Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Love That Dirty Water....Boston You're My Home!"

As all the marathon world knows, Boston's registration filled up in record time this year. In less than 8 hours or something like that.
I was on the fence and even leaning more towards the "not this year" side. The night before registration opened, a last minute decision to go for it was made.
It took several attempts and eventually some help from the runners on Twitter, but I got in!

I'm not 100% sure we're going, but I know one little guy who was more excited about the possibility than anyone else!

He's so excited! I don't know what power Boston has over us, but this big birthday boy fell in love just as hard as we did!
Driving the Duck Boat on the Charles River

THE Finish Line

Rubbing John Harvard's toe for luck in Harvard Yard

Enjoying a bowl of 'Chowda'

"Boston Comma" or Common depending on how well you read :)

Boston Baked Beans!!

He became a big Cheers fan after this stop!

Judah's first time in the ocean, it was chilly, but he loved it!

This birthday boy brings me so much joy. I can't believe I've had him in my life for 7 years now. He wants me to run the Boston Marathon every year just so he can go back to his adopted home.

Judah, I'd run to the moon and back everyday if it could make you smile. I'm the luckiest mommy in the whole world. My breath was taken away when the doctor said, "It's a boy!!."
I haven't gotten it back yet.
Happy Birthday to my little man, I love you.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Prairie Fire Marathon 10-10-10

Water cup near Mile 23
The Inaugural Prairie Fire Marathon has come and gone. There are still some reminders around Wichita that something big happened out in the streets on 10-10-10.  From worn street markings to a little debris, there is enough evidence that Wichita just pulled off it's first urban marathon.
Red arrow marking turn in Riverside
Gu packet left behind
Several silver Gu packs are shining along the course

Red arrow still visible right before mile 25
I was lucky enough to be a part of it too.
There were several races taking place on Sunday. I lined up for the 8 AM start of the Full Marathon. We shared the start with the half marathoners, too.
It was a beautiful October morning. The temps were predicted to get unseasonably warm, but at the start it was around 60 degrees and sunny.

At the starting line with my Dad

There was a great crowd of runners and spectators. Unlike any year previous when the Heart of Wichita Marathon started in Derby.
The race started right on time and the crowd was very thick for the first 1/4 mile or so.
The loud speakers were placed all along the Arkansas River. It was great to have music cranked as we embarked on our 26.2 mile trek. I quickly said hello to many people as the herd started to find it's pace. It's wonderful knowing so many people in this running community!

At the start with one of many great training partners, Brad.

The race headed directly into downtown. There wasn't a ton of spectators, but there were enough to make some noise. By mile three we were headed into the College Hill Neighborhood and the crowds got very thick. Mile three is one block from our house and I was so surprised to see several of our neighbors out on Douglas cheering. I doubt they were out there for me, but it's nice to hear your name as you pass.

The course ran around College Hill park just before mile 4. Again, I was lucky enough to cross several friend's paths. Many people were out to support the runners, that was a wonderful feeling!

Nearing Mile 4 in College Hill Park

Just before mile 5 the race entered the Crown Heights Neighborhood. I came across an "unofficial" aid station here. Small kids were out with their parents filling Dixie cups with Powerade. That was wonderful. That sort of attitude has never existed in Wichita's Marathon past. It was another early sign of a great race future.
It was also near here that the half marathon course split from the full marathon.
I was able to met up with some runners I had gotten acquainted with through the Daily Mile. We shared our hopeful finish times and entered into Eastborough. This part of the course switches back through a neighborhood park. We had our first distant glances at the front runners. Many of them were our friends and/or acquaintances. It was great to shout out to them before we made the turn ourselves.
I also saw my friend, April Gochenour. She and I expected to be close in the race, however she had a strong lead on me from the beginning. She looked strong and was very far ahead of me.
We made the turn as another live band played in the park. This was the third live performance of the course.
We left Eastborough and quickly entered the Rockwood neighborhood. I was still running with the same group of runners at this point. It was nice to have a few faces to chat with as the paces clipped off.
Rounding mile 7 with an incredible group of runners

