41st Hospital Hill Run. June 7, 2014. Kansas City, MO. 65 degrees, cloudy, rain, storms. 7:00 am—rain/storm delay 7:30 am
You can find my official review here!
I originally signed up for this race as I knew a twitter friend (Crystal) would be running it too. Then discovered there was a 5k the night before, and there would be an additional medal for completing both. Of course I was in for both events. (5k recap)
I convinced my friend Laura to do the races with me, ok so there was no convincing, she was packed and ready to go before I asked.
We woke up at 5 am, in our “motel” on the north side of Kansas City. Laura glanced out the window, the rain which was forecasted was hitting the pavement. I checked the radar…it wasn’t going to stop for a while. This was going to be fun.
We pulled right into a parking garage at the starting line, we couldn’t have been any closer, and the parking was FREE!! It was still raining, and there were some flashes of lightning from time to time. Laura and I had arrived with plenty of time to relax and get organized.
At 6:30 we left the car and headed out of the parking garage, it was still raining and lightning. Announcements were being made that the race was still starting on time. (hmmm it’s lightning?) There was a local coffee company set up, and we took shelter under their tent while I finally had my first cup of coffee. We chatted with the vendor for a while, hit the port-o-potties.
The announcer told us to make it to the corrals, it was about 6:54am. Laura and I did as we were told, it was still raining, but no new lightning flashes. We made it to corral D, just in time for “please take shelter, the race is delayed” I am sure the organization of a race is chaotic enough, but a weather plan should be in place.
We headed back to the parking garage, it rained some more. A race official walked through the garage and said delay until 7:30, please stay put. It’s a good thing they walked through as race announcements could not be heard in the garage. There were many messages posted about the delay from the twitter and facebook accounts, saying they were working with a local meteorologist.
At about 7:23am, everyone herded themselves back to the starting corrals. The 10k was also run at the same time. Unless I missed it there was no announcement that the race was officially to be starting at that time, everyone just followed each other and went to the start. The National Anthem was sung live, and the wheel chair racers started first, followed by corral A. Soon after Laura and I were on our wet & soggy journey through KC.
The course was run on the streets of Kansas City, paved & asphalt. The parts that were repaired or painted were slippery. We kept a nice steady pace, I think the rain had even stopped. The first long hill came just after the first mile. We chatted & ran.
At about mile 2 we caught up with the 2:15 pacer. I told Laura that I would like to stick with the group until about mile 5, then pick it up. Little did we know we were running with an Iowa City native. We discussed our mutual friends and our love for the Hawkeyes. She was very peppy & encouraging.
The group stopped for water or Gatorade just after mile 4, Laura and I kept going and left them behind. By now it was raining again. The course had also rolled down hill, we saw a steep climb ahead, but it was where the 10k split off and were happy to be running a flat part.
I was feeling good, about the 6-7 mile mark, I could feel Laura fading away. I told her I could see the 2:10 pacer in the far distance, I was going to catch them. She told me to go ahead. This is when the race was all on my own. I love running with friends, but when it’s just me I tend to focus. I was cruising, I think I hit an 8:59 mile.
At mile 8-9, I had hit some of the aid stations, I think I pinched a paper Gatorade cup too far at one stop and it splashed over my hand, I remember not caring as it was still raining. I was having fun splashing in the puddles too.
I had finally caught up with the 2:10 pacer, but could see another pacer not too far ahead, what group was that? I tried to let the 2:10 group pace me, but I just kept pushing. I caught the next group, it was another 2:10 pacer, I was confused, by this point I had 3.1 to go…so I didn’t stay to ask questions.
My Garmin hates the rain, it was like a strange alarm of beeps the entire time. The touch bezel thinks every time a rain drop hits it, I am touching it. However it was doing it’s job, but would beep before I saw a mile marker.
Then came mile 11….the longest incline ever, it wasn’t steep, but it didn’t end. I was starting to slow down, 9:48 minute mile. I just thought, I am almost done, it has to go down on the other side.
However then came the hill just after mile 12, um yeah, it was short and sweet, but steep! This is also where a couple was going to get married. When I passed the wedding hadn’t taken place, but the wedding party (who were also running) were waiting for their arrival.
Finally it was all down hill from there. I pushed what I had left in the tank. I saw another pacer in the distance, it was the 2:05 pacer. I thought I need to pass this guy. I did!
I crossed the mat at the finish, stopped the Garmin 2:04, official 2:04:46. Almost a PR on a tough, hilly, rainy course. (wait my current PR is on a hilly, rainy course)
I walked to the volunteer handing out medals, I grabbed the medal for the half, it was the same design as the 5k, but it was about 3 times as large. I also got my re-run medal which had a spinning runner figure in the center. There was no need to get chips clipped off as it was attached to the back of the bib. I walked the chute, looking back for Laura.
The chute had, water, dry towels, chocolate milk, bananas, fruit leather, peanut butter crackers, & granola bars. I stopped out of the way to re-group all my things, and waited for Laura. I thought “I hope she is ok.” I was told to move on, so I proceeded to wait outside the gate.
Then I saw Laura, she had finished only a few minutes behind me. She said “I thought there was only going to be one hill!”
We stuck around and got our FREE post race massage as it continued to rain. Then the sun made a brief appearance. We snagged our FREE post race pancakes and sausage. Then redeemed the other tag on our bibs for a FREE Michelob Ultra. However the clouds came back, and it started to sprinkle again. We made it inside to where they had some merchandise available for sale.
There really weren’t many people sticking around, so neither did we. We headed back to the hotel for a much deserved warm shower.
Overall: Despite the weather this is a great race. The price is comparable to most halfs, the course is tough, the officials were always available to answer questions via social media. Thanks Crystal for getting me to sign up.
Rainy race day tips:
- Do not try anything new!
- The potential for chaffing increases with the water
- The patterned sparkle skirts hold a lot of water, run in the sheer sequin design 🙂
- Have fun, splash in a puddle or 2
- Bring newspaper to stash in your shoes when your done