Sunday, June 17, 2018

Week 2 Training for pacing for the Hawk 100

Again, I am going to call this week 2 but tentatively.  I am just torn as to what to do at this point.  A huge part of me thinks I can keep it low and slow and still pace my friend, but maybe give up on the other races and be okay.  Let's just jump into my week and go from there okay?

Andrew had his first rock band lesson and LOVED it!
Monday:  Rest day and chiro visit.  Okay if you read my blog post two weeks ago, you know I was kind of freaking out about his plan for me going forward post my last pacing gig.  He wanted me to take time off, no biking, no running, just pool jogging and strength.  This was to not only clear up my PF, but also so I could work on my biomechanics.  I was kind of leery of this plan, as it meant taking away two of my stress relievers in biking and running.  While I am okay with cutting back, maybe scrapping my plans for this fall, I can not and will not give up entirely; unless I have a stress fracture or a stress response.  I know that sounds kind of crazy, but with working two jobs, I have to have either biking or running or I will probably loose my mind.  Fast forward to today.  While my PF had been quiet or non existent, when I ran in my saucony's for my long run, it came roaring back.  I iced, prayed, stretched, cursed, and steeled myself for the worse.  Actually, my visit was quite good. I  had a bit of painful myofascial release done, but overall he said everything was good to go.  He still cautioned me that I could really do some real damage eventually if i kept my volume of running up.  Now, I see his point but I also disagree a bit.  I do not run crazy miles.  I run 4 days a week with a max during the peak part of my running cycle at 45-50 miles, which is WAY under what most runners run.  Now, maybe that is still too much for my body, maybe the plethora of pacing races needs to calm down, or maybe I just need to pick one big event a year and leave it at that.  All of these things I can be happy with and do, I just am not into giving it up completely.  He gave me the option of 5-8 more good years of running, with probably continuous injury and a trip to see him every few weeks to get fixed, or a life time of running if I pull back now.  It's obvious that all I am doing is working and things are getting better, I just need to keep on it with my PT exercises daily.  So here is where I am at.  I am still going to pace my friend. I  am still going to train this training cycle.  I am probably going to drop all other fall races unless they are a half and go from there.  I am going to see how this training cycle goes and if this plan works, I will pick one ultra for next year probably spring and train this winter, since i prefer the cold to the heat anyway.  Then I will stick to that schedule, big spring race, easy summer and maybe some half marathons in the fall.  I think that is fair to my body, but we shall see how it goes.

Tuesday: A very hot and humid easy 4.  Since I honestly don't know what is up with my body, we are going to do one more easy week.  It was 97% humidity and we could feel it.  We went out a little later, and I think that we are going to have to get out earlier or the dogs won't be able to join us.  Stella and Deuce looked like giant puff balls when we got done due to the humidity.  My foot felt great during the run, and I even ran in my compression sleeve for PF upon my chiro's request.  I iced post run, but I did feel like it bothered me on and off throughout the day, even in the compression sleeve and heel cup.  I am going to go invest in some OOFOS sandals as well, because anything I can do at this point to continue running is worth the money and I have secretly always wanted a pair anyway :)

Wednesday:  Broken record here, slept in until time to get ready to take Mr. A to tutoring.  Mom is still here, so knew I could get out later on my bike and she could babysit.  The day ending up being quite nice for a June day in KS, so instead of me going on a solo bike ride, we hit up Mt. Mitchell and did some family hiking.

The butterflies were out full force and milkweed was blooming, so we got to see lots of monarchs, viceroys, painted ladies, fritillaries and swallowtails.   Plus, we saw and heard some meadow larks and quails and saw many many grasshoppers.  

We even saw a few lizards sunning on rocks. While there was a little bit of whining and complaining, we made it to the top and got about an hours worth of hiking in.  I counted this as cross training.  This was also my mom's last night in KS so we went out to eat and all hit the hay early.  

