Fitness Update: (Modified) Half Marathon

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Well, This past week I ran my second half marathon, sort of, but sort of didn’t.

The Kansas City Corporate Challenge half marathon was scheduled for this past Saturday. The route started at the Southcreek Business Park and after a loop around there ran down through the Overland Park Community Park and the Tomahawk Valley Trail.

But rain Saturday night had either washed out, or flooded, parts of the trails at the further end, so they had to modify the course. We ended up with two loops around the business park and a “short” run down the trail and back, for a total length of 9.8 miles.

Now, the Saturday before, I had run a long run of 7.5 miles, but between that long run and the Half Marathon, I didn’t do any running. I swam once, did a lot of biking, but mostly I slept in each morning. The week before the race I was suddenly very tired, and opted to rest over train.

Which turned out to be the right option.

It rained the night before the race, but was dry and overcast the morning  before the race started. The humidity was above 90% and the temperature was about 60 degrees. The 700-some of us lined up into sections based on our expected running paces. And then we were off.

This was the first race this year that I ran without having run some of the course to check the terrain and know what to expect. So the first loop around the business park seemed a little long. It was also a question about setting a pace, and being comfortable with it.

The pavement on the upside of the loop felt better to me than the downside, but I enjoyed going downhill more than uphill. Except that we did get some breeze, and it ended up being a headwind while going downhill. That is one of the things I like the least while riding a bicycle, and I found I don’t really like running into a headwind either, whether uphill or down.

On the second loop around I heard someone behind me talking to the person next to her about her fitness device, and how it was telling her we were at about a 9 minute mile pace. I asked back, did you say a 9 minute mile? When she assented, I said, “Good, that mean’s I’m not running too fast.”

Because the 9-minute mile was the pace I had wanted to set.

Which bring me to an aside. Many times during the first two loops of the race I was being passed by people, and I could hear them breathing hard as they did so. I was always able to talk to them, say hello, good job, go for it, etc., but many of them didn’t have enough breath to reply. As long as I was running at a pace where I could talk, I knew I wasn’t overpacing myself. Many of those people I subsequently passed later on down the trail.

After the second loop, we took a left turn onto the trail section of the route, and started heading both into headwinds, and a scattering of sprinkles that continued to get more misty and persistent as the rest of the race went on.

Running the 2+ miles down the trail to the turnaround, I kept expecting to get to the turnaround sooner than I did. At first it was only a few people coming back and me, but as the numbers thickened, I kept on feeling like I  had to be close. When a pack of people from my company came back by me, I found myself encouraged, just as I did when my friend Paul Mast ran by and we gave each other a high five slap on the exchange.

Then finally the turn was made and I was on the way back. This was the stretch where my passing of people became a slow but consistent reality (along with a few passing me still).

It was also where the heat from my own brow, and the moisture from the air and rain around me, started fogging up my glasses enough so my visibility actually began to decrease. Occasionally I would look over the glasses to verify what I was seeing. But mostly they kept the rain out of my eyes.

There were a lot of long stretches on the way back. Here’s the last turn back toward the business park — but, oh yes, I forgot about this long run back up to the turn-off. And then when we got back to the loop it was several stretches and turns before they actually brought us back into the final stretch where we could actually see the finish line.

I had been running right behind one guy most of the way back up to the pack and around those turns, but as we got to to the penultimate turn I started stretching out and putting on my last speed. As I passed him, I expected him to put on his own burn of speed, and still stay ahead of me. But he didn’t. Instead I found myself passing about 5 more people in my final sprint to the finish line — always running through the objective before slowing down.

I saw that the clock was somewhere before 1:27. When I checked the stats my time was: 1:26:22.5 with an overall place of 371 and a Gender Place of 287. I probably won’t know until later today how I actually placed within my division of the Corporate Challenge.

Many of the other people from my company talked about how they just weren’t ready to do a half marathon on Saturday, and glad it was shorter. For me, I came in with trepidation, but between the rest, and the weather, I felt like I could have kept my pace up for the full distance — but was just as glad that I didn’t have to.

A Look Ahead … race weekend

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Usually, when we hear race weekend around here, it means NASCAR. And who knows– certainly not I — there could be something going on at the speedway. But that isn’t the race I am thinking of.

This Saturday is the Kansas City Corporate Challenge Half Marathon. The half marathon will take place at Southcreek Business Park.  It is the first half marathon I have run for the KCCC, and my second half marathon. It begins at 7 a.m., and everyone has to finish within 3 hours to earn their points. Unlike my other half marathon, I haven’t had the time to see this course beforehand. Looking at the numbers, I think it has more elevation changes than my previous race.

There is also potential for rain on Saturday. I actually like running in rain, so it might be a good thing.