The course took it's first of two trips through Rockwood. The neighborhood is completely covered by trees. This was especially helpful as it was still very sunny and the temps were starting to climb. This was also the first time we encountered early starters. There was a full marathon start at 7 AM as well. My path was coming up behind some of them and I was also being crossed by others. This particular street, Armour, was also the return path into Rockwood, just before mile 11. It would have been useful for early starters to have a different bib color.
Heading to mile 8

I'm not sure of all the names of the neighborhoods between mile 8-10. These miles were the most twisting miles. This part of the course included sidewalks and footbridges. One sidewalk was a neighborhood bike and walking path that served as a connector between two neighborhoods. This was a nice scenic route, but it was definitely not great for momentum and pace.
I was fortunate enough to see a running partner and her new born baby just before the sidewalk started. I hadn't seen the baby yet and his little wave was just what I needed to get my mind off the side stitch I was developing.

Another personal bonus was coming up at mile 9.5. My massage therapist, Nancy Bowers, lives right on the course. She had offered her house to Kenton and Judah as a pit stop, as they were keeping up with me on the course by bike. Not only were they all there cheering at the house, she had food, water, and honey sticks for the runners. She's a marathoner. She gets it. My son had a blast hanging out at her house and passing out treats to the runners.

My son and my massage therapist's daughter passing out honey sticks at mile 9.5

By mile 10 my little group had changed. One had pressed on with a quicker pace, others had fallen back. I was traveling along through the wonderful shade of Woodlawn Village with a new friend named Greg. He'd been with me since mile 6. We kept together as we passed several groups of spectators. Many were out for one specific runner, but some were out in their drives to show their support for all. I passed many people I knew. Whether they were out for their family, or an early starter taking a pit stop, and even a few people hollering my name that I wasn't sure how they knew me, it was wonderful to be nearly to the half and feel such support. Greg asked after the 5th time I heard my name,
           "Does everybody know you?"
Later on twitter I read a tweet,
         "I just heard @lacyjhansen's running partner ask, "Does everyone know you?"
I felt so surrounded by a community on Sunday, that's for sure.
The race entered back into Rockwood, just like I saw previously with the early starters. At this point the course was two lanes thick of runners. It was awesome to see such a strong group coming. This really opened my eyes to how large the field had grown to.
Before the route turned back west, my new friend Greg bid me goodbye as he was going to pull back. I wished him well and pressed on.
I was still feeling good. I was happy to engage the crowd, when there was one. I kept telling them thank you for coming out, or simply wishing them a good morning. This seemed to waken a quiet crowd. It was great to have people out, but the runners needed some noise!

The route quickly ended up back in the Crown Heights Neighborhood. Mile 12 was in Crown Heights north. They were ready for runners. They had signs welcoming us and several people were lining the streets. There was music playing and even a block party celebration going on. This was my favorite part of the entire day. That was the best spirit all morning. I was just so proud of that neighborhood. Instead of griping about the street closings, they supported the entire event.