Thursday:  5 miles with Melly.  We got up extra early to beat the heat and it was still 72 with 97% humidity at 4:45 am.  YUCK!  On our way back into town as I was almost to a major highway that we cross, something shot out from a house.  I caught it out of the corner of my eye and seriously thought it was a wild animal (we had just seen a fox a few feet back).  When we stopped we realized it was a tiny little kitten.  We quickly tried to get it back to where it came from and carry on, but it quickly followed us again.  We put it back again and took off and it just followed us yet again.  Sigh.

Kudos to Mel for carrying this little kitty almost a mile home wrapped up in her t shirt!
I decided we could take it home and I would drive it back over post run and try to figure out who it belonged to.  When we went back to see, no one claimed the little guy/girl, so to keep it safe, we took Sparky as we are calling him/her to the shop, so he/she could be safe and have some food and water and a litter box to call her/his own.

Friday:  Cross training.  Post working both jobs and playing with our new shop kitty, I headed out on my bike with lots of water.  I didn't get barre done as I had planned, but i am hoping my PT exercises that I do daily are counting for something.

We also spent quite a bit of time at the shop making sure kitty was happy and had company.  We wanted to get him treated for worms and ear mites before we took him home for an extended period of time.  We are hoping that we can have him at the shop during the day and then at the house during the night and weekends, but that is going to depend on the dogs.  They are WAY to interested in him and while he holds his ground and doesn't appear to be scared of them at all, he is still awfully small to be left alone with them at this point.  He has food and water at the shop and a nice big litter box and we practically live there most of the time anyway, so he is never alone for very long.

I call this one, "I see you."

Saturday:  an easy 4.  Coach wanted to hold off on anymore long runs till we pow wowed about what my chiro thinks and how my foot does.  I may be under trained for pacing my friend, but I have been running for years now, so I don't think it will be an issue if this training cycle is a little abnormal.  I slept in (AGAIN) and thought about running on the mill.  Instead, stupidly I went out around 8ish and tried to run from the shop, which meant lots of pavement.  I took my Nathan hand held filled with ice  and water and my headsweats buff.  I felt pretty good for about 3 miles and then it just hit me and I was super nauseous.  I pretty much walked/wogged the final mile.  I hate summer running and it hates me back equally.  I tried to keep my headsweats buff wet at all times, but the wind from the south kept drying it out and I quickly ran out of water.  That's not good since it was only 4 miles.

We had our third t ball game and I am SO proud that these kids were unfazed in feels like 102 degree weather.  They still hustled, listened, and tried their best.  I was seriously worried, and they proved my worry to be unfounded.  Let's see how that goes next week when we have a double header.  

Sunday:  an easy 3 miles.  I didn't get up early but I could have.  We decided to let the kitty spend the night at the house, and Sparky decided at 4 am that he was up and ready to party.  I managed to get him back to sleep and go back to sleep myself, but I was up again at 7 am and out the door at 7:30.  Again, it was 80 and high humidity, so the dogs got to stay at home.  They are already getting pretty restless and unhappy with being left at home, but I do not want to jeopardize heat stroke. I took a few walk breaks and listened to my body more on this run versus hitting the point of too late. 

Post run we hit up the new Incredibles movie, had swim lessons, and I had to get some work done at KSU.  Then we went and celebrated Father's day at my hubby's favorite place to eat Texas Roadhouse.  It was a great but tiring day!

Well, I am going to jump back into training full force and see where this goes.  I had a long talk with my coach and we agreed to just see how things feel and go from there.  I am trying to be very diligent about PT and also about cross and strength, but this week was a bust on strength, and I just have to move on and not be upset about it.  Working two jobs and getting andrew to all of his summer fun is taking all of my time right now, and there just isn't anything I can do about it.  Oh well!  Have a great week!!!!!  I am looking forward to a break in this horrible heat!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Hurtta Hiking Belt Review

pic courtesy of Hurtta North America website
When one of my friends told me that a piece of running gear that I had always wanted to try for my dogs was on sale half price, I had to jump on it!  I love my dog friends and they are always looking for good deals, and i love it when they alert me to good deals too!  I purchased the Hurtta Hiker Belt with hopes that the fact that the dogs and humans in the pictures on their website where running meant that it would work for running for me as well.  On the website, the company does mention that the belt is good for hiking, skating, skiing, or trekking.  Nothing about running, but it sure is set up to be good for running.  There is a panic release if your dog pulls you too hard, leg straps, a very heavy duty snap to put the line on, and a very comfortable fit.  There is also a bottle holder on the back as well as a pocket for phones.