Besides the race, this is the season for graduations, and graduation parties. After the race in the morning, I will spend the late afternoon and evening at one of those parties, a niece of mine is graduating in Kearney and it is her party.

And as always, this is Worlds of Fun Season. The actual news is that the park is closed on Sunday. I am assuming that some private group has rented out the entire park — thus making it closed to the general public.

So we won’t be having any meals at the park that day.

Speaking of which, below are the stats for our meal plans for the year so far, as of Wednesday night. As you can see, the retail price has passed one thousand dollars, the price paid per meal has gone below five dollars.

Total Price Paid $497.44
Total Number of Meals 101
Total Retail $1,041.24
Average Price Per Meal $4.93
Total Drink Price 29.64
Total number of drinks 82
Total Retail $82.00
Average Price Per Drink $0.36

Fitness Update: between half-marathons

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Last week was the week before the week of the Kansas City Corporate Challenge half marathon. It is the second half-marathon I am doing, four weeks after the first.

I have been trying to get guidance on how to stay in condition from hone half-marathon to the other. The basic guidance I have received is to keep my regular mid-week runs (currently two 4.5 mile runs), and do a long run on the weekends, but not up to the full 10 or 11 I should have right before the first half marathon. Keep working on the cardio to keep it up, and I should be fine.

So this weekend I ran 7.5 miles for my long run, and ran two shorter runs earlier in the week, along with biking and swimming. For one of my short runs I actually ran a 4-mile route to the NKC YMCA, swam 1,000 yards and then ran 2 more miles home.

On that short run I got my average speed down to 6 mph. On my long run I was at 6.06 mph. My first half marathon pace was 6.41, which was slightly slower than i wanted for my intended goal to finish in 2-hours.

On my first half marathon I had a basic goal to finish, and a time goal to aim towards. I seem to be keeping my endurance up, but not necessarily the pace, in the interim, so I may just be focused on finishing this second one. I am sure the adrenaline will help me get some extra speed, but I am not sure whether I want to get to much extra speed from it, and burn out too soon.

To put up some stats:

  • Total miles run in 2017: 237.8
  • Total miles biked in 2017: 1,314.76
  • Total yards swum: 10,000

From the half marathon I will need to keep a more general condition for the Kansas City Corporate Challenge Triathlon, which is in June on Father’s Day. And after that a lot of vacation travelling breaking up the schedule. Trying to decide how I track and keep fit on the three categories while traveling. We will see what I do. But that is conjecturing about something quite a ways ahead. I’ll let the subconscious brew thoughts on that before I decide.

Fitness Update: Corporate Challenge 5K

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Last week reached its fitness culmination on Saturday morning at the Kansas City Corporate Challenge 5K.

After completing the Progress Series of races, which included the Cupid 5K in Febrary with a time of just over 24 minutes, I went into the 5K with the intention of finishing in 24 minutes, yet feeling that I had reached a sense of plateau right before the Northland half marathon and was in a slight decline in my performance, with a gentle up and down wave.

The morning itself was a beautiful, clear morning, around 53 degrees. The race was started in 4 waves. In prior years I had used wave 2 for times of 25-28 minutes. This year I started at the back of wave 1 for 24 minutes and less runners.

Unlike the half marathon, where I had a very good feeling on the start, here I didn’t find a comfortable pace with confidence. I was running, feeling slightly slow, but also wondering if I shouldn’t be going faster for the pace I wanted. At the same time, my breathing was fine, yet I could sense the sort of cough congestion in my lungs that I haven’t managed to fully clear yet since the cold that made me take off work at the beginning of March.

But the route was familiar, and the pace finally settled into something good. I made it past the mile marker, and then the gentle climb began. About halfway up the grade I caught up to one of my teammates, and asked her if she knew what sort of pace we were doing. 8-30s she said. Since I was planning on a pace of 8, I knew I was slow. I made sure to not slow down, but didn’t feel the momentum to actually increase the pace.

The course goes down hill at the turn, and then back up, with the water station right after the turn. I grabbed water, drank half, and tossed the rest into the garbage back being held by one of the volunteers.

After getting to the top of the hill, and starting the descent, I felt like I was picking up pace, ever so slowly. At least I was in a passing people mode more than being passed.  By mile two it was starting to flatten out, and came to the long flat stretch at the end. You know the finish line is up ahead, but you keep running and running and don’t see it. Street signs go by, but no finish line. And then suddenly it is there.

I had been putting on small increases in speed along this stretch, while trying not to overextend and burn out before the end. But when I saw the finish line I put on my final burn pace, which is never much, but extends stride and passes a few people. I could see the clock somewhere in the 25-minute, but someone was in the way for seeing the seconds. So I kept pushing, until I crossed the finish line right after it flipped to 26 minutes.

