Feb 16, 2014 — Derby, KS
10-mile trail race
Holy mud. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen as much mud as I ran through in this race. I went in thinking “Oh, it’s just 10 miles in the woods. It’s a cheap race. Should be fun.” Came away thinking “Ouch, ouch, my foot/knee/toe.” My blue/pink shoes are still caked in mud. I had a few little cuts on my foot and toes, and a nice sized cut on my knee from branches in the woods. Battle wounds, and whatnot… Or something.
After a 6:23 first mile on pavement to start the race, it was all over the map from there, as the course got very hilly very quickly. Also, with approximately a foot of snow having recently melted, the puddles of mud (hey, remember that band?) were deep and frequent.
After mile 2, I decided to stop caring about any other runners or what place I was in, my overall time (SLOW), etc. I had only two goals those last 8 miles: Stay upright, and keep splits as consistent as possible. My overall time was only 5 seconds faster than my Half Marathon (3.1 miles farther) PR, which seems hilarious to me. But the course was brutal, and I’m not in race shape.
Overall, this was a really fun, albeit tough day. It was cool to have my fiancee (still a new word to me) and her sister waiting for me at the finish line.
Side note: This is the only race I’ve ever been a part of where runners were stopped by a train. With about 1/2 mile left, I looked ahead to see a group of runners waiting to cross while a train went by. I secretly hoped it would stay a little longer, so I could catch up and sprint ahead of them at the finish. The train had other ideas, and I only passed a couple more people on that last stretch. Memorable moment, regardless.
Feb 8, 2014 — Wichita, KS
Place: 4/19; 1st in age group
Team name: My Kind of Crazy
This was a relay race, my first. Each of us had to run a 5K loop. Kami originally wanted me to go last so that I could pass more people toward the end. I wound up smoothly talking her out of it. You probably already know why, but if not, you’ll find out shortly. As for the race…
I have put quite a bit of weight back on and was not prepared to run fast, not that it would matter on this day. Also, there had been a ton of snow recently, and the course was a little slick, although it could have been much worse. Race organizers did a great job. I wound up running a little bit faster than planned, but was fairly pleased with my mile splits — 6:50, 6:48, 6:45.
When I got to the relay checkpoint, Kami was nowhere to be found. Thinking I simply wasn’t there yet, I kept going. Ran 1/4 mile too far before I realized it and turned around to see her hurrying to meet me. I handed her the “baton” (a plastic flower), and she took off.
I hurried back to the start/finish area to prepare my plan — asking Kami to be my wife.
With the help of my amazing friends Mike and Shelly Stout (and their awesome kids, those troopers), I was able to not only pull my plans off, but come away with pictures and videos to capture the moment.
Mike and I ran to meet Kami along her route around one mile in, where I held up a sign I’d made saying “Dear Kami, Hurry up! I have to ask you a question.” The intention was that she’d catch on, and know what was coming the rest of the race — Turns out, she never quite realized exactly what the sign had said.
I then ran back to the finish area, where I eventually stood behind the finish line as she came through, still holding my sign. As she crossed the mat, I tossed my signs down, got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.
She said yes! Well… At least I think she did. Truth be told, neither of us remember for sure. She was out of breath from the race (and maybe a little surprise), and I took the smile and nod as a “Yes.” Neither of us realized how many people were there, and cheering, until we saw the videos later in the day. Most of you have probably seen the pictures and videos I’ve shared on Facebook.
I’d like to thank everyone for all the support we’ve gotten, and surely will continue to get. The whole thing went much better than I ever could have expected. This was a fun race, and an even more thrilling day.
I’ll take a fiancee over a PR any day.
Nov 16, 2013 — Wichita, KS
KUS 12-Hour Race
Place: 5/9; 1st in age group
Distance: 44.28 miles
Wow. Where do I even start for this one? My second Ultra, sponsored by KUS (Kansas Ultrarunners’ Society). I ran a 9 hour, 11 minute race on 9/11 in Olathe, and completed 38 miles (36 officially). Eventually, I’ll get into distance specific Ultras, but this was still a new, longer challenge.
I had to complete 50 miles to win a belt buckle (I guess they’re like trophies to Ultra runners or something). That’s my longest run ever PLUS a Half Marathon or so. Eek. I knew it would be tough, but I really thought I could do it.
In the end, I finished with 46.01 miles — exactly 8 miles farther than my previous distance PR. I was at 45.5 on my watch when I crossed the finish line for the last time (GPS is never 100%, plus most other people seemed to be off of their official distances, too)… Still had 10 minutes to go in my race, so I walked/jogged until I hit 46 right at the 12-hour mark. Official race distance completed: 44.28 miles.