My dogs aren't the worst pullers ever so this belt may be a bit overkill, but I could see how useful it would be if that was the case.  I like the fact that it is does have a quick release, as I could see how useful that would be in a race, specifically a down hill or super technical race when you feel out of control and are being pulled by a speed demon.

since my dogs are off leash during most of my runs, this is what my mid section looks like.  
Also, because my dogs on my typical route get off leash most of the run, that is a lot of stuff clanging around my waist for no reason.  I don't like hearing coins or keys clanging the whole time I run, so I need to figure out a way to quiet all of that.  The belt is definitely high quality though, and fits really well and is super comfortable.  I immediately LOVED the fact that when they do pull, there is no pressure on my back like my other belts.  Honestly though, that is about it for what I love :(  I hate to be brutally honest but here goes.

I don't like the fact that the only line that can really be attached is a super small light weight line.  I love my stunt puppy leashes and the fact that they have bull snaps on both ends.  This type of snap is really hard to attach to the quick release snap on the belt. I got creative and it worked, but I am going to need a lighter running line if I continue to use this belt, as that did not come with the belt.   I also am super use to the fact that as my dogs move from different positions in front of me or beside me or even behind me that the Stunt puppy belt moves with them. 

that is one heavy snap hitting my leg over and over again
On one of my first runs, it was a little humid and we are all getting use to it so deuce kept dropping behind me, and the leash was rubbing on my legs, as it was wrapped all the way around.  Plus, when my dogs don't pull, which can be much of the run, that heavy snap is banging on my thighs.  OUCH!

maybe they sell a bottle specifically for this belt?
I also don't like the fact that none of my bottles fit in the bottle holder.  I did finally find a regular old plastic water bottle that fit, but as I ran, it bounced up and down on my back, and I am NOT a fan of that at all.  Again, I guess if you are just going to walk and or hike in it, it would be perfect, but there is no way I can do a long run with something bouncing on my back continuously for hours. 

Let's talk about these leg straps.  I am not sure what the purpose of these legs straps is.  All I know is that as my mileage got greater throughout the week, those straps starting chaffing my legs/crotch area like crazy.  It didn't matter if they were tight or loose, they just kept getting in the wrong place and doing damage.  I am going to probably cut them off if I can't remove them.  

Overall, even with all of the things I don't like, I would still like to try this belt in a race when Stella would be pulling like a mad woman since it is kind to my back.  I really don't need all the extra storage and water bottle since I either run with a handheld or a pack, but it's nice to know I have it there if I need it.  Maybe I could stash some poop bags in there or something.  The quality seems to be first class, but for my overall daily runs, I will probably just stick to my Stunt puppy leash and waist belt set.  I do see that Hurtta does have this item discontinued, so maybe they are making an upgrade to it or maybe they won't sell it anymore, who knows.  They do make quality products and I am very glad I got to try it out as it makes me feel like a super speedy canicross expert LOL!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Week 1 training to Pace Hawk 100

I am calling this week 1 of training for pacing the Hawk 100 because honestly I don't know what else to call it.  I am going to be cautiously optimistic that this is happening and go from there.

Monday:  Rest day.  I did pick up some Hoka Bondis at my local running store.  SO many people have recommended Hoka's for PF, so I am drinking all the kool aid and jumping in with both feet (do you like that pun?).  At least they are purple!  Felt a little tight from previous week's run, so did my PT and some stretching.

Tuesday: 4 easy miles.  Time to check out my new Bondis!  When I put them on in the store they felt weird, but when I ran in them?  They felt just like my saucony triumphs!  I didn't feel like I was running on foam or on sand as others had said, I just felt like I was running.  What I did notice though?  My calf muscles were working differently, or more, or something.  When I got back from my easy run, and I mean it was super easy because the humidity was kicking and I am NOT acclimated, I quickly muscle flossed to try and work out some sore spots.  I will be doing all of my PT as usual, but in researching the heel drop, there some difference unlike what I was told.  I am not sure an 8mm versus a 4 mm is big enough to worry about, BUT I could tell my calves were working a little extra.  I also tried my new Hurrta running belt.  Why not try all the things, right?  I like it a lot, but it may be a bit much for the type of running I do.  I am guessing for racing or Canicross it would be perfect, but my dogs are off leash most of the run, so not sure I need such a big belt for my runs.  I will post a review of it later so you can see all of the cool parts to it.

