Broadway Bridge Run Half Marathon

 

My posse: A few friends from the Fishing River Running Club raced the 10K event.

 It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain, as you start out the climb …

With the lyric’s of U2’s “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” blasting through my earbuds, I surged forward with a crowd of excited runners on a cool, clear morning in Kansas City, determined to set a PR in the half marathon. I didn’t realize in that moment how prophetic Bono’s words would be.

Being a race director in Kansas City must be one of the most frustrating jobs in the world. Runners are always yearning for … demanding, even … fast, flat race routes. Ha! Try finding a mile of level ground in Kansas City! Let alone 13 or 26 of them in a row.

But if I am ever a race director, the second most important rule (after “Thou Shalt Provide Plenty of Porta-Potties”) will be “Thou Shalt Not Begin or End a Race on an Uphill.”

I mean, of any place to put a hill, those are the worst choices – at the start, before you’ve had a chance to warm up and settle into your pace, and at the end, when you’re exhausted and struggling to push yourself faster across the finish line. The first half mile of the Broadway Bridge Run was uphill, as was the last half mile.

In between, there were many more steep hills to mock my efforts at a PR. This turned out to be a pretty tough course.

So, no PR. I finished in 1:42, placing 3rd in my age group and 33rd overall (out of 388 runners in the half-marathon). Not a bad finish, but not what I was hoping for.

The good news is that, aside from the hills, I felt pretty comfortable with a 7:30/mile pace. I was able to maintain that pace consistently through the first six miles of the race. I lost some time when we crossed the river and headed up the steep hill into downtown. I couldn’t keep a 7:30 pace up the hills, but I was still hitting the pace (or faster) on the downhills and the flats. After crossing the finish line, I felt like I still had enough gas in the tank to keep going (and wished I had pushed harder up the hills!).

I think that means a certain friend is going to insist I run the bleachers with him at the stadium to train better for the hills at the Kansas City Marathon next month.

A few more thoughts about the race …

  • I thought there were sufficient porta-potties, but they were located in the wrong place. There wasn’t enough space for the lines to form in front of them, which made it difficult to maintain organized lines. Porta-potties should be moved to a location where there is plenty of room in front of them for long lines to form.
  • Volunteers at the finish line did a great job of taking care of the runners … removing timing tags, hanging medals on our necks, providing food, etc.
  • Volunteers at the aid stations along the route mostly did a great job, too. Some of the volunteers, though, weren’t clear about whether they were handing out water or Gatorade. As a runner looking for only water, I had to ask at a couple of stations to figure out who had the water cups. On the whole, though, they were great and greatly appreciated.

Also, if I am ever a race director, I will order up exactly the same weather that we enjoyed this weekend.

Awesome, Audacious Goals

If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not nearly big enough.

If your goals don’t inspire you, you need a loftier vision.

If your ambition doesn’t drive you to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you need to aim higher.

So, I’ve set a couple of awesome, audacious running goals. I admit, I’m a little frightened, mostly inspired, and way outside comfortable. Sounds about right, then.

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Running With The Cows

 

Queenie the Cow posed after the race with Fishing River Running Club members Sarah Wilson (second from right), who rocked her first half-marathon, Stacey Ellerman (far left), who paced her, and myself.

Just for the record … we weren’t actually running WITH any cows, despite the clever title of this half-marathon race. This was not like the running of the bulls, or anything risky like that.

Nevertheless, Running With The Cows earns high marks for marketing creativity, managing to attract thousands of runners to an otherwise nondescript stretch of rural roads for an enjoyable half marathon near Bucyrus, Kan., on May 10 (yes, this race report is over a month late). This was a fun race, mostly because of the before-and-after amenities rather than the course itself.

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When I’m not running a race

So, lots of friends are planning to run Hospital Hill, one of Kansas City’s premiere racing events. I’ve already decided not to run this year, but I’m starting to feel left out.

I’m running the Heartland 39.3 series of half marathons, then launching into serious training for my next marathon. Really, Hospital Hill would be a distraction. I have a feeling, though, that the closer we get to Hospital Hill, the more I’ll start second-guessing that decision.

What to do?

Running Rachel has a great suggestion. She recently blogged about “Six Reasons You Should Volunteer at Races.”

 Like Rachel, I confess that nearly every race I’ve ever attended, I ran. She paints a compelling picture for the value of volunteering at a race, not the least of which is this:

I think it is safe to say that my oldest son and I had fun volunteering at our first race. In fact, I think he had so much fun and was inspired by those running… that he even asked me when he could run a race with me! This is coming from the child that had no interest in running a few months ago! Yay! I call this a praise!

Don’t tell my non-running son, but I just might invite him to volunteer with me. You never know what might develop …

Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz

Photo and autograph from Meb Keflezighi … plus a PR in the half marathon … not even a torrential rainstorm could dampen my enthusiasm for last weekend’s Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz.

(pun intended)

I’m glad I decided to run the Heartland 39.3 series of half marathons instead of my usual spring marathon. To go from running only 2-3 marathons a year, to racing every other weekend, has been fun. This break in my routine is just the boost I needed to energize my training for the Kansas City Marathon.

From Meb’s appearance at the pasta dinner on the eve of the race, to crossing the finish line with a PR of 1:38:36 (average pace of 7:32/mile) to earn a second-place finish in my age group, this has been a memorable weekend. The Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz had been bittersweet in my memory … Sweet, because a friend went above and beyond to support my effort to BQ the last time I ran here (booking a hotel room for us and meeting me along the course with Prolong sports drink). Bitter, because I fell short of my BQ (had to travel to South Dakota to accomplish that goal).

But this weekend, as the kids would say, was sweet.

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