Twelve hours is a long time to do anything, especially on your feet. It was a 1.23 mile loop around Buffalo Park in Wichita, but it never really got boring out there, which may come as a surprise to many. Got to run the first couple hours (and off and on throughout the day) with my friend Mike. I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: Mike is a terrific runner, and an even better person, and dad. It was cool to see his family out there supporting him — “Team Stout” as they call themselves. He was in the 24 hour race, and put in 70 (or more) miles for the second time in 5 weeks. Think about that for a second.
I tried my best to not think about pace all day long, as I really just needed to keep moving. There would be a lot of walking, regardless. Too much so, in the end, as I fell short. But anytime you can increase your longest run ever by 8+ miles, it’s a good day.
There were only nine people in my 12-hour race, and I finished with the most miles of anyone who did not get a buckle. That stings a little, to be honest. But you know what? I’ve done two Ultras now, and finished 5th in both. Amount of runners aside, I kind of like the sound of that.
My beautiful girlfriend Kami and her sister Macey were there off and on all day long, and supported me a lot, especially toward the end. I’m immensely grateful for having them there.
At work, we teach kids about feelings, and emotional warning signs. Funny, because during the course of this race, I experienced every single one of them. I went from content to sad to happy to depressed to thrilled to proud — just in the final few minutes. I confess that I started to cry a bit the minute I realized I had no chance for 50 miles and a buckle award. Quickly made myself snap out of it and just do my best in the end.
All in all, a successful day. BIG thanks to:
* Mike Stout for lots of running company + Team Stout for general support and friendship.
* Kami & Macey Hodson for support, food, and company the last few laps.
* Ron Micah Lapoint for support. He’s 10x the runner I am & had to drop out, but was still encouraging.
* Adam Monaghan for putting on an awesome 1st Annual event. Fun shirts, and cool bibs. A great runner himself, I know it was hard for him to not be running, but he did an outstanding job of organizing this thing, and was super supportive to all the runners all day long.
* Zach Adams for support and occasional running company. Realized we’d met each other at 9/11 Ultra in Olathe.
* Di — I don’t know her last name or where she was from, but she was positive and friendly all day long.
* Colorado lady for support. I don’t know her name or who she was there for. In fact, I thought she was from Nebraska until Kami told me otherwise. But Colorado lady offered me something each time I stopped by my car, which was right next to hers. She may have been there with the guy who won the 24-hour race with 107 miles. Yeah, 107. Either way, thanks Colorado lady!
Nov 9, 2013 — Hutchinson, KS
Love Life Run 10K
Place: 2/95; 1st in age group
This was a fun event. I was nowhere near ready to race a 10K. I’ve done zero speed work these past few months, and I also have a 12-hour Ultra in Wichita this coming Saturday. But I mostly wanted to just see how I could place, then hurry back to finish with my lovely girlfriend Kami, who was running her first 10K.
My first couple miles were right where I wanted them, and actually on PR pace, but I knew that wouldn’t hold. The leader was a long ways ahead of me by Mile 2, and the third place runner was a long ways behind me. I joked with one of the volunteers that it was getting lonely out there.
Here’s a snippet of my in-race thought process, in case you wondered what I think about sometimes:
“That guy is way up there. Where’d he go? He’s really fast. I think he was at the Press Run 5K. I got 2nd there. Won some money; that was cool. Who’s in 3rd place? I don’t see anyone. Am I going the right way? Surely. Stop turning around. You’ll trip and fall. Remember in Family Guy, when he falls and goes ‘tss-ahh,’ like 10 times? Hilarious. Stop. You’re not going to fall. Look out for that stick! It’s quiet out here. This is like Tortoise and the Hare. Hare took a nap, right? I’m not fast enough to be the Hare. I like turtles more. Wait… Mile 5 already? Dude, you have A.D.D. Focus.”
Anyway… I finished in 2nd place overall out of 95 finishers. Won my age group (there were only 4 of us) with my fifth worst 10K time (42:58) out of seven tries. Collected my medal, chatted with a couple friends for a minute, then took off backward on the course to find Kami.
Before the race, we’d discussed her trying to beat 1:10, or maybe something in the 1:08 range (I secretly thought 1:05ish). When I got to her, she was still moving really well, and still smiling. I took this as a good sign, and not just because I like her smile. After running and talking with her for a minute, I looked at my watch to realize she had a great shot at beating 1:00:00. I was pumped. Naturally, she finished strong with a time of 59:03. I never doubted her, but she definitely surprised me (and I think herself) a little bit. She completed her first 10K faster than either of us expected, got her first medal, and even got to hit the PR gong — with a swing that would have made Ernie Banks jealous. She also took 55th place, beating 40 people after joking she might get last. Super proud of that girl.