This is my "I just ate dinner and had a beer but I am getting my ass on the bike" face
Wednesday:  Bike day!  When am I going to learn to get my butt out of bed to ensure that I get my work outs in????  I know this 100%, yet I still tell myself as I am hitting snooze that I will do whatever post work.  Especially now that I am working both jobs in earnest like a crazy person, this is not a good strategy.  I have not one, but four samples right now at KSU, and I am about to loose my mind going back and forth.  I know it is a blessing to have two job, and thankfully my job with my hubby is very flexible, but dang it, we had 1-2 samples for 2 years and are now SLAMMED!   This is why I need to be able to work out right now for sure!  Anyway, I lucked out and got on my bike around 8 pm, and just rode till it got too dark.  While I wanted 10 miles, I got close to 9, and called it good.

Thursday:  4 easy miles.  Lots of humidity, bugs, and a little bit of lightening.  Since I now know my Hoka's do have a bit of a difference in heel drop, I need to be very careful in ramping up in them.  I don't want to cause more injury to my already delicate lower body.  I am such a delicate flower lately :)
I chose having a long dinner and a beer over cycling today.  Yes, I need to start getting up early.
Friday: Barre 20 minute session called Full Circle.  I have been a bit naughty this week and I haven't gotten my strength in unless you count all the PT I do.  I didn't have time to bike because once again I slept in and I ate dinner with my family and took my time, but i did have time to squeeze a barre session in before bed.  Just 20 minutes and I was like a bowl of jello.  Plus my hip that had gotten a little tight instantly loosened up.

Saturday: Short long run.  Coach kind of left the week up to me as far as what I felt like doing.  I really didn't know how long to go, so just picked 6, which is usually about an hour for me and some change, and went with it.  I got up early and ate, even though I was only doing 6.  I really wasn't paying attention to the fact that when I woke up it was getting light, but as I was sitting there fueling and social media looking, it was getting darker by the minute.

Uh oh.  We had pop up thunderstorms firing up all around us, but luckily none of them looked like they were going to directly hit us.  As I headed out, I saw two local runners and asked if they had seen any lightening.  Yup was their reply.  Well crap.  I really don't play with lightening BUT I wasn't seeing any, so I was hoping they were wrong.  As I got about 1.5 miles out, I saw a bolt crack in the distance.  CRAP!  Decided to run more North and hope I could stay far enough way (is there a far enough?) and get more in cover versus being out in the open prairie.  Wasn't the smartest decision in the world but I really wanted to take advantage of the cooler temps and no sun.  I honestly felt GREAT during my run.  However, post running I had some pain in my hip, and my foot wasn't feeling the best.  To say I got very down very quickly is pretty accurate.  I immediately iced and took some advil.  Now to figure out, was the fact that I ran in my sauconys versus my new Hokas or is all of the steroid left over from my poison ivy out of my system now and my body really didn't heal but was masked by the roids?  I am sort of positive because I didn't have issues post the two 4 milers but still worried.  

Sunday: I really was torn on whether or not to try a run in my Hokas or to just bike.  In the end, waking up to temperatures in the 80s and not a ton of time, I decided to hop on my bike instead. 

I had a nice hour of alone time with my wonderful bike and some gravel.  It was hot, but I felt good getting some exercise in, and  even got a few podcast listened to. 

Then we switched gears and headed to Manhattan to celebrate Andrew's 6th birthday party at Widgets.  I will probably do a separate post because so many people got great shots, and i like to have all the pictures in one place so maybe one day Andrew can go back and read and enjoy.  Needless to say, we had a BLAST and we would do a party there again.  We ended up having way more kids than our allotted 12, but who cares, we had mega fun, all the cake was eaten, and the cookies all went to good homes :)  

Have a great week!  I have a chiro appointment on Monday, so should know more about where I am at right now and how or if I can proceed with training.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Hospital Hill Pacing/Last pacing gig of the spring!

