Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon Race Recap – Part 2

This is part 2 of a 3 part series.

Part 1 is here.

I neglected to mention that I had saved up two episodes of the Runner Girl’s Podcast for the first part of this marathon. I knew they weren’t long enough to take me through the entire run, but I figured I’d worry about that when I got to the part when the recordings ended. Recently, I had returned to listening to my running tunes through some training runs, just to defeat the boredom of listening to podcasts, and to see if it would affect my pace. I thought, perhaps, I’d finish off my marathon with some tunes, if necessary. Right now, however, the podcast was working just fine. I also knew that Meagan, from said podcast, was running her first marathon on this day, and I couldn’t help but think about her as I ran. I was hoping she was having an amazing run!


Do you know when sometimes you are running, the time seems to fly right by, and other times, it doesn’t? This was one of those “other times”. I’m not sure why, but it seemed like the early part of this run was taking forever. Perhaps it was the steep mini hills at the start of this race, or the humidity, or the headwinds. Regardless, it just crept along. And for the first time in my marathon running career, I had visions of DNFing. It just seemed like I had no desire to run 26.2 miles this particular morning. It was taking too stinkin’ long.

I glanced down at my watch some time after I fueled near mile 7 and realized that it was only a little after 8am. Holy heck, I still had the whole morning ahead of me. It was early. Maybe I could get this done after all. Funny how your mind works like that. My fuel this hour was just 20 Energybits and a re-dose of SportsLegs, taken with a chug of sugar free electrolytes.

The hills were rather brutal, and as always, I can’t help but notice how everyone around me handles them. I was thinking that there were some brave souls out there that morning putting the pedal to the metal so early in this marathon. I hoped that they had what it took to finish the event. It wouldn’t be easy, and I knew that just 3 miles in. I also knew that I had played the first half of this marathon the right way for a change. I took it slow and deliberate when it was hard, and played with some speed when it was easy. I kept thanking the good Lord because he never allowed the sun to come out and play. This kept the temperatures in check. The humidity, however, was still brutal. And once we turned direction and headed back to the start/finish line, the headwinds dissipated. It felt to me like the humidity did as well, but the damage was already done. I was soaked just from sweat. I wouldn’t realize what damage was done, either, until later that day.

Looking pretty serious somewhere past the halfway point.

Looking pretty serious somewhere past the halfway point.

By the middle of the marathon, I started to feel better about everything…the run, my pace, the course, the weather…and my ketones were kicking in, so everything was getting easier. I was lighter on my feet, and my brain was coming into focus. When Runmeter told me I had hit the half marathon mark at 1:45:something, I knew I had a shot at a PR. I was doing way better than I expected I would be. It was time to make the decision to go for it, or back off a little and just settle with the BQ. I blatantly decided to go for it. What the heck? It was still early, and I could back down if necessary.

Now the race started to accelerate. I fueled with my hour 2 baggie near mile 15. It contained 20 Energybits, 2 SportsLegs and a caffeine tab that was the equivalent of a cup of coffee.  Up to this point, I had been alternating taking sips from my two hydration bottles. One contained a water/baking soda mix. The other contained water with a packet of MeStrength and a little Emerge powder by Max Muscle. In between fueling, I added in a little of an unfair advantage…that being Unfair Advantage from Bulletproof Nutrition. They are mini tubes of brain power which I found very useful at the start of the last two marathons I ran. This time, I decided to take a few of them as needed when I felt as though my brain was telling me I wouldn’t make it…if it ever did tell me that. I took one pre race, then again at mile 10, and then near mile 18. Each time, I swear I got an unfair advantage…now I know why it was named as it was.

The middle miles whizzed by and I couldn’t believe how fast I had gotten to mile 20. I was looking for a “wall”, like the physical inflatable one I saw at Twin Cities, or the ones on the signs held up by the fans cheering us on at the sides of the road. But there were so few spectators at this run. I was disappointed. I expected more from Kansas City. I learned that it truly was a “small town” marathon.

Mile 20 passed me by. I still felt amazingly great.

