Here is the darling cat on a better day, when he didn't want to get off the bed as the blankets were being arranged.
Race day, June 2, 2012, Hospital Hill Run was a fabulous day. Up at 3 or so, on my way by 3:30am to Kansas City for the race. I found the same entrance to the parking garage I used last year was blocked by barricades, but some very nice men moved two aside for me so I could get in. I was fine with being "stuck" in the garage for hours since I was going to be running and hanging out for a bit afterwards. Found plenty of space in the same parking area as last year, right near the garage exit and right out to the festivities and right next to the real bathroom in the parking garage (we all know how important quick access is on race day, right?).
I got there around 5am, and the volunteers were already setting up the food line for afterwards and all other tents. It's quite magical and reminded me of working at THE best state fair. .the one and only Iowa STATE FAIR, and watching the small town come to life each morning.
Last year I had looked at the layout of the race, but really couldn't compute that in my head to anything reasonable. and I kept hearing about THE hill and that there were three main hills. . . guess what, there are many, many more than that and the little ones wipe you out. This year, I got a little smarter, and I printed out the elevation display, taped it, and then punched small holes in the side for safety pins which I then used to pin to my left thigh and my race number on my right thigh. That way, when I would stop for stretching the calves, I could look at the elevation and where we were at on the course.
It really worked well in knowing where the complete downhills were where I could run much faster and pass others. I didn't care (too much) if they'd pass me on the way up a hill if I could pass them again on the downside. The main two places to do this were after the middle --that was pretty much a straight down hill with a bit of a flat spot at the end and then at the very end, the map isn't quite right since the end/start are only about a block apart in distance and not a lot in elevation.
The course had plenty of hydration via aid stations, several neighbors along the street made us feel like we were in a parade as they sipped coffee on their doorstep and watched us, and then there were the ones who set up their garden hose for a sprinkler. I learned my lesson last year. I will NOT run through a hose again. If it's humid the water won't evaporate and all it does is cool you for 2.5 seconds and then you're running in wetter clothes.
BEST fan/volunteer award goes to the two 80 year old women who were traffic volunteers and had their pan lids out there for noise makers for us. They were definitely enjoying themselves, and their spirit was contagious!
The BEST aid station award goes to. . . the trainers near the top of Broadway Hill at some monument (which I wish I knew what it was, but wasn't stopping in the race to peruse the monument. They had not only ICE which I used to file my water bottle to help cool down my body temperature in the race as the sun was coming out and shining down on hot asphalt, but they also had fla-vor-ice. . .and these really hit the spot. I was pretty sure they're GF too, but I wasn't too concerned at that point, I needed to cool down my core so I could finish strong.
I got to the top of the hill, where the road evened out, there was another aid/water station at the end there, and then it was down hill for a block, up hill for the "trinity hill" which is the third major hill the race talks about. Last year I didn't have a problem with it, this year I walked for about ten yards on it, then I had a woman I had passed cheering me on to get going, jogged up to the top, took a deep cleansing breath and then sprinted as much as I could downhill for about three, four blocks (though it's one long one as there is a Fed. bldg there) and then around a monument, down a curving street, down for another few blocks worth and then. . .and then. . . and then I had to stop and walk for about 10 yards again and then I carried on. As I came under the walkway/bridge I did get passed by three people I had just run past, but I didn't care. I cared that I missed my goal by 24 seconds. Yup. My finish time was 24 seconds over the even time that I wanted. :-( Maybe if I hadn't stopped to fill the water bottle with ice? nah, I needed that to hold in my hand and cool down, maybe if I hadn't walked a bit on Broadway, nah, my legs were killing me, I needed that.
Eh, what really counts is, the temps were awesome this year, the cheerleaders on the course (okay, the ones at aid stations and street corners, not the spectators who had racers in the race) were great, and inspiring (as was the old man who was bent over like my kindergarten teacher, but he was still competing). The training on more hills and doing yoga for my core work paid off and I knocked 15 minutes and some seconds off my time from last year. I attribute at least 8 of those minutes from the extreme heat and humidity of 2011. I recall the start was 85º and they said about 80% humidity at 7am and then it went up from there. Thus, I am sticking with, "I cut 7 minutes off my time" in real numbers!