Hospital Hill Half Marathon

Where to even begin with this race?!  How about the beginning. Yes, that’s a good idea.

After making my routine race day port-a-potty stop, I spotted some friends who were running the 10k!

I was so pleasantly surprised, the perfect way to start the morning! It helped take my mind off any pre-race jitters I might have had and reminded me that I was just going to have a good time racing! And might I add that they all rocked the 10k!

Since we were busy chatting, I kind of didn’t think of heading to find my pacer until about 5 minutes before the race, oops!  So I was in the back of a very large crowd…um 7,600+ people…by the 2:40 pacers and ran the first mile relatively fast to catch up to the 2:20 pacers which I hoped to stick with. By the time I caught up with the pace group I decided, ‘Fo-get this! I’m just running to have a good time!’ and went by my own pace the rest of the 13.1, which was a good decision on my part.

If you didn’t know, on Saturday is was hawwwtttt. Like HOT…hot hot, you know? And you know that your body temperature raises while running. But honestly, since I was sure to fill up on 2-3 cups of water per aid station and had been drinking H2O like it was my job the week prior, I was feelin’ good! Unfortunately I witnessed several runners (starting by mile 4) passed out and hooked up to IVs along the race course which was scary and a reminder of how important it is to take care of yourself.

Between miles 5 and 6 my family had camped out a spot to cheer me on…

I was smiling because I was having FUN and excited to see the fam…and also swung by for a sweaty hug from mom and brother

Then the journey continued!

The first 9 miles were great. Who says that about running 9 miles? Girl gone crazy. But then I started to slow down my pace a little bit…the calves were cramping and the heat was definitely setting in! As I slowed down, I met a very nice lady and ran with her for a couple of miles which was wonderful. We chatted about how she wasn’t a runner and was doing races because her friends signed her up for it, she told me about her dreams of living in Colorado but was here in Kansas City for the time being.

At this point, a walk break ensued. I had stopped sweating and was getting chills which are two signs that your body is overheating, so it spoke and I had to listen. Thankfully there were amazing spectators with buckets of ice for us to grab handfuls of on our way by; it was perfect. I never thought ice in my bra would feel so good.

Come mile 12 at the top of one of the most obnoxious hills, I spotted my family again!

They were at the top of the hill which was where I was trying to get.

These are things I was actually thinking of while running. Told you we were crazy.

Mom wasn’t feeling the sweaty hug this time. Sweat at mile 12 > sweat at mile 5.

All that was left to conquer was THE Hospital Hill. Then I ran to the finish line like my legs have never ran before. Without passing out, of course. But the finish was my favorite part, I’ve gotta be honest. It swung by the Liberty Memorial and was a pancake to downhill finish, under a bridge, with a TON of crowd support…which is key to any race. It was awesomeeee.

This is how I felt after:

We love candid photos.

 

Hospital Hill was my slowest half marathon time to date, but this was without a doubt the most fun I have ever had running a race, and I can’t wait to conquer the hill again next year! PS I’m still sore from this race

Finally, a big SHOUT OUT to my fantastical mom, dad, aunt, brother and sister for being the best cheerleaders ever 🙂

 

Advertisements

13.1 things

Tomorrow I will be running my third half marathon. Um, what? Once wasn’t torture enough?? Obviously not.

I have to admit though, that through training for my first half (October 2010) to training for Hospital Hill (tomorrow), I have grown and changed so much; not only as a runner but as a person. I can’t quite explain my relationship with running, but that I really, truly, admittedly (cringe) love it. I love it because it humbles me, challenges me, and is rewarding. But never at the same time. Dang. I wish I got a medal for every time running was hard…I’d have two trophy cases full by now.

Let me continue to be mushy gushy, I’m sorry. Hospital Hill is one of the hardest half marathons in the country. Because it is in June in the midwest and there are lots of hills. Hospital Hill…duh. Knowing this, I forced myself to train like I am going to be running a hard race. This meant I did hill days, speed days, and made sure my long runs were hilly. This also means that a few choice words escaped my mouth, a few bugs bit me, and I got down and dirty with the trails. It made me realize how mental the race tomorrow is going to be.

