Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hospital Hill 5k Recap - Captain America Battles the Crowds & Hills

Last weekend, I participated in the Hospital Hill Re-Run event, which combined a 5k on Friday night with a half-marathon (or 10k, your choice) on Saturday morning.

Hubby and I had done the 5k/10k combo in the past, but this year we stupidly decided to go all in and do the half-marathon. I mean, how hard could it be?? Sure, it says "Hill" in the title of the race, but come on…seriously?


Let's recap, shall we?

Friday afternoon, we headed to the downtown area of Kansas City, with the intention of hitting up the race expo and then checking into the official race hotel so we could spend Friday night. Our goal was to have eaten, donned our race outfits, and be warmed up so we'd be ready to race the 5k at 7:00 pm.

Studies have shown that the worst time for road rage is on a Friday afternoon, and I now know that to be true. Rush hour traffic was HORRENDOUS, and I could feel my blood pressure boiling as we traversed through a maze of traffic jams, idiot drivers, and brainless motorists for the what-was-supposed-to-be a 45-minute trip that turned into almost-90 minutes. GAH. GET OFF THE ROAD, PEOPLE - WE'VE GOT A RACE TO RUN!!!!!

Okay, now I feel better.

Anyway, the expo was nice and empty, which was actually rather dangerous, as it then gave Hubby and I a very-clear view of all of the amazing booths and all of the MUST-HAVE merchandise that was for sale. Like kids in a candy store, we wandered the near-empty aisles, oohing and ah-ing over shiny, blingy objects that promised to make us BIGGER, BETTER AND FASTER runners. As if.

After escaping the expo with minimal damage to our wallet, we then walked next door to check in to the Sheraton hotel, which offered runners an AH-MAZ-ING rate for Friday night. We live over 40 miles from the race site, and since we were doing a "double" - it would be easier on our gas tank and sanity if we just spent the night Friday night, before racing again Saturday.

We were given a room up on the 25th floor that not only offered a thrilling complete-with-ears-popping ride up the super fast elevators, it also offered an amazing view of the Kansas City downtown skyline, as well.

We had enough time to don an energy bar and don our racing outfits. The theme for the weekend was Super Hero, so I had a rather blah and boring Captain America outfit to wear.

Okay - so maybe it wasn't so blah and boring. But it was FUN, and I am all about the FUN!!!

Actually, everything but the socks were fun. Those little wingie things that stuck out?? Those were a PITA to run in. They kept rubbing on my legs, and could have led to some serious chafing issues if I'd had to run any longer in them. So, they may have looked awesome, and they have received lots and lots of compliments - but they basically sucked, and I don't know if I would ever run in those darned things again.

Meeting up with some friends in the lobby, we walked the short two blocks or so the Start Line, having some fun along the way. The music was blaring, the crowd was pumped, and the humidity was rising. Yay.

Friends. Yes. I have them.

The race organizers asked everyone to sort themselves in the unofficial corrals before the start of the race - faster runners to the front, walkers to the back, and I mistakenly assumed that participants would know if they were fast - or slow. I'd realize the error of my assumption in a short bit. In the meantime, knowing that I was going to take this race a bit slow and easy myself, I headed towards the back with some friends, stationing ourselves about 3/4 of the way from the Start Line.

The gun sounded, and off we went - tearing down the first of few downhills along the course at breakneck speeds, running as if we were Superman, faster than a speeding bullet. It was GLORIOUS!!!!

Okay, not really. I WISH that's how it went. It actually went more like this:

The gun sounded, and the first 1/3 of the pack went tearing down the first of the few downhills at a breakneck speed.

The 2/3 of participants remaining began walking at a pace not much faster than a turtle using crutches - and I found myself trapped - TRAPPED - in a traffic jam that was worse than anything we'd encountered on our way down here in the car.

It was HORRIBLE!!!

I found myself dodging and weaving with skills better than Muhammad Ali in the boxing ring - trying desperately to find a hole - ANY hole - that would let me start running. Unfortunately, by the time I managed to break through of the hordes of the Walking Dead, I'd encountered the first of "The Hills" along the course - Hospital Hill.

Um, yeah - you KNOW it's bad when the hills have NAMES. And I'm sure there are official maps out there with the elevation, but when I'm running, I'm not particularly paying attention to those numbers…all I'm paying attention to is my screaming calves as I'm grinding up that hill.

I'd like to say that after making it to the top of the hill, that it would get better and you'd get some relief. But that's not the case. Because in an added bit of cruelty, the race organizers than add yet another, even STEEPER hill right after the first hill - as if they didn't think you suffered enough on Hospital Hill.


Fortunately, though, those first two back-to-back hills are the WORST, and once they're over, the course relatively smooths out for the most part, with some amazing downhills thrown in so you can pick up some speed - if you're not already too spent from climbing the initial hills.

Note Hill #1. Followed immediately by Hill #2.

About midway through the race, someone had set up a hose, which sprayed all of the runners with a refreshing shower - which was MUCH appreciated at this point, as I pretty much felt like my core temperature was 126-degrees at this point.

I soon caught up with Paula along the way. Paula is a friend who helped me during last year's Hospital Hill 10k, getting me across the Finish Line with a halfway decent finish time, so it was only fitting that I finish the 5k with her.

By now, the humidity was at an ungodly 167% (is that possible??), and my body was one giant sweaty mess. Crossing the Finish Line, I gladly accepted my medal and not one, but TWO chocolate milks, which are even better than medals, in my humble opinion, and gulped both of them down.

Yeah. Pretty much. Just substitute "Sherri" for "Mary."


We hung out for awhile at the after-race party, but eventually knew it was time to grab some dinner (baked potato and grilled chicken from Wendy's - don't be jealous), and then get to bed.

Saturday morning would be here before we knew it, and we had to conquer "The Hill."

Or would it conquer us???



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