Planning my Runcation.

I have mentioned that I am signed up for Rock + Roll St. Louis on 10/15, and I am finally getting around to planning my time in St. Louis. I am working to balance having fun, yet not wearing myself out before the race. I tend to do that. A lot.

While I was researching running vacations, I also asked a few friends for recommendations on what to do in St. Louis… and also, what to do on a runcation in general. I have a couple friends who always seem to be jetting off to somewhere for a race, and figured I would get some pointers.

My friend, LaRisa, is doing Tulsa Run 10/28, which is around the same time I will be in St. Louis. That race sounds really fun – and this year is it’s 40th anniversary, so I am guessing the swag will be extra cool.

First up is considering what race you want to run. We all have different reasons for signing up for a race. Course? Location? BQ-rate? Weather? I factor in everything.

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Start line in St. Louis

I think the most important factors for me in signing up for Rock and Roll St Louis was the race series and location. I have always wanted to do one of their races, and St. Louis is the closest race to KC. The swag for the races has always made me jealous. The medals?? YASSS.

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As far as location goes, St. Louis will be an easy commute. Instead of driving, I plan to ride the Amtrak. I have never taken a train before and it seems like a fun idea. I won’t have to stress about driving out. I can just sit back and relax. And I plan to get there in plenty time to hit packet pick-up, eat, and get a good night’s rest.

 

 

 

I plan to stay at a hotel close to the course, and bonus: it has a view of the Arch! I like to stick close to the race so I don’t have to worry about a long drive over in the morning. Since I am riding the train out, I won’t have a car to get around.

 

In Tulsa, there are a lot of hotel options as well. LaRisa stayed in the Brady Arts District but added that Guthrie Green is nice as well.

One factor that Tulsa Run has going for it is the course. LaRisa had good things to say about the race course. The race seems inclusive of all ability levels as it includes 15K, 5K, and 2K, as well as a 15k/5k combo option. (Running the combo will get you an special ribbon to go with your medals).

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LaRisa post-race in Tulsa

The Rock and Roll Half Marathon in St. Louis includes a 10k in addition to the 13.1, as well as a 5K the night before. Running the combo will earn you an extra medal. There are bands all along the course to keep you pumped.

Being out of town, there is a certain level of apprehension, maybe? You need to plan well and make sure you pack everything you might need. I always remind myself that I can purchase many supplies, if I forget them. But one year I did forget my water bottle and had to pick one up at the expo.

One they that can make you feel at home is hospitality from event staff. Smiling faces along the course. People jumping in to help you if you hit a bad spot. LaRisa said she had run the Tulsa Run twice before and said the race directors and volunteers were great. That definitely makes a difference with your race.

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St. Louis course includes some amazing views

Something both races can boast about is their after-party. LaRisa said Tulsa’s a lot of fun. (A DJ and bounce houses!!) And although I haven’t done a R&R Race – I am really looking forward to partaking in all the post-race fun. The band Fastball is headlining!

Interested in signing up? Run with me by using   BIBRAVE15 which gives $15 off the Half, valid until 10/8. Run with LaRisa by using bibravetr for $5 off your race entry.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock and Roll St. Louis 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!”

 

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!”

Preparing for summer races.

With Pi Day out of the way, I can now turn my attention to the rest of my race season. Since I am still waiting for the day when I magically start feeling well, I am only plugging in a few races here and there. (I have burned too many times with signing up for races and not being able to run due to my autoimmune stuff).

I do have a few races on the calendar that I am really excited for. Up next is Hospital Hill Half Marathon!

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At the 2015 Hospital Hill Expo

I have run this twice. The first year I did the Re-Run with both the half and the 5K. The second year, I signed up for the re-Run but only ran the 5K due to autoimmune. This year I am signed up for the Re-Run again. This is a really great race!

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Start line 2014

First, there is the course. Known for its nasty hills, Runner’s World rated it one of the hardest half marathons in the US. I highly recommend a lot of hill repeat training before tackling this bad boy. The first year I trained for this, I was running KU campus Campanile Hill over and over again. To be honest, the race course hills were not bad. My strategy of training heavy hills worked! DO NOT GO IN UNPREPARED!

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Hospital Hill Half course elevation from my Strava

 

The 5K course had a serious climb at the start. Bowie kept saying, isn’t this hill done yet? It was kind of ridiculous. After that, it wasn’t so bad!

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2014 bibs and medals for Re-Run

Second, there is the swag. Each year they have neat extras. One year I got a fleece blanket, another year I got a backpack. This year, it’s jammie pants! When you run the Re-Run, you get not only the 5K and half medals, you also get a Re-Run medal. Very cool!

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I am all smiles at the 2014 half!

Finally, I have to mention the race staff. The volunteers are awesome! One year, they were handing out towels because of excessive heat. The next day, handing out ziplock bags to save our cell phones from the rain. Through it all, they never left. (And can I thank the neighbors turning on sprinklers so we could run through?!?)

Also, the social media from this race is spot on. They do a great job hyping the race. They even used a picture of Bowie on Twitter and Facebook! How neat is that?

If you are interested in joining me, you can use code BIBRAVE for a sweet discount!

 

Disclaimer: I received a race entry 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!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mass Street Mile

The part I didn’t mention about the Lunar Kanza on Saturday night was all the excitement really happened on my way home. I was about half-way home when Steven called to tell me he needed to take Dane to the ER. Bowie and Dane had been wrestling around in the kitchen and they fell into a cabinet. Dane had gouged his head open!

I made it home, took my bike off the rack and rinsed off in the shower. Then I just waited and waited for them to come home… Finally, Dane came home with 3 staples in his head. (The anesthesia  didn’t take so the poor kiddo felt the whole thing. Yet didn’t cry!)

We rounded up race outfits for Tatum and Bowie and went to bed at 2:30 or so. When the alarm went off at 5:30, I was not pleased. We puttered around the house and got the little ones ready for their race. (Emery and Dane stayed home to get some sleep.) I felt like I was in slow-motion, for sure.

The Mass Street Mile had been around for years before but was resurrected this year by local running shop, Ad Astra Running.  Since it is a certified course, it is a great opportunity to log a mile PR in Athlinks. Runners use the same course at the rides of the Crit that weekend.

We got the boys to the start line and Tatum insisted he wanted to run by himself. (I was actually sort of glad because I was tired and wearing flip-flops). The boys took off and it was just the cutest thing to see Tatum chasing the runners.

We cut over to the 1/3 mile mark and watched the boys run by. I yelled at Bowie to move his butt, and then a bit later, Tatum ran by and we cheered again. (So much pressure for Bowie! Haha)

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We crossed back to the finish line and watched the super speedy sub-5 guys rolling in.  The first place winner was 4:18!!!

Bowie came in at 7:57 (gun time).  Just a bit later, Tatum rolled in at 9:07 (gun time). So proud of those boys.

After the race, a woman came up and asked how old Tatum was. She wanted to know how old the littlest person to pass her was. So funny.

Bowie ended up with third place in his age group and received his trophy from Olympian Jeff Galloway. Both boys received medals and vouchers to have their finish time engraved.

As we were leaving, one of the volunteers asked if the boys liked chocolate milk. It turns out they had a lot of extra, so they sent each of the boys home with a gallon of chocolate milk and a bunch of bananas.

I feel this has set a really high quality bar with a gallon of chocolate milk as finisher swag.

 

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.