Race Report: Hospital Hill Half 2017

Whew what a weekend! Let’s talk Hospital Hill, shall we? The 44th annual Hospital Hill Half was held over the weekend in downtown KC. As always, the race was HOT and HILLY! (Although as a slogan, that would probably dissuade people from signing up. )

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The expo opened on Thursday, but I didn’t visit until Friday. I was having total FOMO with all the pictures of cool swag popping up on Instagram. Hospital Hill has the best swag I swear. The first year I ran it, we got backpacks. The second year, we got blankets. This year was beach towels! And PJ bottoms instead of t-shirts!! (The jammie pants are amazing and get even softer after you wash them!)

The expo is held at the Crown Center Sheraton convention center each year, which makes for a really good-sized expo. All the usual vendors were there with discounted race entries, cool running gear, and wellness products. My favorite part of the expo is always the big archway with the giant course map.

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2015 Course Map 

Since I visited om my lunch hour, I made it a quick in and out. (Nice to know that you can make a speedy pick-up if you don’t have time to linger). I picked up my bibs and then stopped by the service desk to switch my Re-Run 5k + Half to a 5K + 10K. (I just knew my body was not going to cooperate. My new medicine has made the last month really awful for me, and I hadn’t run in a month.) They were super friendly in getting me switched over. And OMG. The bibs! So cute! A rabbit for the 5K and a magic hat for the half!

On my way out, I checked into my room at the Crown Center Sheraton. They made a group of rooms available at great discount rate. (It was half the cost of the room I had originally reserved on my discount travel site). They had a special line set-up just for runners to check-in, so I had my room key and was back on my way to work.

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I took advantage of the free KC Streetcar to go back to my office at Power + Light District. (I really should have taken it to the Expo. By the time I was back at work, I was sweaty and my feet had blisters from walking 1.5 miles in my sandals. Bad plan.)

After work, I took the street car back to the hotel and changed into my outfit for the 5K. Friday night was hot and I knew that I had overdone it with all the walking earlier. Since I have poor-heat tolerance with my lupus, and was really feeling iffy, I decided I would just enjoy the race by walking it.

The start line had so much energy! As usual, they played “Kansas City Here I Come” as we took off. (Some of us slower than others! Ha!) Right away, we were rewarded with a view of the Western Auto building, one of my favorites.

The 5K course was unrelentingly as hilly as always. They changed up the course a bit, and I feel like it was slightly easier by not having that one massive hill right away. Just know – Hospital Hill is never “easy” and even the 5K is no exception.

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The volunteers were so cheerful, so it was actually nice to be able to properly thank them as I went by, instead of the usual hasty “thanks” as I run by.

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Those hills are no joke! 5K, 10K, or Half!

Soon enough, we descended the final hill and made the left turn to the finish line. There was a huge crowd cheering, and it took everything in me to just keep walking and not break out into a run. I received my medal and headed for the post-race party.

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This is a really kid-friendly event with face painting and balloon animals. But I was just interested in the adult beverages. This year’s beer was “Hilltop Hops,” a peach beer from Rock and Run Brewery. My husband received my cup and said it was really good!

And that is really where my race report ends. I woke up the next morning and knew that trying to push myself to do the 10K would be a bad idea. I was too fatigued and it was just too hot. I was pretty bummed as I have had such great runs on that course – even snagging a PR the first time I ran it. I had friends who ran both the 10K and the half, and they had amazing things to say about the race on Saturday. I know for sure, I will be back next year for more swag, bibs, and beer!

 

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hospital Hill race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

2017 Pi Day River Rotation Half + 5K

Let’s talk about Pie Day, err, Pi Day. I mentioned before that we had all signed up to do the Pi Day River Rotational as a family. As we neared the race date, the weather forecast began calling for high winds and snow. Which, for some is awesome, but for me, notsomuch. I also felt really uncomfortable sending a just-turned-10-year-old out on the trails, in the snow and wind. The course markings for the loops are confusing, and I would feel horrible if he got lost. Also, Tatum was running the 5K with Steven, yet I knew he would dash ahead probably get lost. Scary.

I left it up to Bowie. I explained the weather forecast, and he asked how long the half would take to run. He decided himself to drop to the 5K, which I think was a really mature decision. There will be more half marathons to run.

So we got to the trailhead and mingled a bit. The heaters were quite welcome as we stayed warm before the race.

We were called up to line up at the gate. I helped Bowie get his Garmin ready to go, and kept Tatum warm. I explained to Tatum about pacing and told him to stick with me. He had woken up with a really bad cough, so I wanted to be sure running wasn’t too much for him. Soon, we were off! And with that, Tatum went out like a lightning bolt. Which meant I was chasing him, yeliing, “Tatum! Wait!!!!” like a crazy person. I caught up and kept reeling him back in, but he kept trying to pull away. After about half a mile, he was breathing hard and ready to walk. Tatum learned about going out too fast… Had he listened to mom, he would have done 2 miles before needing a walk. But to be fair, I always go out too fast, too.