So I assumed I had at least made 26 minutes, since it had taken me a few seconds to get across the starting line from the back of wave 1. It took until late Saturday afternoon to find the unofficial numbers on the chip providers website (stats  for the KCCC won’t be up until probably Monday sometime). Those stats were:

Overall Place: 722
Gender Place: 590
Time: 25:13.7

So, while I didn’t make the 24 I wanted, I did better than the 26 and change I did last year. And when I checked my personal running log, my pace for Saturday’s 5K was the fastest running pace I have done since the Cupid 5K in February, which was my fastest pace. So, didn’t make goal, but satisfied with improvements. Now hopefully to be satisfied with my rankings for the KCCC.

In other activities, I did get to swim last week, and I hit my May mileage goal for bicycling on Sunday. So I am a few weeks ahead on biking mileage.  Since I have a summer trip where I probably won’t be doing any bicycling, I’ll need to be ahead if I intend to keep my goal for the year.

A Look Ahead …

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I think it is time to pull out the Thursday blog feature that looks ahead to the upcoming weekend and week for events worth noting: items on my social calendar or ones I think worthy, at least, but may or may not be able to attend.

FRIDAY, April 7

Kansas City Corporate Challege Kick-Off Walk

The Kansas City Corporate Challenge, now in its ??? year, is having its kick-off event from 4-8 p.m. this Friday at the Truman Sports Complex, Lot L. This annual walk is a family-friendly event that ends up being a huge block party. If weather cooperates, they expect 20,000 people to be there during the event. Follow the above link for all the details.

SUNDAY, April 9

Palm Sunday Fundraiser Brunch and Silent Auction

The Palm Sunday Fundraiser Brunch and Silent Auction at Avondale United Methodist Church will be from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.  Sponsored by the Contemporary Life Sunday School Class,  thee brunch includes bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, mixed fruit, and then the pastry/dessert table.

One of the annual features is a  dessert “bacon and eggs” — two pretzel sticks with a button of white chocolate holding them together in the middle with a pastel M&M on top to simulate an egg easy side up.

We go to this festive brunch annually, and I recommend it to you, if you are anywhere nearby.

THURSDAY, April 13

Gold Pass Night at Worlds of Fun

Worlds of Fun opens for the season, the next day, so from 6-10 p.m. on the 13th, Gold and Platinum pass holders get admitted for a sneak peak at the park. I am almost expecting this to be busier than the official opening the next morning. The only problem is this also happens to be Maundy Thursday, with services at church, and how am I going to be in two places at once?

FRIDAY, April 14

Worlds of Fun opens for the 2017 Season

I haven’t seen anything but pictures so far of the new entrance gate that was one of the two main projects for Worlds of Fun over the winter, but it should be a fun and impressive entrance.

WOF Balloon

They also have two new rides going in that will be worth exploring.

Since they open on Good Friday, I have the day off, but it is a school day for the son, and I’m not sure whether Betsy has to work that day yet or not. But we certainly will get there sometime.  Maybe two sometimes!

Fitness Update: Triathlon

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Last week was the start of intense heat in our area. Monday’s run — 8 miles — was done early morning at 70 degrees with a 92 percent humidity. It was good practice for the hot temperatures for yesterday’s “Father’s Day” triathlon for the Kansas City Corporate Challenge. But I’ll get to that in just a moment.

Including the Triathlon, I have 42 5K or greater runs, have swum 33,150 yards at the lap pool and 6,300 yards elsewhere, plus have completed 1,500 miles on the bicycle.

Which leads up to the Triathlon. Which I will tell in video format below:

Vacationing at the Pool, and other places

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Today is the first day of my vacation. I’ll be off work until a week from Monday. And during that time I’ll spend more time with a greater variety of my coworkers that I usually do during a regular week.

Why is that? Because Sunday I will be competing in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge Triathlon with them, and Monday-Thursday I will be competing (coordinating actually) with them in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge Swim Meet.

So from Monday-Thursday starting at 5 p.m. and going until 9 p.m. some nights, as late as Midnight possibly others, I will be at the Gladstone Aquatic center getting people into the right lane at the right time, and cheering them on as they swim 50 yards (200 yards on Monday) in their various events. Then I’ll count up the points they earned, and make daily reports to the internal company distribution list.

Sunday morning I’ll celebrate Father’s Day by running the triathlon, which starts lakeside at Shawnee Mission Park.

Apart from that I get to relax. Painting a wall of the dining room. Weeding the  flower beds. Trimming the hedges. Digging the silt out of the drainage ditch. A regular, relaxing staycation.

If I have spare time from that I should be reading the nominees for the Hugo Awards so I can make an educated vote before the polls close

Where in there would I have time to go to work?