OK so maybe Kansas City isn’t the fittest city in the U.S.
Maybe we made a list of America’s 25 Fattest Cities in 2012.
But you know what, Men’s Fitness magazine? 2013 is going to be different. We can change, and we don’t need fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships to do it.
Give us a sidewalk and some comfortable shoes, and we’ll burn off all that barbecue and beer before you get around to making your cute little list of Fittest and Fattest Cities again.
Wanna step it up this year? Peruse our quick guide to Kansas City running, full of helpful information for amateurs and professionals. Where to run, who to run with, even what to listen to while you run — it’s all here. Consider it fuel in the race to a healthier and happier future.
In other words: We’re coming for you, Portland.
What are you listening to? The running edition
Coleen Voeks loved music before she loved running. So it makes sense that she named her running coaching business Tramps Like Us, after a line in the Bruce Springsteen song “Born to Run.”
That quintessential power song inspires Voeks to step it up when she’s slogging through 50- or 100-mile races.
“I use music as a performance-enhancing drug,” Voeks says. Her running playlist also includes repetitive electronic music for speed runs and semi-embarrassing ’80s hair metal and synth pop for fun runs.
On long endurance runs, Voeks loves listening to mid-tempo rock songs by local bands such as Hidden Pictures and The Republic Tigers.
She’s especially inspired by the lyrics of “Ole,” a song by her husband, Erik Voeks.
“Are you going to die right there in your easy chair?” the song goes.
For Coleen, the answer is a definite no . That’s one of the reasons she runs six days a week — it makes her feel alive. Want to join her? Check out Tramps Like Us Running on Facebook or use these songs to amp up your next jog.
1. “Ole,” Erik Voeks
2. “Buildings & Mountains,” The Republic Tigers
3. “Rainbow Records,” Hidden Pictures
4. “Pointless Fight,” Deco Auto
5. “You Ignited,” The Dead Girls
6. “On a Wire,” Thee Water MoccaSins
7. “Wormholes,” Antennas Up
8. “Is She Coming Back Around,” The Empty Spaces
9. “Up Against the Wall,” The Beautiful Bodies
10. “Thunderbolt,” The Latenight Callers
— Sarah Gish, Ink
After a long, sweaty race, you’ll definitely need to replenish your energy stores with something superhealthy (a coconut water shake, perhaps) or superdecadent (an infant-sized breakfast burrito). Here are five places for a satisfying post-run brunch, or as we like to call it, prunch.
This cozy, centrally located “bruncheonette” has a full-service juice bar and lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Succotash also serves a couple of over-the-top breakfast dishes that are perfect for curing hangovers or post-race hunger pangs.
The Kitchen Sink ($8.50) is a heap of eggs scrambled with ham, peppers, onions and cheddar cheese served on home fries and drenched in gravy. There’s a meat-free version, too.
The Sumo Wrestler ($15) consists of everything in the Kitchen Sink stuffed inside a buttermilk pancake and smothered with even more gravy.
Succotash, 2601 Holmes Road, is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Info: succotash
Maybe it’s the carbs, maybe it’s the carbonation, but few things taste better than a cold beer after a long, hot run. This Westport beer bar taps into its deep supply of brewskis during its decadent weekend brunch.
On the food menu: A splurge-worthy Red Velvet Waffle ($8) and a Pork Belly & Waffle Dinner ($14), a hearty stack of two fried eggs and maple-braised pork belly on a cheddar-bacon-chive waffle with bourbon syrup. Health nuts will dig the Caramelized Grapefruit ($4) and the house-made tomato mix in the Bloody Marys. You know, for the lycopene.
Beer Kitchen, 435 Westport Road, serves brunch from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Info: beerkitchenkc.com
Palm tree decals on the floor-to-ceiling windows make this bustling Mexican joint feel like it’s tucked in a beachy south-of-the-border hideaway — not in Westport.
