my hips had been aching, my calves felt like rocks, and I just felt sluggish, overall.  I continued to watch my paces, trying to focus on something other than how my legs felt.  By the time I got to the Plaza, about halfway, I was feeling chilled, and had goosebumps on my arms.  I had the beginnings of dizziness, and at about mile 7, I stopped to walk.

My number 1 goal for this half marathon was to run it all without walking.  I felt so defeated, mentally.  I have had so many great training runs preparing for this half marathon, and I felt really confident that I could finally reach this goal.  My secondary goal was to PR, and my third goal was to finish the half.  When I started walking, I knew my #1 and #2 goals were out the window.  I honestly didn’t even really want to finish, I was just defeated.

I spent the last 6 miles walking and running, with more walking than running.  My back and feet began aching, because of all the walking. I continued my walk/run/walk/run until I was about a half mile from the finish, and ran it in.  I finished, and felt happy that I had finished, but frustrated and upset and disappointed in myself at my performance.  I got my medal, water, and heat sheet, and made my way to find Amy and Chris.

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Let’s just talk about Chris for a sec.  He finished his first half marathon, and killed it! He beat all of his goals, and felt awesome the whole time.  I am so proud of him, for training and achieving this, for pushing me to run longer, for being there for me after my bad race, and for signing up for another half, so we can keep running together.  He did so great, I can’t say enough.

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Overall, I’m happy I did the race, and I’m happy I finished.  I’ve reflected a lot this week about this half marathon, and the 10 previous halves.  I’m proud of myself every time for finishing a half marathon, because it is no small feat.  I know I didn’t have the day I trained for, but I know that day will come for me.  I’m going to keep running, to keep training, and keep making my mind stronger, because I know it is my mind that gives up far before my body, and I need to learn to be stronger than my  mind thinks I am.

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I love the KC Half, it’s one of my very favorite KC races.  I hope to continue to keep doing this race every fall.  Amy, Chris, and I made our way back home after the race, and now my medal is proudly hanging with my other half marathon medals.

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I have one more half marathon to run this year, the Longview Half Marathon, in 3 weeks. I’m really excited that Mom is coming down for Longview, it will be great to experience Longview with her – neither of us have ran this race before.  Longview Lake, here we come!

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!!

Monday Mentionings: January 4

Good morning and Happy New Year!!

Last Monday, I ended up staying in Hays because of the icy roads between Junction City and Kansas City.  I took advantage of the extra time in Hays by going to the gym with Dad and Kristen. Kristen and I ran while dad biked, then we all lifted upper body, per Kristen’s instructions.

Later on Monday, I spent some time with Grandma, Granddad, and Tiger, then had dinner with my family and my brother in law’s family. It was a really nice end to the long holiday weekend.

Tuesday morning, I drove back to KC, and worked in the afternoon. Jazzy was happy to be home and back to his normal schedule, which includes playing with the light on the wall.

For New Years Eve, I went to Amy’s and spent the evening with her and her family. We had Mi Ranchito takeout, ice cream, and sparking wine. Amy and I rang in the new year, and it was a perfect way to bring in the New Year.

  

Bright and early on New Year’s Day… ok not so early, it was about 10:00, Amy and I went to the New years day fun run put on by KC Track Club. This was the same run we went to last New Year’s Day.  We were even able to re-create the picture we took last year.  Amy and I were friends for about 6 weeks before the pic on the left, but I think our New Years run was one of the monumental events that really solidified our best friendship.

Unfortunately, the trails are very icy in places, and we were only able to run about 2 miles. It was a lot of fun, and a great way to start the new year. Now that we’ve done it twice in a row, I think it’s our new New Year’s tradition.

After we cleaned up, Michelle came over, and we went to BRGR to eat burgers for lunch, and then headed to Crown Center for ice-skating!!

Ice skating with these two was so much fun! Michelle had never ice-skated before, and this was only my second time.  Amy has ice-skated several times before; she was a pro! I only slept and fell once, and I wasn’t even skating at the time, I was laughing at Michelle, hanging onto the wall, slipped and fell. Clearly, that shouldn’t count!

  

While we were down town, we went to union station, and I bought the Royals World Series celebration print. Later, I framed it and hung it in my spare bedroom. It’s a great picture, and a really nice way to remember that amazing day.

This afternoon, I meet with a sports Doctor about the pain behind my knee. I’ve been seeing the chiropractor, but I think it’s time to see a specialist and see a really what’s going on. I have 3 half marathons to train for the next six months, and I’m really tired of dealing with this pain. My fingers are crossed!

I saw this photo on Facebook last night, and it made me really happy! Go Royals! Go Chiefs! I know (after googling it) that the Chief’s’ win streak started Oct. 25, but still, they’ve been defeated since Nov. 1!

I hope everyone had a really great New Year, so far I’m off to a good start, and I can’t wait to reach my goals this year!