One more pacing gig and I am done for the spring/summer!  While I can't wait to possibly do more in the fall, I think am going to have to re think how many I do, and especially how many I do post whatever marathon or 50K I do next spring.  I think I need to remember I am 40, and while I am doing more cross training now, I am still not invincible, young, or resilient like a ton of my other running friends.  I have very wonky bio mechanics that my Chiro and sports massage guy are trying to fix, but it is slow going and that fact will always affect my ability to recover correctly.  Plus, my overall pie in the sky is still my hitting the goals of my main race of each training cycle, and while pacing is super fun and I love it, I need to keep in mind why I run.  Honestly, I may need to re evaluate that thought process anyway and look at shorter distances/less races period.  Whew, that is a lot of typing the word goal.  Shall we begin?

A little bit of Buttons
Monday:  Memorial day, so day off of work, sort of.  I started off the day with a nice long bike ride while talking with my mommy.  Since I am not doing long commutes, we are not getting our talking time in like normally, so we have to get it at other times.  When I got back, we headed to the shop to do some work, and then over to the pool for some pool time.  Unfortunately, someone pood in the pool and we had to get out, but honestly, we had been there for hours and I was ready.  We did some playing at the park before a trip to sonic for slushes and pretzels and more work. I could have gone to bed at like 8 pm, I was so exhausted!  Andrew is so much more adventurous in the pool now, and while it is fun to be able to let him do his thing, he also wants to be in the deeper pool more and jumping off of the sides more and all of that fun.  Lucky for me, Mel's two kiddos happened to be at the pool to and they took GREAT care of Andrew, which took some of the pressure off of me.  I have a feeling we will be at the pool a lot this summer!

First day of Boys and girls club and we are a wee bit sunburnt
Tuesday:  I was suppose to give my injuries/niggles 8-10 days off and I wanted one run before my next chiro visit.  I wanted a short run just to see how I felt, so I could go in and tell him exactly what felt like what.  What I didn't want was half a mile run followed by lightening, followed by me sprinting home.  I also didn't want the horrible morning nausea that is coming with my steroids, so I decided to use the mile as my warm up, eat something really quickly and get my stomach settled, and then head back out post dropping Andrew off.  The dogs were pretty confused, but I don't play around with lightening, especially when it goes from 18 miles away to 3 miles away pretty darn quickly.  We got in three more with some walk breaks and I am VERY happy to say that everything felt great!  I am sad though because it is already pretty hot early in the morning so 4 am wake up calls are going to be back on the schedule so that the dogs can come with from now on.

Santa came early at the shop!  A new welding table and a new to us forklift!
Wednesday:  The first day of sylvan mornings started and I slept in.  The roids have been keeping me up at night, and for whatever reason, I actually got to sleep at a decent hour and stayed asleep.  I can work anywhere for Coleman Electric, so I got up and did some computer work, and then headed to town for Andrew's tutoring.  I envisioned my day to look quite nice, some time in Manhattan, some KSU time, errands, and then back to Wamego.  Hopefully it was just the roids, but I felt like i was a ping pong ball going from one end of town to the other, and I did NOT like it.  I hope the whole summer won't be this crazy as we settle into a routine, and I hope that a lot of this feeling all over the place is more the steroids.  I am a control freak, I like a schedule and my summer is looking NUTSO.