So the rest of the race, we were run-walking. Because Tatum tended to dawdle on the walk breaks, it gave Steven a bit of an opportunity to reel Tatum in a bit. Once Tatum would spot Steven behind us, he would take off running again. We kept this up the entire first loop. We went out to do the “mini loop” and Tatum floored it for that part. He pushed pretty hard across the finish line with everyone cheering him in. Bowie was at the finish cheering really hard. Super cute!

Once Steven finished, we headed over and sampled pie! And donuts! And!!!! The race directors even made sure there was a gluten free coconut cream pie for me! Now that is customer service!

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While we were munching pie, we checked out the results. Bowie had an 11 second PR over his last road race! In the 19 and Under group, Bowie took 2nd, and Tatum took 3rd. (I didn’t mention to Tatum there were only 3 runners.) The first place runner was 18 years old, so Bowie can’t feel too bad about 2nd place. Bowie was 14th overall and 10th male. So he actually did really well. Proud of that kid!

So… Race Thoughts?
The Pi Day River Rotational continues to be an excellent first half marathon for any runner.  The trail is easy on the legs, and gentle (non-technical)  for the smallest of runners. The course is well-marked and volunteers are amazing at keeping you on-course and well-motivated. We even had charming wood finisher medals this year, but the pie at the end was the best award of all. If you are into big expos, this race is not for you. But if you want bang-for-the-buck and low key fun? Lawrence Trail Hawk races are a good bet.

2016 Rock the Crossroads

Continuing my Saturday story…

After the triathlon, I took a shower and rested a bit for the 5K. I still hadn’t eaten anything yet and was super hungry, so I suggested getting a late lunch / early dinner on the way to the race.  We also needed to pick up our packets, so we left early. A little too early since we had soooooo much time to kill.

We stopped at LuLu’s Thai Noodle Shop for food and, as always, it was delicious. The pineapple shrimp fried rice is my favorite there. Bowie got wide rice noodles with chicken and veggies. Steven also got my favorite fried rice.

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You don’t even want to know…

We stopped to get gas and snacks, then headed to get our packet. Steven decided to sign up because he really liked the medal. I gave him some grief since he was wearing black socks and cargo shorts. There were a ton of walkers there, so it was totally fine. I told him he could easily walk but he wanted to through in as much running as he could do. (It was 9793792 degrees out, so that made it challenging as well).

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Keeping it Klassy with portapotties, Goodwill and used condoms.

There wasn’t anything to really do to kill the next hour. We tried sitting on porch of the building next door, but it was covered in used condoms and leftover stuff from the homeless… not some place I wanted to have my kid. We found a cleaner place to sit and I gave Bowie my phone to watch Netflix. (He chose Prefontaine. Yup. That’s definitely my kid.)  Eventually, they opened the deck of the Torn Label Brewery so we moved into the shade.

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Finally, race time. Bowie and I lined up near the start, and Steven ducked in toward the back. I told Bowie I would pace him the easy first mile and then he could decide what he wanted to do.  He said he didn’t feel like running very fast because it was so hot. I couldn’t blame him at all. After the first mile, I told Bowie to go ahead because I needed to slow down. I was totally pooped from my tri, and I really just wanted to jog, and walk, the rest.

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It was a hilly, hot mess. I was just really ready to be done, get my medal, and drink lemonade. I gave a little kick at the end (to which the announcer called me a sandbagger – haha) and found Bowie waiting for me. I knew we had a little bit of time before Steven would finish, so we checked Bowie’s time at the results table. He got 4th place! Woot! Not bad for not trying, kiddo!

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So here is where it gets fun… Bowie and I lined up at the finish line to watch Steven finish the race. We met him when he collected his medal and while we walked back the the car, he said I should look at Twitter. He had live tweeted the 5K. And he wasn’t having as much fun and Bowie and I did. So funny!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Boots n Daisy Dukes 5k

Date: June 1, 2014
Location: Independence, MO

(Belated race report)

This was my second year running Boots and Daisy Dukes 5k. (2013 here.) … and they discontinued the race in 2015! When I asked KC Running Company, they said that they were going to be helping out the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead with their race instead. I am actually bummed about that. I really liked this course. And even thought I grumbled last year about the country music, I bought an awesome outfit for the 2015 race (which they didn’t have. Boar’s Nest t-shirt, Ink N Burn Daisy Duke-style running shorts and tube socks. Epicness.)

But back to 2014. I felt pretty good going into this race. It was HOT out, which is a given in Midwestern summers. But my legs were feeling strong and I felt I could do well on the hills. I know I say I hate hills, but I always seem to do a lot of passing on them. (So I guess other people hate them even more?) Train the hills = Passing people at races. Check.

