Saturday, November 15, 2014
Longview Lake - Grandview, MO
Runners: 1,523 (564 men, 959 women)
Start Time: 8:00 am
Course: Two challenging hills, a few rolling hills, combined with flat stretches
Weather: 25 degrees, 8 mph wind, 60% humidity, spit a little snow late in the race but no accumulation
SWAG: Initially marketed as a "race jacket", runners received a dark blue long sleeve quarter zip shirt
Race Organization: KC Running Company event, so it was really well organized as always
Crowd Support: Good considering the weather
Volunteer Support: Unbelievably GREAT!!!
Water Stops: Frequent and Enthusiastic
Food: Gels during the race, chicken soup and bananas
Finishing Time: 1:36:30
Average Pace: 7:22
Place: 52/1,523 Overall, 4th/60 45-49 Age Group
|Man-made Longview Lake in Jackson County Missouri ... one of the least scenic lakes in the Kansas City area|
|2014 Longview Half-Marathon Finisher Medal|
On the right, long sleeve zip technical shirt originally
marketed as a "jacket" on the race's website
|KC's Finest organizing traffic before the race|
I knew exactly what to expect in this race since I'd only ran about 45 miles in the last month, and gobble down every poor diet choice within arms length. To say that I was "out of shape" would be kind ... fat, slow, and lazy would be more accurately descriptive. I drove to the race with Michael understanding full well that it would be a grind. And it was.
Kansas City Running Company organized the race to benefit St. Luke's Hospital Home Care & Hospice. And as usual, every event that's managed by KC Running Company is very well organized and attended. They simply do a great job with promotion and organization.
Typically KCRC's execution on race day is seamless as well, however on Saturday, they ran into a little hiccup. The race sold out at 2,000 runners, and even with the frigid November temperatures, about 1,500 still showed up. The problem was that there was only one point of entry for parking, which meant a line of traffic for about a mile as runners waited on Raytown Road. Even with Grandview and KCMO Police, this bottleneck delayed the start of the race about 15 minutes. And even with the delay, dozens, if not hundreds of runners were still scurrying to the starting line well after the race began. Obviously an oversight. The delay wasn't a huge deal to me on Saturday since it wasn't an "A" race, but if I would have timed my warm up to begin at 8:00 am, I would've been a little ticked as I stood there and cooled down for 15 minutes in the starting chute. It was kind of strange as we passed the quarter-mile point, watching runners hurry from their cars to the starting line after the race was already under way.
|2014 Longview Half-Marathon Elevation ... 463 ft. of elevation gain|
I went out fairly slowly to get a "feel" for running again. I'm not joking. You'd think with about 10,000 miles under my belt over the past few years, putting one foot in front of the other would be second nature, but the whole concept just seemed so foreign on Saturday. I cruised through the first mile with a very comfortable 8:03 and picked up the pace a little in the second mile before I had to pull over behind an Pine Tree for a quick pit-stop. That cost me about a minute and I ended up with an 8:28 for Mile 2.
Besides the typical top three Age Group Awards, the 2014 Longview Half-Marathon featured a mid-race event called "King Of The Mountain". The top 15 men and women to ascend the 100 ft climb with the fastest time during Mile 3 would be awarded a special plaque as one of the Kings or Queens of the "Mountain". I first learned of the challenge the night before the race, but knew that I was in absolutely no shape to run uphill quickly.
|Long lines at the Port-o-Potties, and also on the main road into the event|
After the race, out of curiosity, I checked the "King Of The Mountain" standings to find out how fast the leaders had climbed to the top. As I scanned the list, there was obviously no sign of my name in the Top 15 award winners. But shockingly, at number 19, it read ... JAMES WEATHERLY, LEES SUMMIT, 45 YEARS OLD. I was really surprised, followed by kinda ticked off! If I would have pushed it all the way up "The Mountain", I could have taken home an award. I ran that portion of the race in 5:47, only 9 seconds off of 15th place. And I murmured to myself for awhile after that, somewhat lamenting the missed opportunity, because I knew I could have easily matched that time if I'd tried a little harder. But oh well, I hadn't planned on a top finish of any sort going into the race, so I got over it fairly quickly.
|Me and the best looking girl I could find|
after the 2014 Longview Half-Marathon
Most of the race was ran along Raytown Road, which runs adjacent to Longview Lake. The route was closed off for the race so there was no issue with traffic. Michael and I have both train at Longview occasionally on several nice maintained trails that make their way around the lake. I was a little surprised that the course didn't incorporate some of them.
At the midpoint of the race, I was consistently in the mid to low 7's, which felt relatively comfortable. I remember being surprised at the ease of the pace since I hadn't run much for the past 30 days. But for most of the summer, trained at 6:15-6:30 for my fall marathon that didn't happen, so I guess some of the quick leg turnover was still there. Looking back at Saturday, I have no doubt that I could have pushed the pace for most of the race to around 6:35-6:45. But even though it was only a half-marathon, I was scared to death of walking the last 3 or 4 miles. So for most of the day I would look down at my Garmin, noticing a quick pace, and slowing it way down to conserve energy. Hindsight being 20/20, I could have pushed it for a 1:32 or so at Longview.
|One of the MANY volunteers who braved the cold|
weather just to assist a bunch of runners
At Mile 11 I reached the point in the race where I was constantly looking at my Garmin, counting down, almost every tenth of a mile, and constantly repeating to myself, "Just make it Mile 10. Just make it Mile 11. Just make it ..." I was ready to be done, but have ran enough races to know that I was fairly close to the leaders in my age group. I wanted to fall of the pace and just jog it in, but of course, I began to push it in hopes of an Age Group Award.
The last mile had one last short climb and I was just about spent. My pace slowed back to almost 8:00 I ascended the brief quarter-mile hill. After that, I picked it back up to about 6:30'ish, but my overall pace for Mile 13 was only 7:03. I crossed the Finish Line with a respectable 1:36:30. It was my third slowest Half-Marathon every, but all in all, not bad for almost no training of any sort for most of Fall. And it was good enough for 4th Place in my Age Group. And yes ... I was a little ticked off by that too, ha.
|Runners worshiping the heat post-race|
I soon thawed out and made it over to the finish line in time to watch my amazing wife come through the finish chute. It was spitting a little snow by then. Well, really little ice pellets more than anything. And even though I HATE SNOW WITH EVERYTHING INSIDE ME, it was kind of cool to see it during a race. Plus, hey ... I was already done running and didn't have to deal with it, ha.
|Snow falling at the end of a very cold 2014 Longview Half-Marathon|
... be great today!