A day that exceeded my expectations

If you read my Kansas City Runner posts, you know Kate and I ran our first half marathon together today. It was the 2011 Gobbler Grind in Overland Park, Kan.

We were flustered as we busted out the door for the 8 a.m. race. For starters, we were hitting the road later than we’d hoped. To add to the stress, it was downright cold — a mere 31 degrees, to be exact. And I wasn’t sure whether to exit Interstate 435 on Metcalf Avenue or Antioch Road for the Corporate Woods entrance we wanted.

Kate and I ran the 2011 Gobbler Grind Half Marathon today.

Nothing like a little uncertainty on the morning of a big race.

Alas, however, we chose the correct exit and arrived ahead of the starting gun — with 15 minutes to spare, in fact. And the morning temperature, which had soared to 36 degrees when we left the race several hours later, proved perfect for running when we weren’t heading east or north into the wind.

But the best part of the race was running it with Kate. It exceeded even my expectations, those of a chronic optimist.

Our 2011 Gobbler Grind Half Marathon celebratory self-portrait.

Once we got under way, having fumbled with our watches in the early seconds of the race because they’d lost the GPS satellites, things went great. We set our first mile’s pace at 11:20 and decided we’d trim five seconds off each subsequent mile. Our goal was to finish with an average split of about 11 minutes.

The only hiccup of the entire morning was a five-minute break we took at the 6.5-mile mark, exactly halfway through the race, to trot across the parking lot to the bank of Porta-Potties. There wasn’t clear information on the race website about where the Johns would be along the course. We decided it was best not to take our chances.

Kate proudly displays her half marathon finisher's medal.

We finished the race in 2:26:20, having stopped for the bathroom break and a stretching session around mile nine. Check out our race day stats by clicking the “Route of the week” link to the right of this post. Our average pace was 11:09, right where we wanted it to be.

After crossing the finish line and stretching our muscles (nobody asked if I was alright like the guys in London had earlier in the week), we proudly donned our finisher’s medals and snarfed some fruit and rolls. Much to our chagrin, however, the post-race foot hut had run out of coffee — which we’d talked about with anticipation the entire race — before we finished.

No problem. There was a Scooter’s Coffee on the way home, and we quickly agreed it would be our first stop.

The first half marathon finisher's medal Matt has earned with Kate.

I can’t imagine how Kate’s and my first half marathon together could have been any better. Since running my first 13.1-miler last year, I’d hoped we would someday do one together. Now I can check it off my bucket list.

I hope your fall running’s going well and that you’re accomplishing your personal objectives. More importantly, though, I hope you’re having fun. That’s what it’s all about.

Tell us about the goals you’re pursuing and races coming up on your calendar. And share some of the fun times you’re having along the way.

Happy running!

Kansas City Runner

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About Kansas City Runner

Kansas City Runner blogs on cool places to run, walk and cycle in Kansas City and beyond.
This entry was posted in All posts, November 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

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