Rock The Parkway 2012 – Race Report

Well I haven’t written a race report in while it seems like, so why not?

Arriving around 6:25 or so we’ve got roughly an hour to go, parking in the southernmost lot which seems quite accessible! Don chip, number, vaseline, shed jacket and head off to the staging area.

This morning has gone perfect so far. I didn’t oversleep… which rarely happens (happened two times over 60+ races and one of them I didn’t care about and might have overslept on purpose) – but it’s important today because I’m carpooling. Woke up a couple of times in anticipation… 3:25am and 4:50am were the times I believe… well the 4:50 ends up being it because the alarm is set for 5 anyway. My usual ritual is coffee and cereal so I go for that but today I’m trying something a bit extra too. I fry up an egg (over medium!) and eat it with a little hot sauce. Next time I think I’ll have two. Protein is good! And I did eat some cereal too so I have some fuel for the day. I didn’t make coffee at home so I quickly stopped for some at a gas station en-route to picking up my running partner. For some reason I opted for “french vanilla with X-tra caffeine” — I reasoned that if I was just getting one 12oz serving this would be not only adequate but welcome.

Picked up partner without incident and we made it there no problem. Near the end of the ride though I begin to feel a bit of unwelcome jitters which I attributed to the “X-tra” coffee I was drinking. I didn’t drink the rest.

Ok… so we’re back to the staging area. They have a lot of stuff set up looks like. Quite a few tents in a small area. And… what’s this? 90 porta-potties. We literally had our pick. I entered one that was “still sealed” all the toilet paper in their wrappers, everything squeaky clean untouched. It might have been manufactured that morning. Exiting we made our way around the staging area and I found a nice cup of regular coffee. See this morning was too perfect…(to follow up the perfect training, if you’ve been following along) the weather was supposed to be torrential showers if not worse and it was cool and calm. Bathrooms accessible, everything on time, normal breakfast + protein, complementary coffee. Good to go!

We entered the chute with about 25 minutes to go. It was sparsely populated. Made it up to the 1:50 where we stood for a moment and I hemmed and hawed for a moment deciding that I’d take another run for the plethora of porta-pots instead of wait out the 20mins doing nothing. As I raced off for them they seemed a bit further than they’d looked and as I approached I realized it wouldn’t be a quick turnaround. Despite the 90+ PoPs there were ample lines at each. I waited in one for a bit. I didn’t even need to go I realized. At all. It was now 10 minutes to race time. With the massive congestion every where getting worse by the second I decided to head back to the chute.  About 7 minutes to go at the 1:50 pace markers and no sign of my race buddy. He’d probably moved on to suit his own needs I presumed so I stood around for a few moments getting ready for the race… then it dawned on me… What was I doing at the 1:50 anyway? Being overly conservative, that’s what! I remembered my goal: 1:44:xx. So if that was my goal, why the heck was I lined up at 1:50? Good question Bob. Ok, so I move up to 1:45. Great. I think I did this once before though… lined up at 1:45 and then eventually fell impossibly behind. Maybe that was my hold up. In any case I felt ok standing there for the next 5 minutes. The gun sounded and we were off.

Pace very comfortable and I’m pleased to look at the splits on our SmartPacing strategy that takes the 8/mi pace and let’s you slack off the first couple miles. That’s exactly what I need, it’s perfect and rightly so of course! It’s quite crowded at the beginning but not unbearable. I edge up to one of the 1:45 pace leaders Roger Samuel and mention to him that I remember him from the 2007 KC marathon pace group that he lead. That was the 4:10 group. So, anyway… had a minor conversation and then just continued to run. He was quite enthused overall and tried to get the crowd into it… which they did comply somewhat. I will say the crowd was lacking at times… but forgivable. Roger receives top marks in all categories though!

Well the first aid station comes up and yes I do want to partake not only because of pace group leader urging but the fact that despite the cool temps it is humid and I’m sweating a LOT through mile 1-2. Then, somehow it looks like as I grab a cup and drink and slow to drink it Roger slips behind me. I try to help him back up but it seems like hes already back up never really fell down so I don’t think anything of it and race on ahead.

Follow the other pace group leader on his heels the next couple miles.

Roger seems to be missing though…

Pace group leader drops back for about a minute to look for him but hes gone.

We do mile 6 which is scheduled to be 7:45 its nailed in 7:42…. yeah so now its actually looking like this thing is doable. I’m kinda worried about the pace leader though. Did I trip him up? Did he strain something and drop out?

The other pace leader is on a tear and is kinda putting me behind a bit… I’m staying within striking distance though, only slightly worried.

After worrying some more I believe I can hear Roger’s voice behind me at about mile 8. He’s back.

About mile 8-9 shoe is untied. I ran with it like that for a while.

Mile 10, aid station. Partake… eat the last of my cliff shot bloks and tie my shoes. Now feels like I’m 45 seconds behind pace group leaders but I don’t think its that far.

And I keep on running. Not giving up, and yes, speeding up.

And would you look at this. About 1 mile to go and I’m easily gaining on my pace leaders who seem to be slowing. They’ve overcompensated (on purpose I think, and only slightly) and I’m finally able to close the gap with them and surge ahead. This was their plan though by design all along. At this point on the “out” they commented that this is when we’d be “leaving the nest” 🙂 Well it worked out exactly true. I was quite scared I would have to log a 1:45 something but I was comfortably in the 1:44s. I even picked up the pace enough to where if I had really hit it, really gave it all, I might have stupidly dead sprinted across the line to get a 1:43:barely. My calves however had other ideas. As I sped up to a moderate trot over the last 400m they told me “no heroics. or we’ll cramp” and that was that… I trotted it in. Saw some friends too about 400m out… and that was a nice adrenaline boost. Definitely shaved another couple seconds.

Post race was great. Rock the Parkway really put on a phenomenal run.

Two comments:

My friends that ran the 5k told me a disturbing story. They were waiting in line to a porta-pot prior to the start of the Half-Marathon which was 0730. 5k started at 0745. So presumably quite close to 730 staff goes through the porta pot area shouting “ALL BLUE BIB WEARERS (blue bib=half yellow bib=5k) TO THE FRONT OF THE LINES NOW!!!!! THEY’VE GOT TO GET TO THE STARTING LINE NOW!!!!!!!” so by the account I heard all 80% of blue bibs immediately jumped the line on all yellow bibs, some of whom who no doubt had been waiting a long time suddenly were once again at the back of the line.

I understand the logic in this, I do. But I can tell you at any race of any large size I’ve been to… the porta pots always have lines. Up to and including and over the race start time. If you wait to start the race until the lines are clear the race will never start, ever. Look, I have to piss just as bad as the next guy… but its on the runner to plan it. Start the race on time, and afford no special circumstance especially in stride to any particular group as it will not win out.

Ok that’s all I have to say on that matter.

Only other complaint? Same medals for all runners. Huh?

1. Half-marathoners cannot distinguish themselves from 5kers medal wise
2. 5kers have nothing higher to aspire to, they should WANT a larger/better medal
3. Multiple medals are cool. You get to check out what everyone else got and the small upgrades can be cool to observe
4. Hospital Hill & KC Marathon have this mechanic down. Learn from them.
5. Leaves Half-Marathoners feeling cheated and 5k runners feeling sheepishly overqualified.

I mean that is once nice medal. There could have been two really nice iterations of it. Next year?

In wrap up: Great race. Set PR. See ya next year.


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