The most beautiful day of the whole fall and I'm out running with 11,000 of my closest friends through downtown Kansas City at the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon. Just a little 13.1 mile jog along some of the most scenic points of my city - what a great way to spend the morning. I always forget how much I love race day until a new race day rolls around.
Here's my recap of Saturday's half marathon. It promises to be long, but hopefully entertaining!
Rise and shine before the sun comes up and head downtown with my training buddy Jennifer. We had originally signed up for the full monty together, but between her injured knee and hip and my lack of motivation - we decided at the last minute to give the half a shot. We hoped to hit the Johnny's before the gun, but had no time to find one so we hopped in the chute near the 2:40 pace group and decided we'd try to beat them. (Bee-tee-dub, I love seeing all sorts of pals at races. Abby and Abby (yes, 2 Abby's) and Meagan and Al and Kim and many other friends perked up my morning!
Here's Jennifer waiting for the gun to go off for her first official Half Marathon! We are pumped!
We ran through the Power and Light District, past the Salvation Army band, and back south toward Union Station and Crown Center, passing beautiful fountain #1 while the sun rises.
Just past this fountain was a HUGE uphill, not very steep, but it went on for.ev.ver. It took us up and around towards the National World War I Memorial. Yep, that big pole coming out of my head is the memorial! Beautiful reds and oranges in the trees and a lush green lawn leading up to the WW1.
This is the point where Jennifers leg starts to really bother her. Major bummer, as she was hoping to feel good til mile 8 or so. I didn't mind, because the hills were starting to get to me! From here, we headed south on Main towards historic Westport.
From Westport we went south on tree-covered Roanoke towards the Plaza, one of my favorite Kansas City destinations. I can remember coming up for long weekends with my mom as a kid because KC had such better shopping than Ta-Town. It always made me feel glamourous! Here we passed one of the most notable fountains in the park on the Plaza - its got big statues of horses!
A little east of the Plaza we hit the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, another landmark. Besides all the indoor art, the Nelson has big badminton birdies on the lawn, random, but fun! Still feeling pretty good here...
We start to head north through Hyde Park, and I wonder what this part of town was like in its hay-day. The homes are huge, gorgeous, magnificent, but you can tell they are a bit run down the further north you go. Once we cross Troost and head towards the Paseo, I know I'd never run here alone. I remember stories from my days with the Salvation Army and its "Honk and Holler" program (volunteers would drive around a canteen, honk and people would come out of the woodwork for bag lunches and socks and blankets). There was one day I rode along, and the lead volunteer instructed me to not get out of the car, because the neighborhood was so drug-infested, you never know what someone might do when I got out. Anyway, I digress. It was fun to run through this historic, beautiful part of town and feel totally safe. We get on the Paseo and before we know it, the lead vehicle passes us and the full marathon winner flies by! Luckily I was able to snap a photo... you can't tell but this guy might actually have wings!
From here, we get to run through one of the coolest parts of town that I've never been in. We pass the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and some amazing, historical jazz places at 18th and Vine. Yes, the song rings true... we got some crazy little women here and I'm gonna get me one. At this point, we are both pretty tired, sore feet, Jennifer's knee is killing her, and we are both truly having a great time, pain and all. We do a lot of intervals. Run. Walk. Run. Walk a lot. Run some. Walk more. Until we round the corner back on Grand and head south, uphill towards the finish line. Then it takes all I've got to hold back and not do my typical sprint to the finish. We stayed together this far, so I'm bound to cross the finish with my buddy!
bib number: 8531
location: Overland Park, KS
overall place: 4457 out of 5213
division place: 621 out of 743
gender place: 2519 out of 3131
One last photo of me with one of the most memorable KC skyline views, the Western Auto Building sign. Too bad you couldn't see that in the view they showed in the first episode of Outscored. But there was no Sprint Center either... regardless, the show is still hilarious.