The weekend brunch menu is always changing, but you can count on a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar with several kinds of tequila, mezcal and hot sauces to pick from. The food is equally spicy: Imagine chimichangas made with bacon and poblano cream, ricotta doughnuts dipped in Christopher Elbow drinking chocolate, and biscuits and gravy made from handmade sausage from The Local Pig.
Port Fonda, 4141 Pennsylvania Ave., serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Info: portfondakc.com
If you don’t want to undo all your hard work, head over to Cafe Gratitude to fill up on food that won’t fill you out. The cafe serves organic, plant-based meals that leave you feeling healthy and satisfied.
Order the staff-recommended I Am Awake ($9.75), gluten-free buckwheat pancakes, or the hearty I Am Bonita ($10), a spicy protein-packed bowl of brown rice or quinoa, black beans, salsa fresca and avocado served with rustic corn tortillas, nacho cheese (made from cashews) and fresh lime. Wash it down with a hydrating I Am Cured drink ($6.75) made with coconut water. The vitamin-packed tonic also works for hangovers. Cafe Gratitude’s breakfast is available all day.
Cafe Gratitude, 333 Southwest Blvd., is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Info: cafegratitudekc.com
Poco’s on the Boulevard
This Southwest Boulevard spot — which recently was revamped on an episode of the Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible” — serves breakfast all day and has something for every runner’s appetite. Craving sugar? Order up a stack of blueberry, buttermilk, chocolate chip or pecan pancakes ($1.50-$2 each). Need cheese? Go for the goat cheese tamales ($9) or a cheddar-stuffed omelette ($8). Spicy types will like the huevos rancheros ($8), chilaquiles ($9) or breakfast tacos ($7), kicked up a notch with chorizo and jalapenos.
Poco’s on the Boulevard, 3063 Southwest Blvd., is open from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Info: pocosontheblvd.com
Sarah Gish, Ink
Where the sidewalk ends
Kansas City runner Adam Dearing prefers bumpy dirt trails to smooth sidewalks any day.
“I would run trails every day if I could get away and make the time,” Dearing says.
Running on soft, earthen trails is easier on joints than pounding pavement, Dearing says. Particularly when you’re running 30 or 40 miles at a time. That’s how far Dearing ran when he was training for last year’s Hawk Marathon at Lawrence’s Clinton Lake.
Dearing won the 50-mile portion of that race. His secret to trail running success? Careful nutrition and logging lots of miles on a variety of trails. Here are five of Dearing’s favorite places to practice.
Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee
“I fell in love with trail running there,” Dearing says of this 1,600-acre Johnson County park. He likes the variety in length of trails (you can run two- to nine-mile loops there) and the wildlife. “You’ll see deer, turkey, owls.”
*Clinton State Park, 798 North 1415 Road in Lawrence
This 1,500-acre park wraps around Clinton Lake, which is about four miles west of Lawrence. Dearing goes there for long runs — he says you can run 24 miles without retracing your steps. The scenery varies from woods to open pastures.
Wyandotte County Lake Park, 91st Street and Leavenworth Road in Kansas City, Kan.
“There are some really old, rugged bridle (horse) trails that are pretty rough” at this park, Dearing says. “They’ve also put in new trails on the east side. One thing that’s nice about those is that they’re very rarely closed.”
*Swope Park, East Meyer Boulevard and Swope Parkway
“The trails are absolutely beautiful” at Kansas City’s largest park, Dearing says. If you’re a beginner, this might be the park for you: Dearing says there are several smooth, new trails with few rocks.
*Blue River Parkway Trails at Minor Park, Red Bridge and Holmes roads
Even experienced trail runners will be challenged by the long, “really technical” trails along Blue River, Dearing says. Loose rocks, steep inclines and downed trees will keep you on your toes.
