Monday, April 18, 2011

Wickedly Fast Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Olathe, KS
Saturday, April 16
Half Marathon #31
State #27/50
Weather - Upper 20s, Overcast, WINDY, very cold

I heard about the Oz Marathon and Wickedly Fast Half races through a friend. I just HAD to do this one. I've always loved the Wizard of Oz! So... off to Kansas we were going. Originally the plan was for my Dad and A to drive out with me. L can't miss any more work, so she was planning on flying out after work and riding with us on the way back. However, my Dad got stuck out of town and wouldn't be back in time to go with me. So, I planned on driving out alone. Nine hours. In the car. By myself. Blah. I wasn't looking forward to it. But, I put on my Tin Man Julius shirt, and headed out after dropping A off at school.

I fill up the car down the street and then off I go. I get about 30 minutes away from the house when I see a road sign that says "I-70 closed from Limon to Kansas, call 511 for more info." Problem. I-70 is the only highway that runs through Kansas. I call 511 and the road was closed because of snow in Kansas. No alternate route given. No estimate for when the road might be open. Great. I have an hour to figure out what to do before I get to Limon. I send L a message asking her to go to the CDOT website to figure out an alternative. She sends a message that I can take I-80. I respond with "What? Where? How?" Then I get a second message "I don't think I'm coming."

You know how we always have drama with our travels? Well, L was in charge of booking her own plane ticket and for some reason booked a one way ticket to Omaha, NE... not Kansas City like she should have. Ooops. She didn't realize it in the MONTH that had passed since she got the ticket. Not when she got the boarding pass. Only realized it when she started looking at a map. So now we have TWO problems. A road closure for me, and trying to get L on a correct flight. Sigh.

So L gets on the phone, discovers that there is no flights on Southwest, so she cancels her ticket. She then says "Southwest doesn't even going to Kansas. They only go to Kansas City, MO." Oy. My dad tells her not to re-book, because if the road doesn't open, there is no way I'm getting there. I arrive in Limon (97 miles away from home), and the highway is definitely closed. Damn. Most of the cars are waiting in the truck stop right off the side of the road, but I follow the signs for the business loop thinking I need to get as far as possible. I stop to use the bathroom and try to decide what I'm going to do... I stay on the business loop and see a sign for I-70... wait!! CDOT is there literally just now opening the road blocks. YES!!! I'm the third car to get on the highway. This is what the road looks like after just re-opening:

I keep driving, looking for all this snow that kept the road closed. This was the most I ever saw, and it wasn't until we got almost all the way to the border:

After L realized I would actually be able to get to Kansas, she went ahead and booked a ticket on Frontier. She was lucky to have gotten a flight out less than 12 hours in advance!
Leaving Colorado!
Welcome to Kansas
I keep on driving and shortly after noon I'm  starting to get hungry. I stopped in Colby to get some lunch. I wanted to start my carb load, so I stopped at Pizza Hut thinking I could get some pasta. This was an original style Pizza Hut still! No menu, no value meals, just pizza and a buffet. I glanced at the buffet and saw there was some pasta, so for $5.95 I got a salad, pasta, and a few pieces of pizza. Yum! Get outside and the wind seems to have picked up. I don't quite need gas yet, so I keep going.

I stop about an hour down the road. It is so windy outside I can barely open the car door. Insane winds!! I went inside to use the bathroom and some truckers were talking about winds topping 70 mph! The weather channel didn't record anything that high though:

My only entertainment is my iPod and all the weird billboards. Did you know that I-70 is the Main Street of Kansas? Did you know that the world's largest prairie dog is in Kansas? And a six legged steer?
Boring Drive!
After getting gas I didn't stop at all. Just kept going. I realize I might actually have time to get to packet pick up before it closes at 7:00. It is still super windy on the drive, and then it started to rain. Man. The weather is just MISERABLE! I pull into the Bass Pro Shop for packet pick up with 12 minutes to spare. I'm awesome.

I was able to pick up mine and L's with no trouble. Go to get my shirt and for the third race in a row, they are out of the size that we ordered. We both ordered women's smalls, and the smallest size they had was Men's medium. Which was huge. Nothing annoys me more than when I don't get the right size shirt. I registered over three months in advance... what happened to my shirt??? Did you give it to someone who registered at pick-up? I get a snarky comment from the volunteer that they ran out of the small sizes four hours earlier. WHY DO THEY ASK FOR SHIRT SIZE IF THEY AREN'T ACTUALLY GOING TO SAVE IT FOR YOU?????? So annoying.

