|Downtown Kansas City, Missouri|
June 4, 2011
Kansas City, Missouri
1st Place 40-44 Age Group
26th out of 1,406 Overall
45:32 PR ... 7:19/mile pace
75 degrees/80% humidity
Until this weekend, I had never ran a 10K race. And I had always heard great things about the Kansas City Hospital Hill Run, so since last year I had targeted it for my first race of this distance. As advertised it was a well organized, medium size race featuring a 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon with about 6,600 runners in all events. It started and finished in downtown Kansas City, Missouri in the Crown Center area.
Packet Pickup ... Swag ... Medal ... Crowd Support
Packet pickup was well organized and held in the Crown Center Exhibition Hall. There were a ton of volunteers who were very helpful, although a little uninformed with a couple of logistics questions I had. Bart Yasso from Runner's World was also there visiting with runners.
I am becoming less and less concerned with give-aways, SWAG packets, and post race festivities for races, but I know a lot of people really enjoy them. For this race, runners did pretty well. We got a nice technical t-shirt (black for men, teal for women), a water bottle, a nice finisher medal for all three events, a pair of flip-flops, beer & famous Kansas City BBQ after the race. Plus there was great live music and a ton of things to do around the popular Crown Center shopping area.
|Good race bag with beer & BBQ at the end of the race (I had neither)|
The medal was pretty cool, especially considering everyone got one regardless of what race they completed. The logo on the technical t-shirt and the medal both read "I Conquered The Hill", which is what the race is known for. "The Hill" is Hospital Hill which is approx a 2 mile square area that is home to various medical facilities, including Truman Medical Center. Plus, while it's not the toughest hill I've ever ran in a race ... it's pretty hard! So their slogan fits I guess. More on that later.
The crowds were decent considering it was only about the 3rd or 4th really hot day we've had in KC this year. In the afternoon the high was about 95 degrees with suffocating humidity. And at the 7AM start time, it was already getting a little toasty - about 75 degrees, with 80% humidity. These weren't bad conditions to watch a race, but running it was a little challenging.
|Pre-race "Get-Down, Get-Down!"|
Michael and I went through our typical pre-race
I had decided that I would spend quite a bit of time warming-up for this race so I could start strong right out of the chute. The race started at 7AM so I began some light miles at about 20 minutes 'til. I ran a total of about 2 miles prior to the race and really noticed that the even though the 75 degree temps and high humidity were fine to stand around in, they were gonna be tough to race in.
I felt strong and ready at the starting line and when the gun sounded I ran okay, logging the first mile and a half at my pre-planned 7:00/mile. But the next mile is where everyone has the problem. "Hospital Hill" is a 200ft climb over a little less than a mile, with portions of it at a 4% grade. Not a killer if you're out jogging - but a little tough in a race. And the heat & humidity made it a real challenge. I managed to keep my pace at about 7:00/mile, but I really began to notice my heart rate SOAR at approx 187bpm. The high heart rate didn't bother me, I mean it's a race right? What concerned me was I couldn't get it to decrease on downhills ... it pretty much stayed elevated.
Although breathing hard, I felt fine until about mile 3.25. My pace plan had slipped a little, however it wasn't horrible. But when you turn onto 39th Street, there is immediately another 100ft incline over 1/2 mile. And with my heart rate now at 192bpm, my stomach killing me, and my will power lost somewhere in the second mile ... I kinda gave up and let the course and the heat get the best of me. I walked. Then ran. And walked. Then ran. And WALKED ... IN A FRIGGIN' 10K!!!!!!!!!!! To say that I was disappointed with myself would be a huge understatement.
|Crown Center fountains near the Finish Line|
I WAS NOT UPSET WITH MYSELF BECAUSE OF THE TIME OR FINISHING PLACE ... I was upset because all I ask of myself and the people close to me to do is give their best effort. Yesterday was not my best and felt like I let myself down.
But a funny thing happened when I checked the finishing times from the race. It turns out that high temps really drove finishing times down. There were only 15 runners in the whole race with a finishing time under a 7:00/mile ... for a 10K!!! When I searched and found myself, to my surprise my 45:32 was fast enough for 26th place overall and also ... to win my age group! Wow, that was really unexpected. It was the first time I ever won my age group in a race and it was a pretty big deal to me!!!
Now, I would absolutely be lying if I told you the 1st place finish didn't take the sting out of my performance a little ... but only a little. I don't at all want to sound ungrateful or "spoiled" with my time, but I still pretty much gave up when the going got tough yesterday - something I usually don't do and still don't know why I did. But all in all it was a good day. I got to run with my wife, who by the way ran a great race and you can read about here at Slowly Tri-Ing. Plus, it was a beautiful day to be out running and I am thankful for that! But I don't ever want to quit like that again. I would rather run 2:00 below my average pace and have fun than quit on myself. Guess I just had a bad day, but tomorrow will be better!
... be great today!