Since I just checked off a big running goal for the year by completing the I-35 challenge, I thought I’d talk today about the first race of the challenge (Kansas City half marathon) for this week’s Tuesdays on the Run. Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting. Be sure to check out the link up for everyone else’s progress on their running goals!
On Saturday, I ran the Kansas City half marathon. Packet pick up was at the Sheraton downtown, which is also where I was staying since it was within walking distance of the start and finish. Very convenient to do everything in one place! At pick up, I got my hoodie for the KC half marathon (cute design, weird polyester fabric that feels more like casual wear than tech wear), my bib and a backpack for the I-35 challenge. There was some confusion as to what we were getting for I-35 challenge, as some volunteers and the Des Moines website mentioned a tee shirt, but it was just the backpack. It’s a nice enough little bag, although it seems too flimsy to be of much use. (The I-35 challenge did email out a letter apologizing for the confusion re: the bag vs shirt.)
I was able to walk out from my hotel to the starting area, which was a little park space full of tents and music and loads of people. They had projected pace signs so you knew where to line up and everything went really smoothly with the start. There were even a couple of little fireworks at the beginning!
We ran through the Country Club Plaza area, which is a swanky little shopping district, and I envied everyone on the sidewalk cafes with their coffees.
Thankfully, the weather wasn’t too bad. For the first hour, the humidity was pretty miserable but after that, a breeze started and the heat wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected.
I kept my pace slow (14 minute miles were my target) and walked the hills. I reminded myself over and over “doing this again tomorrow!” so I didn’t get frustrated with my pace and overdo it. Because this course is for both the half marathon and the marathon, it’s very back of the pack friendly for people who are running or walking slower half marathons. There were plenty of aid stations and they were well stocked every time I came by.
I particularly appreciated passing this church in the last mile of the race. That message seemed appropriate – I was ready to be DONE.
Darrell and Oliver were waiting at the finish, which is always nice and there was no clogging of runners in the finishing chute. Everyone quickly moved through, got their water and their banana and passed into the finishing “festival.” There were tons of people and booths in the finishing area and even some things for kids to play with, like those blow up hamster balls. There were also apparently sandwiches and beer for the runners, but I could never see where those were among all of the people. I really wish that had been better labeled or that those were near the exit chute so it was easier to find. I missed out on both a free sandwich and a free beer. Boo.
The hills would make this course a a challenge all on its own, without the I-35 challenge component added, but I really loved how they gave you a bit of a tour of the city. I can’t promise I won’t be tackling this race again, but I’ll be training specifically for those killer hills.
Have you ever done a running tour of a city? I’ve heard of them, but never tried it. This race definitely felt like one of those!