This past Saturday, Mr. Awesome and I participated in the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon 5K. What a great experience!
When we arrived in the Crown Center area to park at 6:45am, we were surprised at how many people were already around. Hundreds and hundreds of cars were looking for parking. Luckily for us, the UMKC Hospital Hill campus is a short walk away, so we parked in a nearly vacant lot and walked a couple of blocks to the race area.
When we got to Crown Center, there were so many people. It was hard to tell where the starting line was, and people for the marathon, half-marathon and 5K were all milling around near the buildings to stay warm - upper 30s with no coat is cold!
Eventually, the marathoners and half-marathoners cleared out, as their races started 20 minutes before the 5K. As we made our way to the starting line, we realized that we were a good 2 blocks from it - and there was a sea of people between us and it. So. Many. People.
We prepared our running clothes for the cold weather - I had on running pants, two long-sleeved shirts, and a balaclava. Mr. Awesome had shorts, two shirts, and gloves. Both of us decided we needed more clothes next time - he needs some earmuffs and I need some gloves - but we weren't too bad off. The balaclava saved me - I pulled it up over my mouth and nose like some sort of running outlaw ninja and breathed warm air for the entirety of the race.
It was a little short, though, and didn't cover my neck, so I have since bought a Buff and it works much better.
The race started and there were so many people that it took us about a minute to get to the starting line. Lots of people in matching shirts for various causes, young people, older people, people with strollers, with artificial limbs (! talk about inspiring!), even a dude (?) dressed as Gumby. Hurray for timing chips on shoes - our personal times don't start until we cross the starting mat, no matter how long after the "start" of the race we manage to get across. Mr. Awesome passed me pretty quickly, and I settled into a good pace. I passed lots of people - walkers mostly, but some slower runners, too (I know, right?! I'm not the slowest runner anymore!).
As I passed the first mile marker, my calves were a little tired, but not too bad. Heading up Oak Street was a bit of a challenge, though - it's all uphill! I was lucky enough to be running next to a young woman and her mother. The young woman kept encouraging her mom to do all she could - "Don't look back - it's just a little hill - you got this!" She was encouraging me, too, although she probably didn't know it. About halfway up the hill, I looked ahead and saw Gumby making his way around the corner on 11th Street. You've got to have confidence that you'll finish in a good time to dress up like a cartoon character for a race. Good on him.
I made it to the top of the hill and rounded the corner to 11th Street where the course started going downhill. I passed a couple more people, and some more people passed me. As I ran down Grand towards the finish line, I tried to take in the sights - The Sprint Center on my left, the Power and Light District on my right - running down the middle of streets I've driven countless times was really exciting and gave me a different perspective on the city. And I kept passing people. There were people who would walk a bit and run a bit, and I set mini-goals to pass them when I could. When I reached the finish line, I had no idea what my time was, because the race clock that I saw started when the first 5K runner crossed the mat.
Mr. Awesome met me at the finish. While we originally planned on sticking around to see some of the marathon runners finish the race, we were hungry and instead headed back to the car and drove to The Farmhouse for a really great breakfast.
We shared everything, and all of it was delicious.
During breakfast, we checked the Waddell & Reed Marathon web site for our times.
We both shaved a minute off of our best 5K time!
Out of 1,232 timed finishers:
Mr. Awesome finished 251st with a time of 28:18!
I finished 845th with a time of 37:53!
The next morning, I read about a guy in the paper that ran the marathon while knitting a record-setting 12-foot-long scarf.