Again the course would wind around Bass Pro Shops Waterfall Park. I actually enjoy this course, as far as road courses go. It is really scenic with little waterfalls, ponds and gardens. There are some nice hills. There is a fair amount of shading on some of the course. They don’t include a course map on the website, but it is the same for all the races held there. I’ve included a map from my Garmin.

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My Garmin Course Map

They had the cowboy boot contest again. I really cannot fathom how some people “run” in cowboy boots. Just wouldn’t happen for me. If I didn’t destroy my legs, I would busy my butt falling. I think the boots thing only appeals to fun runners since they are the only ones who would risk their legs like that. Also ,they tend to line up at the front, go out in a sprint, and then are walking in a block. (Which makes it more difficult to get a good tempo going on the course.)

Nothing out of the ordinary happened at this race. After 2.5 miles, I was really wishing I brought a handheld since it was so hot. I grabbed a cup at the aid station and tried to drink while I was running and ended up choking on the water. I had to stop for a moment to walk and catch my breath. After I decided I was not dying, I ran again and headed into the homestretch to finish.

After I crossed the finish, I visited the portapotty. A girl came up to me and thanked me for helping her finish. She said she was just concentrating on keeping up with the girl in the white skirt. (That was so sweet of her!) Glad I could help, random stranger!

Time: 27:37
7th place AG

2014 Chiefs Finish on the 50

Date: May 10, 2014
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, KCMO
Another belated race report.

My sons were really excited about this race. I had some reservations. First, the race time started at 9:00. I knew it would be toasty. Second, the race was entirely run in the stadium parking lot on blacktop. Again, toasty. The race was to finish on the football field and the boys were pretty excited about that. There were also to be players working the aid stations and taking pictures with fans. Also cool.

My two sons and I met up with my friend Vicki and her son before the race. We took a few pictures with the Chiefs mascot and headed to the starting line. The start seemed rather unorganized and had a pretty big delay. Bowie, Dane and I took off a bit faster than Vicki and her son. (Her son was a newbie runner. Note: he had more fun than we did). We made our way through the parking lot, and I have to say that there was really nothing remarkable to note. It was blacktop. And a stadium parking lot. We stopped at the aid stations for water because it was blazing hot, and there were no Chiefs players. (But thank you, volunteers!)

We did get to run on the field for our finish and got our medals which were neat. The race was not timed (the first finisher won a prize based on who crossed the line first).

Afterward we could tour the stadium and locker rooms. We did look around the displays abut did not go to the locker room because the line was ridiculously long.

Vicki reported back later than when she and her son stopped at the an aid station, there was a Chiefs player there. So the early bird didn’t get the worm, in this case. Very neat that Nate got a picture with a player. (I think they also did the locker room tour and said it was still packed).

So on the upside, if you have a young sports fan who just wants a fun run and likes football, this is a nice race. If you care at all about timing or scenery, notsomuch.

2016 Scout Strong Challenge

Date: May 14, 2016

Location: Kansas Speedway, KCK

After Bowie’s strong showing at the Skyline Shuffle, I wanted to sign him up for a road 5K to see where he was at. I also thought he might like getting a finisher’s medal, since trail races around here do not tend to award them. I started researching options and found the Scout Strong Challenge Half and 5K. I ran the Scout Strong Challenge half marathon in its inaugural year. The course was different this year – but I knew it was a fun race. I also checked out the previous year’s results and saw Bowie had a good chance of placing, so I signed us both up for the 5K.

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ceremonial race outfit

This year, the race started and finished at the Kansas Speedway, the NASCAR track. Right away, the event parking was super convenient. There were attendants directing traffic, and we parked in a lot right by the track. We hit the port-a-potty with no line at all and walked less than a block to get to the track entrance.

The race started on on the paved road course in the infield. (The area inside the big oval track). I was not sure how Bowie would do pacing himself. (At Skyline Shuffle, I put him behind some fast friends and told him to follow them). I had talked to him about not going out too fast — but how is a 9 year old going to “feel” that? I decided to run my butt off to get him started. I am no where in the shape to do much running in the morning. In fact, most of my morning runs have been a horrible, slow sweaty disaster. But I thought even if I could get a quarter mile at his pace, he could take over from there. Based on his Skyline Shuffle time, I felt I would shoot for a sub-9:00 pace and have him pick it up himself when he hit miles 2 and 3.

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pre-race

Surprisingly, I was able to truck along for 3/4 of a mile before I felt like I needed to slow down. I told Bowie that I was cutting him loose and he needed to go chase people down. He picked up the pace a little bit and I followed along behind him, making sure he turned left for 5K instead of right for the half course that left the stadium.

