Thursday, November 13, 2014

Race Report: Kansas Half Marathon

I had originally registered for Kansas City Half Marathon as my race season swan song but our KC High Five Station got an opportunity we couldn't pass up by the Kansas City Sports Commission, so I elected to DNS and run the Kansas Half Marathon instead.  The course had changed from previous years and was setup to be flat and fast.  Sounds good to me.

See you in 13.1 miles (or about 2 thousand words)
I really didn't have a goal.  My PR was set earlier this year at the Lucky 13.1 at 1:30:07.  I didn't feel a PR was going to happen with some items getting in the way of my training.  Apparently those items added a few pounds of stress to my frame as well.  Not trying to make excuses... but yeah, I guess I am.

Leading up to race weekend it was suppose to be 35 degrees and windy.  That really didn't concern me much as I've trained in cold conditions.  The wind was just going to be annoying.

Race Morning
As I got up at 5am, the temps were 50 degrees.  So I happily left the long sleeve base-layer and skull cap on the floor.  I ended up just wearing my shorts, team shirt, visor, calf sleeves, shoes, and socks.  Speaking of waking up, it was so nice having a race the morning after the end of daylight savings time.  We got an extra hour of sleep!

Stopped at the coffee shop to get some go-go juice and arrived in Lawrence about 30 minutes before the race.  A pit stop in the port-a-pots and then did about a mile warm-up jog with some pickups.

About 5 minutes before the start, TKB and I found Dane and also talked with another teammate, Jeff. A work colleague of TKB's was there as well, DeEtta. She just ran one of my favorite races, the Chicago Marathon.

I lined up with the 1:45 group just to help slow me down.   The 1:45 group was about 5 feet behind the 1:35 group, so I guess it didn't really matter.


Me and Dane, ready to run!

A little after 7:30, we were off.  I ran with Dane for a few blocks as we got moving, but I knew that wouldn't last long before he took off.

The first few miles of the race had some hills as we ran through Mass Street and the headed east.  Nothing bad but just enough to make you work.  Around mile 1 a guy in front of me lost his bib.  With the wind coming from the south at 15 mph, I thought I'd do what I could so the guy didn't have to run too far backwards.  I managed to snare the thing, even wearing those white dispensable gloves.    I should have asked the guy what age group he was in before handing it off to him!

Once we got out in the country, it was flat.  Super flat.  The problem with super flat on a windy day, it means super windy.  Fortunately, we were turning north eventually so the wind would be at our backs.  I ended up tucking in with three other guys.  I overheard them talking.  They were all shooting for 1:30.  So I just needed to stay with them but make sure they didn't start to slow.


I don't like how my knees knock.  Doesn't seem efficient.

The race worked its way back to downtown through the side streets of Lawrence.  We then crossed over the Kansas River and started running through northeast Lawrence.  It was here that we would make short efforts to run south against the wind.

Running down the bridge towards northeast Lawrence.

There was probably a half mile stretch where we ran against the wind.  I could hear Phil Leggitt (Tour de France announcer) in my head saying, "and the wind has devastated the peloton!  We have guy in orange breaking free and two guys in blue fighting to stay.  Scotty B has fallen off the back!  He's going to have to work hard to bridge the gap".  Sigh.

I actually DID get back with them and dropped one of the guys after we turned away.   We eventually hopped onto the levee trail for about 2 miles before turning around (back into the wind) and then back over the river on the same bridge.  By now we were running through the city blocks and the wind wasn't too much of a factor.  The guy in orange was long gone.  I was running about 10 - 20 yards behind the other one.  It stayed that way until the last half mile when he took off.  There was noone behind me and so I enjoyed the last quarter mile of my final race of the year.

Your standard, mid-air finish line photo.

Time: 1:31:50 / 7:01 Pace
Age Group: 3 of 33
Overal: 22 of 665

No PR but a 3rd place age group finish!  I actually was surprised with a 3rd place finish considering the time but not complaining.

Not only was Dane racing, so was his father, Ken.  We all three took home some mugs.  Dane got first in his age group, Ken with 2nd, and me with 3rd!

Race Items
The race use to be in the Spring and had a much more elevated course.  I never ran that race course, so can't compare.  I thought this was pretty good course.  There was some gravel in the first half and the levee trail isn't paved, but that's not an issue.  You cross the train tracks a few times, so I always get concerned about getting stopped by a train but I didn't have an issue.

The race had great communication through emails, Facebook, and Twitter.  I also love it when a races have interactive people manage their Twitter and Facebook accounts.  I also asked a few questions about the race not being approved by the city days before the race and they responded without hesitation.

For a race this size, they had good post-race items (massages, bananas, bagels, water, and even hot chocolate).  There was some confusion regarding the awards.  They had communicated through email and even at the site that there wouldn't be an awards ceremony but they actually did have one.

No issues with parking (we actually parked half a block from the start line).  All the volunteers, police, and staff were awesome and supportive.  Even people at some of the more remote parts of the course had spectators to cheer us on.  I even saw were someone had put a box of Kleenex in their open mailbox. Not sure where I would need that, but it's a good gesture!

Proof -- Also known as Scott's commentary of Dane's race photos.

Dane settling into pace at mile 1.  He's trying to hide under his skull cap.  Is it Dane or isn't it?

OMG!  His cap has been removed.  It is Dane!

 Look at that sweet kick.  Almost fully parallel with the road!

Landing on his heel though.  Room for improvement? #ICantTalk

What is this dude doing with his left arm?  Making a left turn or something?

In the next photo, this guy is doing it with his right arm!  OMG!  They are trying to squeeze Dane out.


Squeezed.  Unfair.

Your standard, mid-air finish line photo.

The one photo I found of DeEtta.  She's gutting out that nasty wind.  

Big shout out to Mile 90 Photography and KS Half Marathon for providing free race photos!  I'd gladly pay an extra $5+ per race just to get free, high quality race photos at the end.