I have mixed feelings about the 2018 Kansas City Marathon. On one hand I have a connection to Kansas City that made the race worth running, but on the other the course presented multiple challenges. I trained as much as I could for the race, but I didn’t have a lot of time in terms of preparation that I would have liked. Coming off a minor SI joint injury in the spring, I cautiously went back to training. Leading up I can say that my performances in other races were consistent, but nothing of my potential. I didn’t really feel nervous about running the marathon; I just didn’t know what I could realistically run.
The starting line, comprised of a small group of marathoners, half marathoners and 10k participants, began contemporaneously. Other marathoners lined up behind the 3:15 pacers; the fastest pace team for this event. Right out the gate we encountered our first hill, which foreshadowed what the rest of the race would feel like. From the start I kept cool while listening to the breathing patterns of other runners. I hoped to find other marathoners to join me for the first part of the race, but I couldn’t really find a group. From the early stages I made a decision to pace my own race.
As the race continued, the 10k participants took a different turn a little after 5 kilometers. Around mile 8, the half marathoners took another turn. From this point on it felt like the marathon actually began. Although it seemed lonely at times, I felt confident with finishing. The hills didn’t letup until the very end of the race, which made the last 10k quite challenging. Fortunately I had enough left to kick hard towards the finish. I pulled a muscle in the ball of my foot on the final uphill, but fortunately I only had 385 yards left to finish on a nice downhill.
Although I raced slower than I expected, my calves and quads did not hurt at all once I stretched them out. I actually would have walked normally afterwards had my foot muscle not pulled. Moreover, the potential for me to run a fast marathon is there. I do want to take time to focus on other distances next year, though. Having only run for 4 years, I want to really dive into the world of 5k and 10k running. I will likely run 1 to 2 half marathons as well. My mindset for long-distance as well as my endurance is strong. I do have a lot of speed on the table that I want to take time and develop, though.
I feel accomplished completing my 6th marathon, but I didn’t feel as fulfilled as with the other races I’ve run in the past. I’m not disappointed with the race, either. Kansas City is a very difficult course that isn’t conducive to setting a personal best. I’m proud to have placed 10th in my age group and 37th overall. I can say that 2018 has been a good year of strength and consistency for me. It is an important building block for my goals in 2019. I plan to take 4 to 5 weeks off running. Once I arrive in Kenya this December I will start training again.
I would recommend the Kansas City Marathon if you want a challenge. I felt that some segments of the marathon were unnecessarily hard, though. Some of the steep hills on residential streets felt slightly out of place with the flow of the course. In my opinion, the 5k to the half marathon is more of a reasonable choice if you want to achieve a good result in terms of time. Look at the elevation map of the marathon below to judge for yourself. The crowds were smaller, but the amount of support from the spectators and race organizers made up for it. I wouldn’t have changed how I ran the Kansas City Marathon. I only need more time to develop my running.