They changed the course???!!
Say it ain't so!!!
This would be my second year of running the 3rd Annual Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead 5k, and I was NOT HAPPY when I heard they'd made a "slight" course change this year….
As in, we'd no longer be able to run into and finish on the 50-yard line at Arrowhead Stadium, all the while seeing ourselves up on the giant Jumbotron screen.
What? I don't get to see me up on THAT??
Bad form, Chiefs.
Still, though, I was (somewhat) looking forward to this 5k on Saturday, May 23rd. Last year's medal was pretty freakin' awesome, and I figured I could run through a garbage dump for a medal as cool as last year's:
One of my favorite medals, like, EVAH!
Speaking of last year…at some point along last year's race, I hurt my foot…to the point that afterwards, I was wearing a boot for two weeks, as I was pretty much crippled. The funny thing is, I have NO IDEA to this day what I did to hurt it….Did I roll it? Did I sprain it? Did I twist it?
I have no clue. Weird.
But, as Hubby would be the first to tell you, it's not unusual that I can hurt myself and have NO IDEA later what I did to bring on said injury. Seriously, I could lose an arm one day, and someone could ask, "Hey - you lost your arm! What did you do?" And I'd be like, "Huh. You're right. Wow. I have NO IDEA how that happened. Weird."
What can I say? It's a gift.
Anywho, I was a little leery about running this again…what with the change of course, and mysterious foot injuries that could hamper all of my training efforts…but hey. It's a medal.
Normally, our "tradition" is to send Hubby out on a Hunting and Gathering mission before every race to pick up race packets on the Friday before…but because I was a bumbling idiot and didn't read the race instructions carefully, I didn't realize that packet pick-up was ONLY available on Thursday…and/or Saturday morning, race day. This is because packet pick-up was being held at Arrowhead Stadium, which is right next door to our major league baseball stadium, Kauffman Stadium. (Yeah, Kansas City's cool like that…we call it the Stadium COMPLEX because we have two side-by-side stadiums for our football and baseball teams.) Anyway, our MLB team, Kansas City Royals, were playing the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night - to a sell-out crowd - so there's NO WAY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH that they were going to let anyone come in on Friday to pick up packets.
I didn't realize this until I sent Hubby out there on Friday to pick up the packets.
So…needless to say…we didn't get our bibs ahead of time.
Our plan was to get up at 6:00 am, get dressed, leave the house at 6:30 a.m., and be at Arrowhead Stadium at 7:00 a.m. This would let us accomplish several things:
1. Get a good parking spot.
2. Pick up our bibs before the line started.
3. Hit the port-a-potties before the line started.
4. Run a 2-mile warm-up before the race.
5. Socialize with friends. Duh.
And, of course, because I have this amazing ability to NEVER, EVER sleep the night before a race, I dozed off after 12:30 a.m. and was wide awake a mere 5 hours later, at the God-awful hour of 5:30 a.m.
Everything went according to plan…donning our bright red Chiefs running clothes, Hubby and I were on the road and enjoying the no-traffic, no-obstacles drive to Arrowhead. We got there early enough to have front-row parking, and walked up to the packet pick-up tent with nary a person in front of us.
Cool. Cool. Cool.
Heading back to the car, we sat inside for a few minutes, donning our bibs and waiting for a very brief and light shower to roll on overhead. Fortunately, the sprinkles moved on and out, and we were able to take advantage of the overcast skies to start our warm-up without dying of heat. So far, everything was going very well, according to our best laid plans. I was still leery of the course change, but I was willing to go in with an open mind.
Besides…did I mention?? This "race" was not being timed.
It was to be FOR FUN.
I know. I was confused, too. We aren't being TIMED??!!
Hubby and I then ran two miles around the stadium BEFORE the race started, because we're weird like that.
Pre-race warm-up…running around the stadium...
After our warm-up run, it was time to start socializing…because, really, that's what running is all about.
The friendships and the camaraderie.
I needed to talk to someone, and I needed to talk to someone, NOW.
I headed over to say hi to my friend, Philip. He wasn't running this one, but was proudly carrying the flag and supporting Team RWB. Philip works up at my local running store, and has been a huge help when I go in looking for various goodies to help me with my racing. He had sold me my black compression socks, which I was proudly wearing today, so I had to go show them off.
Philip's going to think that I didn't get his photo, but actually, I did. Check this out:
There you go, Philip. Don't ever say that you haven't been featured in my blog. You're welcome.
Leaving Philip, I ran into Derek Mitchell…and if you don't know Derek's story, you need to check out his Facebook page, HERE. Derek is a local Kansas City guy who is on a journey to lose weight…and he's doing it by running a 5k race every month…. His story is amazing, and has been picked up all over the world, as he's an incredible inspiration. Check out this article in People Magazine featuring Derek.
He's also an incredibly nice guy, and I wanted to say hi and give him some support.
