I nabbed my best ever overall placing with what was by far my slowest time at this race, with 2nd overall female in 38:15. Due to various factors (the heat, peak marathon training, seeing two friends suffer devastating losses in the days before the race), my expectations for the race were not high. In retrospect, I am quite happy with the place and quite meh about the time.
Results are here.
My Strava activity is here.
I continued my hot weather racing streak at the Plaza 10k, with no clouds in the sky and 80 degrees on race morning. Because the race fell 3 weeks before my season goal marathon, I planned to train right through it, and the forecast made me confident that was the right decision (i.e., I won't run a fast time at 80 degrees no matter how rested I am). The week before the race I had workouts that never felt good but that I hit my paces on, which is typical for me in the throes of marathon training, and a few days before the race I saw 104 miles on my rolling 7. I don't think racing without a taper necessarily hurts my performance, but I certainly don't feel as fresh; I just grit it out when feeling tired like I do in a lot of workouts during marathon training!
Before things went downhill in the days leading up to the race, my goal was to place as high as I could. The best I'd ever placed at the race previously was 6th overall female. I also hoped to win overall masters female, and to break the Missouri age 40 state record of 38:04. Race morning I warmed up with friends and tried to enjoy the moment, but had a really hard time getting my head in the game. In the few days prior to the race, I had a friend who lost her son unexpectedly and another friend who lost her husband, so it was difficult to place importance on the race. My heart wasn't in the race, it was with them.
|We all saw the photographer on a ladder at the start!|
I saw several fast Kansas City women on the starting line, and knew they would push me in the race. From the gun a woman I didn't know was ahead for the first half mile or so, then me and the ladies I was running with (Chandler and Amy) passed into the top 3 female positions. I knew both Chandler and Amy were talented runners, and I was hopeful for a top 3 finish because our start felt very conservative (6:13 on the flat first mile) and no other women were around.
Race instinct took over to some degree, and I slowly upped the effort. Like every Kansas City race, this isn't an even split course, though this is the flattest course I run in that area with about 170 feet of elevation gain. Mile 2 was 6:03 and mile 3 6:11, though as usual I didn't look at my watch during the race. Typically this race has a clock at the 5k but this year they didn't have a clock or timing mat, which I missed! Sometime around the halfway point, Chandler and I pulled away from Amy. I felt confident that I could hold onto 1 and 2 with Chandler; I had no pep but the pace also didn't feel that hard, and I knew Amy had to be feeling a lot worse than I was to let us gap her.
Running with Chandler is always a pleasure! I really enjoyed sharing most of this race and most of Rock the Parkway with her. She is kind, positive, and helps me get the best out of myself. With where I was mentally and emotionally for this one, running with a friend beside me was extra helpful.
Mile 4 is downhill and usually my favorite mile of this race, but this year they were doing road construction in that area and it was all rivety. It was not ideal terrain for Next % shoes, that's for sure! My friend Andrew, who went out faster than me, hopped up on the sidewalk for a moment to avoid the crappy road, and I considered following him but it cut a corner off the course slightly so I didn't because I sure wasn't getting disqualified in my one chance of a top 2 finish at this event! He realized the situation soon and jumped back on the I'm-going-to-twist-an-ankle road, and shortly after that Chandler and I passed him. I encouraged him to go with us, but his faster start had caught up with him a bit. My 4th mile was 5:51.
|Laughing at Brent around mile 4|
Mile 5 goes back up the incline the course goes down in mile 4, on the opposite side of the divided road. Some years I have loathed that climb, but it was okay this time, possibly because I was running so much slower than I ever have at this race! The split was 6:13, which is about even effort to our other miles with the elevation gain. Chandler and I were still side-by-side. Shortly after we passed mile 4, there was an aid station on the side I was on. She mentioned she was going to get a water, telling me because she was going to have to cross either right in front of or behind me to grab it. I told her I'd grab it for her since it was on my side. I picked up a bottle and passed it to her, and it was caught on camera. Despite the shot being unflattering of me, I absolutely love it!
|Team work makes the dream work!|
We passed mile 5 together, and right after Chandler began pulling away. I tried to stay with her but I didn't have any get up and go. She gradually extended her lead, and I tried not to give up but my heart really wasn't in it and I settled to some degree. If I'd kept at it mentally, she'd have still gotten me, but not by as much - she finished 15 seconds ahead of me and my last mile was 6:02 and final kick 5:45 pace.
I ended up finishing in 38:15 gun time. They didn't give chip times to the overall winners (i.e., results have chip and gun time as the same, since that is how overall prizes are awarded), but I figured since I started between Christian and Andrew, whose chip times were -10 seconds and -12 seconds respectively, my chip time would have been 38:04 (tying the state record). State records go by gun time so gun time is all that matters there, but of course that would happen to me! Much like in the half marathon, I know I can run significantly faster than the record time, but I cannot do it in 80 degrees.
|Post-race fist bump caught on film|
After the race, I headed out on the Trolley Trail for 11 more miles, which is too long to call a cool down. I felt fine running very easy, and finished up my final 20+ mile day before my next marathon. Andrew accompanied me for the whole addendum as part of his Chicago Marathon training, which was quite helpful.
I'm not sure what the future holds for my next race or for everything else in life, but I know who holds the future! God's plan often doesn't make sense to us on earth, but it's always best.
|Miles from Mentor|