Sarah Gish, Ink
For runners looking to avoid weather
Bitter winter days don’t have to put runners on hiatus. Training exercises, classes and clinics continue year-round indoors. Here’s a sampling of activities for those who aren’t apt to brave the freezing rain to keep to their training regimen.
Children’s TLC Groundhog Run
What : Rain or cold won’t affect the runners in the climate-controlled Hunt Midwest SubTropolis. The 5K will get under way Jan. 27 at 8 a.m., and the 10K will follow at 10 a.m. The 5K costs $40, and the 10K costs $44 until entries sell out.
Where: 8300 N.E. Underground Drive
Info: childrenstlc.org, 816.756.0780, ext. 2105
*Prehab Exercises for Prevention and Peak Performance
What: A sports chiropractor will cover simple exercises that help runners prevent injuries at a clinic at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Garry Gribble’s Running Sports store in the Ward Parkway Center. The clinic is free, but runners should reserve a spot at least one day in advance.
Where: 8600 Ward Parkway
Info: garrygribbles.com, 816.363.4800
*KC Express Meetings
What: The women’s walking and running club meets on the first Tuesday of every month for dinner at 6:30 p.m. and a guest speaker or activity at 7 p.m. In February, KC Express will be talking about how runners can benefit from receiving massages.
Where: 1000 Carondelet Drive
*Running on Solid Ground Lecture Series
What: The Kansas City Track Club sponsors these clinics on the second Tuesday of every month through April. Participants will hear about improving running through a healthy diet, preventing injuries and using motivational strategies in training. The lectures start at 6:30 p.m. with a social at 7:30 p.m. Both are at Spin Pizza.
Where: 4801 Main St.
*Yoga at TheGymKc
What: Runner’s World magazine calls yoga a great cross-training exercise because it helps runners not only loosen leg muscles but also relax their minds. With three different yoga classes, offered at all TheGymKc locations, it’s never difficult to find a session. All group classes are free to TheGymKc members.
Where: 3600 Broadway St.
Info: thegymkc.com, 816.960.0502
Ted Hart, Special to Ink
The happs on apps
Technology has made a lot of things easier, and running, certainly, is no exception.
These days there are websites, watches and smartphone apps that allow you to electronically track your workouts — everything from pace and distance to calories burned and heart rate.
Here’s a look at four tried-and-true pieces of running technology that can help take your 2013 running regimen to the next level.
It’s like a computerized personal trainer. You can compare and contrast your performances with friends, set goals and receive the occasional tip from coaches. You’ll need the Nike+ iPod sensor, which runs around $19, along with an iPod Touch or iPhone and a pair of Nike+ shoes.
Wondering how long last night’s jog through the neighborhood was? In need of a good six-mile course? Then head over to this must-have site for runners, which maps out runs for you block-by-block. There’s also a digital runners’ log to save your maps, workouts and eating habits. What’s more, the site’s free smartphone app allows you to track the distance, time and even elevation of your run as you’re doing it.
*Garmin Forerunner 405
Kansas City-based Garmin has carved out a spot in the running watch market, and it has brought some advanced technology with it. In addition to tracking your pace, distance and calories burned, the Forerunner wirelessly transfers the info to your computer. It also allows you to plan a workout on your computer and have it sent to the watch. Or use a virtual competitor to keep you motivated via the Virtual Partner technology.
Another tool to help you track your workouts, Dailymile covers the basics: helping you determine pace, distance and routes, and it makes it easy to share your workouts with friends on Facebook or Twitter. It even tracks your runs by shoe, so you’ll know how many miles you’ve run in your Asics and when to think about buying a new pair.
Dugan Arnett, Ink
Let’s just be real honest with each other: Sometimes, even for the most devoted runners, getting off the couch and slipping on a pair of running shoes can be a difficult task.
Which is precisely why running clubs exist.
Running in groups can make workouts so much more tolerable, and in Kansas City, there are several to help keep you motivated through the colder months. Many are free to join, and there are groups for nearly every geographic area. Here are four clubs worth checking out.
