Missouri has been a state that has driven me crazy- mainly because back in 2014 I missed the opportunity to run a double when I did the Garmin ½ in Kansas City. All of the races in St.Louis are in the fall, and I initially didn’t want to go back to Kansas City. I was a little nervous to do an inaugural race, but it fit in with my schedule so I just decided to suck it up (seeing as I’ve been to MO several times now). The race also aligned with Corey’s schedule and she decided to join me on what would’ve been a solo trip.
We arrived in Kansas City and had time to kill before packet pickup. We decided to stay downtown so we could enjoy the city and just drive to the race which was in Liberty, about 20 minutes north of downtown. We grabbed lunch, did a little work, and headed north to do our shake out run. It was WINDY!! I didn’t feel great, and didn’t feel confident going into the race. I’ve been struggling with allergy and asthma issues for weeks on top of a hamstrong issue. Neither are ideal for running. We drove around Liberty guessing at the course and thought it would be hilly, but not terrible (later finding out it wasn’t the right road).
We went to packet pickup and were pleasantly surprised by the setup and awesome race tee- more soft cotton, less cheap running shirt. We grabbed dinner and headed back downtown for an early night to bed.The race didn’t start until 8 so we wokeup at 6. I woke up congested and feeling pretty crappy. We had breakfast and drove to the start. We had plenty of time to hit the bathrooms, stopped and did a photo booth, chilled in the car for a bit and did a quick shakeout with some drills.Miles 1-8
Coach had give me instructions to run at MGP for 10 miles and then see what I had in me. Corey had instructions to run the first 3 at MGP and then drop pace, so we at least had the first few miles together. Corey is really good at understanding maps, direction and wind and we knew that the course would be in and out of a headwind during the race. The headwind was STRONG- around 20 mph and made for tough conditions.I could tell by mile 3 that this was going to be a hard day. The course had rolling hills, which I’m usually okay with, but they were so often and so steep that I couldn’t get my heart rate down and breathing right.
I knew all along it wouldn’t be a race day, so it didn’t really bother me how slow I was going. My legs just felt so tired. I was super paranoid because my chiro had said to be careful on hills with my hamstring, and I didn’t realize how challenging the course was really going to be (oh how deceiving course maps are online).
I took my first chews at mile 5 hoping it would give me some sort of extra energy, but it didn’t. The course was relentless. Hills, wind, hills, wind. The positive in it all was how well the course was marked and how well supported the race was. It was a lonely course, not a lot to see, but the volunteers were great and there were plenty of aid stations. Mile 6 was uphill with a wind that was so fierce I was ready to quit. I could see runners heading back so it gave me hope that at least we were at the turnaround. I saw C and she looked strong!
The course turned and I was hoping it would flatten out. It did briefly and I looked at my watch and saw 7:50s which made me feel good…until I saw this.Seriously. It NEVER STOPPED.
So tired. I didn’t want to run. I stopped at stretched my hamstring to be safe. Walked a little and had to suck it up and muster up some energy to keep going. A guy came up behind me and said just a 5k to go. I wanted to punch him. I guess the walking made him think I wasn’t capable, and I’m sure he meant to be encouraging, but this race wasn’t my first rodeo, I was simply having an all out crappy race and a pity party for myself and I didn’t want encouragement. I walked some more. Stretched some more and knew that I had more hills because the course was a lollipop and I was headed back in. I teared up at mile 11 or so and that led to no oxygen and wheezing. I calmed myself down, took my inhaler again and ran a bit more. I walked again at mile 12.5 (another hill). I always wondered why anyone would stop so close to the finish and I know why. Sometimes the day just sucks.
I mustered up some sort of energy to finish. I can guarantee I didn’t smile across that finish line.
Corey was right at the finish at she nailed her race. I was thrilled for her! Exactly what she needed. I knew there was a massage tent somewhere and that was the only thing I wanted- someone to check my hamstring. Luckily, a chiropractic group was there and was able to work on both of us.We grabbed fruit and a drink but neither of us were in the mood for pizza or bbq (they had both). We were both so impressed with how well the race was executed and had a chance to speak to a few of the organizers and they confirmed what we suspected- one of them was a runner who is racing the states as well and paid attention to all the little detail that makes a race great.
We decided to check out downtown Liberty and had breakfast there and then headed back downtown to shower, grab lunch and shop the rest of the day. We had dinner and were in bed by 8:30 since we had early flights on Sunday.
LOVE this medal!! It’s super nice. They also gave out compression socks (which I gave to Rich based on size), an awesome shirt, bag and hilarious Statue of Liberty crown.
- Volunteers/Aid Stations
- Bling and race swag
- Post race options
- Free pics
Not so Much
- The course (would’ve loved to see more of Liberty and maybe less hills)
Liberty is only 20 minutes from Downtown Kansas City. I would recommend staying downtown, closer to all of the action and not in the suburb. There is plenty to see and do- and plenty of BBQ to choose from! We spent our free time shopping (since mine is limited in AL) at the Country Club Plaza- an outdoor mall area.
There are lots of race options for Missouri. There is the Hospital half in June in KC and several in St.Louis. While this race was incredibly challenging, I would still recommend it. The race director knows what he is doing and it has just the right amount of extra frills that make a race nice and paid attention to the little details that runners care about. The course is HARD. I can’t say that enough. It may be harder than Asheville. Maybe the hardest I’ve ever done but like most crazy runners, I would still say I enjoyed the overall experience.
It wasn’t my day to actually race and I knew that going into it. I didn’t expect for it to hurt that badly, but it did. And sometimes you need races like this to remind you of the good ones and to be thankful to have the ability to just run.