The Kansas City Half Marathon!

13.1 miles down. Done. Conquered.

This was the most incredible experience I have ever had. I can’t even describe how this race made me feel. Badass, maybe?

Most of you know how hard I have been training as I post it all over social media. I do that for a couple of reasons;

  1. I want to be an inspiration to someone who wants to run but is too scared to take those first steps. (You can do it and you SHOULD do it.)
  2. I am a visual person so I need to see what I have done. I love being able to scroll through my instagram and seeing that I have only run X amount of miles during the week so I know when to step up my game.

The week before the big race I got the flu. The full blown flu. I was down for the count for almost 10 days. It was awful. I didn’t run or go to the gym and I taught my yoga classes from a seated position on my mat… the whole entire week. Needless to say I was a little nervous about the race. I didn’t get that last long run in that I was hoping for but it ended up being more than ok.

I rested my body, I ate what I NEEDED instead of what I was wanting (That was hard, FYI).

Saturday morning I was up at 4:40am so I could meet my friends at Starbucks so we could carpool. We got an email stating that there were about 20,000 people expected to be there so we wanted to get there early. We were up so early that Starbucks wasn’t even open when we got there y’all. That’s an early Saturday morning if I say so myself.

The EPIC running ladies!

I’m on the left, Barbye is in the middle and Moriah is on the right. 

Barbye and I ran the half and Moriah, like a total boss, ran the full marathon. It was really dark until the race started. Really, it was pretty dark until about a mile and half into the race. The Kansas City Marathon hosted a 5K, 10K, Half and Full and everyone lined up at the starting line at the same time. It was a little intimidating at first, trying to figure out where we should be in the starting line. We just sort of picked a spot that seemed right and shimmied on in.

Once the anthem was sang, which we couldn’t hear at all, the gun went off! Right before the gun went off there were starting line fireworks. It was so fun and amazing, especially because it was still very dark outside. The fireworks were beautiful.

Isn’t she the stinking cutest?!

Barybe and I were together for about a mile and then she started smoking me so I quit trying to keep up LOL. I know my body and my pace so for the first mile I was around a 12 minute mile. I managed for maintain a 11 minute mile during the entirety of the run. My overall pace was 11:18.

The run was incredibly hilly but it was hilly at all the right places, for the half marathon at least. My husband, son, brother and my in-laws were all at the race. They made signs for me and I was SO excited to see them! When I got to about the 6 and a half mile marker I could hear a sound that I recognized… MY SISTER!! My sister was watching the news and saw the runners cross the start line and decided to come find the rest of the family. It was SO incredibly amazing to see my whole family there cheering me on!

A lot of my photos are from my sisters snapchat 🙂

I wish I got a photo of my whole group but I just didn’t think about it at the time.

My favorite thing about this race was all of the smells. I know that sounds SO strange but the race went through every district of Kansas City so I was able to take in all of the smells of the city. There were some smells, y’all. Some good and some bad. The worst smelling part of town was through the inner city but let me tell you, that was all my FAVORITE part of the run because almost every house had a group of people shouting and cheering from their front porches. They had boom boxes (boom boxes? Is that what they’re still called? Do people even use boom boxes anymore?) on their lawns and kids were outside playing. Some people had whistles and some were clapping. Some of the older ladies were in rocking chairs waving tea towels above their heads. These are my favorite moments. These are the real MVP’s, the families that gather on their porches to cheer the runners on. I just wanted to hug each and every one of them. (If you’re reading this and this is you, THANK YOU. THANK YOU.)

I don’t know who this lady is but this sign is hilarious!

Among other smells were the FANTASTIC smells of barbeque around the plaza, then the coffee… oh the smell of the coffee… There were also smells of the Zum Factory which is the most amazing smelling soap in Kansas City. If you aren’t from Kansas City and you have never tried Zum Soap I HIGHLY encourage you to order some RIGHT NOW. I swear they aren’t paying me to say this. It just really is the greatest smelling soap you’ll ever use.

My husband had the coolest signs! He’s the best.

(This photo is also courtesy of my sisters snapchat)

The last mile of the race was all downhill. My goal was to complete the race in 2 hours and 35 minutes. When I was approaching the finish line I heard my husband yelling. I heard him before I saw him. He knew my goal time and the gun time was at 2:34:30 so he was screaming THIRTY SECONDS BABE! YOU HAVE 3O SECONDS TO GO! So of course I sprinted as fast as I could through the finish line. I almost knocked one of the volunteers down (Sorry!!!). I ended up finishing at 2:27:58 (this is my unofficial time, I’ll get my official time this Wednesday). I beat my goal by about 8 minutes. It wasn’t my PR, my PR is 2:21:09, but I am more than thrilled with my results.

Once I was able to find my family and give hugs after I crossed the finish line I started to bawl. I think it was my last release of adrenaline and all of my emotions from the last 2 and a half hours. I just covered my face and bawled. Eric saw me (and saw it coming a mile away LOL) so he came up to me and let me burrow my face in his chest to finish my little bawling session.

Today Barbye posted the most amazing post. She said, “When we accept Christ into our lives it’s very similar to accepting the challenge of running a marathon (or half marathon in my case), in that we understand we are in it for the long haul, not fully grasping what’s in store for us, there are ups and downs, there are times of struggles, times of testing your inner strengths, times of high expectations, times of doubts, times of pain that you think you can’t handle, times when all you see is what’s in front of you, times when there are people cheering you on, and times when they are NOT, times when you think you can’t do it, times when you think, is it ever going to end and then there it is, the finish line and you get excited because you know there’s a reward at the end of it! I know life isn’t easy, and at times more than we can endure but I know it’s worth living! Hang on, one day it will be worth it! Psalms 23:1-6”

Guys, I’m not a great runner. I’m really not great at anything. I just commit to something and do my very best to do my very best. This is something that you can ALL do! I promise that you can. It’s mind over matter.




Kari Jo

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2 thoughts on “The Kansas City Half Marathon!

  1. I have fallen so deeply in love with who you are Kari jo!!! I am so thankful for people like you who God has placed in my life, to show me how to live in the moments! You and Suzy McGarrah do this the best from what I can tell! While I was reading your post I was remembering everything so vividly again all the way down to the smells! You have painted the best picture of the Kansas City Marathon for us all, you are an encouragement and I know others will be inspired by you and honestly who wouldn’t want to run after you said all that! Keep being amazing! The best is yet to come!

    1. *ALL THE FEELS* Thank you so much Barbye! It was the best experience being with you and Moriah. THANK YOU! You are the best mama to look up to to raise my little in a Christ-filled home. Thank you thank you. 😘

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