I drive to the hotel, and it was only about 10 minutes away. I'm getting hungry for dinner, and head over to... you guessed it, Applebees. When L isn't with me I sit at the bar and eat alone. :D

To make everything more annoying, L's flight was delayed over an hour. So now I have to pick her up between 10:30 and 10:45. At an airport 40 minutes away. Sigh. I go back to the hotel and watch some tv to kill time. I head out around 10:00 to pick L up. It's raining like crazy. I follow all the signs "Kansas City International" and "KCI" and then I start circling passenger pick up. Then I start thinking... I could swear that the airport code started with an M. I look at my Southwest app on my phone, and the code is MCI. Not KCI. So I start freaking out thinking that I am at the wrong airport. I try to find "MCI" on my Garmin, but it doesn't recognize the code. I am getting stressed and cranky. I leave the airport and stop at the gas station. It is confirmed that KCI and MCI are the same. Phew. I was really going to be annoyed if I would have to drive all the way across the city to get her.

Finally find her just before 11:00. 40 minute drive back to the hotel. By the time we are in bed it is after midnight. The race starts at 7, but of course we plan on getting there much earlier than that. Alarms are set for 5:23 am.

We are out the door by 6:00 and drive over to Garmin International where the race begins. The good news is that the rain has stopped. The bad news? It is COLD and super windy. We had plans on meeting up with the other Half Fanatics and marathon maniacs for a group picture, but we were too cold to get out of the car a minute before we had to.

Feels like 28, winds 20 mph+ BRRR
About 6:30 we decided we would have to head over to the bathrooms and start area.

Freezing waiting in line at the bathrooms
We get to the starting area about 10 minutes before the race starts. L doesn't have a throw away, but luckily I had an Old Navy fleece that I was planning on ditching as we started. As we are finding where we wanted to line up, we ran into a friend of ours. She actually noticed us (because of our skirts she says). Crazy part? We met her in Hawaii! She lives in St. Louis area and her daughter was there to run her first half marathon. It's a small world!

I am so absolutely freezing that I actually put on the fleece at the start and decide I'll keep it on for the first mile or so until I warm up. The gun goes off and off we go. Kind of. This was a race that had pace groups. LOTS of pace groups. As far as I could tell by signage they had a pace group for every 10 minutes for marathon, every 5 for half. So of course we got stuck behind huge clusters of pace groups. The first mile was super congested and slow, but at least we were on a main road so it wasn't AS bad as it could have been.

It was so cold and windy. No matter how many ways/times I say that, I will never be able to really describe just how bad it really was. The first few miles I am feeling pretty good. Cold, but good. My legs are feeling ok and my ankle isn't hurting yet. I had decided before the race that I would retire my race shoes and wear the shoes I've been training in (still Newtons but a different model). Not sure if that made a difference or not.

I was expecting the course to be a bit more hilly based on the profile I got at pick-up, but it didn't seem too bad. I just had to keep my head down, keep moving, and hope my visor didn't blow off :D

Mile 2-3 was around the shopping mall. Most interesting/disgusting part of the course was a dead rabbit. Coming around the corner to mile 3, the wind was gusting so strongly that I did a sharp inhale and almost choke on my gum!! I was surprised by the number of people that were actually out cheering us on. It was so miserable out there! Keep on going, past the mall and we go onto a trail before entering the residential part of the course. I was disappointed that I didn't see more people in costume, until I got passed by a dude dressed like Scarecrow. You can't tell, but he is wearing sandals. Looks like they were made of straw:

Just past mile 4 aid stations
Head into the residential areas. I am still cold. I actually still have the fleece on. As you all know, I never ever run in anything but a tank top for a half marathon. I have worn a long sleeve tech tee a handful of times in Colorado racing a 5K, but I always get hot and have the sleeves pulled up by the time I'm a mile or two in. Yet here I am in Kansas, freezing, and wearing a fleece. Not meant to be run in at all.

