Friday, November 23, 2012

Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5K

Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5K
Michael & me being interviewed on live TV by Karli Ritter from
WDAF FOX4 in Kansas City, MO after the race
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Kansas City, MO

Official Time: 19:29
Average Pace: 6:17
Finish: Overall 23rd out of 1,873
             40-44 AG 3rd Place out of 77
Average HR: 185 bpm
Weight: 183
Calories Burned: 433
Elevation Gain: 138 ft
Total Distance Ran: 3.12 miles
Temperature: 60 degrees
Wind: 15 SSE
Humidity: 60%

Like almost everyone else in the blog world, Michael and I ran a 5K on Thanksgiving Day in Kansas City.  This year we decided at the last minute to run the Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5K in KC, MO.  Michael had done some research online and found out this race was voted the #1 Thanksgiving Day race in our area and it didn't disappoint.

Medal for 3rd Place 40-44 Age Group
Check it out ... Tukey's throwin' up RAWKFIST!!!
I woke up at about 3am on Thanksgiving, not with a craving for oven-fresh turkey, but rather a splitting headache.  There was a weather front moving through our area and the changes in barometric pressure usually result in me popping a few headache pills - which I obviously don't like to do before a race.

My headache finally went away, but there was still quite a bit of time to kill before the 9am start, so I got online and checked out last year's race results.  Earlier in the week when Michael signed us up, I had planned on running a nice easy pace and not really going full speed.  But she text'd me and told me I should "try" because the age group winners got a cool medal with a turkey on it.  I couldn't have cared less about the medal, but I think she secretly wanted it, so I told her I would try to run it fast and get her one.

I figured for a nice casual holiday 5K, I wouldn't have to go too hard to finish top three in my age group.  And once I found last year's results, they didn't look too intimidating.  Yes, I had just ran a fairly quick 10K about four days before, but I thought I could probably get a medal without killing it. Boy was I wrong!

Easy little lady, you'll get some pumpkin pie soon
Against my better judgement, Michael and I of course, got out World Famous Pre-Race Dance Party on.  I just wasn't feelin' it  today.  But while Michael chose to go for the "Stuff Your Face On Thanksgiving" move, I chose to honor our Native Americans with two fingers representing the feathers in the back of my headband.  Classy ... I know!  I totally understand that the reason many folks checkout these race reports is to see what "the two idiots" are doing before this race, but you have no idea how hard it is to work with someone who was already Jonesing for pumpkin pie at 6am!

The race was only about 15 minutes from our house, just like the race we ran on Saturday at the North Face Endurance Challenge.  Local races are just so awesome.  It takes so much logistically out of the pre-race activities  and really helps you focus on the race since it's in a familiar environment. 

An ugly troll with two cute girls - my wife Michael, and Karli Ritter,
Meteorologist from WDAF TV FOX4 Kansas City

Once we got to the race site at Ward Parkway Shopping Center in Kansas City, Missouri, Michael and I traded in our race shirts we got the day before for a couple of larger sizes, found the port-o-poties, and relaxed in the car for a few minutes.  After that I began my 30 minute warm up before the race.

As I slowly jogged around the perimeter of the shopping center parking lot, I noticed a WDAF TV - FOX4 Kansas City news truck with one of those tall broadcasting antennas that climbed about 100 ft in the air.  Fox4 is pretty much the only local news channel Michael and I watch every day before work.   As I ran a little closer, I saw Karli Ritter, the morning Meteorologist and one of our favorites at he station.  She always talks promotes upcoming races during the broadcast, so I knew she was a runner ... and like a total stalker, I stopped by to meet her and told her that my wife and I watched everyday.  As expected, she was incredibly nice, and really cool!  We also talked briefly about how much we miss Don Harmon, the original morning weather guy, who passed away about a year ago.  I then jogged back over to our car where Michael was still hanging out and told her, "Hey, Karli Ritter's over there!"  After that I continued my warm ups, but Michael then went over and met Karli as well.
Pretty cool Thanksgiving Day 5K shirts with turkey's on the front throwing up a RAWKFIST!!!
I ran about 3 miles before the race and mixed in some light stretching.  I noticed that my legs didn't really feel sore at all, and my flexibility seemed to be good - but everything just kinda felt dead.  I had pushed it pretty hard about four days before at the 10K race, and I hadn't really given my body much  time to recover for a fast 5K, so I wasn't sure how this one was gonna go.  I ended with some light sprints, getting up to speed without much trouble at all before going to line up at the start.