Just before the half we headed pass Watermark Books. Several of their employees are runners and were running that day. They had live music in the parking lot and a nice crowd enjoying 26.2 cent cups of coffee from the cafe. 
The arrows pointed me back into College Hill. Mile 13.1 was on my street. There was a bright sign on a brick street that it was halfway over. The bricks don't bother me. I learned to run on that very street, I'm used to it. However I know others didn't like the footing. The surface wasn't an issue, but I was having issues by that point. I noticed I was fading. My energy had dropped. I wasn't having fun anymore. I got worried, there was a lot of pavement to cover still.
As we were sent back west down Douglas, the very route we had started on, I met up with another runner, DJ. He and I had briefly met a few time in the last 6 months. Now we were both in stride with each other, noticing the gentle downhill back into downtown.
DJ and I had covered several miles throughout the morning near each other and now we were sticking close once more. We lost each other just as the route turned onto the brick streets of Old Town. As I passed  First Gear, one of the local running stores, I saw Raquel Stucky up on the steps stretching. I hadn't learned that she just won the woman's half marathon portion of the race. She hollered at me and I waved. It was nice to have any distraction at this point.
The route had begun sharing the course with the half marathoners once more back near mile 12. By my mile 15 through Old Town Square, most of the half marathoners I saw were walking the course.
I passed through Old Town and headed up towards St. Francis Hospital. I had been able to see April anytime the stretch ahead of me was straight. I hadn't seen her in a while due to all the turns. Because of the early start bibs being the same colors as the regular start a volunteer told me I was the 7th female. I was a little surprised at this news, but assumed he was wrong. I just hadn't seen that many females ahead of me.
I caught up to another friend. Jon has been running with my Saturday morning group most of the summer. Jon's a super hero. I joke and say he's nine-tenths leg. On his first marathon attempt in Wichita last October, he won. With some crazy fast time like 2:40 or something. When I saw him he was walking. Obviously he was not having a good day. We all thought his super powers would make up for the holes in his training. Apparently even Superman can't skip too many long runs. We ran together all the way past mile 19. It was quiet and hard. The half marathoners had turned off for their final miles into the finish and we were all alone. As we entered into beautiful Riverside, I didn't think I could keep up with wounded Superman. We ran through Oak Park and watched the disc golfers play their rounds. We crossed over the river and saw the awesome Riverside Castle. We turned through another shaded, quaint neighborhood. There was lots to see as we barely talked. However, there weren't many people there to see us. A few faithfuls were out ready to catch their runner. There was one cowbell just before an aid station, but other than the deep breathing of Jon and me, it was disappointingly quiet.
To my surprise Jon pushed me on after the aid station. He said he couldn't stay with me. I couldn't believe it. I felt horrible for him. I assumed his altered state was still going to smoke mine.
I carried on along the residential street. One side was houses, the other was Sims Golf Course. The route followed the golf course for quite a while. When the race got the toughest, the route got the loneliest.
While it was still mostly shaded, the weather had made a complete shift. The clouds had completely covered the sky and a cool breeze had lowered the temperatures. I really hadn't noticed. I was just doing the deduction of distance with each passing step.
As the path began it's course out of the golf course, a literal loop was required to fullfil the distance. I came across a friend who was riding his bike. He told me there was water up ahead and gave me hope that maybe this race was coming to an end.
As I began my switchback, I saw Aprils' face for the first time the whole morning. She was headed out as I was headed in. This is where the whole race changed for me.
I gave an interview this week and I think the writer captured the rest of the race very well. All of this happened as we were routed out of the golf course, through the literal Ghost town of The Old Cowtown Museum, pass the Art Museum, through Riverside Park, back through downtown and on the shared half marathon route. Across the Keeper of the Plains Bridge, and finally back down the Arkansas River, across the Lewis Street Bridge, and across the finish line in front of the Hyatt.

Just before mile 23, moving in to 2nd place
"April Gochenour, 31, of Rose Hill was in second place and running strong with Lacy Hansen, 29, of Wichita in third for the majority of the race.
Hansen knew that Gochenour was a strong runner and also a friend and didn’t expect to see Gochenour until the finish.
However, at mile 21, Hansen was able to see Gochenour for the first time since the beginning of the race at the switchback where Gochenour jokingly said, “Come get me”.  At this point Hansen didn’t think she could catch her friend, “I was so worn out I didn't think I stood a chance.”
By mile 23, Hansen had Gochenour in her sights and caught up to Gochenour.  Gochenour explained to Hansen that she had hit the wall at mile 16 and was just wanting to finish.
Hansen encouraged Gochenour by telling her "hang tough, you're almost done," and just hoped her own legs would carry her to the finish line as well.
Hansen finished strong in second place with a time of 3:19:51 just 32 seconds shy of her personal record.  Gochenour held on for third with a time of 3:23:26." (From Karla Gregg's Article in The Examiner)
Mile 25, D.E.A.D.

Mile 25

Waving with all the energy I could find to Judah and Kenton
I had just heard my name over the loud speakers, passed my parents and several friends.

My son was bouncing up and down with his hand out for a high five, a reason to smile.


