Saturday Stroll Around the Plaza

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Rachelle and I spent Saturday morning participating in the Kansas City Heart Walk.  Getting, there, proved to be more of a challenge than the actual physical exertion.

I woke up at my usual time (between five and five-thirty in the morning).  I came downstairs to find Rachelle asleep in the hide-away bed in the living room.  I gently shook her awake enough to ask her when she had gotten to sleep.  She mumbled something about two (or maybe it was three) in the morning.  I let her drift back to sleep.

I finished off the last bit of a box of cereal and started reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth, a recently released sequel to last year’s Divergent.  The hardcover edition I checked out from the Kansas City Public Library is a strange size, being shorter than most of my other hardcovers, but still thick.  The font is adequate in size, but almost double-spaced on the page, so I can breeze through quickly.  I reached Chapter Eight and page 87 before putting down the book to prepare for the Heart Walk.    Time to try waking up Rachelle again.

I shook her awake again at 7:15 a.m. and she asked for another fifteen minutes.  I gave her another twenty or so and finally got her up and moving at about a quarter before eight.  I needed to leave soon, as the warm-up for the walk began at a quarter to nine, and we still had to drive from Lansing to the Plaza, which takes thirty to forty minutes most days.  We pulled out of the driveway at five minutes to eight.

The Building I Work In
Plaza Colonnade building (where I spend most of my weekdays)

We encountered no traffic of any kind on K-7 or I-70 or even US-71.  As we approached the Plaza from the east, we began to see evidence of the walk as people (walking) and cars converged on Theis Park, the staging area for the Heart Walk.  Since we were arriving so close to the start of the Walk, parking near the art gallery was non-existent and most of the walkers we saw were walking from the west and the parking garages at the Country Club Plaza.  I opted to park in the parking garage at my building, which overlooks the intersection of Ward Parkway and Brookside Boulevard.

Rachelle and I walked a couple of blocks from the parking garage to Theis Park in about five minutes.  We didn’t have time to stop at any of the sponsors’ tents.  We wove our way through the crowds towards the north, where we could hear someone announcing the top five teams for fundraising for the event.  I had no idea where my team was supposed to gather, and in fact only saw one other person from where I work briefly pass me in the crowd.  We reached a spot just north of the Information Booth, and waited for a few minutes.

Waiting to Warm Up
Waiting to Warm Up

Before the warm-up, a local artist led us in the National Anthem.  Then, someone led us in a quick jazzersize warm-up, most of which I couldn’t follow because I could not see the stage well enough to determine what stretches and exercises I was supposed to be doing.  I did the best I could under the circumstances.

KC Heart Walk 3 and 1 mile routes map

Soon after the warmup, the announcer told us to start walking, and we all did.  Rachelle, and I, and several thousand other people took over the streets around the Nelson-Atkins art gallery.   Rachelle and I had already planned on walking the longer route.   By the time we walked up, around and down past the art gallery and along Brush Creek to where the 1 mile route diverged, thirty minutes had elapsed.  That’s a slow pace!  But with the press of so many people, even using the entire street, we couldn’t have increased our pace without resorting to rudeness.

Down the Hill

The walkers committed to completing the longer three mile route stretched out along Brush Creek’s north side.  I really dreaded this portion of the walk as Brush Creek can be odoriferous on good days.  Since the sky stayed overcast and the wind gusted, neither Rachelle and I suffered too much.

Along Brush Creek

We climbed out of Bush Creek on the west side of the Plaza, headed north to 47th street, and proceeded east. As we approached J.C. Nichols Parkway, I asked Rachelle if she wanted to continue to the finish line, which was just a couple of blocks beyond Main Street, or turn right and walk the two or three blocks to my building. She didn’t care, so I opted to head back to the building. Interestingly, while our first mile took thirty minutes, we completed the last two miles in a bit less than thirty minutes (a pace we’re both more used to walking).

We returned to the parking garage and left the Plaza behind around ten o’clock.  We made one brief stop in the Legends area, to purchase tickets to Sunday’s Tbones baseball game.  Our local minor league team just celebrated the opening of their tenth season in Kansas City last Thursday evening.

Rachelle and I had a good time walking with many other Kansas Citians in the Heart Walk.  I want to thank all my sponsors for supporting me and the American Heart Association.  Your donations fund critical cardiovascular disease research and education.  I am also proud to work for an employer who takes an active part in the community’s health and wellness.  I thank them for sponsoring not only a team, but most of the three mile route I walked Saturday morning.

My Employer Sponsored Our Route

Oh, and in case you’re wandering about my step statistics for this week, except for the two days I was either in Texas or driving back from Texas (after attending my daughter’s college graduation), I exceed my goal of 7,000 steps per day, especially on Saturday (which totaled 13,531 steps):

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