The Kansas Half Marathon in Lawrence, Kansas.
I was actually pretty excited to run this race because I graduated from KU and lived in Lawrence for four years. I was amped up to get to tromp down my old running paths and see the campus and my old dorm. I thought vaguely about the fact that KU is situated on top of a giant hill, but that thought kind of drifted out of my mind as soon as it entered.
After Rock the Parkway's hellacious humidity, I was anxiously watching the weather all week for the forecast for Sunday. I'm not even sure why I do that, since the forecast changes just about every day. Oh, Kansas. But, the night before, the weathermen were calling for overnight lows in the upper 40s. Because the race started at 7:30, that's about where we'd be at start time. Not too bad. Definitely not like last week. I do tend to run colder than almost everyone I run with, so I was a little concerned with what to wear.
When you are a guy, you only have so many options. Shorts or pants. Long-sleeved shirt or short-sleeved shirt. Girls, as with everything in life, have so many more options for clothing. Should I wear capris? A tank? Short sleeves? A jacket? Shorts? A skirt? Capris with a skirt? The choices are dizzying. I decided to go with capris, a tank and a jacket. (Because I know you were all dying in anticipation of finding out that tidbit of information.)
I carpooled up to Lawrence with Anne, her coworker Sam, and my pre-kids running partner Sarah, and we caravaned with Kelli and John. We were anxious about getting there on time, but ended up plenty early. We had plenty of time to hang out and stretch and enjoy the gorgeous morning. Only, whoops, it was FREEZING. Ok, so technically it wasn't actually freezing. It was in the 40s, but the wind was whipping by at a good 20 mph. It was not pleasant. So, we hung out in the car. We did get there early enough to be the very first people to use the porta-potties though. That was a definite first in my book. (Non-runners: I know I've spent a lot of time discussing the porta-potty situation at races. But, it is very important. Nothing worse than having to pee when you're out on the course, I promise. However, I am sorry for regaling you with the details.)
Because this was Number 2 of the Heartland 39.3 series of half marathons, the registration numbers were WAY up from the previous years. I'm not sure they were completely prepared. The starting line was downtown on Massachusetts Street. Very quaint, but not terribly roomy. Especially when they had the pacers from 1:40 to 3:00 only spread a distance of approximately 25 yards apart in the starting corral. (Again, non-runners, pacers are people who keep a pace during the race that will have you cross the finish line at a designated time.) We wanted to run with the 2:00 pacers, but could barely see them, much less get close to them. We were practically on the sidewalk. When the gun went off, we had to push and weave our way through the crowd just to cross the mat at the starting line. Then, we had to try to track down our pacers.