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

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??

Lincoln Marathon

May 1, 2016
Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln Marathon marked my return to racing, and really more importantly running in the morning. I had not run road since October 2015 (Monster Dash 5K). Or morning since Pi Day Half in March 2016 (when I bonked). Or completed a half marathon since April 2015’s Rock the Parkway.

I had been successfully completing my long runs on the trail in the evening, but I had no idea how my body would react to running in the morning. My strategy was to run my easy evening trail pace and hope my tired-morning body could handle the road.

I had signed up for Lincoln Marathon months and months ago, thinking surely I would be “better by race day.” But like many race entries over the last year, it was not the case. I dropped to the half in April when it was evident that I wasn’t going to have a dramatic recovery. I have a lot of family in Lincoln and was very excited for them to see me run a marathon. (This will for sure happen next year!!!)

After a delay due to the rental car company giving our mini van away, we found another van, loaded up the kids and were on our way late Friday night. We made it to Lincoln LATE and checked into the hotel. Saturday, we puttered around Lincoln and visited family. Saturday night, I took an Ambien and hit the bed extra-early to be ready for race morning.

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I ended up wearing a warmer option instead…

Sunday morning, I was awake long before the alarm went off. I had plenty of time to change into my race outfit and start waking my body up. Since it was cold and rainy, I decided on a long sleeved singlet, capri pants and a light rain jacket. I also grabbed gloves and a hat to help with the rain. I wrapped my phone in a Ziploc — keeping it classy there.

I ate a cinnamon raisin bagel and sipped on tea, hoping for some caffeine kick. It didn’t seem to work and I was still hungry, so Steven bought me a donut and a Coke Zero on the way to the race. I was actually still hungry but I couldn’t handle the thought of eating the GU I had thrown into my pocket.

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We could not find parking anywhere, so I jumped out of the car at a red light and followed the other runners to the start. I was really not sure where I wanted to line up, but then I saw Gay, a pacer I knew from KC, and decided to run 2:30 with her. (She is seriously an amazingly enthusiastic and sweet pacer!)

After 45 minutes or so, our wave started. Serious kudos to the event staff for managing that giant start. Very well done.

Right away, I was in awe of the amazing spectators along the course. Seriously. Even in the rain, there were people cheering for us at every block like we were running Boston. The aid stations were very frequent and well-staffed. The cups had lids and straws, which made it very easy to grab a drink and keep going without sloshing and choking down a drink.

And let’s just talk about the bands set up along the course… So many bands, from polka to rock. One that really stuck out for me was one called “The Polka Police,” who were wearing cut-off police uniforms and rocking out heavy polka. Very cool.

There were many aid stations beyond the standard Gatorade and water stations. One was handing out jelly bellies and fruit. (Those orange wedges at mile 9 were magical!) One was GNR themed and Slash was handing out drinks. One had guys dressed like penguins firing confetti all over us.

I just can’t say enough good things about this race. (View the course map and essentials here.)

The only downsides I can think of was the narrow bike trail that made it difficult to stay with the pace group when it was hard to get around the walkers, and the finish at Memorial Stadium.

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About that finish… It was really cool to run up on Memorial Stadium, home of the Huskers. They had a big screen outside as we approach the stadium and that was neat. then we turned and ran into the tunnel where we were shown on the jumbotron as we took the field. And how cool was it running across the field? I received my medal from a uniformed National Guardsman who even took the time to put it around my neck instead of just handing it to me. But then, we were herded into the stadium, packed in like cattle. It took forever to navigate through the blankets, water, milk, yogurt, chips, etc. I just wanted to leave! I was so cold!

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Finally I made it outside and found my family waiting for me. I was so cold and shivering, but we eventually made it to the parking garage where I could change out of my wet shoes. (And later to a gas station to change into dry clothes).

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I really had a wonderful time at the race and can’t wait to be back next year, in better health! I was happy simply to finish this year. I ran 10 miles without stopping, and ending up walking up the hills on the last 3. Given that I wasn’t even sure I would make it 2 miles — I was take it! 🙂

 

2015 Cinco de Mayo 5-Que

Date: 5/2/2015
Location: KCMO

The Cinco De Mayo 5K is a relatively new 5K, running through the Southwest Boulevard neighborhood. It was a really cool race in that it felt like the whole community came out to be involved. The race started and finished at the community center. After the race, there was a street carnival with vendors and lots of bounce houses for the kids. Seriously. At least 5 different giant bounce houses. It was really cool.

While waiting for race start, the boys played in the nearby park. We headed toward the start line and took pictures in front of some incredible murals. I was tired (I was sick but didn’t know it yet) and ate some salted caramel GU and assorted carbs before the race.

I headed over to the starting line and lined up at the front. (Right behind a girl who looked like she ran high school track, doing all sorts of calisthenics. Kind of weird).

The course wound around a sort of industrial warehouse type area, and residential area… so that was interesting. Many of the houses in the area had been renovated with a super modern style, which was really cool. I love architecture, especially modern, so I made it a point to go back and check out those houses after the race.

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Course map from my Strava

 

The course itself was a small loop that dropped us on Southwest Blvd then back. It was pretty flat with just a couple small hills.

I made my perpetual mistake of going out a little too fast and paid for it in the last mile. Compounded with all the fatigue I had been feeling, I had to stop and walk a little – which is the thing I hate doing worse than anything in a race. (Other than maybe pooping my pants. Which I haven’t done. Yet). I mustered up some energy and ended the race with a small kick.

My boys hit the street carnival while we waited for the awards ceremony. I can’t say enough about how neat this community is and all the fun the boys had playing. At the awards ceremony, I learned I had gotten 2nd AG, where I was given a hat, bandana with chili peppers on it, a small bottle of Tabasco sauce and a little bag of cosmetics, as well as a medal. How is that for swag?

 

 

2015 Rock the Parkway Half

(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).

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Ceremonial race outfit picture.

 

When I got home, I did the ice and elevation thing, and just hoped for the best.

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Always cold.

 

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!

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It says 2014 but the course never changes.

 

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.

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The start!

 

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.

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Love my pacers!

 

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!

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My friend (and former boss) Darron jumped out and snapped this!

 

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.

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Epic finish!

 

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!

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When I got back to the car, I immediately iced my foot up and took it easy the rest of the day.