Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Kansas City Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
With this being my 4th KCM event and 3rd as a BibRave Pro, I mildly knew how the overall event would go. As my first postpartum event, I wasn’t sure how the day would play out. Check out my experience!
Kansas City Half Marathon | Race Recap
health & fitness expo / packet pick up
I am not always the most timely about getting to packet pick-ups in KC due to work and wrangling the kid(s)…and this year was no different.
The Kansas City Marathon (presented by Garmin) Packet Pick-Up and Health & Fitness Expo (presented by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of KC) starts Thursday afternoon and runs through Friday evening at 8pm at the Union Station Festival Plaza. This location is pretty close to the race start which gives you a chance to check out the race morning parking situations — paid parking, trolley access, or open lots throughout the area.
Once in Union Station, there is so much to see! From checking out your next KC race to buying new shoes, the KC Marathon Health & Fitness Expo is full of vendors! Shoes, clothes, races, headphones, wearables, and random health food/drink companies — there is a lot to check out between the front doors and the packet pick-up area at the back of the room. I wonder why they lay out the Expo in this fashion…huh. 🙂
While the line we choose to stand in was sllllllow moving, we didn’t spend too much time in the Expo overall.
There are open several lots in the surrounding areas as well as off-street parking and paid parking at Union Station. I always seem to find myself parking in the closely located Crown Center parking garage. Race morning parking isn’t too difficult as long as you give yourself a little time.
With a 7am 10K/half/full start time (7:30am 5K start), the starting area is a little chaotic. While I give myself lots of time to get to the park and meander to the starting area, I am not always thinking about the time it takes to use the bathroom, drop off an extra bag, or the waiting time to get into the corrals. There are pace banners on the sides of the corrals and pacers with their sticks to gauge where to stand for your pace/finishing time goals. But if you don’t line up EXACTLY where you think you want to be, R.E.L.A.X. Everyone will get through the start line…you can take your time getting warmed-up those first couple miles.
While I enjoy a little hill-work, Kansas City races put me to the test. While there are changes to the course year to year, there were still some great sights and hills along the way. One of my favorite areas to run through is the Plaza since there are runners and spectators all around (an out-and-back section).
Aid stations are located every 1.5-2 miles or so along the course. To me, this is a great amount of support. This year, I decided to not carry water or fuel — minus a banana I ate around mile 5-6ish.
I knew the weather was going to be cooler and my pace wasn’t going to warrant the need for lots of additional calories. That being said, I was able to pick up a dropped GU around mile 4, snag the last GU at the mile 8ish aid station, took Powerade at every aid station (calories and electrolytes), and felt great overall throughout the entire event. I didn’t end up using the 2 GUs I acquired but it was good to keep in my pocket just in case I or another runner needed them in a pinch!
I didn’t end up needing the port-a-potties throughout the race, but they were located near most or all of the aid stations.
For registering for the Kansas City Half Marathon, I received an event tee and Goodr sunnies at packet pick-up. Plus, every participant gets FREE race photos after the event…so be sure to face forward and keep a smile plastered on your face at all times, or you will get some pictures like this…
Once finishing the event, runners quickly receive their distance specific metal and a heat sheet. There is then a surplus of bottled water, fruit and milk to collect before moving to the post-race party area. With live music, a complementary sandwich and beer, and post-race amenities such as massages, the post race area is certainly a place to spend a little time to relax. Unfortunately, the amount of people milling around gives me a little anxiety and I don’t usually spend too much time hanging around.
Overall, the Kansas City Marathon race staff does a great job executing this event year after year. Other than being the last runner to be given a GU around the mile 8 aid station, I’d say the race stays pretty will stocked for all runners.
As a whole, I went into KCM weekend undertrained and not necessarily expecting the best. Afterall, I signed up for the race back in February with some major optimism that I would be able to run throughout my pregnancy (which I was) and “bounce back” to running soon after. I was slightly surprised that my doc told me to “take at least 2 full weeks off running” after delivery and didn’t stress the usual 6 weeks off any exercise — so I started taking short walks in the first week and first run/walk 3 weeks postpartum.
