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About Me

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  1. The Short: The biggest lesson I learned from this one is that achieving your goal becomes a let-down if you first think you've exceeded that goal. I ran this race as a progressive split tempo workout, and expected to finish in 1:23:40 if I executed the workout as written (yes, I did the exact math). The weather was craptastic (68* and 25 mpw wind), the course is hilly (around 750 ft gain), and my Garmin freaked out, but I ran the workout the best I could under the conditions I had, and I finished the race in 1:21:36. I later learned that the female lead cyclist guided me though a wrong turn that cut 0.28 off the course, meaning that I should have run a 1:23:16 (I did the exact math on this too). Oh, and despite having that female lead cyclist with me from mile 2 through the end, and having her and multiple spectators tell me that I was winning the race, I actually placed 2nd overall female. I would have been thrilled with hitting the challenging workout on the challenging course, and perfectly happy with 2nd overall when running it as a workout had I not thought I ran a 1:21 and won for hours (and posted it on social media). Oy! The smile of someone who *thought* she was about to win, hah The Long: I love the Kansas City Half Marathon and have run it 7 times now: 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 (I ran the full marathon with the event in 2005, 2007, and 2011). In what was perhaps the luckiest win of my life, I won a free entry for life into the race in a 2011 photo contest, so I will obviously keep running it every year! I highly recommend the event and would run it most years even without the free entry too -- even after what happened this time, though it's going to take me a bit to get over it. 2017 was a year that this event didn't work as a goal race for me. It's a challenging hilly course, but I've PRed on it twice in the past (with a 1:24 in 2015 and a 1:28:36 in 2010), and wouldn't be against trying that again, but the timing for that wasn't right this year. With the way the weather panned out I am so glad I did not make it a goal race. When I sent my coach my list of races for this season, I noted "can be done as a workout" by several of them, including this one. I expected to perhaps run this unrested at marathon goal pace, but I didn't exactly expect the workout I got, which was a split tempo workout of 4, 3, 2, 1 miles with 0.5 mile recoveries (and the last 1.1 with "all you've got left"). Essentially this meant the race was supposed to be 10 miles at tempo, 2 miles at recovery, and 1.1 of hammering. The tempo goal paces were challenging (6:15-6:20 for the 4 mile, 6:10-6:15 for the 3, 6:05-6:10 for the 2, sub-6:00 for the 1), and I knew if I hit them I would end up with a pretty solid half time. I had some pretty big concerns about being able to hit them in the wind and on the Kansas City course though! I was still glad I was running the workout during the race, because I didn't exactly have any training partners jumping up and down to run this one with me, and I was also able to combine it with my once a month-ish work trip to Kansas City. Getting ready to roll to the race solo I treated the race like a workout day, but it's also hard not to get extra pumped in a race environment. I tried to time my warm-up jog to go straight into the race, and ended up with 2.5 miles total plus some drills and strides. Then we were off! The 10K, half, and full marathon all started together, it's a huge race, and it's still mostly dark at the 7:05 a.m. start, so I saw a handful of women out ahead of me but I didn't know which event most of them were in, and then it was difficult to track as the masses spread out. I was fully invested to sticking to my pace plan, but I also knew that 1:29 won the half in 2016 (the first year the race stopping giving prize money), so I thought I'd have a chance at a top spot. I hit mile 1 in exactly 6:20, right where I wanted to be. During mile 2, I looked at my Garmin to check my pace and it was reading 4:33 average pace for that mile, which I was definitely not running. Just before the 2 mile mark the 10K course split off from the half and full, and a cyclist started riding just behind me. I checked my Garmin again and it read 8-something pace, which I was also definitely not running. I ended up using the course miles for mile splits 2, 3, and 4, because my Garmin was being funky. I knew I was right around my range of 6:15-6:20 for those miles, because math was work-able off the course markers at this point. I had my workout programmed into my watch, but since my watch was screwing up pace and distance, it made my half mile recoveries not fall when they should on my watch, and I started getting stressed out about not having my workout splits. I thought about starting to manually lap by the course miles and just using my watch distance for the half mile recoveries, but since I was running the pre-programmed workout I thought I'd really screw it up by starting to manually lap, advancing it and making it end early, so I ended up just doing the best I could with doing the math on the course markers when I could (which is not easy when running hard!). Because of all of this the splits my Garmin took were often a mix of hard running and recovery running (and also not even correct -- I think my Strava data were close to accurate but were also a mix of hard running and recoveries). I don't have my actual workout splits at all, aside from knowing my first 4 miles were right on. When I was on my first recovery, I asked the cyclist with me if she was for me, and she told me she was the lead female half cyclist. I then got excited that I was leading, but worried that someone was going to pass me on my recovery jog. But I