As I detour from The Paseo to pass through the jazz section at 18th & Vine, the still lightening overcast sky looks tame enough, but I anticipate bad weather somewhere on this double-loop course. For over a week The Weather Channel has consistently predicted showers for today. Last night's forecast puts KC right in the middle of thunderstorm activity.
Back on the Paseo I face a steady incline, moderately steep, stretched out over maybe a half-mile. I feel some stump pressure but no indication of blistering. Weather's holding up OK.
The two lead runners finally catch me near mile 16, some 15–20 minutes later than I expected. The rest of the crowd follows so far behind that they don't start passing regularly for another 20–30 minutes. I start joking with and cheering on other participants as I meet them on my way out from Cliff Drive. I feel stoked emotionally and pretty durn good physically.
Rather than jog I focus more on sustaining a good brisk walk pace; that task alone becomes a worthy challenge heading into the Levee Road segment but I remain upbeat. On the straight stretch to downtown I see the m25 sign just before the crest. I cruise downhill and around the corner to finish. I've done well today.
And then—ohhh, yes—then I enjoy a barbecue rib sandwich with pasta, beans, some tasty Fantasia organic juices, and some mellow jazz from the live band onstage. Ohhh, baby.
Several other racers thank me for my encouraging them on Cliff Drive. I've often told people how much I've appreciated their support; it's nice to have it returned here today.