(Another catch-up post.)
Date: April 11, 2015
Location: KC, MO
I was running pretty heavy mileage in the spring of 2015. I was training for my first trail marathon and ultra. Rock the Parkway was to be my first road half of the year. My last road half was, I believe, Long View Half in November, which I haven’t gotten a chance to recap yet. (I am working my way backwards). My PR was at Long View 2:22:08. I knew that Rock the Parkway was going to be much quicker since I was 2:26 on a trail half in March.
I was doing my runs that week, as always, and ran at Clinton Lake the Thursday afternoon before my race Saturday. Everything was groovy until the end of the run, and I lost focus for just one moment and twisted my ankle. I stumbled and tripped, but managed not to fall. But I knew I tweaked it hard. I limped back to the car, pretty angry with myself for doing something so stupid before a race I was really looking forward to. I had run Rock the Parkway the year before and had a bad showing due to IT Band issues and SUPER OPPRESSIVE HEAT!!! (As in, runners being carried off the course on stretchers due to unseasonably warm weather).
When I got home, I did the ice and elevation thing, and just hoped for the best.
Race morning I was feeling OK. I didn’t know how my foot was going to hold up, so I decided to just wing it. I headed to the start and was thankful the morning was a little brisk. (Last year, I was sweating just standing at the start). I lined up with the 2:15 pace group, since that seemed like a good starting point given my last run. I was half-way thinking that seemed almost aggressive, that would be a big PR from Long View but my time at Pi Day seemed to support that. I always take advantage of using the pacers!
The Rock the Parkway course doesn’t have a lot of twists and turns, but it does offer constant little rollers the entire course. They do have bands playing along the course, but to be honest, I am too busy running to pay them any attention. They may be more of a benefit to the spectators. This race is GREAT for spectators! You don’t go even a block without having people out there clapping and cheering for you. If you are into being cheered on – this is a great race for that.
We start at the Burns and McDonnell building, since they are the race sponsors. You do a quick turnaround to the other side of the road, giving your family an extra chance to snap your picture at the starting line. Then it is just, straight … straight … straight… After you hit mile 4, you go by the Meyer Circle Fountain. This is a great spot to be cheered on. LuLuLemon is usually there with some pretty fun signs. Since I was wearing a LuLu skirt, they gave me some big props. Around this time, you will start seeing the super-McSpeederson’s heading back toward the finish on the other side of the street.
After that, you run a square thru a residential neighborhood and Loose Park. It is a nice little break to see kiddos playing in the park and you usually run into runners just getting their morning runs in. After you circle back around, you just run down the other side of the parkway. You will get to pass the fountain again, which usually yields some neat race pictures on this side. For some reason, I couldn’t find my picture last year so I was a little bummed!
Now you are in the homestretch. And this is where I decided to ditch my pace group and pick it up a bit the last 3 or 4 miles. I grabbed a GU at mile 10 and snacked on it for a couple miles. I always forget to eat and definitely noticed that I perked back up with those extra calories. I neglected to walk through the water stops, as the pace group had been doing, so I took a little breather in the last 2 miles.
Finally, I could hear the crowds yelling and spotted the finish line. The finish line arch is pretty awesome at Rock the Parkway, so I thought my finisher picture was pretty cool!
Rock the Parkway also does a pretty decent medal as well. It was very heavy!
I finished in 2:09. Holy Smokes! Big 13 minute PR there!
When I got back to the car, I immediately iced my foot up and took it easy the rest of the day.