*Kansas City Track Club
Perhaps no metro track club brings more runners and walkers together than the KCTC. From Prairie Village to Brookside to North Kansas City, the club features sponsored running groups in just about every locale, and for just about every experience level. It even has specialty groups, like an interval group that meets Tuesdays at Shawnee Mission East High School from March through October. There’s a small membership fee ($20 for individuals, $25 for family memberships), but you get access to all the club’s running groups and discounts at various local running stores, including Garry Gribble’s Running Sports. For more information, go to kctrack.org.
*Trail Nerds/Mud Babes
This local group is similar to the KCTC but with an emphasis on off-road running. The group, which doesn’t charge a membership fee, hosts as many as eight different running groups per week, as well as regular race events. The group’s next race, the Psychodelic 5K (Ice Version), is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday at Wyandotte County Lake Park (Shelter 2). A complete schedule of events — and a roundup of the area’s trails — can be found on the group’s website, psychowyco.com.
*Red Dog’s Dog Days
If you’re a runner who has spent any significant time in Lawrence, you’re probably familiar with Dog Days. Formed in 1984 by Don “Red Dog” Gardner and Jim O’Connell, the free weekly running group has become a staple for many of the city’s runners. Winter workouts begin at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Allen Fieldhouse, but there are additional workouts in the summer months. The workouts include some stretching and calisthenics, followed by a run typically ranging from one to three miles. There’s also a weekly Saturday morning workout that usually includes a two- to four-mile run. The best part of the group? You get a free T-shirt if you attend a specific number of workouts per session. reddogsdogdays.org.
*Tuesdays on the Trail
This new Kansas City-based group kicked off earlier this month and prides itself on a fun atmosphere. The group meets Tuesdays for a run on the Trolley Track Trail in Brookside/Waldo, then invites participants to gather nearby for a post-run drink or snack.
KC Running Company, Ink, Louie’s Wine Dive, City Gym and The Roasterie Cafe are all supporters, and you can keep posted on events by checking out Tuesdays on the Trail on Facebook.
Dugan Arnett, Ink
A year of races
Jan. 27: *Groundhog Run
Navigate underground tunnels at Kansas City’s Hunt Midwest SubTropolis in a 5K or a 10K race. More info at groundhogrun.org.
Registration fees for this Lawrence race benefit breast cancer patients in Douglas County. More info at protectthechest.com.
Burn off some March Madness at this race through downtown and the Power & Light District. Winners will be recognized at the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship final. More info at sportkc.org.
Trenches, walls and mud are a few of the obstacles in this hard-core three-mile run in a Platte City park. More info at warriordash.com.
Honor a fallen hero at this race through Leavenworth, which benefits the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. More info at fivetrailshalfmarathon.com.
Wear white and expect to get coated in colorful powder at this euphoric three-miler at Arrowhead Stadium. More info at thecolorrun.com/kansascity.
There’s a free concert by U2 cover band Rattle and Hum at the finish line of this race through the Crossroads Arts District. More info at rockthecrossroads.com.
There’s only one thing that will bring together KU and Mizzou fans: A 5K in downtown Kansas City that raises money for a good cause. Proceeds benefit the prevention of domestic violence in Kansas City. More info at therivalryrun.org.
The picturesque Country Club Plaza is the course for this six-mile-plus race. There’s a two-mile fun run, too. For more info, go to plaza10k.com.
Imagine jogging the scenic route from downtown to Waldo and back. That pretty much describes the Kansas City marathon. Can’t do 26.2 miles? There’s a half-marathon and a 5K, too. More info at (big breath) waddellandreedkansascitymarathon.org.
Kick off No Shave November right with this 5K through Leawood. Don’t worry if you’re baby-faced: Each racer will be provided with a fake mustache kit. More info at mustachedash5k.com.
