Hello Monday! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend, I know I did! This is going to be terribly long and jam-packed full of photos. I know, totally unlike me! ;) I won't hate you if you just scroll through them.
This was a special race as it was the first official 5K for my friend Lora. She lives in Kansas City, MO. and we had not seen each other for nine years! Lora is running the Princess 1/2 with me next February and I wanted to join her for her first race in KC. I had a crazy morning, trying to finish up petsits before leaving town but enjoyed the lovely 3 1/2 hour drive to KC through rural Missouri. There were puffy clouds, wildflowers, and sunshine. It was so pretty!
You would think after 9 years that I would be taking pictures of Lora immediately, but no, I made a B-line for THIS FACE. The most adorablist puppy in the land. Siri. She's a whole pound of tiny fluffy puppy energy. I couldn't get enough of her!
I don't think I had been in the door 10 minutes when Lora offered me a mojito. I thought I should pass since we were running a 5K in mere hours, but that thought was pretty brief! LOL. Mojitos outside on the deck, poolside! Sounds like a plan to me.
Lora's fabulous husband grilled up a million veggies for me and I think I ate half this tray.
and for dessert? Grilled pineapple! Oh and not JUST pineapple, she soaked it in brown sugar and some sort of butterscotch alcohol?!?!? I don't know, I didn't pay attention, I was too busy stuffing my face.
After dinner, it was time to get ready! The tshirts were awesome, but we had other plans for our outfits.
I think I look a little like Rainbow Bright.
We decided to head out early, they had all kinds of stuff going on at the race beforehand like a DJ and face painting. We get in the car and literally as we pull out of the driveway, the sky opens up and it POURS.
The sun was still trying to peek out though and we talked about how there might be a rainbow. We made a pitstop at the gas station for a drink, that was fun in tutus! The rain stopped, but we could see more small clusters of rain clouds in the area. As we pulled up to the Stadiums, where the race was being held, another downpour began and we spotted our rainbow! DIRECTLY ABOVE the stadium?!?! A DOUBLE rainbow, even! I thought it was pretty amazing, considering my matching rainbow attire for the night. ;)
It was gone so fast, if we hadn't gone early, we would have never seen it. We also wouldn't have gotten such a fantastic parking spot. LOL.
When we got there, the line for pickup was HUGE!!!! I am SO relieved that Lora picked up our packets the previous day, there were something like 4000 people that did not. We jumped in the line for face painting though and even though it was long, there were no lines at all for the porta-potties. It was fun to see the people arriving and seeing all the different costumes!
I had to get a shot of this guy...he had Superman underwear on and a white mohawk!
We never did get through the face painting line. It never really moved and many people gave up.
We decided to do some jumping shots, they turned out so funny, I cannot look at them without laughing...I look like a total dork!
The sun started to set and the people started to arrive by the thousands. TEN THOUSAND people! This was not my first 5K, but definitely the largest race I have been to. I thought it would be good practice for the Princess! ;)
They announced that the race was going to start around 9:20, but around 8:50 I saw some people heading to the corrals and told Lora we should head over there. That was the best decision we would have made! In the packet instructions, they had said people should line up starting with runners, followed by run/walkers, and then walkers. This did not happen, and with the number of people in attendance, I'm very glad we headed over to the corrals early. As we stood there for the next 30 minutes, the people just kept coming. It was crazy!
We were not right up front, we had purposely stayed back a bit since we knew there would be other runners who were faster, and when they started the race. We were in the second wave but in comparison to how many people kept coming and lining up behind us (we couldn't even see how far back it went) we were pretty close to the front. that row of black lights up there is the start.
My feet were actually starting to hurt from standing. I hadn't really thought about that. Stretching in this crowd wasn't very easy, but I still made it look cute. LOL
It was about time! Since this was Lora's first 5K, I just wanted her to run at her pace and I was there to be her cheerleader. She decided that finishing under 40 minutes was her goal and that she would do better without an app telling her how far she had gone and decided to just start a stopwatch on her phone to time herself. I thought it was a great idea.
They let the first group go and Lora's husband Darrin caught a few shots of the start for me.
Didn't those come out COOL?!? Everyone had so much glow stuff on, it made for a wicked picture. The next one you can actually see us in, if you look really hard!
The start was slow, as expected, but what I did not expect was how many people had completely ignored the suggestion that walkers start in the back. Some people were walking right out of the start! They were also walking in large groups abreast and blocking everything. It was frustrating to me, and I told Lora this is why the 10K time to submit for corrals is so important at the Princess.
It took about a half a mile for things to spread out a bit and Lora to be able to get in her groove. I was just trying to pace her and make sure I wasn't going to fast or slow. I also was trying to adjust to running in the dark and I think I bumped into her about 20 times, I thought she might start to regret inviting me along! LOL
They had tents to run through that were lit up with black lights and although I thought it was a nice touch, with the number of people it made it difficult. People would just DEAD STOP right in front of you to take pictures of each other. People also were losing their glow-sticks naturally but some people thought it would be a good idea to collect them all and they would just stop right in front of you to bend over and pick them up. We eventually bypassed the tents that we could, just to avoid those issues.
Lora was doing really well, I could tell she was going faster than her normal pace, I actually told her that at one point and she quickly told me her favorite song was on. I couldn't tell if I was annoying her or she was out of breath, so I decided I better keep my mouth shut! LOL. It turns out she wasn't annoyed with me at all!
We were about halfway when she needed to walk for a minute. We talked about how it was hard to settle into it with only one ear piece in. We had both thought we would run with just one so we could hear each other but I think we both need our music to really get into our runs. I was happy that she wanted to put her other earbud in and I think it took about 30-60 seconds to make that decision and she was off running again. Full music=much better! I LOVED feeling part of the crowd of all these runners, but don't need to hear them, it was way better with my music.
We ran the rest of the way, I had to laugh at the sheer number of cups on the ground at the water stations. I was kicking them by accident and laughing at just how many there were...and we were not even at the back of the pack. I cannot imagine how many there were by the end.
Since the route was around both the stadiums, we could see where the finish was at some point. I really loved that. It was also really great to see all the runners in front and behind us.
As we headed into the finish, I knew she was going to have the time she wanted and the BEST part of the night for me was right after we crossed the line and she looked down at her timer. Her face lit up in an expression I won't ever forget, just surprise and pure JOY. She beat her goal by 3 minutes and that was with all the weaving and congestion for the first half mile!
We finally found her husband and cheer squad in the masses and took a few more pictures before heading out.
They had a dance party and I thought I would want to stay for a drink and to hang out a bit, but there were just so many people and we had drinks back at Lora's house, so we decided to head out.
It was a great race and I was impressed with how well they handled that many people. I'm actually not sure how they handled it! I would have preferred a better corral system, but with it being a fun run that wasn't timed, I'm not sure what the point would be.
I was annoyed with the walking groups that blocked everyone, but other than that, I realized that it was a fun run and whatever gets people moving, right? I did observe my "runner self" having to let go of the fact that people were not "taking it seriously", but then I realized that I was dressed in a tutu and rainbows...so who am I do talk?!?! LOL
We headed back to Lora's for one more mojito and a soak in the hot tub before turning in for the night. I had to get up early and drive home to more petsitting but we had time to stop at Starbucks for a quick coffee and breakfast before saying our goodbyes.
I'm so excited to have Lora to run with, we are going to have a BLAST at the Princess Half next February! I may even head back to KC for a 10K in October as well.