Last Saturday, I ran the Kansas City Half Marathon. This was my 5th year running this race – and it is truly one of my favorites.
The course starts in Crown Center, where I work! Then travels through downtown, around to Westport, and back through the Plaza. They do such a great job of showing people how beautiful and unique Kansas City is. I would strongly suggest doing this race if you are looking for a smaller fall marathon or half marathon.
When I started my training for the St. Jude’s Marathon, I knew that the KC Half would be part of my training. I also knew that I would love to try to PR my half, which was a 1:34:31. I ran 1:34 at my very first half marathon, which happened to be the KC Half Marathon in 2008. It also happened to be 6 years to the day since I had ran my 1:34.
Leading up to the race, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been experiencing some foot pains, as well as having a cold/bad allergies. With my asthma, any kind of cold or allergies can really knock me out, so I was just a tad (ok a TON) upset when I didn’t feel well. The week of the race, I was smart and finally got a prescription to knock out the gunk. I also got an amazing pep talk from my Mom and Stacy. They reminded me that it was just a run, and that I needed to go out and do my best. They always know what to say to me to make me feel better.
Saturday morning was a new day, and I woke up so excited to race! I decided to get up extra early to do a nebulizer treatment for my asthma, and also drink some warm coffee. I figured anything to loosen up my chest would be beneficial.
We arrived to the race around 6:15. First stop was an indoor restroom, then we went outside and I met up with my fellow GOTR SoleMates! It was fun to meet the other girls that had been raising money for GOTR. It was also nice to see some familiar and friendly faces at the booth.
After a few minutes at the tent, I headed to the start. I really wasn’t too nervous – mostly just excited to get the race started (and over with…)
At 7:05, after a little “Let’s Go Royals” chant, the race started.
I decided to run with the 3:05 marathon pacer. I figured that this pacer would be running a 1:32:3o half marathon time, which would make me extremely happy.
I stuck with this pacer for the first 5ish miles, then started to pull away. I was feeling good and confident. While I had a few coughs, I didn’t feel as though my breathing was slowing me down. And my legs felt great.
From this point on, I stopped looking at my watch and just ran on feel. I knew I was running a pace I could maintain, but didn’t know what that pace was. I figured it would be a great way to gauge my fitness and also practice pacing.
At mile 8, we split from the marathon and I popped my earbuds in. It was pretty sparse around me, so I decided a music distraction would be nice. The next few miles I focused on getting over the hills and to mile 10. Since I know this course so well, I knew that mile 10 starts 3 miles of some great downhills.
Mile 10-13 cruised by. I felt amazing and just tried to maintain the pace and effort. Around mile 12 I finally snuck a peek at my watch and was pleasantly surprised by the split – 6:23. I knew I was moving fast, but had no idea I was moving that fast! Eventually, I saw the 1:30 pace group and tried to close the gap as much as possible.
Running up the final hill of the race to the finish was awesome. I could see the clock and knew it said 1:30:xx. I couldn’t wait to finish.
When I hit my watch I actually couldn’t believe what I saw – 1:30:32. I just beat my PR that I had been chasing for 6 years. And best of all – it felt so good on my body.
I won’t play it down – I was (and still am) so proud of myself. I overcame my mental and physical barrier of not feeling well and just ran the race.
“Shut up and run” is what I told myself. And that is what I did.
This race gave me confidence that my training is working and I am doing everything as I should. And I am excited to see what else this fall could bring :)
You can see the climbs and the downhills in my splits.