Saturday, April 9, 2016

Rock the Parkway Race Recap/1st Half of the Heartland Series

I am one tired lady right now.  Trying to get this blog post done while the boys are out shopping, but I am dragging.  I had the opportunity to stay in KC at my running partner's mother in law's house and I could have just gone back to bed when we got done.  Here is how the Expo and Race went down!

Headed out to the Expo Friday.  Actually took the whole day off from work, and just cleaned the house and got caught up on laundry and dishes.  Am I the only one that cleans the house before they leave for a trip?  Also had a yummy meal at one of our local restaurants that does daily specials.  The special was great but they had homemade banana cream pie for desert that was AMAZING!  It counts as fruit right???  I headed out around 1pm to meet up at the house before we all headed to the expo.  I had told my running partner do NOT let me spend any money and she did a fine job.  I walked away with my tech tees from the race and from the Heartland Series and nothing more.  Yeah me:)  We had dinner at Cinzette's, which is a HUGE italian buffet.  It was wonderful and chocked full of carbs as usual!  I was super sad that all of my KC friends where down in Hutch at a dog show, so no one could carb load with me, but maybe next race.  We watched a few episodes of Outlander when we got home, since where we stayed had Starz.  Le sigh.  Jamie.  How I love thee.  Outlander was an amazing book, and the series did not disappoint.  I just wish that it wasn't the last two episodes of the series, as those were hard to watch (if you read the books, you know exactly what I mean).  We were in bed by 11 pm, and I think I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
Saturday morning dawned bright and early.  We were about 20 minutes away from the race start, and wanted a good parking spot, so wanted to get there at least an hour before.  Unfortunately, we had much colder weather than we thought we were going to have, and none of us had throw away clothes.  Luckily between the three of us and our crazy gear bags, we were able to pool together clothes, so that we could all be sort of warm.  I was wearing an undershirt from Pat and gloves from Mel.  I had at the last minute thrown in tights and one of my winter hats which ended up being a life saver.  I also carried a pull over and put it in Pat's drop bag at the last minute.
We still were pretty cold, and spent most of the time before the race huddled together.  While Running with the Cows is my most favorite half of the Heartland Series, Rock the Parkway is a close second.  They have several live bands at the start and finish and throughout the course.  The course support is pretty good, even when the course winds through the neighborhoods.  People are out handing out all kinds of food and good things for runners and cheering us on.  Several were handing out tissues and we sure needed them!  I had 0 expectations of this race other than FUN!  I went back a corral and lined up behind the 2:10 pacer.  Unfortunately, and this is your TMI notice, so skip on if you need to, but I couldn't get my tummy jump started prior to the race for evacuation, so it decided to remind of that around mile 2.  I saw a bank of porta potties and decided rather than fight it the whole 13.1, that i would just loose time and get er done.   I got er done and when I came out, the 2:15 pacer had just passed.  I decided to try and catch up with them and hang with them for a while.  It gave me a goal to charge towards and charge I did.  I caught up with them, but felt like I could go a little faster, so made my new goal to try to catch up with the 2:10 pacer. 
 While I felt like I was in line and in the porta potty for 5 or more minutes, I still ended up finishing in 2:10.  I was elated at that time!!!!  That is only 4 minutes slower than my previous course PB and half PR of 2:06.  I think I could have gotten a huge PR had I not stopped to go to the bathroom, but I don't think that could have been helped.   I couldn't believe how good my body felt the whole time including my recalcitrant foot and hips.   I decided to not look at my watch and just run by feel, and in looking back at some of my splits, I had some fast for me miles for sure!  I also tried some self talk and said things like "Michelle looks strong" or "Michelle looks awesome".  I know that helped me stay at an even pace.  I also tried not fueling as much.  I did UCAN 45 minutes prior to the race and then I only fueled at mile 8.  I think the cold weather played a HUGE part in my good time for sure.  I sure haven't put in the work for a PR or even that time, and I am seriously on cloud nine right now.  
This is a great race for a first time half marathoner.  The parking is ample and easy to get in and out of.  For the most part, the course if very flat, which is why it is usually my A race.  The medals are always HUGE and beautiful and can be engraved for a small fee.  They have tons of merch and they also have a 5 K that you can do if you aren't ready to do a half that utilizes the same course.  While I don't think I am doing the full Heartland Series next year, this and Running with the Cows are two KC races that I do truly love to do and will probably continue doing.  
I can't thank these guys enough for letting me stay with them, letting me borrow clothes, and huddling with me pre race for warmth.  Running friends truly are the best friends EVER!  
Now time to spend the rest of the day with this sulky girl and a little red headed two legger!


  1. Congrats on a great race! I love Rock the Parkway, it's my favorite course!

    As far as RWTC...I love the post race food, but I'm dreading the boring course, maybe I'll see you out there!

    1. I am really interested to see how next week goes at Garmin. Looks like the weather will be nice and seems that there is a new race director this year. Have you been on that course at all?