Dec. 8: *Great Santa Run 5K
Runners who brave the cold for this race at Johnson County Community College will be rewarded with Santa hats and a breakfast by the Kansas City Chefs Association. More info at kcsantarun.com.
Where to get running supplies
Where: 8600 Ward Parkway; 11908 W. 119th St. in Overland Park; 18810 E. 39 St. in Independence; 839 Massachusetts St. in Lawrence
Cycle City Bike and Running Co.
Where: 6328 N. Lewis St., Suite 200 in Parkville
Info: GoCycleCity.com, 816.587.8181
The Running Well Store
Where: 6106 N.W. Barry Road
Info: TheRunningWellStore.com, 816.741.8800
Where: 6911 Tomahawk Road in Prairie Village
Info: UltraMaxTri.com; 913.402.0507
Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop
Where: 804 Massachusetts St. in Lawrence
Info: SunflowerOutdoorandBike.com; 785.843.5000
Ted Hart, Special to Ink
Five minutes with Olympian Matt Tegenkamp
There are few folks who do distance running like Matt Tegenkamp.
A former track and cross country state champion at Lee’s Summit High School, Tegenkamp, 31, has earned a USA Indoor national title in the three-kilometer run, set an American record in the men’s two-mile and earned back-to-back Olympic spots in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. We recently caught up with Tegenkamp, who is working out at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, to find out the secrets to his success. Whether you’re a seasoned racer hoping to shave a couple of minutes from your marathon time or a weekend warrior simply trying to add a twist to your current training regimen, here are five workouts Tegenkamp recommends to improve performance.
The paces in these workouts are intended for half-marathon training.
Workout: Five one-mile repeats at 10K pace
Duration: 50-75 minutes
What you’re getting out of it: An aerobic workout. The better you are aerobically, the longer you can go. Aerobic workouts are the foundation of your training — in other words, what helps you feel comfortable until 10 or 11 miles of a half-marathon.
Matt says: “The easiest thing is, say you do five one-mile repeats, with three or four minutes rest between each one. If that seems too aggressive, you could break it down and do 10 800-meter repeats. It’s the same amount of volume, but the repeats are a little bit more manageable.”
Workout: Four 800-meter repeats at 10K pace
Duration: 30-40 minutes
What you’re getting out of it: This workout is designed to help put some bounce back in your legs. You’re probably not going to feel especially comfortable while you’re doing it, but the next day your legs should feel better.
Matt says: “We do what we call a play day. If you’re looking at 800-meter repeats, you can break that down. The first 600 meters could be at half-marathon pace, and the 100 meter jog is just pure recovery, and then that last 200 could be more at 10K pace, so it’s a little bit more like you’re finishing the race hard. And on those days, you’re taking full rests — five or six minutes each between each 800.”
Workout: 6-10 hill repeats on a 200-meter hill
Duration: Approximately 30 minutes
What you’re getting out of it: Same thing as a speed workout.
Matt says: “You’re looking for a hill that’s going to be 35-40 seconds long. And the incline doesn’t need to be real severe. It needs to be something that you can maintain your form on. So you’ll run harder up the hill, and then recover back down, turn around, run hard up the hill, recover back down.”
Workout: Distance run at comfortable pace
Duration: 90-120 minutes
What you get out of it: A good, old-fashioned aerobic workout
Matt says: “It doesn’t need to be going out and really treating it as a workout. It’ll become a workout, physically, just because of the duration of the run. But it’s something where you go out there, at whatever pace feels comfortable. And it’s something that, especially for the longer races on the road, makes such a difference, to get the legs used to taking a pounding like that for so long.”
Workout: Pool running
Duration: 30-45 minutes
What you’re getting out of it: A break from the pounding your legs take during traditional workouts
Matt says: “They have the little Styrofoam belts that you can put around your waist, and then you can get in the pool in the deep end and do some aqua-jogging. It’s basically weightless running. You want to try to keep the same form as you would when you’re running outside.”
Dugan Arnett, Ink