Overall, this was a super fun, well-organized event with interesting perks. Fun atmosphere all-around. There aren’t many races where I walk away saying “I’m definitely doing that one again,” but… I’m definitely doing that one again.
Oct 19, 2013 — Kansas City, MO
Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon
Embarrassing. Painful. Depressing. Did I mention embarrassing? I am only posting this to remind myself just how bad it can get during a race, and maybe even learn from it.
Started slow, like everyone always tells me to. Kept a steady, albeit too slow pace through 10-12 miles. It didn’t take long for the race to beat me up, physically, but even more so mentally/emotionally.
By mile 13, I knew I had no chance at my sub-4 goal. By mile 14, my dreaded hiccups hit (just like every marathon I’ve done around the same point) and I knew I had no chance at my weak 4:12 PR. By mile 15, I knew I couldn’t even come close to a PR. That’s when I quit mentally. I was crushed. It was an emotional weekend for various reasons. I have a looooong list of excuses I could make, and have (unprepared for hills, horrendous training, mental blocks, complete lack of focus, outside stress, etc). But I won’t elaborate further. At least not again, and not here.
Fact: I’m better than this. I am not a quitter. But I almost quit several times in this one. Only reasons to continue: Big medal + finisher’s shirt (only to find out you had to pay extra for a finisher’s shirt — no, thanks). Mentally, I quit. My state of mind has improved slightly since the race, but not by a ton. I am taking a break from marathons. I stink at the marathon, plain and simple.
“At least you finished.” Screw that. That’s not the goal. Especially by now. I will be back. Probably as soon as April (+ as long as it takes to figure out my hiccup past mile 14 issue). But for the time being, I’m taking a mental break from 26.2. I’m running a local 5K race for Halloween with my girlfriend this weekend — I’ll be dressed as Wolverine. Then, a local 10K on November 9… Strongly considering a 12-hour Ultra on November 16 with a goal of running 50 miles (my longest ever is 38) to earn a special belt buckle award. Even that would feel less like a race, though. Long story, short: I just want to make running fun again.
The 26.2 is no fun for me at this point. And that’s okay.
Sept 22, 2013 — Hutchinson, KS
Run for the Rocks Half Marathon
Place: 20/351, 3rd in age group
My fourth Half Marathon. I was completely unprepared for this. Several reasons (okay, excuses) why I knew I would not do very well. I’ve been battling plantar fasciitis for six months, I had done zero speed work, I had just run my first Ultra Marathon 11 days earlier. Not a good recipe for success. With a 1:31:32 in this race last year, and a PR of 1:28:06 at Texarkana in February, I knew I’d be nowhere near those.
If you know me, you know I’m stubborn, and a little voice told me to go for it anyway. Through four miles, I was right where I wanted to be. Then, reality it. Slowed down each mile the rest of the way, and wound up trudging across the finish with a time of 1:36:38 — 5:06 slower than last year, 8:32 slower than my PR… I finished 20th overall out of 35; I was 13th out of 428 last year — not sure why there were 77 fewer runners this year. Weird.
Given the circumstances, I can’t be too disappointed. Granted, it’s slower than I wanted, but I knew that was coming. Besides, I got to see several people I know cross the finish line — many of them notched their own PR. I also got some awesome support from my girlfriend Kami, and her sister, Macey. It’s also a nice, local course which happens to be the only race longer than a 10K available at all here in Hutchinson. So, that’s nice.
I often pick my friend Mike’s brain about running, and I’m learning from him (I learn like I run — slowly). Like he said, the Half Marathon is a tough distance to PR if you’re not training for it. And I wasn’t. That Texarkana Half remains my best race to date, but right now, I’ll turn my sights to the KC Marathon on October 19.
I’ve run four marathons thus far. Since one was a trail race, I’ll keep that time (4:31) separate. As far as the others, I’ve improved on each — 4:57, 4:26, 4:12 … Here’s hoping I can finally break sub-4 in KC.
Sept 11, 2013 — Olathe, KS
9 hour, 11 minute Ultra
Place: 5/18, 2nd in age group
Distance: 36 miles
My first Ultra. Wow. Where do I start? I went in with a goal of 35 miles, since my longest run ever had been 34.3. But it was hot, hot, hot. Wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep moving that long, let alone log 30+ miles on a hot asphalt parking lot surface (one-mile loop course). I was able to keep an acceptable pace through 10 or 12 miles when it occurred to me: “Forget about pace today.” This was just about staying on my feet, and moving forward. I did just that ALL day (and night) long. I sat down just once from the time I arrived at 10 AM, and the time I left at 10 PM — for about 2 minutes to put my shoes back on after changing clothes.