Mile 1
When the gun sounded most of the runners started in pretty much a dead sprint.  The first mile was a gradual 85 foot decline straight down hill.  It was so awesome!  I felt light, fast, and effortless.  But I slowed myself down as I kept an eye the pace, which had increased to about 5:40/mile.  While it felt nice and smooth, I knew I couldn't hold it for the rest of the race when we headed back up hill.   The wind was pretty brisk at about 15 mph out of the South, but it really didn't seem like much of a factor, plus, it would be at our backs on the back half of the race.  I ran the first mile in a very easy, very comfortable 6:03, and felt really strong.

I'm always amused at how fast some people start in 5K's.  It seems like most of the younger crowd always goes out way too fast.  They will always blaze by me during the first half mile or so, but then ... as always ... they peter-out around 1.5 miles.  It's so hard not to spout off something smart aleck as I pass, with them huffing and puffing trying to keep a fraction of the pace the bolted from the gates with.  Tortoise and the hare my friend, tortoise and the hare.

Mile 2
As we hit the turn around point just after the first mile, sure enough, I started picking off runners one by one.  I had ran this portion of the course in the Rock The Parkway Half Marathon earlier this year, and I knew we were in for about a 1.5 mile climb back to where we began the race.  It wasn't a huge incline, about 50 ft or so, but I knew running it at 5K pace would be a little tough.  I intentionally slowed my pace a little, plotting for a strong finish.  Plus, I wasn't really trying to kill it - I just wanted Michael's Turkey Medal - ha.  

Michael getting her results from a Pilgrim on Thanksgiving
Admittedly, over the past few weeks I've been laying out a little.  My diet has been the biggest struggle - I just haven't been watching what I eat that much.  I'm at the point in my running where I can pretty much go out on a full/fat stomach and run a comfortable recovery pace without any G.I. problems - but that's just not the case when busting it in a 5K.  And this became very evident in the middle of the second mile.  My stomach started churning a little as I tried to maintain a 6:15-6:30ish pace back up the hill.  I wasn't dying, or holding anything in - it was just uncomfortable.

As I continued to pass runners, I could tell that most were struggling with the climb.  And as we made our way back near where the race would end, I was one of them who was starting to struggle.  There was a water stop at Mile 2 that I didn't use, but I noticed a 2 Mile Split clock set up on the other side of the street that showed I was at 12:17.  I still had a PR in reach if I ran this last mile under 6:00, and then finished strong.  I ran Mile 2 at 6:15, but I was really starting to feel it.

Mile 3
In every 5K I'd ran until today, I had maintained my pace, or picked up speed each mile - today I was going in the opposite direction.  I had backed off on the second mile a little, hoping to save a little energy for a strong finish, but I knew that as I began the 100 ft of incline on Mile 3, I was likely just gonna be holding on until the end.  My gut was churning.  My legs were wobbly and lifeless.  And I actually did something I'd sworn to myself I wouldn't do - I glanced down at my heart rate ... it was 194!!!  When I'm really pushing it, and I mean pushing it, it's around 188.  BUT IT WAS FRIGGIN' 194!  I kinda freaked me out a little, but I tried to keep pace.

Michael, me, and a turkey before the race
I was still slowly catching and passing a few runners, but was really struggling.  About the middle of Mile 3, a younger high school cross country type of runner blew by me - I mean blew by me!  I was like, "Where the heck did he come from!"  He was so fast that I didn't bother trying to keep up.  But almost immediately after that, a guy about my age began to creep up beside me.  I glanced at him on my right and he was pretty winded just like me.  I let him go by, but kept him about 15 ft in front of me, thinking I'd stay within striking distance.

As we neared the top of the hill, I could see the turn around to go back to the finish line.  It couldn't come quick enough - I was dying!  I remember thinking to myself, "I'm getting too old for this!"  We made the turn and gradually started down a decline - it felt amazing!  But as we headed back South again, the wind really seemed to be a factor.  I used the downhill to catch my breath a little, but  I was pretty spent as we neared the 3 mile mark.  With the uphill and tired legs, my pace slipped a little during Mile 3 to 6:30.

