Race Report - Kansas City Half Marathon

Posted over 9 years ago

I decided to run the Kansas City Marathon for a few reasons:

  • It's for a good cause - leukemia and lymphoma research
  • I've been wanting to run a marathon for quite some time
  • The run would be in the fall hence a likelihood of good weather (meaning a bit cooler)
  • It would be near home so would have family support

Well, things being the way they are, I got busy over the summer and didn't get as much training in as I wanted. So, with a 12 mile training run three weeks before the race under my belt (note NOT a 20 mile run) I changed my registration to the half marathon.

I felt I was in good shape. I'd run the Dawg Dash 5k the week before with a good (for me) time. I'd run the Seafair Half Marathon earlier in the summer 14 minutes faster than my previous half (Seattle Half Marathon). So, I felt good about running a time competitive with the Seafair half - I was shooting for 1:45 or better.

The run started early - 7:00am - thus assuring that we'd be running under cooler conditions. Two weeks previous the Chicago Marathon had been stopped due to excessive heat so this was welcome.

The race started at Crown Center where the Hospital Hill run also starts. The marathon reportedly had a record number of entrants and it was apparent. For some reason the marathon runners and half runners started at the same time which bogged up the start of the run as well as the first six miles of the course.

For Kansas the course is quite hilly (in fairness the run is in Missouri) with the hardest hill coming in the first three miles. Being from Seattle the hills didn't seem to pose much threat and indeed I felt pretty good as I ran up to the War Memorial and down toward Westport.

The trouble began while running through the plaza. I'd been fighting the urge to hit the port-a-potties but nature took over. By that point I'd felt my legs fighting me and I could not figure out why. As I slowed down considerably it hit me - I'd spent Thursday walking around the University of Kansas campus for over five hours!

(Again, before you start laughing KU is quite hilly)

Morale of the story - don't walk around a hilly area two days before a big run. And certainly not for five hours. Wearing flip flops was probably a poor idea as well. Duh.

Let's just say the last six miles were brutal. I ran the first seven miles around one hour (at six miles I was still on a 1:50 pace) and the last six in 1:08. Fortunately there are no hills to speak of in these last miles but I counted every step. I forced myself to run (except through water stops where I felt the co-ordination needed to run and drink would be....well, would it would be challenging to pull this off in my condition) all the way in. And there was no mustering a show of strength as I came through the finishing chute.

The finishing area was crowded as hell - in fact it was not laid out very well and there was a shortage of volunteers at the finish to herd runners along. It was tough to get through lines and to find your supporters. But, there was a Boulevard Beer stand which made me happy.

All-in-all I learned a few things. Rest before a big run is critical. You can run when you're in dire pain. And a cold one after the run can take your pain away pretty quickly.

Race Report - UW Dawg Dash

Posted over 9 years ago

This was my 2nd Dawg Dash. This year I decided to run the 5k as I was running the Kansas City Half the next weekend. Two years ago I did the 10k as my first race in nearly a decade and finished in 1:03.

The start of this thing is always a madhouse. One thing I like is that it starts and ends in Husky Stadium which makes you feel like a track star. You also get to run around campus which is hilly as hell but the band hangs out near the fountain which is good fun.

You also get to run with every co-ed that has ever put on a pair of running shoes. And a bunch of people that like running with their dogs. So, with the spirit that this is a fun run I feel slightly bad for how I felt during the start of the run which was "if you're going to run 11 minute miles DON'T START AT THE FRONT OF THE RACE!!!!" For as many 5k's as I've done over the past couple of years I felt like I was just far enough back to run comfortable 7:30 miles. However, I literally ran right into the back of some girl who cut right in front of me due to some serious confusion at the front of the pack.

So, most of this was due to poor planning, and in fairness a lot of these "fun runners" had no idea they should not be standing at the front. And in fairness I should have recognized the shiny runners with their race-day T-Shirts on (you can pick these people out just like at a rock concert) and scooted further up to the starting line. BUT, the race organization was pretty poor. There were no instructions to have people move back if they were running slower or with dogs (some poor woman started at the front wearing what looked like a rain jacket and nearly got herself and her two terriers run over). The starting chute was also more narrow than the track itself so you had too many runners trying to fill a space not designed for them.

Once on the road you run around the stadium and up through campus. And I mean up. At least you get to run down. I ended up running ok and beat a guy to the line 1o years my junior (take that Gen Y!). 23:53 - not stellar but not bad for training for a half marathon v. a shorter run.

Will I run this race again? Only if I can run a sub-20 5k next year.

Muir Snowfield with Chris

Posted over 9 years ago

Chris and I went up to Paradise at Mt. Rainier on his most recent trip to Seattle. Chris had wanted to do a day hike up to Camp Muir and back (a hike I did over two days over a year ago) but we decided this would be too much for a day hike. So, the goal was to get up on the Muir Snowfield for a bit.

The drive down was pretty non-eventful. We drove a bit out of the way (around the south of Orting) to avoid The Puyallup Fair which proved to be a wise choice. To boot we drove by a maize maze. Past Orting the traffic was very light as the forecast was for fog/rain at Paradise.

Paradise was mostly fogged in as we got to the visitor's center and it was also rather brisk. I had left my bladder at home so I wanted to get some water at the shop. We also only had one pair of gloves and hat so we each bought one of each to stay warm.

The hike starts at 5400 feet and takes the Skyline Trail up toward Panorama Point (there are weaving trails through this area – you could take the Alta Vista Trail slightly to the east (much to my chagrin this was the Spanish pronunciation. Chris has been pronouncing Vista (as in Windows Vista) “veesta” all week to irritate me and now he had a legitimate reason to pronounce it as such) but veers left and upward to Pebble Creek before reaching the snowfield. We saw a few hikers coming down who had not made it very far up the snowfield – in fact it was snowing at that altitude.

Pebble Creek is about 7200 feet which we reached in a little over an hour. We ran into a group of three – a couple and their friend – and it was her first time on the snowfield. In fact we later learned that she had surgery earlier in the year and resultant complications that resulted in several blood transfusions so this was quite remarkable.

We didn't get very far up the snowfield – 15 minutes or so – as the conditions were very foggy and icy. The snowfield was very low and there was a lot of exposed dirt out on the snowfield. Very odd.

On the way down we were able to get a good look at the construction on the new Visitor Center and Paradise Inn.

Toward the end of the hike the fog started to clear and by the time we were in Eatonville the mountain was clear on the horizon. We treated ourselves to Arby's in Puyallup on the way home.

As always, regardless of the weather, hiking around Paradise is wonderful. It was a good day on the mountain.