We Rocked the Parkway

Meg, me, and mum: rocking the parkway

Six months ago my sister Meghan announced she would like to run a 10K.  Knowing she could do more, I challenged her to join me on the next 13.1…and told her I’d buy her a new pair of running capris if she agreed.  Best $50 I’ve ever spent. 

So earlier this month, with hundreds of training miles behind us, Meg & I found ourselves at the start of the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in KC.  (Special shoutout to our mom who rocked the 10k)! Whoever ordered the dream racing weather–mid 40s throughout–I thank you.  Dearly.  With the fantastic weather and good tunes in our ears, we set out.

I had mapped out a pace plan that had us starting slow–around 10:20 per mile–and shaving a bit off every mile after that.  Around mile 2 we spotted our families at McGonigle’s, headed to the curb for some high fives, and pushed on.  Through miles 4 & 5 our pace had jumped to 8:55.  Somewhere in there I stopped for a snack (newfound love Hammer Gel Espresso) and was feeling good. 

Just at the start of mile 6, I checked in with Meg.  She asked to slow the pace a bit and I gladly obliged.  If I’ve learned anything in going 13.1, it’s that if it feels too fast halfway through, it is.  Seven miles leaves a hell of a lot of distance to cover, so I switched gears to our plan “B” goal–get in under 2:10. 

As I had been following a sub 2:00 training plan, the new conservative pace felt amazing.  With regular chirps from my Garmin, the miles were ticking by with ease.  Around mile 10, I could tell Meg was letting her head get to her.  She was pulling back a bit and had a grimace on her face that she could have stolen from me in my first Half. I offered a few encouraging words, but I knew all-too-well what was going through her mind.  Running your first 13.1 is tough.  You get caught up in the excitement and somewhere around mile 10 you are cruelly reminded that running this distance is actually a lot of work. 

Our fams appeared again at mile 11 and offered another round of much-needed high fives.  I turned to Meg, pointed to my watch, and shouted “we can still hit 2:10, but we have to keep this pace.” It was all she needed.  With an easy, downhill finish, we pushed through the final stretch and crossed the line side by side.  Or so I thought.  My time? 2:09:50:9.  Hers? 2:09:50:8.  Damn her. Can I pretend I let her win?  😉

While not a PR for me, it was my greatest race experience yet.  Sharing those miles with my sister is worth more than minutes or seconds on the clock.

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3 Responses to We Rocked the Parkway

  1. KB says:

    I’ll never doubt where you get your writing skills from, kid. What an easy read….yet not an easy subject! I can see Meghan’s face bearing through this! Congrats to you both, to you all. 😉 Keep on runnin’
    FBK (Meghan will know)

  2. Vain Runner says:

    Damn, I am all out of tissues. Thank goodness for T.P.

    Humbled, honored and for once, speechless.

    What an experience indeed; worth every single mile (training included)! The 2:09:50:8(9) spent Rocking the Parkway with you was just one piece of the equation. Here are a few of my favorite memories…
    *Race Week Hype: The daily 5:15pm “Cool Rider” phone call chatting over pre-race runs, sleep schedules, hashing playlists, anxieties and most importantly, the race time schedule.
    *Race Week Menu: Quinoa, Quinoa, Salmon and more Quinoa (mac n cheese style)!
    *The Race Itself (confession, this may be my favorite): Like any story, I can sum this up in three parts; the beginning, the middle and yep, you guessed it, the end.
    *The Beginning (This is Going to be a Run in the Park, pun intended)-How fun was the first three miles? Caught a glimpse of a few slug bugs, chatted about life and let you steal a high five from my man.
    *The Middle (The Mid-Race Crisis)-It was here I saw the 2:00 and 2:05 pace groups whiz by me and heard Chad Gray of Mudvayne whisper (more like scream) in my ear, “Ever feel like dying”? To which I mentally replied with a, “Actually Chad, I feel like pulling over right here, right now and vomiting all over this perfectly manicured lawn”.
    *The End (Thank God There was an End)-When I heard the words, “We can still hit 2:10”, crisis averted. I can do this damn-it. And when Dierks Bentley sang (in a sexy Southern Draw), “What was I thinking?” I could only chuckle and continue to put one foot in front of the other. So, when you turned around, threw up your arms and sang along to Cee Lo, I was in love with running again and wanted nothing to do but cross the finish line right by your side. Thank you, not for letting me win, but for encouraging me to “win”.

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