*Note: my goal for tomorrow is to simply finish the race. I don’t plan on breaking any world records, so you can sleep in all you want to tomorrow without worrying about missing out on the best news of my life. I have trained, I am ready, and I just want to cross the finish line without collapsing. That’s all, promise. Without collapsing.

Though I am physically prepared and conditioned, the past few weeks I have secretively been working on my mental game . To ease the pain in my legs and eyes from sweat getting in them, I am running each mile of Hospital Hill tomorrow for someone or something to keep me motivated, thankful and mentally in check. I’ll call them ‘dedication miles’ and here they are:

Mile 1: For Jesus, because He comes first as it should be! For giving my my legs, ability and determination to run. 

Mile 2: for the people whose lives I want to help through running and see them eternally changed

Mile 3: for the 10k runners who are turning off to finish the second half of their race…why am I doing this again?

Mile 4: for my Aunt, because I never would have ran the Trolley Run if she hadn’t suggested it to me a year and a half ago and probably wouldn’t be running my third half marathon either

Mile 5: to disprove any doubt that I ever felt about myself and ability to be a runner

Mile 6: is for that stupid, completely vertical hill that kicked my butt and yet I ran countless times over the past three months

Mile 7: to make Momma bear proud! 

Mile 8: for the old, overweight, insecure person that I used to be…the girl who never dreamed of running anywhere except through the Taco Bell drive through

Mile 9: for my best friend Aleeza who is currently rocking out working for XBOX in Seattle when I know she would secretly rather be cheering me on in 90 degree heat in Kansas…but I know she’ll be cheering me on…in her sleep. Because Seattle is two hours behind us in time. Boo. 

Mile 10: for the swimming pool that I will be submersed in the remainder of the afternoon after the race..woohoo! 

Mile 11: for my future as a runner, and the fact that after this half marathon the next training plan I will be focusing on is the one taking me to my first 26.2!!!!

Mile 12: for all the spectators and people watching and cheering…they came to see me RUN not to see me WALK! 

Mile 13.1: FOR THE MEDAL!!! 

 

“Runners are a pretty gutsy bunch. We constantly push ourselves to discover limitations, then push past them.” -Bart Yasso

Expo Day

Thank you for the humidity, Kansas, I really appreciate it.

Which made my run especially sticky this morning

I had to take my new race shorts out for a test drive though, before I actually wear them for the half marathon on Saturday

Yes they are neon green. And yes, they held up well so I will be sporting them Saturday.

Why did I choose to put myself through such embarrassment? Because my mom complains that she can’t find me during races, so I purchased a terribly obnoxious ‘race outfit’ that is solely for the purpose of my mother being able to spot me during races. It includes those neon green shorts and this tank top which you may recall is from my She Runs LA adventure

because the pink tank top matches the pink stripes on the shorts. I don’t think anyone will have trouble seeing me on Saturday, that’s for sure. I’ll be the watermelon-looking girl.

This afternoon was spent at the race expo and let me say, this was the best race expo I’ve been to so far

There were tons of friendly people, great booths and a smooth packet pickup. Every runner’s dream. Expos and packet pickups always are the icing on the cake in getting me ready for race day.

Especially when awesome race shirts are involved

I also stumbled into the booth by Team 413 which uses running as a ministry outreach, and I had to pick up a shirt from their display

I can’t wait to wear either of these!

Saturday will be my fourth race in four weeks and let me tell you, I am ready. I have spent all of 2011 thus far training for some sort of race; January-March I was working towards Rock the Parkway and since March I have been committed to this Hospital Hill Half Marathon. I have had my ups and downs of training, long runs, speed work and hills that made me feel as though I was within an inch of my life. But I’m ready…is it Saturday yet?!

Tomorrow I’m going to share with you something unique that I’ll be doing for my mental race strategy this time around…keep your eyes peeled!