Now onto my chiro visit.  A lot to unpack, so here goes nothing.  Again, I am feeling very out of sorts these days thanks to the meds for poison ivy.  One one hand, huge improvement, probably mostly due to the steroids, but also to my dedication to cross training/barre/rest.  I am very honest when I say that I didn't realize how much pain I was in on the daily from my hip/foot till I had none.  Wow.  It's actually pretty amazing.  I did need a break and I do recognize that, but I also like time lines and neat little schedules.  What my chiro wants me to do doesn't follow any schedules, AND it may cost me a ton of money in co pays and out of pocket.  My big WHAT IF right now is what if I scrap all of my summer/fall plans, work towards getting everything back in line and right, and then as soon as I start going back to training for say a spring race, it all goes to hell again because this is my body and this is how I am no matter what type of PT/massage/chiro I do?  What if this is the best and I am just on a time line for destruction at some point?  Right now we are talking about no biking, no running, no nothing except maybe pool running, till I can pass some functional tests.  I can pool run Tues/Thurs/Friday and Sat at our local outdoor pool, but it just isn't the same, not even as much as biking. It could take a week or two or it could take months.  I am not a fan. Plain and simple.  I am willing to give up high mileage for low mileage, but i need some sort of mileage.  I need to think this out and really talk about this in detail with my chiro as far as can we really even remotely fix me.

Thursday:  Easy run.  I needed to get out and test out the tape.  I had emailed my pace leader to let him know about the steroids and how they were making me feel. I am truly worried about the way they make me feel + heat.  He said that I could change with another slower pacer to see if going any slower might help, but my fear is that more time on hot pavement isn't going to help.  My friend Lindsey has decided to hang out with my pace group and make sure I am okay, which is a huge load off of my shoulders, because I know if I pass out or start puking, she can take my stick and finish out my pace group for me, as well as get me to medical help.   I tried a run walk method of 4 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking since i have pretty much no acclimation to the humidity at this point other than biking.  I also got up early, ate, then headed out versus trying to go out fasted.  I seemed okay, didn't have that need to puke or pass out this time, which gives me confidence for this weekend.

the sky looks painted
The dogs were also super stoked about being out and about.  Not getting to exercise them this summer is what scares me too if I can't run.  They need the runs as much as I do!

Friday:  Travel day!  I worked half a day at the shop, did a million errands, and then headed out to KC to meet up with my pal Lindsey at LivingLovingRunner.  I am so blessed that I have so many friends that have parents that live in KC that open their houses to me so I can stay for free.

We hit up the expo.  Excuse the drunk face, but I was laughing so hard at Lindsey taking my picture pointing to my name on the name board.  Also excuse the pred pudge.  I think have gained almost 10 lbs just being on the roids at this point.  The expo was pretty small and kind of disappointing compared to the first time I ran Hospital Hill.  There were a few small running stores and a few races with booths, and that was about it.  The crowd was also pretty small, probably because the 5K that they do on Friday evening got canceled due to high heat and horrible humidity, so none of those runners were there.  Maybe that was why the vendors were so few and far between???  I volunteered at the Pacing booth, and talked to a few people about pacing, but mostly met and talked to some new pacers I had never run with.  We headed home around 8 pm and got some grub around 9:30, and then set out our flat runners and hit the hay.  Since I have been having major sleeping issues thanks to the roids, it was actually "early" for me to turn in:)

Saturday:  Hospital Hill day!  I will put everything in a race recap here.  The race actually turned out to be very nice weather wise, thanks to some storms rolling through right before the start of the race.  Spoiler, my body felt GREAT and I had a GREAT time!

Sunday:  Mud Run in Topeka!  We did this run last year and while we had a ton of fun, Andrew refused to get into the mud obstacles.  This year I am happy to report we got a little bit more muddy but he was still pretty hesitant to get down and dirty.  

He did a few of the obstacles, sort of then dumped a ton of mud on me at the mud pie station which is fine, and then played in the hose.  We had fun, mostly getting drenched by the fire department hose and with the snow cones, but he did try a second round of running this year, which I didn't figure he would even do a first round so there is that.   It's a great cause for a great place and we will probably be back next year to get muddy again!  