Best part of running: Stopping!
Videos and pictures can not capture what it's really like to finish a marathon. As far as finishing the Prairie Fire Marathon, I had the best view. I didn't know how I was going to get to the end. I was barely moving at mile 25. I had walked through the final aid station and I didn't have anything but a remembrance of a desire to finish. Apparently that was enough. I didn't finish strong, I just held on. I didn't meet my hopes for that day, I just got lucky everyone else wasn't having a better day. I watched a lot of people come to grips with their humanity this past Sunday. The strong became weak. The fit became fragile. The prepared became survivors.
The marathon is always a humbling experience and 10-10-10 was no exception.  As I rounded the final turn of this wonderful new marathon. I was once more humbled. I was blessed enough to have had friends all along the way. And in the final strides I was being welcomed in from battle. I looked all around and had a family of believers bringing me in. I believe heaven will be like this one day. A line of those who won't give up the faith, welcoming me home. My God uses the marathon to teach me so many things. Sunday I learned that no "marathon" is run with out the love of friends.


Most of my Saturday morning crew. They make me the runner I am.

My Dad after his Half Marathon PR. He started this all. I wouldn't have gone 1 mile without him.

Dane Rauschenberg handing out age group medal. 1st in Age Group.

Receiving Female Runner up award.

You can see where I really fell apart towards the end.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Prairie Fire Marathon Teaser Highlights

It's the day after the marathon. I'm tired and sore. It's all kind of fuzzy right now. Before I dig out every story and picture, here are the highlights of our city's first urban marathon and my 6th marathon.

I was the anonymous runner for the special marathon weekend wrap around

Marathon and Half Marathon Start (I'm starting with my Dad)

Where everything changed. My dear friend April lost her huge lead on me and I moved into 2nd near mile 23

Faking a smile and finding a 26th wind to burst it home, felt like being welcomed into heaven

Lacy Finishing 2nd Over at Prairie Fire Marathon from Kenton & Lacy Hansen on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Why Not Wichita??

It's Taper week. The marathon is on Sunday. I've never been so busy leading up to a local race before. It's been good though. It's been rewarding to to help out and do my best to promote this inaugural race. Wichita is not a marathon city....yet. Many people are still unaware of what's really getting ready to happen. Kenton and I have really tried to use our connections and help make Wichita a marathon city.

We drove the course this week and really scoped out the best places to watch from. We also got to visit with many of the businesses that are along the route. Hopefully, the buzz will spread and the city will come out on Sunday to support the runners. Spectators make the race.

Some of my favorite race memories are from spectators.
- Small children handing out orange slices in Boston
- Kids having high five competitions in Boston, seeing who could get the most
- Being offered hot bacon in OKC from a resident
- Being cheered for by name (printed on bib) from someone else's mom
- Reading the signs from the girls at Wellesley College (Kiss Me I'm.......)
- Being cheered for by a "more cowbell" look-a-like in OKC
- Being served Gatorade from Darth Vador
- Having my tiny nephew and son hold up their "home-made" signs
- Seeing Judah hold up a sign from his entire kindergarten class
My Fan Club in 2007

Heart Break Hill, 2010 With Mrs. Johnson's Class' sign
Kenton is the best "Marathon Spectator" known to man. He wanted to make sure he did his part to help The Prairie Fire Marathon be the best it can be. He made a site for spectators. Here you will see info about the best locations, the location of the booked live bands, deals from local businesses, and views from the mile markers. 

Please check it out and contact us with any updated information you have.

Mostly, come out and have a blast! My massage therapist happens to live right on the route. She was making her plans for what she's going to offer the runners on Sunday. Another reason why Nancy Bowers is the best therapist in town!!

Another local runner, Karla Gregg, developed a full review of the course and a turn by turn video.

She also reviewed the course in her articles for The Examiner.

I enjoyed my training run on the course three weeks ago.  It ran through my favorite parts of Wichita. One surprise gem was right before mile 24. A friend from Twitter, @jenniferlkeller, left me a message on the Red Cross sign.

Red Cross Mile 24 Shout Out from Kenton & Lacy Hansen on Vimeo.

That was so surprising to see. It was also encouraging to see the community starting to get behind our little marathon attempt. 
The Wichita Eagle has never covered much about local running and especially the previous marathon. I was surprised again when I got to speak to the sports writer this past week. He was preparing TWO stories before the marathon. To make things even more exciting, last night I got a last minute message about being in a photo shoot for a special "Wrap-Around" insert for Friday's paper. Twitter friend and local photog, @travisheying, let little 'ol me run up and down the river right in from of Wichita's "Citgo" sign. At mile 25 in Boston the gigantic Citgo sign serves as the "ALMOST THERE!!" marker. Our local Keeper of the Plains statue will signify that for us on Sunday.

