Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Race Report- Longview Half Marathon Kansas City

Saturday I ran my first half marathon in over a year. Literally, my last half marathon was the Savannah Rock 'n' Roll in November 2013. September I did the Konquer the Konza 25k, but I definatly don't count that as one in the same as a road half marathon, KtK25 was all trail with nearly 1200 feet of elevation gain, I mostly did it as a fun challenge and to see what running on the Konza prairie would be like. This was my 12th half marathon, first one since moving to Kansas.

The Longview half was advertised as hilly, but not ridiculously hilly, so roughly a little over 500 feet of elevation gain. Since we move to Northeast Kansas at the beginning of September, I had a solid two months of training on the hills to prepare for this race. All my 10 mile runs in training had roughly 500 feet of elevation gain so I felt confident going in to the race. I knew it would hurt, but I knew I could do it. Most notably was at mile 2 of the race there was to be a 1 mile climb. On all my 10 milers, I started them with a 2 mile climb so once again, nothing I couldn't handle, but I knew it would hurt.

Joel came with me for support, since the race didn't start until 8 we drove in on race morning, a nice 2.5 hour drive alone just the two of us.

Winter started early here in Northeast Kansas, and on race day the air temperature was 25 with a windchill of 18. Fortunately a few days prior all the remaining cold weather gear I ordered came and I would be all set for the freezing temperatures. I nailed it, I dressed perfectly and was comfortable the whole race. Even though it was cloudy, I wore my glasses. I switched out the smoky lenses for the amber ones so I could see. I learned from my training runs in the cold, you eyes will water nonstop if their not covered.

Ninja style

Cuddling for warmth before the race
My goal for the race was sub 2 hours, maybe sub 1:55 if I was having a good day. I felt I didn't have the fitness for a sub 1:50, and I knew I didn't have the fitness for a new PR (current PR 1:44). My emergency surgery in January really set me back endurance wise so on this day all I could do was run my race and see how I felt along the way.

Among good company, despite the cold everyone was happy to be there
About 1500 people were running the race so when the gun went of it was fairly easy to find some space. My first mile ended up being my slowest at 8:40. I wanted to start slow because I couldn't feel my feet, and I knew that monster hill was at the start of mile 2.

At the mile 2 hill, there was a timing mat at the bottom and the top of the hill. The were doing a race within the race for King/Queen of the mountain for this hill. Top 15 times on this hill for males and females got a special award. Tempting, but I decided to run my race pace normal for the hill so I wouldn't risk burning all my matches. This hill was an out and back and then the race continued on the main road. The mile up the hill I ran an 8:23. There was a U-turn at the top of the hill where we headed back down the same hill. The only advantage I have ever found in running with having short legs is downhill running. I was holding back a lot on the downhill trying not to trip and I still made it the mile down in 7:57

Mile 5 I took my gloves off and stuck them in my tights. Then I noticed it, having my gloves in there, it looked like I had a bulge. Not wanting any race pictures I might regret later, I took them out of my tights and held on to them. I knew Joel was going to be at mile 7 so I would just carry them until I could hand them off to him. A small gradual climb to mile 7 and there he was, literally, standing next to the mile 7 marker. Cheering and shouting, I knew he had to be freezing, I was so happy he was out here. I handed him my gloves. He told me I looked great, I wondered if he noticed all the snot dripping down my face.

Love you, can you take my gloves?
A quick glace to my Garmin and I noticed I was a few minutes under a hour at the 7 mile mark. The was the first moment in the race I felt I had a realistic shot at sub 1:50. The worst climb was over and done with. I knew there was one more steeper climb at mile 11, but it was only about 50 feet or so. The next 3 miles I stayed at an 8:17 pace, steady enough for me that I knew I would have something left for the hill at mile 11. 

Professional photographer at mile 11
Mile 11 came and I knew the hill was coming. I leaned forward, looked at the ground, and got it done. I made a point not to look at my watch going up the hill, I didn't want it to mentally mess me up. At this point I was determined to get my sub 1:50. Everything that has happened since my last half marathon, getting a sub 1:50 would prove to myself that I have made a full recovery from my ordeal in January, as 1:47-1:51 was my average half marathon finishing time before that. Mile 12 my Garmin read 1:40, I had 9 minutes to run 1.1 miles to reach my new goal that seemed so far fetched on this day I had shoved the thought out of my mind originally. I turned the last corner to head to the finish line, I was going to make it. It hurt, I ran the last mile with my heart. I crossed the finish line and heard the MC announce my name. Official finishing time was 1:48:30

Even after all that running, the cold air still hurts
In the finishing chute I received the nicest (and heaviest) finisher's medal I have ever been given.

Awesome medal
Joel was right there at the finish line, I actually went to him first and got a hug and kiss before getting my medal. I was on the verge of tears. I have never had such an overwhelming emotional feeling after a half marathon, not even after my first half marathon. 

So trilled over what just happened
About 15 minutes after I finished it started snowing, my first time seeing snow in years. Joel and I stopped in town and had lunch at Jack in the Box, we had been planning that for weeks, us both being kids from California. We hadn't been to Jack in the Box since 2007.

It was a great race, and a great reminded of why the half marathon has always been my favorite running race distance.

Thanks for reading!

I gave it everything I had to give that day

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