Around mile 7 I stop to use the bathroom. It's starting to become a pretty annoying race ritual. I do always enjoy the short break. I spent the second half of the race thinking "I passed this person earlier." Keep on going. Still feeling good. I am enjoying the neighborhoods that we are running through. Get to mile 9 or 10 and finally my ankle starts to ache a bit. The 2:10 pace group has caught up to me, which is super annoying. I have a general idea of what time I will finish in, but i don't like pace groups. At all. At least they have lost most of their following so it doesn't get that crowded.

The marathon group splits off from the half at the 12 mile marker. We had onto a trail in a park area and head into the last mile.
Just past mile 12
I am still FREEZING. It is still super windy. I cannot believe that I still have my fleece on. I can't believe I never even considered taking it off. I have never been so grateful to have long sleeve EVER!! Stop at the last aid station and the 2:10 pacer passes me. I'm not having that! I keep going and I'm surprised I'm feeling so well this late in the course. Then we get to the last quarter mile or so of the course. We change direction and the wind is even MORE brutal than before. I feel like I am barely moving. I get passed by the pace group in the chute. And I honestly don't care. I just want to be done and get in the car. I see L immediately at the finish line, she was with the other L and B (who made the coolest Dorothy costumes). I grabbed a water, we all did a quick finish line picture, and then headed off to the car.

Official Time - 2:10:53
Official Pace - 10:00
Overall - 450/836
Gender - 219/516
Division - 57/107
Garmin Time - 2:10:56
Garmin Distance - 13.25 miles
Garmin Pace - 9:53
Mile 1 - 9:38
Mile 2 - 9:37
Mile 3 - 9:34
Mile 4 - 9:35
Mile 5 - 10:09
Mile 6 - 9:45
Mile 7 - 9:47
Mile 8 - 11:20 (bathroom)
Mile 9 - 10:02
Mile 10 - 9:37
Mile 11 - 9:55
Mile 12 - 9:23
Mile 13 - 10:00
Mile 13.1 - 10:11
Cool Medal!
We hadn't taken a picture at the start (too cold!) so I had L take one of me when we got back to the hotel:

We take scalding hot showers, and then we are on the road. L is on first shift for driving. We stopped about 30 minutes down the road for Starbucks. We had plans to stop only for lunch, gas and... the OZ MUSEUM!! The museum is in a teeny tiny down called Wambego, about 10 minutes off the highway. We just had to go!

Museum is in a strip mall off the "main street"
With the tin man in the gift shop
The museum itself houses displays of the major characters, and tons of memorabilia from the movie. Also there are tons of collectors items, all things related to Wizard of Oz. It was pretty neat!

Dorothy and Toto
Wicked Witch crushed under Dorothy's house
Hello Kitty as Wizard of Oz!!
Tin Man
I had this plate set as a kid!
Cowardly Lion

Wicked Witch
Wicked Witch and Monkeys (My favorite!)
Glinda, the good witch
I am the Wizard of Oz!!
We headed out back on the road, now on a mission for lunch. If you have never driven through Kansas, your options are VERY limited. For example, the ONE Starbucks for 300 miles starts getting billboard advertising 100 miles away! Anyway, we were really wanting a burger from Five Guys, but we were starving and had to settle for Sonic. I hadn't been there in ages. Got a bacon cheeseburger on Texas toast and tots. YUM!!!

L kept driving for another hour or so until we got to some little (nearly abandoned looking) gas station where we had to get gas. I decided to drive from there. Ended up driving about another 300 miles (I never want to road trip this far again! lol). We were making pretty good time, and looking to make  our goal of getting back to Denver by 8:00.

The weather was holding up, not nearly as windy as the drive out. We had to stop one more time (somewhere between Burlington and Limon) to get gas. L drove us the rest of the way. We actually got back to the Denver area around 7:15, but made a quick stop for dinner. I had to carb load AGAIN as I had signed up for a local half to run with a friend visiting from out of state.



  1. Those race conditions just sound miserable ... but I notice aside from the potty stop you never said anything about any painful body issues, so that's pretty cool! Congrats!!

    And that Oz museum is too cool!!! If I am ever anywhere near there I HAVE to go check that out. I have so much Wizard of Oz stuff, I'd be in heaven there!

  2. You just found my Kansas half marathon for me. Thanks!


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