Race Recap: 2017 Rock the Parkway

2017 Rock the Parkway

When we moved to Kansas this year, I decided to sign up for the Heartland Race Series. The series consists of three half marathons over the course of five weeks, 2017 Rock the Parkway, the Garmin Half Marathon, and the Running with the Cows. This would allow me to cross off Kansas and Missouri from my unofficial running bucket list. Plus, I really wanted to find my running mojo this year. When I first started my blog, I ran ALL the races. Then, burnout and life happened along the way. Increasing responsibilities at work and family time became priorities over maintaining this website.  I also no longer felt the urge to run as many races as I could fit into my schedule.  For the last few years, I have continued running regularly.  But, I often dealt with minor nagging issues and just didn’t love running the way I did a few years ago.

So, when we first moved to Kansas, I decided to focus solely on heart rate training. With a brand new job and moving across the country, I figured it might be an appropriate time to slow down and change things up. The first step, take the ego out of my training.  As I started with heart rate training, I realized that my easy runs were between 13-15 minute miles if I wanted to keep my heart rate around 140.  I started wearing a heart rate monitor regularly and tracked how I was feeling on the run. I also have come to realize that those nagging injuries were probably because I wasn’t well trained, didn’t put in the miles, and ran my poor body into the ground as I maxed out my heart rate on practically ever run.

Now that I’m getting a little bit older, and possibly a little wiser, I realized I needed to change the way I was running in order to have longevity in the sport. Let’s be honest, I like setting personal records for myself but it is far more important that I have running in my life for the long-term. So, this January, I decided I really wanted to put some effort into building my mileage up and have based my running on some of the heart rate principals I learned over the past year or so.

Truly, I wanted to dig into the Hanson method of training this January but I didn’t feel as though I could just jump on into it. It’s a taxing plan. I knew I needed to be a little bit smarter. So, I decided to just focus on making sure that my body could handle running more days per week.   Since January, I’m happy to report that I am slowly building up to mileage that I haven’t seen since 2013 and love running again. And, if all goes well in the coming months, I plan to use the Hanson plan to train for a half marathon PR this fall.

Race Recap:  2017 Rock the Parkway

One April 8th, I tackled the first race, Rock the Parkway, in Kansas City, Missouri. I was so happy that the race offered packet pickup the morning of the run. Being about 45 minutes away from this location, it was awesome to not have to head out there on Friday night after work. Parking, packet pick-up, and the porta-potties were a breeze to get through. I even had plenty of time to walk back to my car to stash my t-shirt from packet pick-up.

By the time I made my way back to the starting area, the crowd of about 4,500 runners started to build and the bands started playing some music. When I hit the starting line area at the Rock the Parkway, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from myself. Based on keeping training between 20-30 miles a week and my slower paces with heart rate training, I placed myself at the back my assigned corral. Basically, I shared with a co-worker that if the stars aligned, I would be thrilled to run under 2 hours and that was my goal for the end of my spring training cycle in May.

Mile 1: 8:40 / Mile 2: 8:39 / Mile 3: 8:52

The start came a bit unexpectedly. I didn’t hear the National Anthem. I’m not even sure that they played it since the band at the start never stopped playing. Who doesn’t play the National Anthem? It was at this point that I was very thankful for the wave start. That left me with a minute to fumble with my watch to get it going. Within the first mile, one of my co-workers ran up behind me. I thought about staying with her and her friend but I knew that would be a little bit too speedy for me if I kept it up. But, naturally, for the first 10k or so, I felt invincible! Ah, so naïve… clearly, I haven’t raced in a while.

Mile 4: 8:39 / Mile 5: 8:45 / Mile 6: 8:56 / Mile 7: 9:02

At about the turnaround point, near Loose Park, there was some climbing that my legs did not enjoy. I slowed down considerably at this point. The wind also started picking up. At one point around Mile 11, I swear, I felt like I wasn’t moving forward. I was working really hard in the face of the wind and it was very frustrating.  It’s a good thing the scenery was distracting since I haven’t run in this area before race day!

2017 Rock the Parkway

Mile 8: 10:13 / Mile 9: 9:57 / Mile 10: 9:11

Mile 11: 9:30 / Mile 12: 8:59 / Mile 13: 8:23 / .1: 7:37

2017 Rock the Parkway

Once I realized the wind was not going to die down, I focused on picking up my pace.  For the final two miles, I managed to get my legs back underneath me.  With the finish line ahead, I knew I could dig in and finish in under two hours.

Finish Time: 1:58:342017 Rock the Parkway

All in all the course is a beautiful out and back along historic Ward Parkway. The fairly flat terrain, rolling hills, and the mostly downhill finish made it easy to push into the home stretch. The finish line festivities looked and sounded great!  There was another band on stage, vendors, plenty of goodies to eat and drink, and areas to snag a photo.  I wish I had more time to spend there after the race!  Sadly, I had to leave to make it home in time for work.  All in all, it was a very well organized event and scenic course.

Next up, I ran the Garmin Half Marathon in Olathe, Kansas. Stay tuned for the race recap!  This weekend, I will tackle the last race of the Heartland Race Series, the Running with the Cows. Then, it is time to hit the road as we leave Kansas behind!



  1. Sounds like an amazing course, I love historic areas!
    Great job on finishing under 2 hours!!! Incredible!

  2. Mar @ Mar on the Run says:

    Great job!!! We need to talk about the heart rate training. I still haven’t found my 2013 mojo…. oy. Wish I was running the cows with you! Couldn’t get it together this spring.

  3. This is awesome news! Congrats on the under-2-hour finish 🙂

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.