Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 Kansas City Operation Jack Half in the Snow Half Marathon Recap - 12/29/12

Cold would not even describe the weather for the first annual Kansas City Operation Jack Half Marathon in the Snow last Saturday, December 29, 2012... 
The race started under partially cloudy skies around 19 degrees with a few snow flurries flying around. Those weather conditions and a few snow and ice packed spots on the trail didn't stop around 40 runners from coming out to enjoy a chilly 13.1 miles.

The Kansas City Star was even on hand to take a few pictures of us freezing before the run.  Check out the caption of mine that reads, "I usually run indoors".  Too bad to put it into context the photographer asked if I normally run outside when it's this cold.  I don't always run inside, just when it's like 14 degrees and COLD.

The motivation was to raise funds for the Operation Jack organization that supports the Autism Society. This run marked the third year of the Operation Jack marathon held in California. Traditionally this run in Kansas City had been a satellite run with participants running on their own and raising funds, but this year organizers put together a half marathon course and put together a coordinated event.

You can check out my Examiner article about my review of the event as a whole.  Read on below for the recap of my magnificent performance in this impromptu half marathon.

And I decided to run it like 2 weeks out...
And even when I signed up, I wasn't sure if I was really going to be able to run it.  It was one of those "it would be great to get it in, but I'm OK if I cannot run it and the money goes to a good cause" things.

I had the base miles in, but I'm nowhere near training to run a half marathon with any speed, especially at 19 degrees like it was at the start of the race.

My main goals were to;
  • Keep the heart rate around 155 to 165
  • Finish under 2 hours
  • Keep good form, lean at the ankles, not at the waist
  • Faster cadence - 80 to 85 strikes per minute
  • Test out the Timex Global Run trainer
  • Stay warm and avoid frost bite
  • Support a good cause

I had a hard time mentally preparing for this one...
Anyone with kids (especially more than one and under the age of 10) knows that free time is in short supply. I didn't really think about goals, tactics and logistics until the kids went to bed at 8pm the night before. I didn't even really decide what layers to wear until 15 minutes before the race. I just brought all my cold weather gear and left what I didn't use in the car.

Training wise I had been completing runs of an hour and a half. Based more on time than distance. Limiting myself to zone 2 heart rate, I could get 9 to 10 miles in those runs. So jumping to 13.1 miles at high zone 2 to 3 and 4 was pushing my readiness. But like always I am a glutton for punishment so bring it on.

I probably overdressed, but I had to plan on freezing waiting for the start of the race and the fact I wouldn't warm up until mile 3ish. Went with running tights under wind pants with dry fit long sleeve under my stylish Team Wheaties jacket (which was a big hit). I rounded it out with a baklava under my Fluid stocking cap. I wore sunglasses, but they kept fogging up and turned out to be useless. I also brought out my cold weather work gloves from ace hardware. They aren't running gloves, but they allow finger use and keep your hands warm, especially with hand warmers stuffed in them! Needless to say I was prepared to stay warm and opting to ditch dressing functional in favor of staying warm.

As I lined up, I already reached two goals... 
Supported a great cause such as Operation Jack and avoided frost bite.

As I headed out, I realized reaching zone 3 to zone 4 would be no problem and going downhill for the first mile meant that the finish on the out and back course was going to he rough. I had to dial it back a bit several times to avoid burning out in zone 4 before getting to the turn around. I had ran these paved trails several times, but not in a race setting. I had come to remember the hills a long uphill gradients that made this trail system a worthy adversary.

From my Garmin output (I would show the Timex as well, but the review is another post and I could not get the heart rate strap to pair with the Run Trainer) you can see the long steady uphills mixed with some steep climbs. You can also see where I reached my other goals for heart rate range and cadence targets. I also did my due diligence to lean at the ankles and not at the waist. Take a look at the pics to judge for yourself if I met that goal. ;)

And finally I hit my last goal... 
... and finished under 2 hours. I was a little worried about the return on the last uphill mile. Hopefully I left enough in the tank to not peter out and shuffle my way to the end. Luckily I had enough to pass a KSU guy in the last half mile and end up 7th out of 40. Not bad considering lack of race training, weather and terrain.

My final time was 1:55:04. Complete results can be found HERE.

What's also cool is setting a high mark for fundraising in this inaugural event! They ended up raising $5, 215.08 before fees and other costs are factored in. Not too shabby!

Overall it was a great reason to get away from the treadmill and freeze my butt off for 2 hours. I knew it wasn't going to be a PR and I'm cool with that. Mission accomplished on all fronts and I'm looking forward to year two of the event in 2013.

And some great shots of me bundled up like I'm living in Siberia repping Team Wheaties. Credit to for the free downloadable pictures and getting word out about the event.


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