Hi all! If you're found your way here by way of the Hospital Hill website or Facebook page, welcome! If you're one of my (three) regular readers, then you're in for some more frequent updates! Beth, the Race Director for Hospital Hill, for reasons that she'll likely regret later, included me in the Blogging Team for the 2013 race. If you're from anywhere near KC you know about the race and its history. If you're not from the area, or somehow have managed to avoid hearing about the race from your friends, then you're in for a treat. This year marks the 40th running of the race, and that is quite a streak.
I'll tell you a little about myself over the next few months and offer up why I think I was included in the group.
But first, promise me something: don't freak out when I tell you the kind of races I like to run. Also, don't call me crazy and don't think that my experiences won't be relevant to you. Well, I don't really care about the crazy part, just don't go thinking I'm operating at a different level than you, because I'm really not. I'm just a normal person who enjoys running long distances...just like you.
At Hospital Hill I'll be one of the 2:05 pacers. I do a lot of pacing and I really enjoy it. It is a fantastic way to get to know people and a fantastic way to help people achieve their goals. I'll likely spend some time convincing you that running with a pacer will be beneficial for you and I will encourage you to seek them out on race-day.
As far as running goes, I really enjoy running ultra-marathons. Technically, that's any distance greater than a marathon. The traditional ultra-distances are 50k, 50-mile, 100k and 100-mile. Lately I've seen longer races popping up, 150- and 200-milers. I tried a 200-miler once. It didn't go so well. We'll get to that. (You didn't realize this was a bit of a therapy session, did you?)
Locally, there's many ultra-options to select from. One of my favorites is Brew to Brew, put on by the KC Track Club. The KC Trail Nerds also put on several ultra-distance races throughout the area, as do the Lawrence Trail Hawks. Finally, the North Face Endurance Challenge has run a 50k here the past two years.
Full disclosure: I am the Race Director for the Hawk Hundred, a 100-mile, 50-mile and marathon put on by the Lawrence Trail Hawks. I get paid exactly zero for doing this. I do it because I love it. As a RD I can really feel for Beth about how difficult it is to put on a good event. I CANNOT imagine what it's like to put on a race with thousands and thousands of runners. I had 141 last year and thought I'd go insane. I realized the trick is to surround yourself with good people, they're key.
OK, I want to keep this post short, so I'll talk about my life outside of running, training plan and how Hospital Hill fits in with my summer and fall running plans in a later post. All of that will be in the context of helping you plan out your spring, focus your training, and get you ready for June 1st. If there's anything specific you'd like me to cover drop a note in the comments and I'll address it.
One thing to note: if you're new and doing a Hal Higdon-like training plan you won't start until March 1st. Although, you need to keep in mind that those plans start with 3-mile runs, so you've got to have a base built up by then.
I'm glad you're here. I'm glad you're either signed up or thinking about running this race. I like Hospital Hill because it's a challenge. The climb up Gillham at mile 2 tests whether you packed your brain with your running shoes - are you smart enough to not waste it all on that first climb? Then the short jaunt up to the Nelson checks your tank near mile 5, ensuring you have enough to hold your pace right before giving you another nice climb up Rockhill, past UMKC and The Stowers Institute. You then feel pretty safe as you cruise through Brookside back down to the Plaza right before what I think becomes the problem for most people, the long climb up Nichols and Broadway. It's not super steep, we're not climbing Pikes Peak or anything, but it does wear on people, especially at mile 11. After that, it's a little climb up to the Liberty Memorial, past the Fed, then down to the finish. Bliss.
This, friends, is fun.