Not sure what next week is going to bring.  I know it will be busy with me working both jobs in earnest.  May just do low mileage, bike, and barre and see what happens or may just leave out running and bike and barre.  Need to get to Manhattan and get a belt for pool running and get a pass, so I can actually go over the lunch hour.  After HH my foot felt fine and also the day after was a little sore, but nothing horrible.  I feel like we are on the mend, but I know that PF can be a long road so I am not holding my breath for a quick cure.  On top of all of the other things I am doing, I am also going to go to my local running store and try on some Hokas as that was a common shoe to try for PF as recommended by the pacers at HH this year.   I am also going to incorporate some muscle flossing and some micro flossing in and see if that helps as well.  As always, have a great rest of your weekend and upcoming week!  Check back for updates on the soap opera I call as the body falls apart :)

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Hospital Hill 2018 Race Review

picture courtesy of the HH FB page
This is my second year running Hospital Hill and my first year pacing the race for Smart Edge pacers.  I was excited to pace this year versus racing, so I could actually enjoy the race instead of being worried about a PR.  This course is NO joke with the KC hills, and I new it would be a fun challenge helping others obtain PRs so I immediately said yes to pacing when Eladio asked.

I was also slightly worried about a few things, mainly that I had to be put on steroids to combat poison ivy on my face that was making me feel horrible, AND the fact that I am not the best runner in the world when it comes to heat.  Heat can kick my ass in a very bad way, especially when on radiating heat pavement, and it's hard to worry about others and their dreams and goals when you are trying yourself not to die. 

Packet pick up:  I believe they had two days/nights of packet pick up and I don't think they did day of race packet pick up, but I could be wrong.  I drove down to KC Friday afternoon to get my goods and volunteer at the pacing booth while my partner in crime ran the 5K.  Unfortunately, the 5K was canceled due to heat and air quality, so the volume of runners was pretty low  The expo itself was pretty small, but there were still a few booths with wares, just nothing i had to have, which probably made my pocket book happy for once.  Usually there are several volunteers pointing you where to go, but we didn't see anyone and I had to re route a few aisles to get my packet.  I also forgot you needed your bib number to actually pick up your bib (organized by number, not by your last name), so had to look that up quickly and pray that the WI FI liked me.
I was a little confused at first because I thought it was the decade you were born in not the decade you ran the race in!
The bibs this year were decorated in the art work/style of the decade you ran your first HH in, which was cute, and our bibs had our names on them, which I always love for cheering purposes.  Once I got my bib I got to head over to pick up my duffel bag which is nice to have something other than the typical technical T or T shirt. 

photo courtesy of the HH FB page
While it obviously isn't an Apera bag, it is still seems pretty sturdy and useful, and I know I will get some use out of it.  I still to this day use the back pack I got the first year I ran the race.  I quickly headed over to the pacer booth to pick up my pacer shirt and stick and then hang out to talk to people.  We had a few people interested, but overall the crowds were super thin.  I am hoping it was because of the 5K being canceled, but not sure????  I noticed at the race itself, the numbers of overall runners seemed to be less than the first time I ran as well, but I need to look at the actual numbers to verify this.

when we originally got up and the first storm hit
Race day morning:  I stayed with my friend Lindsey, and she is a Bib Rave Pro, so she got some perks to try out that totally benefited me as well :)  First off, we got to park in a VIP lot that was basically us and 10 other cars, which once we found it (not marked at all) was super easy to get in and out of.  We had a quick walk up to the start, and I was able to hop in a porta potty and get business done and hop right back to my pacer spot. I honestly didn't see any lines for porta potties anywhere at the start or on the course for that matter.  I should back up and say that we started out the early morning with storms, like really bad windy storms that looked like they might delay or even cancel the race.  The wind tore down several limbs and even whole trees all in the neighborhood we were staying in, as well as on the race course.  Shortly after lining up, we were told to head to safety as there was lightening in the area.  The race was delayed first for 15 minutes, and then 15 minutes more thanks to lightening.  I am really glad that they did so, as it was not safe being out in that with no cover.  We started the race at 7:30 am with a light drizzle and MUCH cooler temps than predicted.  There were a few times that the humidity felt like it was a getting a little high, but mostly the clouds kept the sun at bay and cool breeze kept us all from dying a slow death of heat stroke.