At this point, I was on a mission to find another friend, Janae…she's someone I will run into at various races, and I knew she was supposed to be here - somewhere - along with her entire family. I turned around to find her, and incredibly, bumped into her at that very moment:
That was oddly weird, and yet oddly convenient!
And of course, I had one more "friend" to check in with…the Kansas City Chief's mascot, KC Wolf. "Wolfie" has been our mascot since 1989, and was named after the "Wolfpack", a boisterous group of fans who used to frequent Chiefs games.
Is it just me…??? Or does Wolfie look more like a giant raccoon than a wolf???!!
Soon, it was time to get into the corrals, and here's where Hubby and I separated, as he went up to run with the speedy Kenyans, while I headed to the back with the Turtles.
The corrals before the invasion of the masses...
Last year, Hubby insisted that I line up with him and his fellow Kenyans for this race, and so I found myself at the very FRONT of the Start Line as the gun sounded.
This was the very last time that I ever, EVER, listened to Hubby and his hare-brained ideas while racing.
Imagine being a turtle when 1,000 rabbits are breathing and running down your neck…it was awful. I seriously thought I was going to be trampled, TO DEATH, by men (and kids, for that matter), who were treating this "family-friendly" race like they were being chased by man-eating Zombies.
I ran like my life depended on it (maybe it did…so that I wouldn't be SQUISHED!!!), and perhaps, just perhaps, that's when I hurt my foot.
Yeah, no. I'll never forgive him for this.
While waiting, I start chatting with the guy next to me, and as we're talking, he mentions that he'd been doing some hill workouts SPECIFICALLY for this race, as he's worried about running up the ramps.
Dang, I KNEW I should have studied the course map before this morning. Too late now.
Without any further ado, the National Anthem was played, and we were off.
2015 Course Map
This year, they had walkers and strollers start the race behind all of the runners, which was AWESOME. I was able to get out pretty quickly, and not get hemmed in by folks who are even slower than me. Because we were running (initially) around the parking lot, the lanes were wide, and there was no danger of getting trapped in. Not to mention, the first 1.5-miles were pretty much downhill…which was giving me some pretty good speedage under my belt.
And yes. I know that technically, "speedage" is not a word. But you get my drift. My blog. My rules.
Last year, we pretty much ran the first 3 miles completely in the parking lot, with only the last tenth of a mile going into the stadium. This year, we'd ran about 1.5-miles in the parking lot, when suddenly…I saw THIS up ahead:
It's the little things in life that make runners happy.
A simple change of scenery…from a boring, asphalt parking lot…to a dark and spooky TUNNEL???!!!
And seriously…I kid you not…this is a photo that I took inside the tunnel:
And no, it wasn't that dark in there…but somehow my camera took a photo of how I PERCEIVED the tunnel to be.
How cool is THAT??!!
My giddiness over the tunnel, though, was short-lived. We exited the tunnel to find ourselves confronted with…
Arrowhead Stadium has these unique, spiral ramps on each of the four corners, and we were now experiencing the "joy" of running up one of these…around and around and around, up and up and up, for four stories…
Nothing to do but go at it, as hard and as fast as I could, and just when I thought I was going to puke, we'd reached the top. Running through the interior of the stadium, we went through this one area that was bathed in red:
Again…another burst of giddiness, as this was so different than the "normal" 5k experience…
Soon, we were running DOWN the corkscrew ramp…which was REALLY awesome, as it was all I could do to not fall flat on my face, as I dizzily spun in circles to the bottom:
This took us back out to the parking lot, but a short bit later, we were running into the Chief's practice facility, and crossing the finish line.
Remember my friend, Phil? He took this very impressionistic, very Monet-like photo of me crossing the finish line:
I think it's blurry because I kicked it up, as fast as I could, as I ran through the finish line…and I think it's highly suspicious that my black compression sock…which just so happened to be sold to me by the guy taking this photo - is the ONLY thing clear and highlighted in this photo.
I finished this race in my fastest time yet, an amazing 29 minutes…(I know, not official - but that's what Garmin watches are for!). After gathering my banana and my bling, Hubby and I headed to the car to head home.
What I Liked About This Race:
1. The course. I was worried that by removing the "Finish on the 50" aspect of the race, that we'd be faced with a boring run of 3 miles around a parking lot. To my delight, I ended up LOVING this course. The ramps were pretty cool - both up AND down - and I enjoyed the training facility. I also enjoyed the freedom to run - it was never pinched or crowded.
2. The swag. The t-shirt is a tech t-shirt, and although I wish it came in a Woman's Cut, I still like it. I love any tech tee I can get my hands on. The medal, although not as nice as last year's, is still pretty cool.
3. The size. There's not that many runners in this race…it's not very well advertised. I like the intimacy of it; I think more runners could lead to more logistical issues.
4. Good volunteer support. Lot of volunteers along the course to direct us in the right direction. Chiefs Cheerleaders at the finish line, which was cool.
What I Didn't Like About This Race:
1. Hmmm…I don't know that I have any negatives. I would most definitely do this race again, especially if they keep those ramps in the equation!!!