The KC Half Marathon has officially come and gone. There is a lot to discuss, including my recap of how the day's events unfolded, so let's go.
First things first, I had to pick up my race packet. They won't let you run if you don't have a number or a timing chip. Weird, right? After spending a little time on Friday night at the Expo after packet pickup, it was time to eat. Pasta, naturally. The mistake I made of eating at the Cheesecake Factory was not that I ate my entire entree, it was that I opted for pasta with a nice creamy white sauce instead of a lighter red sauce. Let's just say that it played havoc on my stomach for the majority of the race. Anyways, after watching the Rangers gag away game 1 of the ALCS to New York, it was time for me to attempt to go to sleep, knowing that my alarm was set for 5:30 AM. I was able to fall asleep around 10:30 or so, and woke up at 3 AM on the nose. From that point on, it was the horrific feeling of knowing that you want to fall back asleep but you can't because you are wide awake. I drifted in and out of sleep until about 4:45, and then again until my alarm went off. That wasn't totally unexpected, because I was nervous and anxious about running, and about missing my alarm.
After breakfast, I made my way down the Crown Center where the race was to start. I met up with Sparks, did a quick walk down to the starting line, and back towards the main plaza area for some warming up and stretching. The website said to be in line with your pace group by 7:00 AM, and we did not start warming up until around 6:40 AM. I also had to wait in the world's longest line to use the restroom, so I was not going to be able to meet the pace group at 7:00. No big deal, though, right? I mean, how hard could it possibly be to fight through a crowd of over 11,000 people to find one or two pace people. Turns out that if you wait in line until 7:25, 5 minutes before the race starts, it can be pretty tough. As I am basically jogging through people to find my pace group, I make it to the 2:40 pace group when the gun fires, only a mere 40 minutes slower than where I needed to be. Neverminding that I was convinced my bladder would explode on me, I decided I could make a game out of it and try to catch my pace group, but I would just go at my own speed to get there. I knew how I had been running, so it would not be hard to keep a nice steady pace without overdoing it.
The toughest part of the track would be the first four miles, with a steady uphill climb to start, a steep uphill before mile 3, and another steep uphill before mile 4. After hitting Main Street, there were several downhill spots that would make for good spots to gain ground on my 2:00 pace group. I made sure to walk through nearly all of the water stations to keep my legs feeling good. The course had a lot of neat things to check out, like Westport, where I saw my mom and Coach Terra cheering me on, through the plaza, where I got to relive the Cheesecake Factory and the meal that was causing me much discomfort throughout my run. The only part of the race that I missed was the Nelson Atkins Museum, the one with the large badminton shuttlecock in the lawn. It was pretty bright and we were running right at the sun at that point. After hitting mile marker 8, I decided that I had to relieve myself, or I was going to be in too much pain. The good news was that I had found my 2:00 pace group, so I knew I was ok. I also was checking my times on my iPod Nike timer, so I knew I was doing fine. At mile 10, I was starting to hit the wall. The course flattened out, and then went back downhill, so I caught a break. By the time I hit 12 miles, I was feeling better, but I knew I had yet to run this far at any point during my training. It started to feel more like work at this point, and I was just glad that I knew the finish was coming up. I was very relieved to see the finish line, but did not have anything left in the tank to push it home. I crossed, and I was just happy to still be standing. It does take a lot of you.
I crossed with a gun time of just over 2:02, but I knew that I had started very far back in the pack, and that my chip time would probably be under 2:00. I was able to see the results, and I am very happy to say that I broke 2:00, finishing up with a time of 1:57:21. I collected my Half Marathon Finisher medal, claimed my free Boulevard Wheat beer, and sat down. Sitting has never felt so good, although I probably should have stretched out a little more than I did because I am so very sore today, it feels like I did not stretch out at all before I ran. Some notable runners that I have featured on this blog also posted some good times. Andie, who I featured just last week in the TFGIR Interview Series: Episode Two, posted a terrific time of 2:07:37 in her first attempt at a Half Marathon. Sparks, as you remember from the first installment of the TFGIR Interview Series, completed his race in 2:27:04, well under his goal of 2:30 or 2:40. All in all, I thought it was a pretty successful day all around for my running crew.
Some other things I'm happy with involve looking at the overall standing of the event. Now granted, just finishing was good enough for me, but I also wanted to show to myself that the work I had put in was for a reason, and that I could hit my time goal. 5,213 runners signed up for this Half Marathon, with 2,082 being dudes. In my age group, there were 388 dudes. Overall, I placed 1360th, within the dudes it was 871st, and within my age group, it was 171st. Considering when I ran my first 5K back in May I finished in the bottom quarter overall in the dude group, I am very pleased with how I ran in this race. They also had a nice split time breakdown available to see, and it showed that I was pretty consistent throughout the race. I had a 3.3 mile time of 29:24, an 8:50/mile pace. There was also a split at the 8 mile mark, which calculated the time from the 3.3 mile split to the 8 mile split. It had me there at 41:47, an 8:57/mile pace (which did include my rest stop). Overall, I ran a pace of 8:58 per mile, inside of 9:00, which is what I was hoping to achieve. I figured it I could do it in practice, I could do it with people around.
So there you have it. I'll have some more of my thoughts and thoughts from others that ran in the race during the week, and then I probably won't have a whole lot to talk about, but I'll come up with some super interesting things that will have you reading up until it comes time to start training for Spring races. Thanks for reading and following me along throughout these last 6 months, and until next time....later.