Saturday morning Ronnie and I got up bright and early (approximately 5:30 a.m.) to drag our butts to Crown Center for the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon. We had signed up to run the Half Marathon which is 13.1 miles, and here we were, this chilly October morning. This was Ronnie’s first race ever, and my third. It was so hard to get up and I sort of dreaded this stupid decision made several months ago, but by the time we got to the starting area, the excitement of the event got contagious, and I was glad we were there. We also had our friends Jenni & Jeffrey there with us. Here’s Ronnie and me early in the morning, just before the start of the race. Ronnie makes it clear how the temperature feels…
I decided to bring my new, smaller and more convenient camera along for the run so I could take photos of the sites of Kansas City, since we’d be running through the heart of it. How appropriate that my first photo was the strip club we ran by on Mile 1.
Mile 2 took us through the Power & Light District and then headed south from downtown. I took this photo behind me, showing the crowd of people in the race, and the view was the same going forward. I heard there were around 8,000 participants.
Mile 3 was one of the most difficult. After heading by Union Station, we went up the long, steep drive into and around Liberty Memorial.
We continued south down Main Street and then turned to go through Westport for Miles 4 and 5, and then south again to the Country Club Plaza. The sun was just about to rise as I snapped this photo upon entering the Plaza, and this character posed as he passed me on the left.
After the Plaza, the course split, and full marathoners headed further south, while the halfers like me headed back north up The Paseo.
These next miles were the toughest for everyone in our group. Jenni and I had split up just before the Plaza, and Ronnie and Jeffrey were long ahead of us. This part of the course was mostly residential, and was one long steady uphill battle. Each one of us agreed these Miles 8 through 11 were long and lonely! Jenni even stepped wrong into a pothole and twisted her knee, spending the remainder of the race in lots of pain. I did catch this photo of the skyline as the course passed over Highway 71. It’s hard to believe that earlier in the race, we’d already run through those tall buildings, and with the power of my own legs, I was still running, this far away!
Finally, the course headed downhill, so I took advantage and tried to run as fast as I could without falling over, though I think it was all in my head. By that point my legs were jelly and pretty much set on autopilot, so I doubt my speed actually increased much! The final mile marker, 12, was in sight. I put my ipod on my favorite pick-me-up tunes, and pushed myself the final 1.1 miles to the finish line. My only complaint about the course was the finish area. It was very anticlimactic. It ends up right behind Union Station in the Historic Freighthouse District, but as far as scenery goes, it’s just a bunch of old buildings. My vote would’ve been to end at the Power and Light District, in the heart of Downtown.
The last mile, as usual, was long! And you never realize how slow you are until the first few full marathons lap you on the final mile. These fast, lean guys passed me by in the final stretch, on their 26th mile, in the same amount of time that I had done 13! It absolutely blew my mind, and made me want to puke thinking that if I had signed up for the full, I would be only half way done. Ouch. After making my way through the finish line, drinking an entire bottle of water, sucking on an orange half, and eating two cinnamon and wheat rolls, I reunited with Ronnie. He had finished more than 30 minutes before me, in 2 hours and 7 minutes. My time was 2 hours and 40. Jeffrey had also finished just a few minutes before Ronnie, and Jenni came hobbling in a few minutes after me, but headed immediately to get some ice for her knee. Check us out, with all our finishing medals! Our smiles are hiding the pain…
While it was extremely hard work, I’m still so glad I did it. Despite the pain, there’s something about completing that distance that gives me a sense of pride and appreciation for my health. The training is no fun, but the race itself is a strangely enjoyable experience. If anyone hasn’t participated in an endurance event, I highly recommend it!