Time for another Race Report...
On Saturday April 26 2014, I ran the Garmin Marathon in Olathe KS. Kansas was the 29th state in which I ran a marathon, on my quest to run one in all 50 states. Slowly but surely, I'm making my way towards 50.
Since my last marathon in Mississippi in January, I had decided that I would train really well and put forth a good effort here. But training didn't work out the way I intended. I got sick a couple times, and I was having a heck of a time with my sinuses all Winter long. I was having trouble breating and I wasn't sleeping well. That made it tough to have enough energy to train properly. I was skipping or cutting short workouts, which doesn't help. After consulting with various doctors, I finally made the decision to have sinus surgery, which would hopefully open up my sinuses, allowing me to breathe better. However, the surgery wouldn't happen until the week after the marathon in Olathe, so I would have to make it through this one as is.
It seems to have become a habit of mine to go into a marathon with my only time goal being to avoid a new personal worst. My slowest marathon was my first one (Chicago 2005), and I'd like that to remain my slowest for as long as possible. I've flirted with that time recently (4:27:48), but I've always managed to stay at least a little bit faser.
I flew into Kansas City, Missouri on Friday morning. I rented a car, and had all day to kill. I found a place in Kansas City to get some barbeque for lunch. Probably not ideal pre-marathon fuel, but as always, I like to sample to local cuisine when I'm in a new city. Then I drove to Olathe and checked into my hotel. It wasn't fancy. It was next to a nearly-abandoned shopping mall and across the street from the local medical center. It was nice and close to the headquarters of the Garmin company, and the start/finish of the race was in their parking lot. It wasn't the most scenic location for a couple nights' stay, but it was convenient.
I got my race packet from the expo, and still had plenty of time to kill. I decided to do a pre-race shake-out run. I figured I was close enough to the Missouri-Kansas border that I could find a place to run that took me over the state line and back. For some reason, I get a kick out of crossing state lines on foot. I found a strip mall on State Line Road and parked. I ran about a mile in Missouri and a little less than that in Kansas. Then it was a few minutes drive back to the motel. I showered, changed, and went out for dinner. I found a local brewpub and had a salad for dinner. Then it was back to the motel for a little reading and an early night abed.
Saturday morning, the race started at 7am. I woke a little after 5am and had breakfast. I eventually made it over to the start area. Parking was really easy. My spot was within 100 yards of both the start and finish lines. Not too bad. I milled around with the crowd until it was time for the race to start.
As soon as the race began, I fell in with a fellow 50 Stater. This was an older gentleman who was running his 110th marathon. Good thing for me, he was a little slower than I was. This kept me in check, as I started out slower than I normally do. My first mile was compelted in 9:46. The two of us gradually sped up a little, and after 5 miles or so I left my compatriot at a water stop.
Around this time, the skies began to get very dark. Thunderstorms were predicted for the day, but the forecast said not until after noon. However, by Mile 6, it was raining. The skies got darker and the rain got heavier. Thunder was in the air, and lightning could be seen in the skies. A few of us runners looked at each other nervously. This was Kansas. Was this tornado weather? This race did have a Wizard of Oz theme, after all. How far were they willing to go to make it authentic?
Okay, I considered a tornado unlikely. But if the rain lasted for the last 20 miles that would be uncomfortable. The rain perhaps sped me up, becuase I ran Mile 7 in 9:16, and that turned out to be my fastest mile of the day. And luckily, the rain let up by the time I reached Mile 9. Half an hour of rain wasn't so bad.
Coincident or not, I slowed down again once the rain stopped. I even slowed to a walk up a hill during the 12th mile to save some energy. I crossed the halfway point in about 2:06:30. That's actually right about what I was hoping for. It was slow enough that I hadn't expended too much energy, and fast enough that I had plenty of cushion to avoid the PW. How about this? It looked like I would flirt with the PW and avoid it again.
After Mile 15, we ran on to a bike path that wove thru a park. The course hadn't been terribly scenic up to this point. Not ugly, by any means. But not terribly attractive either. It was just kinda there. The bike bath in the park was nice, but not outstanding either. I'm not sure what I expected for scenery from a marathon in Kansas. Maybe I wanted to run through a wheat field or something. But it was not to be.
The unfortunate thing about the bike path was that it was prone to puddling. And mud. So while it was no longer raining, there was still plenty of wetness and sloppiness around. So the next bunch of miles involved dodging puddles, but so be it.
At about Mile 18.5, there was a hard U-turn, and then we went back the way we came down the path, and then headed on back towards Garmin's headquarters. As is typical nowadays, I stopped to walk a number of times over the last 6 miles or so. But I did it less than I feared.
I eased towards the finish line with a new PW never in question. Somehow, I even managed to keep my time under 4:20, finishing in 4:19:44. Not one of my better runs, but not as bad as it could have been. Aside from the brief thunderstorm, the weather was nice (cool and cloudy), which certainly helped. As I mentioned earlier, the course was okay. Nothing special, nothing terrible. Aside from a few runners dressed in Wizard of Oz gear and one aid station staffed by volunteers in similar gear, there was nothing that really screamed "Kansas" about this race. It was small and without bells or whistles, but it was well-organized. Not a bad way to knock Kansas off my list.
And now a million pictures. Click on any one to see a larger copy.
Lining up before the race:
About to cross the start line:
I always take a picture of an American flag somewhere along the course. Got it out of the way early this time:
A bunch of runners:
The early morning Kansas sky:
A couple of Dorothys:
Under a train bridge:
A wicked witch and another Dorothy:
The Half-Full split:
Soon after sunrise:
"May the course be with you" and "Blisters are Braille for awesome":
I hope this isn't tornado weather:
As in Mississippi, I took a few videos. Here's the first one:
And here's the second one:
And now it's raining:
Running in the rain:
Almost halfway there:
Video just past the halfway point:
I don't know who Black Bob is:
A scenic stroll on a bridge that goes over the railroad tracks and the interstate:
Onto the bike path:
The water stop was manned by a bunch of people in costumes:
Out and back on the bike path:
Here was a sharp U-turn:
Video at Mile 25:
Another small bridge:
Getting back towards the Garmin headquarters:
Finish line up ahead:
Crossing the line:
Picture swiped from the race website:
Another one done:
With a medal:
My thoughts immediately after the race:
My muddy feet after the race:
My current marathon map:
Morning 30's first I have to say that was awesome and entertaining Bob. I loved the pictures.
I had a good weekend of working out. My kids schedule was light as everything is winding down. I had a great long run on Saturday. I started off slow and stay slower than normal. I think I could have gone longer. Oh well maybe next week. I had a couple of shorter runs yesterday. 4.41 and 2.29. I also lifted on Saturday and Sunday. I have been eating enough lately so I have lost a couple of pounds which I would like to gain back so I will try to eat a little more this week.
Grats on another good race. The videos tickled me. :) I'd never be able to run and take video footage at the same time. Not without tripping on something, no doubt.
I loved the running Dorothy characters.. though my first thought was "Owwwww.. chafing!"
That map is quite impressive now. What's the reason for ID being a different color? :)
Idaho is a different color because that's my next one. Connecticut is also a different color because that was my one ultra. It's not like I NEEDED to make them a different color, but the map let me, so why not?
Always a great read boB - you keep cranking them out and entertaining us along the way. Congrats!
How to run a marathon: Step 1: You start running. There is no Step 2
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Nice report and pictures Bob. Those signs you quoted were new ones to me, I like them (esp the Braille one).
I love how the map is filling in. Am I remembering correctly that Hawaii will be the 50th state for you?