Running back and forth for the camera.

Ever so naturally pacing back and forth
There's a buzz for sure. I've never been this involved before. But I believe it can be great. Here's to hoping Sunday will start a new era in Wichita. Here's to Wichita's first year as a Marathon City!!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Rosstoberfest 5k 2010

The marathon is about 10-14 days earlier than it has previously been in Wichita. That's fine. My only dilemma was deciding if I could participate in the neighborhood 5K so close to the marathon? Judah wanted to run the kids race and my parents were already signed up. I also kinda wanted to see if I could add to my beer glass collection. I've run the Rosstoberfest 5K every year and 10/2 was the third annual.So against better judgment I signed up for a 5K one week before the marathon. I ran with my group at 6 AM and covered 8 miles. And then I lined up to run 3.1 more miles at 9:30.
I had no plans about how I was going to run, not until I saw I was the lead female.
Since the charming course winds through College Hill, the route loops several round-a-bouts. At the first round-a-bout I saw only men make the loop.
So once more against better judgement I thought, "how many times are you going to get this chance?" I went for it with what I thought was still a moderate pace pulling ahead to win my first 5k.
Rosstoberfest has one of the best local courses, if you like unique features over great running surfaces.

I  ran the brick streets, the looping round-a-bouts, the park paths, and finally off the pavement through the grass and up the College Hill sledding hill straight to the finish line.
When I saw the clock I thought maybe I might set a PR, but I just ran out of gas. I clocked a 19:58. That's 2 seconds slower than my personal record. That's ok, I'm tapering afterall.
Beautiful Morning for a 5K!
I later learned that the next female was minutes behind me. I guess I could have taken it easier. I was just very lucky. Last year I ran one second faster and came in 6th place overall. The fast girls didn't show up this year. The men's division was not so scattered however. New records were set and several  finished under 16 minutes within seconds of each other.
There's a great celebration after the race. Beer and brats for the runners and this year Freddy's Frozen Custard showed up too. I got to see several friends and chat with lots of people. One them being Mrs. Fairweather Runner and parts of her posse. The race actually passed her house twice. Her fan club had nice cozy lawn chairs and a stereo pumping as I passed.
Katie, Beka (Fairweather Runner), and Me
After a bit of chatting and catching my breath the calls for the one mile start were being made. I had to go fish Judah out of the playground and have him dump the sand out of his shoes. (Every runner does that before the big race, right?")
Like a true runner, he did not sport the event shirt at the race. He lined up with several kids and waited for the signal. He wanted to run alone again. We screamed as he passed and then went to the top of the hill to wait for him.

KIDS For Ross 1 Mile

And they're off! 
Final Stretch up the hill
Judah giving it his all
The kid;s race is always the best part of the day for us. Judah set a new PR by nearly a full minute. We were so proud of him. As he ran the hill we forgot any other parents were watching their kids and screamed and yelled as he passed. Between me, Kenton, and my parents, he had a whole swarm of adults running after him as he finished.
Judah's 9:07 Finish

He promptly crossed the line and got 2 scoops of frozen custard! He's exactly 1/2 of each of his parents!

A "friend" from Daily Mile brought his little boy to run the one miler too. His little guy, Brayden, is about a year younger than Judah. Brayden clocked an amazing 8:37.  He took home first place and Judah took home second.
Before the day was over I was now real-life friends with Daily Miler, Jeremiah, and his speedster of a son, Brayden.
Brayden and Jeremiah
The boys worked hard for these medals. Judah also ate his weight in custard and brats!
My favorite runners of the day!

I was able to take home another beer glass to add to my collection and much to my surprise they paid me for my overall finish. All questions about whether I should have run went right out the window!
I didn't know there was prize money, or a video going. I was totally surprised and very humbled. I know that my time wasn't all that fast for most races. I guess it was just my day.

(Oh and the results and the paper have me listed at 19:45. I wish! The picture, the Garmin, and the original results all say 19:58)