As luck would have it, somewhere around here is when my podcasts ended, so I turned on some tunes. We were just exiting a residential neighborhood on the edge of the city limits again, and there were a few spectators here. After I got my phone re-situated in my Tuvizo waist pack, I turned, waved and shouted “thank you” to all of them.

I made it all the way to mile 22, firmly holding on to the belief that I had a shot at a PR. But something happened on the way to heaven. I’m not even sure what it was, but as we ascended a short, steep hill, I hit my mini wall. I decided to walk a little here so that I could take my last baggie of fuel, again, 20 Energybits, SportsLegs tabs, and this time, an Advil just for the heck of it. Swallowing it down, I realized right then that I should have taken it earlier. I had just waited too long for that last pouch. Runmeter told me it was the top of the hour. I had 4 miles left. That left 4 miles in 30 minutes to PR. It wasn’t going to happen. Looking back now, I think hearing that might have been what deflated me. I’m not sure which happened first.

Runmeter data

Runmeter data

Regardless, I fueled and thought, well, I can beat BOTH Boston and Grandma’s times if I keep my wits about me. We crested the hill, and I looked ahead to see a bit of a downhill segment ahead. Let’s go for it!

Starting up again was a little tough, but after 10 steps or so, I was rockin’ it once more. The final few miles were not unlike the first few miles…short, steep, mini hills…just enough to make many fall hard at the end. I started to re-pass those who had passed me earlier during the first half of the run. I recognized them all. There was a male/female pair who whizzed passed me here at some point, and I was astounded at their presence and prevalence these last few miles. I was determined to keep them in sight through to the finish.

At this point, I was also joined by the half marathoners, and later, the 5K runners, still finishing their races. There were so many walking at this point. Jockeying around them added another mile to my run…at least that is how it felt. I cheered on a few, and a few cheered me on as well.

Now, my brain was on fire, and finishing was first and foremost. Still, however, the lack of any spectators was disillusioning. I felt like I needed that crowd support now, if ever. But there was no one…and I mean NO ONE lining the streets the last few miles. I was on my own. Just me and my music, and those runners who run on glucose. As I passed each and every one of them, I was grateful I was a fat adapted runner.

I passed a young man who I had traded the lead with a few times in the last half of this marathon. And I commented to him as such. He told me he was finished. He had nothing left. We were at mile 25 point something and I urged him on. “You GOT this,” I told him…”Let’s go!”

I ran on, looked behind me to see him still struggling, then turned ahead. I didn’t see him again. I hoped he kept running.

Mile 26, my Runmeter told me…and finally some spectators. They were behind a steel rail, which told me how close I was now. I pulled the headphones out of my ears, tucked them into my sports bra, and heard one woman yell “You go, girl! Take those headphones out and listen to the sounds of you FINISHING THIS!”

I needed that. I turned it on. Looking up, I saw 3:34: and seconds and thought “I can finish this in less than 3:35:00. GO GIRL!

The final stretch...I look like I'm about to burst out in tears!

The final stretch…I look like I’m about to burst out in tears!

And there it was…crossing over, I made it by just a couple of seconds. I tried to smile, but realized I wasn’t feeling so well. In fact, for the first time ever at the end of a race, I thought I’d hurl. I was handed a medal, (which just about brought me to the pavement. Damn, it was a wicked chunk of steel!) and asked for a foil wrap, but didn’t put it on. I knew I’d need it later, however. I grabbed a bottle of water, too, then spotted the medical tent to my left. Do I go in there? Gosh, I didn’t feel so good. But just beyond the medical tent was a porta potty, and upon seeing it, I had the urge to go…and go IMMEDIATELY. I was grateful it was empty, because, and excuse the graphic nature of this sentence, I got my shorts down just in the nick of time! My bowels emptied…and the nauseousness and yucky feeling went with it. Thank heavens! I sat there a minute, gathering my wits. And finally, felt good enough to go find my husband.

Coming soon. Part 3 and some final thoughts…

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Kansas City Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro Ambassador. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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