With only a tenth of mile left, I emptied the tank, which I soon found out was pretty near empty already.  I had passed the guy who was my age, but soon found out that he had more kick left than I did, as he passed me during the final 150 meters, which I could never make up.  I glanced over my shoulder and didn't see anyone immediately behind me, and finished with a 19:29 - not a bad run considering my conditioning and the relatively difficult course.

Gorgeous girl with a big-eared dork ready for Thanksgiving dinner
After the race I waited for Michael and we headed over to the results table.  A lady dressed like a Pilgrim, or a witch-hunting Quaker (or maybe one in the same), printed out our results.  Michael had an AMAZING DAY!!! The girl PR'd by 5 seconds ... FREAKING AWESOME!!!  And as she printed mine, I saw that I had finished 23rd overall, and 3rd in my age group.  Michael would get her Turkey Medal!

We're on the air with Jim & Michael!!!
But maybe the coolest thing happened after that.  As we made our way to round up some water and post race snacks, we saw our friend Karli Ritter getting ready to do a live shot from the race on the morning news.  We asked her if when she was done, she'd mind letting us take a picture with her.  She said, "Well I'll trade you a picture for an interview!"  Awesome, we were gonna be on live TV on the news ... just like witnesses to a crime, or a wreck or something ... so freaking cool!

Karli talked in her ear piece to the directors back at the studio while I visited with her husband Chris,  who seemed like a pretty cool guy.  After that, the studio threw it back to her and we were on.  She made small talk with Michael and me before interviewing a bunch of folks next to us who were wearing matching turkey hats and shirts.

Man ... we were stars!  Interviewed on the morning news ... just for running a 5K!  Awesome!  Michael's phone immediately began blowing up with text's ... "What the heck were you doing on the news?"  "I just saw you guys on news!" etc.  It was pretty cool.  A couple of younger kids asked us for autographs on the way to the car, but we snubbed them - ha!  We're way too important for that ... sarcasm!

Psssst ... Poppy just about made his heart explode today in a race!
From there, we went back home and relaxed until our 1pm lunch reservation at Garozzo's Ristorante.  Obviously an Italian restaurant, but they also had all of the traditional Thanksgiving food as well.  I think Michael and I both were expecting to eat in the actual restaurant area, but they had everything set up in the banquet area with a bunch of folding tables.  So it actually felt more like a cafeteria environment - which was a little disappointing.  But the food was great as always.

Later that evening, my son Gage stopped by with our grandson Ryder.  He's the coolest, and he's getting so big!  (Man, I just sounded like every other proud grandparent in the world)  We hung out for a while, but they still had a few more rounds to  make.  Holidays can be so tough on young couples with obligations to visit all of the families that are spread out in different locations.  We didn't get to spend much time with them, but I know they're busy - plus I think we're all having our Thanksgiving on Sunday.

All in all it was good race, and a great day!  After looking at my race pictures, I can tell its time to start hitting the total body workouts again ... a little too much loose skin and lard flying around.  But other than that, everything went well.  Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
... be great today!


  1. You're like a knight in shining armour winning the fair damsel her turkey medal. Nicely done!

  2. wow! You smoked it! That is so fast, I need to consider more of a warm up - that's for sure. Congrats on your 15 minutes-ish of fame!

  3. Ah, so cool you got the medal for Michael :).

    Great job on the race! And you two clean up really, really well! Now, I hope you're going to take some time to slow things down and run aerobically for awhile, your body needs it! :)

  4. Super fast as always!!! Congrats on your strong finish. Love the recap and photos. Definitely one of my favorite blogs to read!

  5. Well where is the clip! I want to hear the interview! Congrats on the race! I love that picture of you with your grandson... Cool young grandpa you make ! :) makes me look like a really old the same age ! Ha!!!! No but really I am only 26....

  6. Well, nice work! I like that first mile! I need 3 miles like that.

    That last picture is priceless. Family is the best part about Thanksgiving. Hope you both had a great holiday!

  7. very well done, as usual

    good luck at Baton Rouge. I think you will like the course - it's FAST, if the weather is right. Good Luck !

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