Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011 Hospital Hill Half Marathon Race Report - 6/4/11

WHAT : 2011 Hospital Hill Half Marathon
WHERE : Crown Center, Kansas City, MO

DISTANCE : 5k, 10k, Half Marathon

EXPERIENCE AT THIS EVENT : I've run it one form or another since 2006 missing only one year.  2006 was my best Half by far.

PERSONAL RECAP :
This wasn't a goal race for me in the sense of setting a PR.  I knew the hills were formidable and the heat forecasted today would take a toll.  My main goal was the distance in prep for IM KS and to come away with a solid training run for physical and psychological endurance without injuring myself.

PRE RACE :
  • Luckily I got there nice and early... because I left my garmin in my truck and had to go back and get it!
  • One thing that sets Hospital Hill apart from a lot of other KC races... port-a-potties.  They have a LOT year after year.  At the peak I only waited 10 minutes for stop two right before start time.
  • They also have lots of parking around the area.  The secret spot is the Union Station parking garage.  It's a sweet spot and covered and cool after a hot run in the sun.
  • With my newer hydration system for long runs and the impending heat, I was loading up on water pre-race and the night before.  I'm not interested in dehydration or bonking.  Mix that with some GU chomps 45 minutes before and I was good to go aside from the usual breakfast at 5am.
  • Had to sport my KU Sockguy socks!
  • PEOPLE WATCHING - it's always interesting!
    • Spectators smoking right by the start chute 10 minutes before race started.  Really?  You can't wait until 7500 "healthy" people take off before lighting up?
    • It's always interesting to see some women dressed in pearl earrings, necklace, and full makeup getting ready to run 13.1 miles.
    • Booty shorts.  It's a half marathon, do some ladies really need to wear those?
RUN / OVERALL : 13.1 miles  - 1:54:25 - ranked 566 / 3155 overall - 8:41 min/mile
  • It was a brutal day (in my mind).  The heat wasn't overwhelming, but if you didn't prepare for the hills AND the heat, you were going to be in a world of hurt over 13.1 miles.  Around mile 7 I spotted a gal starting to stagger around and runners stopped to help her sit down.
  • I'm not sure how this event stood for my PR for a couple of years.  I guess ignorance was bliss when I first ran it not knowing what was in store for me.  I think that year in particular was very conducive weather wise for running.  The past couple of years have been on the hot and humid side.
  • As soon as we hit the first hill, I knew from my rate of sweating I would need to take in fluid more often than most of my training runs.  I had my trusty Ultimate Direction Access Hydration Waist Pack with my GU Recovery and Roctane mixture.  I can't stomach GU gel shots these days so I mix it in with my GU recovery (I use the GU recovery for my race drink on the advice of my top nutritional advisor, my wife) I use for training runs and drink that.  I drank that every 3 miles and took in Gatorade at various aid stations where I thought I needed it.  Basically I had to amend my training regimen to the conditions and it worked well.
  • I also felt a little light headed early on and I knew if I pushed the pace trying to PR I would either bonk or barf.  Also had a slight twinge in the right hip flexor.  Add all that up and it reinforced my thoughts to keep this as training and not try to pull some superman stunt.
  • I accomplished my main goals.  Distance.  Mental and physical training.  Heat training.  Didn't hurt myself.
  • Time to hit the FLUID recovery afterwards!

INDIVIDUAL ASPECTS OF THE EVENT
  • Registration
    • Online and easy, check.
    • The earlier you enter, the cheaper it was.
  • Communication
    • Twitter page, none.
    • Facebook page, YES.
    • Email notifications - about once a week to stay in touch.
    • Website hip and stylish with all links working and informative, check but the site could use a face lift.
  • Packet Pickup
    • Pretty standard, see my report HERE on that.
  • Goodie Bag - Not really a bag these days.
    • Handouts a plenty at the Expo.
    • Technical T-shirt, check.
    • Stylish water bottles, check.
    • Race supplies and numbers, check
    • Snack samples, not so much.  They did have a bag at the end with some goodies but none at packet pickup.
    • Coupons, nope.
  • Arrival / Parking
    • The secret spot is the Union Station parking garage. It's a sweet spot and covered and cool after a hot run in the sun.  They have parking everywhere in downtown KC, so it's not really an issue.
  • Port-a-potties
    • They sported 25 to 30 johns.
    • You don't have to wait long, it was nice!
  • Course
    • Aid stations - every 1.5 miles, check.
    • Gatorade and water options at each station, check.
    • GU at stations, nope.
    • Quality streets, check.
    • Closed to traffic, check.
    • Accuracy of markers, sort of.  I was around 0.10 miles off with my Garmin but that might have been due to weaving out of slow runners.
    • Ample volunteers, check.
    • Good course markings, check.
  • Finish Line
    • Water, check.
    • Finisher medal, check.
    • Photog, check.
    • Someone to take your timing chip off, not needed since they were built into the bibs.
    • Ample space, check.
    • Wet and COLD towels, check!
  • Post Race Accommodations
    • Food options more than bananas and bagels?  They had string cheese, bananas, milk, pop, and water, check.
    • Gatorade - not that I could find.
    • Tents, check.
    • Post race massage area, not that I saw.
    • DJ, check.
    • Someplace you could hang out with friends and family and relive the race, check
  • Would I Come Back
    • Yes
  • Would I Recommend to a Friend
    • Yes
Fill out a survey if you ran any of the races!  I'm trying to get a good database going.

Race results and summary can be read HERE.

OVERALL
This is a pretty good running race.  Challenging course and with 38 runnings in the books, they have a good system and a good pool of loyal local runners. It also garners enough attention to bring people in from out of KC to run it.  As long as I can, I will run the race in some form, whether it's the 5k, 10k, or half marathon.  It's a tradition in pain and anguish!
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