My plan was to hang with Lindsey and hopefully several others, walk on the uphills, run the down hills, and TRY to keep an even effort this time and not rush.  I quickly let the other pacer become lead and started trailing in hopes that I would be able to keep slow.  We had a very small group that had lined up with us overall, and starting out, the lead pacer had a few people stuck to him, and I had my little group in the back.  Lindsey has paced for a few years now, and it was SO good to have her there giving me tips  and tricks on how to pace successfully.  She gave me so many little things, like using cone games or any little fartlek type games to get up hills, so you aren't just walking the entire hill.  I honestly feel like I have been winging it, so it was good to hear that I was doing some things right and get advice on other situations.

There were plentiful aid stations with different colored cups for water and Gatorade, which I really appreciated.  I don't do Gatorade during a race, as it would tear up my delicate little tummy, but I did get 1 red cup with Gatorade in it, which I quickly swished and spit.  There was not much crowd support at all, I think thanks to the storms, but the volunteers that were there even when we passed by at almost 3 hours were still dancing and cheering and laughing like we were the first place finishers!  The cops were also super friendly, and I enjoyed thanking them for being out there keeping us safe.  Most of the time the whole road was shut down, but there were a few places where there was traffic, and they kept the runners incredibly protected!

The first year I did this race, I was so consumed with time that I really didn't look around and enjoy the view.  This time I tried to take some pics of the beautiful course.   Most of them turned out blurry and most people from KC probably think I am crazy for saying that KC is gorgeous, but every time I run a race there I find a new place or new scenery that I really enjoy.

As I said were were so BLESSED to have much cooler temperatures for the race.  The first year I did this race it was not only super hot, but it was SO muggy.  This year, other than the sun coming out at the end, I was able to stay cool and collected and didn't have to worry about the heat kicking my butt.  As per my routine for pacing, I carried my Nathan handheld with my two Honey Stinger waffles and Nuun water.  I drank 2-3 sips of just plain water at every aid station to model good hydration practices, and then dumped the rest of the water on my headsweats buff around my neck.  I also dumped a few cups on my head, but honestly, I am not sure I really needed it.  I only really had sweat dripping when we hit the last hill that goes on forever and ever.

It is always nice to have a fast down hill finish, but I ended up finishing even as a trail pacer, a bit under our 2:55. I  am not sure where I went wrong, but I was able to push people out and push them on to the finish which was nice for the old ego.  I walked most of the up hills and through the aid stations and kept my lead pacer in sight, but not too close.  

I am pretty sure he must have finished a few minutes under our pace, which meant I was trailing him a little too fast as well.  We were suppose to have an overall pace of 13:21 and I was at a 13:10.  I am still toying with the idea of a walk run interval for the 2:40 and slower paces, just need to practice on my long runs to see how that works out.  The medals were super cool, and I love the retro feel to all of the items this year since I am a child of the 80s.  We also received a super cold towel that is cute, and tons and tons of food items including bananas, chocolate milk, chips, granola bars, ice cream sandwiches, and fruit snacks.  A bag to carry it all in would have been helpful, but not necessary I guess.  I guess next time I could just take less stuff :)

Post Race:  Thanks to Lindsey being a Bib Rave Pro, we got to hang out in the VIP tent post run.  For an extra fee, anyone can hang out and enjoy free massages, free food, and private porta potties before the race and post race.  While I probably would not pay for this if it was my own dime, it was kind of nice to be pampered post race.  It would also be nice to have a cup of coffee and a private potty pre race as well, but I had to get out and line up since I was a pacer.  Plus, usually post race I pack up and head out and this time we actually got to see the last runners come in and run through the tunnel of love that was made by the volunteers at the finish.  

Overall, while I think the nicer weather and the slower pace probably made me like this race much more this time around, I would have been pretty freaked out to do this one solo due to parking and logistics.  The expo was okay, much smaller than in years past, and the course is hard, but doable.  If you like a challenge and the location of downtown KC, this is the race for you!!!!  Remember it is Kansas in June, so you can have any kind of weather, including 100 plus temperatures and 100 % humidity.  Will I do this race again?  Not sure.  I enjoyed myself so much more this time around, but now that Andrew plays ball in the summer, this race will conflict with his schedule, and I really don't want to miss any of his games if I can help it.  Stay tuned!!!   Thanks Hospital Hill RD, staff, and volunteers for doing so well with some challenging situations and maybe see you next year???