For the KCM weekend, I travelled with both little ones to KC Friday afternoon. I had the intention to leave town “early” and have extra time for unexpected things to come up…and things came up quickly. The realization just made me glad I left us a little more time to make the trip or we would have completely missed the expo and packet pick-up.
After settling in for the evening and laying out my #flatlindsey, I was ready for some zzzzs. As I anticipated, race morning started off with very little sleep (baby didn’t like sleeping in the pack-n-play) and I was still somehow able to get out of the house around the time I planned.
Once parked at Crown Center, I was able to relax and pump before heading to a bathroom and the starting line. Since I spent so much time in my warm car, I ended up speed walking around the start area trying to get situated. I used a tried-and-true bathroom stop before getting into the corrals which delayed me a little more than if I toughed it out…which would not have gone well after a little running time. I text fellow BibRave Pro Cassie to have a good race since we didn’t end up meeting up that morning, and set up my tracking app so I knew when she finished.
After the National Anthem, the wheelchair athletes were released and then the half and full marathoners runners 5 minutes later. We were sent out with fireworks — which is a nice touch! Since I started towards the back of the corrales, roughly around the 3hr 1/2 marathon pacer, we didn’t start moving for what felt like forever. Many runners were getting antsy to get moving, but we were all going to be on course before we knew it. I set my Garmin to 2 minute run, 30 second walk intervals…and we were off!
Game Plan — walk the uphills, take advantage on the downhills, walk the aid stations, try to maintain a steady effort, and enjoy the long run!
Frankly, I didn’t know how the race was going to go. This is not my first time running the Kansas City Half Marathon, so I know the jist of the course and flow. For whatever reason, I felt good through the first mile+ to just run without walking breaks. I even surprised myself a little — while my pace was slow, I felt good just keeping a high cadence.
Through the first couple miles, my head was on a swivel to see if I could find Cassie — the other BibRave Pro I was aware of running the event. I eavesdropped on other runners chatting along the way and felt great through the first couple of miles.
Around mile 3, I saw a familiar orange jersey. Frankly, I had been keeping my eye on it for a little bit since it didn’t have quite the same elements the Team World Vision orange jersey’s had… I was excited to see that I had caught up with Cassie!
After we talked for a little bit, I decided to stick with her for the day. I knew running with someone would help push me to run and stay out of my own head. She was running roughly 10 minutes on, 1 minute off — so I just started to ignore my watch and just run by feel…and by Cassie’s intervals.
The miles really clocked on by!
We chat the entire course (after I found her at least) and we both had the sole intention of finishing the course. The KC hills put us through our paces and I feel like we both needed the extra company to get through the miles.
When we hit my favorite section, The Plaza, we ended up seeing another BibRave Pro orange top! Little did we know but Rory heard me yelling in her direction and began to chase us down those final miles.
Once in the final mile, we were coasting down to the finish. The downhill finish was new last year and with the updated course, it was even longer this year. It was good that there are small rises and falls in the last mile+ so you aren’t staring down the finish line forever…just the last half mile. I talked the girls into pushing through and running the whole distance — which made for some tired and excited finish line photos.
Once finished, we were all toast. We collected our metals, got wrapped in a heat sheet, and I grabbed a couple bananas for the road. We hung around the post race area long enough to see one of my running friends and talked her into taking a picture of us.
Once we took some post-race pictures, I headed to the info tent. I found a car key on the ground along the course and thought that might be the first place someone would go to see if it turned up (even through they probably finished way before me). After dropping off the key, I decided to stand in line to get a complementary post-race beer and sandwich. I only took a sip of the beer before I decided I didn’t really want it and the sandwich taste great!
I am fairly pleased with how the day went! Sticking with Cassie was a perfect way to pass the miles and I feel like we both had a great time.
Frankly, I was surprised that my Garmin said that I only needed 29 hours to recover…but due to my run/walk plan, I didn’t ever max out my HR without a decent break between. My legs were surely tired though 🙂
Overall, our day couldn’t have gone much better and I can’t wait to see what next year brings to the KCM events!
How much time do you take off after a race?
Do you return to the same events each year?