Saturday, October 17, 2015
Kansas City, MO
Runners: 4,559 (1,825 men, 2,734 women)
Start Time: 7 a.m.
Course: Fairly challenging with rolling hills, about 700 FT of elevation gain over 13 miles, definitely not flat
Weather: PERFECT!!! 45 F, 53% humidity, 6 mph E wind
SWAG: Short sleeve dry-fit race shirt, free downloadable photos
Race Organization: Very Good
Crowd Support: Better than most races
Volunteer Support: Outstanding
Water Stops: Very well organized
Food: Typical post-race fare
Health: Great no issues
Conditioning: Good, but really tired on dead legs and 3 hrs sleep
Finishing Time: 1:28:16
Average Pace: 6:45/mile
Place: 50th/4,559 5th/190 in 45-49 AG
Last Saturday, we ran one of my favorite races ... the Kansas City Half Marathon! I think by now, everyone fully understands just how much I love my hometown of KC, and this race is a showcases much of the beauty of our wonderful city. The challenge this year however, was running on dead legs from standing at the Kansas City Royals Playoff game the night before, and then getting only 3 hours sleep. But it ended up being a great race, and I finished only 24 seconds off of my current half marathon PR!
|2015 Kansas City Half Marathon Finisher Medal|
The Kansas City Royals are in the Playoffs for a second year in a row, and as Season Ticket Holders, we're fortunate to have tickets to all of the Playoff games ... which is incredibly awesome! But frankly, the game times have affected both of our work schedules a little, as well as everything else in our lives. This was evident in getting home near midnight from Game 1 of the ALCS, waking up at 3 a.m. for the race, and then being back at Kauffman Stadium at noon for Game 2 immediately after the race. Really exciting ... but a lot of hustling.
|Free downloadable photos were a nice addition to this race - at Mile 4 in front of the Liberty Memorial here|
When people think of Kansas City, first off ... they think it's in Kansas. It's not. It's in Missouri. It's not that hard to figure out. I mean, it's on every map ever. But it's a common mistake by out-of-towners. Secondly, they assume that since we're located in flyover country, it's flat. It's not. Most Kansas City race are some of the hilliest that I run all year. Especially when running downtown, the course can be quite challenging. And the Kansas City Half Marathon is no exception. It's filled with one steep climb after another that really break your pace. Frankly, it is not an ideal PR course.
As I stood at the starting line, I couldn't help but be encouraged by the absolutely perfect running conditions of 45 degrees, low humidity, and almost no wind. Absolutely perfect man! But I found myself wishing that I had more energy. I was completely dead. My legs didn't feel like moving and I was so tired. I was in pretty good shape, but I knew managing any kind of pace would be a challenge.
The gun went off and I started pretty slowly. The first mile is a long gradual hill from Crown Center toward the Power & Light district downtown. I just wanted to get up the hill and make the turn downtown where we got to run down hill for a while. But I was struggling. My legs just wouldn't turn over and I found it difficult to even manage a 7:25 pace. It felt like this was going to be a long race. Just a few hundred feet in front of me, I could see the 1:30 pace group, and I thought to myself that I'd just keep them in range for a while. But I soon found that they were running much faster than a 1:30 pace.
2015 Kansas City Half Marathon Pace Splits
7:25 6:59 6:52 6:53 6:44 6:34 6:39 6:37 6:40 6:44 6:21 6:07 6:23
The first half of Mile 2 was downhill, but after that, we began a climb through Hospital Hill of 150 ft over the next mile. That's a pretty good climb at race pace ... especially so early in the race. This hill was added because the race was modified to avoid some downtown street car rail construction.
|Michael and me after the race at Crown Center|
Yes, she wore that crown durning her run!!!
After the sharp uphill next to the bank, we got to run down hill for a while as we made our way toward Old Westport and the Country Club Plaza. The changing trees made this already beautiful part of the city simply amazing, but I found myself already struggling to keep pace as we neared the half-way point of the race. Ideally, I'd wanted to be firmly in the 6:30's by this time, but Mile 6 was my fastest so far, and it was only a 6:34.
I really began to fight my pace a little during Mile 7 as we passed in front of the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, and I knew there was a long three mile climb coming up that was only going to make things more challenging. I just kept thinking, "Hold the pace until Paseo, then put the hammer down!" Paseo Street meant Mile 10. And at about 10.5, there was a long downhill until the end. But before I could think about my pace on the downhill, I had to grind it out over the long gradual climb. I stopped briefly to walk through water stops, which helped me catch my breath a little, but I knew by using that strategy, I was losing quite a bit of time. Overall, considering the challenge of this stretch, I was pretty happy with averaging a 6:40 ... but now it was time to go!
Halfway through Mile 10 I caught my breath and really began to increase my leg turnover. I was able to grind out a 6:21. And as the grade sloped even more downhill in Mile 12, I sped up an ran near 5K pace and turned in a 6:07. Mile 13 leveled off a little, and so did my pace, but I was able to run the final full mile 6:23.
|Michael and me later in the day at Kauffman Stadium ... running on fumes, but ready for a Royals win!|
|One of the photos I took of Rawlee and Ryder on Sunday afternoon after the race|
... Be Great Today!