I was able to keep running at a decent pace. Obviously, not the pace I was running last year before I got sick, but I was running surprisingly strong. I took 2 small walk breaks to catch my breath when I felt I was pushing too hard.

The race finished with a full loop of the oval track, which was pretty cool. In the homestretch, I kept looking down at my Garmin and thought it would be a really good showing for me to go sub-30:00. With as fatigued as I have been lately, that would be really awesome. I kicked a bit at the end and squeaked in with 29:54.

I grabbed my medal and found Bowie waiting with our “crew” (who gave us a ride to the race). Bowie wasn’t sure of his finish time. He said that he felt like he didn’t run his fastest because he was hungry. (I will work on his pre-race nutrition. I guess he needs a bigger breakfast). I was pretty confident he placed, as I was keeping an eye on the other kids in the race.

We made it to the media center building and looked up our times. Bowie ran 27:19 (8:48 pace) and took 2nd place in his age group. (52nd male and 61st overall). For fun, I looked up mine and was amazed to see I got 4th age group, 17th female and 88th overall. Not too shabby for a good-sized race! There were a lot of snacks offered, but we just grabbed mini muffins and water.

The awards ceremony was supposed to start at 8:30 and we waited and waited. (My oldest was graduating and we really needed to hurry back!) Finally, someone told us the awards would be outside in a few minutes. So we all went outside into the cold to wait while they laid the medals out on the table. Seriously. This took 15 minutes and we were all getting crabby because we were cold. A woman beside me finally spoke up and asked if we could just grab our medals and leave! (Yay for her!) They started handing out medals so we needed to wait for them to get through female awards before Bowie got his medal.

Thankfully, we were parked right by the area the awards were in, so we got back to the car and on the road quickly. I had just enough time to get home, rinse off and change my clothes, before heading to Emery’s high school graduation. (Congrats, Emery! I cannot believe the years have flown by so quickly!!!!  This is just crazy!)

I actually camped out most the day after that. We had lunch in town and then I settled in for a nap. At dark, I decided I wanted to take my new cyclocross bike for a spin, so I put the headlight on the bike did a little tour of Baldwin in the cold. I am really excited to take the bike out on the trails and gravel roads!

I have to order pedals yet, so we just the platforms from my old cross bike on. I also have pink bar wrap to replace the black, as well as a few other pink touches to add. So far I am really pleased with the bike. And how about those fancy dual brakes??

2016 Skyline Shuffle

Date: May 7, 2016
Location: Lawrence, KS – Clinton Lake

It was a toasty morning on race day. We made it to Clinton Lake, Campground 3 a bit early and talked with a few friendly Trail Hawks before the race. At race time, I put Bowie in line behind my friends, Nicole and Trudi, and got in line a bit behind him.

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Photo courtesy of Gary Henry

I didn’t stay with Bowie long – he was running strong! I find grass the most difficult to run on. It is lumpy and soft. I am always cautious about twisting an ankle or losing my footing. Add in the hills, and this was a challenging course! (Details here.)

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Photo courtesy of Gary Henry

I made it halfway through the course before I needed to start taking walk breaks. A combination of morning + heat + hills just was a lot for me. I didn’t want to blow my adrenals out on a 5K!

When I made the final decent of Bunker Hill, I asked a course marshall if Bowie had come through OK, and he reported that Bowie had gone through looking strong. I turned on to the home stretch and just held on. Bowie and Tatum joined me in the finishing chute! Actually, Tatum stopped in front of me to give me a hug and I told him to keep running. He turned around and ran so fast, he passed right by me!

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Photo courtesy of Gary Henry

It turns out that Bowie blew the course prediction I had made for him. I guessed 33:00, and he ran 28:34!!! Holy smokes! A PR for Bowie on a tough course. And he has only been running off and on for a couple months. Go Bowie! He came in 13th out of 60 runners. There was only one other child runner out there.

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Photo courtesy of Gary Henry

I did slightly faster than the time I predicted for myself so that was nice. I have a long way to go before I am back to really racing — but I had such a good time and was there to support Bowie.

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Photo courtesy of Gary Henry

While we waited for the awards ceremony, we got to talk to so many friendly runners. Tatum asked when he was going to get a number so he could race, and an awesome woman gave him her number. He had a blast running back through the chute!

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Gary “Story Hawk” was about, snapping pictures before and during the race. (Thank you, Gary, for the awesome pictures!)

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I had a long bike ride on my plan (the 5K was just a bonus), so late that night, Steven and I hit the trails for an evening ride. I am not a fan of rides requiring headlamps — too many bugs! I had not ridden since last year so my butt was also not happy about the ride. We ended up going from Ottawa to Princeton and back. While I am (not so) patiently awaiting a new cyclocross bike, I road my “Comfy Cruiser.” I’m afraid even the cushy seat didn’t save my butt! Ouch.

Have you gotten back out on your bike yet?