Seems disrespectful to refer to a marathon as a “training run.” After all, running a marathon is HARD, at any pace. Anyone who crosses a finish line after twenty six point two miles deserves the pride and the tears and the applause.
But that, with all due respect, is what yesterday’s Kansas City Marathon was for me … a tough, grueling workout – a tuneup race – leading up to my primary race next month (big announcement about that coming later).
With another race coming up in about five weeks, I knew better than to push myself too hard over the hills of Kansas City. I’ve learned, the hard way, the folly of trying to run back-to-back marathons at a fast pace. Instead, I decided beforehand that I would take it easy (“easy” being relative) so that I could recover quickly and be well trained for November’s race. If I was smart (“smart,” also, being relative) I probably would have just skipped the KC marathon, but I hate to miss the premiere local race.
So, I’m not disappointed at all with a 4:07 finish, which is a comfortable 9:27/mile pace. I am a bit disappointed, though, in one aspect of the race: the porta-potty debacle.
I have yet to run a marathon without being slowed down by at least one stop at a porta-potty along the route. I was determined to fix that bad habit in this race … I ate a couple of bananas more than two hours before the race started, and arrived in plenty of time to navigate the restroom and porta-potty lines a couple of times before heading over to the starting line.
And yet, there I was, at the four-mile mark, spending an extended amount of time in the porta-potty (I’ll spare you the ugly gastric details). Not just once, but three times during the race, I lost precious time in the porta-potty. That needs fixing before my next race.
Otherwise, it was a glorious, sunny day for 12,000 runners … a bit too cool, but with gloves and layers (that were shed along the course as the sun rose higher), weather conditions were nearly ideal.
Wish there were more spectators, but those who turned out were enthusiastically supportive and much appreciated. I laughed at some of the signs they carried. Among my favorites:
- You’re Running Better Than The Government!
- A menacing Walter White (“Breaking Bad”) with the single word: “Run.”
- The Most Interesting Man in the World: “I don’t always run marathons, but when I do, I run them vicariously through (name of a friend).”
There were others, but my oxygen-deprived brain wasn’t able to remember them all. I should also applaud the neighbors along the course who put up with thousands of sweaty runners invading their turf and shutting down their streets. I’m sure, if I was not a runner and lived along the course, I wouldn’t be as gracious as they were. Some of them gathered in front of their homes to cheer, or pulled out speakers to blast some motivating tunes, or handed out bananas and gummy bears. A few actually made a party of it, tailgating in true Kansas City style. Fox 4 TV news reported about one of those tailgating groups.
Organizers did their usual stellar job with the millions of details that build a successful event. The volunteers were cheerful and encouraging and went out of their way to smile and be helpful. I appreciated the free food from the sponsors, and especially the free massages. One of my cardinal rules of marathon running is to ALWAYS visit the massage tent afterward. I always walk out of the tent feeling better, and I always feel better the next day. The time I spend waiting to get a massage is a wise investment in my comfort and recovery.
I love this year’s medals. I’ll be honest, in past years I’ve been underwhelmed by the marathon medals. My very first marathon medal was earned at the 2006 KC Marathon and displayed a very cool jazz theme. It’s still one of my favorites. Although equally cool in concept, the fountain-themed medals since then have been a bit too small, and the colors not bold enough. This year’s medal has an impressive heft and stands out in a crowd. I can’t wait to hang it on my wall! (I missed last year’s race due to injury – I think last year’s medals might have been similar, but I’m not sure.)
I also love that the KC Marathon is held on Saturday morning. Too many races are scheduled on Sunday morning, which is a deal breaker for me. I might run one or two races a year that occur on Sunday morning, but as a rule, I don’t participate in the majority of races that conflict with worship at church. Priorities, folks.
Finally, one improvement I think race organizers could make next year: We need a place, near the gear check tent, to change out of our sweaty running clothes. (I think they’ve had changing stations in the past.) I would have been a lot more comfortable while enjoying the post-race festivities if I could have changed into my street clothes. No, I’m not going to change clothes in a porta-potty.
Overall, the 2013 Kansas City Marathon earns high marks. Despite too many hills, the KC Marathon is still one of my favorites.
Here’s the news coverage of the marathon.
And then, of course, there was this: Runner in KC Marathon knits his way into record book
Did you run in yesterday’s event? Share your experience with the rest of us in the comments!