|Sunday morning run in front of the J.C. Nichols Fountain|
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Country Club Plaza - Kansas City, MO
Start Time: 7:30am
Course: Mostly Flat, w/only 71ft elevation gain
Weather: 55 degrees, 73% humidity, 8 mph S wind
SWAG: Short sleeve dri-fit t-Shirt
Race Organization: Good
Crowd Support: Fair, good finish area
Volunteer Support: Great
Water Stops: Two, very well supported
Food: Typical post race ... bagels, bananas, water, etc
Health: Hip flexors tight & a little sore, but overall good
Conditioning: Very Good
10K Time: 38:20 NEW PR!!!
Avg Pace: 6:10
Place: 60th/3,017 Overall & 1st/126 in 45-49AG
Comments: One of the best races I've ran, in total control
As I considered my race schedule for 2015, I targeted the Plaza 10K in Kansas City as a potential PR, and definitely one of my "A" races for the year. I love running and racing in my beloved hometown of KC, and the Plaza 10K is one of my favorites. But while my Summer marathon training has gone fairly well, I seemed to be a little deficient in foot speed and leg turnover as evidenced by my recent disappointing 5K results. So standing at the starting line on Sunday morning, I really didn't know what to expect.
|2015 Plaza 10K Finisher Medal, and Trophy for 1st Place in 45-49 Age Group|
|Beautiful sunrise over the Plaza in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri|
Michael was running with our friend Joceyn, who she exchanged texts with and met up later. I headed out to my two mile warm up, followed by a few short sprints. During my warm up, I found my friend Isaac, who I've trained a little with this Summer. Isaac is a 20 something elite level triathlete who has won events, and really pushed me in our last speed workout. It was great to see him, but I didn't run with him. After the National Anthem, and a few short announcements, the gun sounded and we were off. The race started exactly at 7:30 a.m., and my typical pre-race nerves seemed to firmly in check.
I'd planned on taking the first mile slow, probably around 6:30, just to get loose and find out if my pre-race "feelin' it" prediction felt doable. As we wound down Ward Parkway, westward out of the Plaza, I felt pretty good. The weather was certainly helping. After a summer of suffocating hot and humid runs, we were blessed with a beautiful 55 degree, 73% humidity morning for the race! We couldn't have asked for better running conditions. And as we approached the marker at Mile 1, my Garmin chirped and vibrated with a 6:32 result ... almost exactly where I planned on being.
It was somewhere during Mile 3 that I started really mulling over the thought, "Today might be my day!" From running this race in 2013, and also training on the course from time to time, I knew there was a long, straight, slight descending down hill stretch over the next two miles. In 2013, I'd ran them in a matching pair of 6:10's, and as I briefly tested that exact pace on Sunday ... it felt completely reasonable. In fact, with the incredible 55 degree weather, just a tick faster felt absolutely in range. I can't begin to explain just how in complete control I felt over this stretch. I was gliding with strong and powerful strides. My form felt perfect. And I was bubbling with confidence. As a result, I passed the Mile 3 line with a 6:04, and a 6:08 at Mile 4. I'd passed a ton of runners and I was moving at a pretty good clip for me.
|Free Finish Line photo from KC Running Company - they do such a great job with local races|
When I saw my Mile 5 time, the thoughts of a new PR definitely began to dance in my head. I was afraid to think about it too much because at 6:32, the first mile was a little slow, but I knew with a strong finish, I might be close. So I locked in, and tried to maintain the current pace. There's another little hill that runs by the UMKC Soccer Stadium headed South on Oak Street, that on any other run would be no trouble - but in the final mile of a 10K, it gets your attention. But it's very short, and as you round the corner, and head back North toward the Plaza on Brookside Boulevard, it's almost all downhill to the finish. I couldn't help but glance at my Garmin as I made the turn and headed downhill. It was reading 5:45-5:50 - which is a blistering 10K pace for me - but I'd slowed a little on the short hill and knew the final average pace for that mile would be a little slower than that. And as I made the final turn back onto Ward Parkway where the race began, Mile 6 resulted in a 6:04.
|Michael and me enjoying the post race Plaza experience|
After meeting up with my friend Isaac, and chatting with Tim for a few minutes - who both PR'd on Sunday as well - I checked out my finishing time at the results tent. I knew this was a large race with about 3,000 runners, that always draws a lot of elite runners, and elite older runners, so I didn't even expect to place in my Age Group. But when the volunteer handed me the grocery store receipt type of print out, she said "Congratulations, you were first in your Age Group!" Bonus!!! I was really surprised and really happy again!!! After that I tracked down Michael and we exchanged stories from the race, and then pointed the car toward a big breakfast back in Lee's Summit.
Running's kind of weird sometimes, in that PR's sometimes come when you least expect them. In no way, did I expect to run this well on Sunday. I mean, I've been training really hard for the Maui Marathon, which is only seven days away - but I just didn't think I had this kind of race in me. But sometimes everything falls into place, and you run really well. Sunday was one of those days. At 46 years old, I've never ran 6.2 miles faster ... and even though it was completely unexpected, it felt really really good!
... Be Great Today!