Hospital Hill, here I come!

I have started training for my next half marathon, which has gotten me to thinking about what my goals are. I am way more confident going into this next half and I’m hoping for a BIG PR. I also realize that it might not be possible… and that’s ok. But I am going to use this race as an opportunity to find out what is possible. Now, I’ll reassess my plans when we’re a little closer, but as things stand now, I think my goal is mega-hard, but reachable.


The Hospital Hill Half is one of the oldest half marathons in the US. This year marks the 42nd year for the race. Last year they had over 9,000 people on the course, and they expect even more this year. And to top it off, this will be my first race in my new home!

However… training for this race is tough. I currently live in Northern Indiana, where it is flatter than a pancake. Kansas City has a bit more topography. Here’s the elevation profile of the race:

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 4.13.22 PM It may not look like much… but it’s substantial. My poor Indiana legs are used to doing hill repeats on a hill with a 40-foot gain, so a gain of 180 feet over a mile is certainly a challenge. My last two races were nothing in the way of hills, so I am sure to be in for a rude awakening.

All that said and done, what are my goals?

A goal: 1:50:00 – I know crazy… but I’ll be with a pace group.

B goal: Sneak under 1:55:00. There is a 1:55 pace group, so this is very doable

C goal: See if I can run the exact time I ran at the A1A Half (I nearly did this at the Holy Half and it would be funny if I did it again)

So, you might think I’m nuts. And I might be. However, I think I have it in me. My biggest obstacle is not my endurance or my legs… it’s the mind game. I hate suffering on runs, and the Hospital Hill Half is going to be a bit of suffering. I’m ok with that. If I crash and burn, I’m ok with that too. I’ll never know how hard I can push until I push a little too hard.

I do have a plan of attack, and so I’ll be incorporating these things into my training:

More speed work including some track work
Stairs – Shoutout to Hanna and Maddie on this one
Hill repeats on my 40-foot hill
More mileage
More strength training, with body weight of course (cause I hate weights)

I think I can do this and I’m gonna try. It’s absolutely key that I keep a positive attitude going into my training and that I learn to kick that mental game. Whatever happens, I can’t wait to at least try!

Have you ever crashed and burned in a race? What’s your craziest goal?

10 thoughts on “Hospital Hill, here I come!

  1. A big incline at Mile 10 of a half marathon? That’s just MEAN! It’s good that you’re studying the course and know what to expect. Last summer I ran a half marathon and thought the course was flat but it turned out to be hilly and I kind of crashed. Still PR’d by less than a minute, but I did suffer.

    Best of luck with your goals! With hard work you can do things you never thought possible! I’m really glad to see though that you’re being realistic too, with your A B and C goals and your relaxed attitude that it’s okay if you don’t meet your goals. That might help you with the mental game you refer to.

    Do you have access to a gym or treadmill? Most treadmills have a hill repeats setting – it’s a great substitute when you don’t have hilly terrain to train on. My next two marathons after Grandma’s will both be hilly, and I plan to use the treadmill a lot more for that purpose!


    1. I know, right! Those hills look so mean! I feel like that race there proves that Kansas and Missouri are not all that flat at all.

      The treadmills around here are hard to get because I go to the gym on campus. I can only be on for 30 min and there is usually a wait for one, so I generally avoid the treadmill at all costs.

      In my last race, I ran 13.1 in the high 1:54’s. I think that means that this is a doable but very challenging goal. But, I’m hoping that by taking a relaxed look going into the training, that i’ll help me stay grounded as I get to the race.


  2. You’re gonna rock it, Kerry! Way to set big goals! It’s totally doable! I think your plan sounds great. And body weight workouts can be incredibly beneficial! (I hate weights too). Good luck! Can’t wait to read all about it 🙂


    1. Thanks! I think it’s doable, but I think the course will make it real hard. But hard is fun. What’s the point of working so hard to do something easy? 🙂


  3. Evil, evil hill @ mile 10. Ugh. But you know what, you’re gonna kill it because you’re going to be prepared for it. Something that really helps me on hills is running form and upper body strength. I know it sounds weird, but if my upper body is strong and my form is good, I feel like my arms carry me up hills a lot of them time.

    I would focus on incorporating push ups into a post run routine (I feel like they are more effective when I’m fatigued, but maybe I’m just crazy) and you will notice a huge difference! And you really don’t have to do a lot – I do 2-3 sets of 10 maybe 3 times a week.

    You’ve got the right attitude, can’t wait to see how you do!


    1. I don’t think that’s weird at all. If you have good form, your arms and core should be helping you do the work, especially on a hill. I’ve been trying to work on my form a lot, since it kinda goes out the window once I’m tired (and that hill at mile 10 will make me tired).

      That’s a really good idea. I think I’m going to start doing more arm work and push ups. I have good upper body strength from yoga, but it can always be better.


    1. I think the A goal is within reach, but I’m gonna have to be on that day. And if it doesn’t happen, that’s cool. There are plenty more races to dream about. 😉

      Ah, don’t be afraid of failure. It only means you get to have your goal for a little longer, and that’s pretty fun.


  4. Woo hoo! Awesome goals for Hospital Hill! 🙂 I am doing this race too, not for a time goal, but for a “not to die on the hills” goal. We have a few hills to run in Lake County to prepare 🙂


    1. That’s awesome! I might end up running it that way. I’ve never been to Kansas City, so I have no idea how big these hills are. I’m moving to Manhattan, Ks in two weeks, so I’ll at least get a little training on the hills. Good luck!!!


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