Saturday was the Kansas City Zoo Run. I'd heard lots about this race and how fun it was, but always forgot about it until it was too late. This year, I remembered right in the nick of time and registered a couple weeks ago. Apparently each year they pick an animal to "run for" and this year it was the new Polar Bears.
I haven't been to the zoo in 11 years. I remember going right after I graduated high school and that was the last time. Eleven YEARS ago. Yep. I'm old. Since I hadn't been in so long, I wasn't even really sure where the Zoo was located. Thanks to my Garmin, I discovered it wasn't too far away! I got there early and super tired. I was up way too late the night before, for no good reason either. I parked in the first lot I came to and headed in the general direction as everyone else was. It appeared to be the main entrance to the zoo and "Race Day Registration". Typically race day registration is pretty close to the start line so I just waited, and waited and waited. I began to think "geez, I guess this isn't a popular race" because there weren't but a hundred or so people standing around. Then I noticed that people seemed to be walking up this hill toward Starlight. So I pretended like I knew what was going on and followed. After what felt like a forever long walk, I got to the actual start line and boy was it packed! It was on a slight hill, so I couldn't even tell how far back from the real start line I was. One thing that I noticed right off the bat that was different from other races I've done was the amount of kids! They were everywhere! I thought that was super cool! I can only hope that my future kids will want to run races with me. That would be so fun.
The race started at 8:30 and after the National Anthem and some announcements I couldn't hear, we were off!
Mile 1: The whole first mile was nearly all downhill! I forgot my watch, but I would be willing to bet that was the fastest first mile I've ever run! I couldn't even believe it when we got to the Mile 2 sign, just inside the Zoo. I just kept thinking "what goes up must come down except, the other way around". I just kept waiting for that big ol' hill!
MIle 2: We headed into Africa! As I said, I haven't been to the zoo in a very long time, so I had no idea where I was going. I saw lots of "employee only" signs, so I'm guessing a lot of it was some behind the scenes stuff. I think it was mile two where I saw the Giraffes. They were neat! Otherwise, not many animals to see. Just lots of trees. The paths would go from regular walking paths to narrow dirt/gravel paths every so often, so a lot of how fast you could run, depended on how fast the person in front of you was going as there wasn't much room to pass. I was ok with this since I wasn't really aiming for (or expecting) a fast time. I spent most of the race behind a 10 year old boy and his dad. Kinda funny! Also, much to my surprise mile 2 was pretty much straight or downhill as well!
Mile 3: Ah yes, finally some hills! And lots of narrow passages. Still, no animals. Very strange. I think Mile 3 took us into Australia. After looking at the Zoo map just now, I'm realizing that the whole zoo is comprised of only Africa and Australia. Is that true? That's all we have? Weird. No wonder I don't go to the zoo. I did see the nasty apes/monkeys/primates though. Eeeesh. Monkeys give me the heebejeebies. I also noticed at this point that I am obviously developing fall allergies. In addition to the sweat pouring into my eyes, I had to deal with a stuffy, runny nose. Lovely.
Mile 4: lots of looping around here. Ups and downs, super narrow paths and some wide open spaces through some common areas. About halfway through the last mile we passed the new Polar Bear area. Didn't see them/her/him (?). Good thing I wasn't in this race to see the animals, or I would've been pissed! The finish was after a bit of a hill, which is just mean, who ends a race on an uphill?! I was pooped, but very happy to see on the finish line clock that I had made it in less than 40 minutes! I'd been slacking on my distance running lately and didn't think I'd make it in less than 40. Thank goodness for all those downhills!
I had no idea where I was after the race ended though. I knew I needed to hurry in order to make it to the baby shower I had at noon, so I skipped the food line all together (and I was starving!) and tried to find my way back to the parking lot. I felt like I was aimlessly walking around, and just couldn't figure out where I was! I started panicking after I was walking for what seemed like another mile and finally asked a zoo person where the exit was. Of course it was literally right around the corner from where we were standing so I felt like an idiot.
I really liked the race though! I would definitely do it again. It might be fun next time to actually go walk around the zoo afterward and see some of the animals for real. They have to be hiding in there somewhere, right?! The atmosphere was really relaxed and I could tell most people just do this race for fun, not to be competitive, so that's refreshing. Plus it's always awesome to run in new settings, I loved feel like I wasn't in the big city, plus the paths were challenging but not too rough. Good mix! Highly recommend this race.
Now, I love, love, love running races, that much should be obvious. However, my body does not like it, not one bit. I'm not sure what happens, but after every single race I get really sick. I could run 5 miles through my neighborhood or on the treadmill, with absolutely no problem and feel great after. But I run a 4 mile RACE and I'm done. I can only assume it's the combination of nerves and adrenaline and the fact that I push myself much harder during a race, but lord, it is not pleasant. I did some googling and I guess it's common, but it is terrible. All I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep it off. Usually I can, but this time I had a baby shower to sit through. Luckily I made it and just spent the rest of the night camped out on the couch watching football. It would just be so fun to do a race and NOT get sick after, ya know?! Races are supposed to make you feel GOOD!
Here are the stats!
Distance: 4 Miles
Female Place: 242/977
Division Place (female 25-29): 59/197