stuck with the workout plan and did the recovery jogs! The factors that really helped me stick to this was that I knew it wouldn't be a good day to race fast due to the temperature and wind speed, and no one (men or women) passed me on my recoveries, but since CIM is the big goal I think I'd have stuck to the workout regardless. The miles went by pretty quickly, I think partially because I was focused on each segment of my workout and not 13.1 as a whole -- and probably also because I panicking about screwing up the workout due to my watch issues and trying to do math on my splits. Several people on the course told me "first female", which spurred me along, and the cyclist complimented me several times, which was quite helpful. I was also very ready to get out of the crazy wind, so anytime we were running into it I was pushing to get to the next turn for some relief. The face of someone trying to do mental math on splits In the final 2.5 miles or so, the half course met back up with the 10K course, and then I was pushing to get to the finish and out of the 10K masses! For the final quarter mile or so, the road was divided with the half finishing to the left and the 10K finishing to the right, so that was helpful. The announcer said my name as I was coming in, and I kind of expected a finishing tape and a "first overall female" announcement, but there was none of that. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to see a 1:21 finishing time; when I was a bit farther away I thought the clock was on 1:24 instead of 1:21! Happy finishing stretch shot, with 10Kers on the left I specialize in ruining finishing photos by stopping my watch Forced smile for this one My friend Michelle, who ran an awesome 10K, was at the finish waiting for me, as we had planned to meet there and cool down together (she had a 10 mile cool down and had already started it). She told me that she got to break the finishing tape, although she actually placed 2nd (perhaps they thought the winner was in the 5K), and I commented that I didn't get the tape for winning either. She told me that I was 2nd, with 1st female coming in at 1:18. I then explained that I'd had the lead cyclist for the whole race! I feel bad for the 1st girl, but I guess the cyclist missed her coming by. It just pretty much sucked to think that I was leading for 11 miles only to find out that, nope, I did not win. Michelle made it in my picture here! Later, another friend who lives in Kansas City and who had been out on the race course told me that she saw me and many other runners make a wrong turn that cut some distance off the course. From her description, the course map, and my Strava map, I was easily able to figure out where the error was made. I used MapMyRun to determine how much we cut off the course, and we were 0.28 short or about 1:40. I was extremely disappointed because the lead cyclist took me this route, several men around me also ran this way, and it meant that my 1:21:36 was incorrect. I should have run about 1:23:16. What I ran What I should have run Now, I would have been perfectly happy with hitting my workout and running a 1:23 as calculated, and with placing 2nd overall if I hadn't thought I'd run a 1:21 and won! I felt like I got short-changed, because I would have been pleased with the actual outcome (especially considering the stupid wind), but with how it all played out I ended up unhappy with reality. If I'd have known I was in 2nd (or at least just not thought I was winning) the whole race, I'd have felt fine about it. I was coming in the final mile thinking, "I'm going to win the KC half!" and crossed the finish line thinking that, only to learn that, nope, I did not! The race results initially had a bunch of 10K runners mixed in with the half, so for awhile I was listed as 11th, which I knew was wrong but I was wondering if there were others in front of me I didn't know about too. I was also upset about not having my workout splits to know if I executed the workout well. From my overall time, I know I had to have been close, but I also doubt I did the splits just like I was supposed to, especially not having the feedback. I'd like to compare this to the similar workouts I've done before others marathons. And the 1:23 that pre-race I thought would mean a super solid workout now feels sub-par since I thought "Wow, I had a really good day to run 1:21 in a workout on this crazy course in this crazy wind; maybe I can actually run a 2:45." Nope!!! For a couple of days I was also worried about posting anything publicly about this and made my activity view-able by only me on Strava, because I was worried I would get disqualified (I've since changed it back). The cyclist provided by the race took me the wrong way, so I don't think I should be penalized, but if I'm out a plaque after writing this then so be it. It did not affect my placing, as the third female ran a 1:29, and I was among many runners who made the same error. Perhaps this is my race karma for running about the same distance too far in the Bass Pro Marathon last year. The universe owed me that 0.28 in my forever race results, hahaha! The run really tired me out; I suspect it was a combination of running this during a 71 mile week, the wind, and the elevation, but I was much more tired in the 2 days after than I was after the Indy Half. I'm thankful for another solid week in the books, and I'm thankful for this run (give me a few weeks and I will be more thankful). I will definitely wear a pace band at CIM, which is helpful for many reasons but also really nice in the case of Garmin error. This is not an easy course Official results can be found here. A fun article on the race, particularly the women's full marathon winner, can be found here (I'm listed at the end). Results Well, the placing is correct
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