A race lasting from noon to 9:11 PM, my “moving time” (time I had my watch going) amounted to 8:40:51 at day’s end. I crossed the finish line at 9:02 PM, having logged 36 miles officially, and 37.4 on my Nike+ Sport Watch. I jogged it out to hit 38 miles total on my watch. I finished in 5th place overall out of 18 in the Ultra division. I was in 6th all day/night long until after mile 32 when the top female called it quits. I also won 2nd place in my age group, and got two pretty awesome medals out of the deal. I’m not happy with the results of a lot of my races, but I sure am with this one. Fifth overall in an Ultra? Chalk that up to a once-only occurrence. This was my first Ultra. It will not be my last.
Before I left for the race, I posted online: “Today, I’m going to see what I’m capable of — and then do a little more.”
I’m proud to say that’s exactly what I did.
Lastly, I must thank my incredible girlfriend Kami for all her support. She graciously drove me to the race and back (3 hours each way), handed me water a couple of times, and even jogged/walked with me for 5 miles toward the end. I am immensely grateful for her.
Sept 7, 2013 — Wichita, KS
Poker Run @ Wichita State University
Place: 7/63, no age groups
Ran with Jon (older bro) as he gets back into running. I told him afterward my goal is to push him until I’m no longer faster than him. He was once one of the best runners in the state, and I’m still a novice by most standards, so it will happen–probably soon. We got off to a solid start & ran the first mile in 7:12. We were probably 11th/12th at that point, and moved up pretty consistently from there. We finished in 7th & 8th overall. Our splits were 7:12, 7:50, 7:45. Not bad for the first race of the day, and first of three on the weekend. On a personal note, it was exciting for me to run a race on the campus of my alma mater: WSU.
Sept 7, 2013 — Udall, KS
Monster Dash Haunted Trail Run
Place: 4/87, no age groups
Ran with Jon again for first 1.2, when he insisted I run on. I didn’t actually end up gaining a lot of distance, as it was a more challenging trail run than I anticipated. Add in some spooky goblins, ghouls, and monsters, and it was a pretty fun and interesting event overall. I even won a prize — a painting from a local artist that I gifted to Kami.
Sept 8, 2013 — Goddard, KS
Meritrust Tiger Trot @ Tanganyika Wildlife Park
Place: 34/156, 10th in age group
By far my worst race ever, hands down. I have a laundry list of reasons why I probably failed terribly today, but instead, I will choose to move on and focus on my next race — my 1st Ultra Marathon this Wednesday. I actually did okay for the first 3 miles of this, then fell apart. Not good in a 15K — a “short” race, by most standards. I’d only run one other 15K, and my time there was 1:04:03, better than today’s by 12:59, and I wasn’t even super thrilled with that one. It’s not a common distance, so redemption may not come. May just have to let it go. That’ll be tough, but I live to run another day.
Side note: Brother took 5th overall in the 5K, won the 30-39 age group, and got a sweet medal. Not too shabby.
Good weekend overall. The WSU race was probably my favorite. Interesting experiences all-around.
Aug 17, 2013 — Mulvane, KS
Place: 9/153, 1st in age group
Time: 5:33 (PR)
Got off to a decent start, and felt good early. Quickly remembered I am not a sprinter, and despite almost zero speed training, still managed to tie my race PR for the 1-mile. I ran 5:33 in the same race last year. Official time this year was 5:33.08. I know I could run sub-5 someday if I trained for the mile, but who wants to do that?
Place: 17/177, 3rd in age group
Only the second 4-mile race I’ve run, and I expected to improve. That did not happen. I was 50 seconds slower than last year. Only positive is that my splits were somewhat consistent for a change — consistently slow, though. No idea what place I got, and results have still not been posted. I assume top 20, but likely not higher than 18th [update: I actually finished 17th overall]. Finished 3rd in my age group. Very disappointed in my time, but since the 4-mile is not a common distance, I’m not too concerned with it.
Side note: My lovely girlfriend Kami ran her longest race here, and did great. Her goal was to stay under 40 minutes, and came in somewhere around the 37:30 mark [update: her official time was 37:21]. I’m very proud of her.
Overall, despite being disappointed in my results, Mulvane puts on a fun event for a good price, and I like the town. Also, very cool hunter green t-shirts this year. I like green.
I’ve gotten slower this year — injuries, lack of training and proper focus, etc. I need to get back to last year’s speed/endurance, and quickly. That was made even more evident after this race.
Even though I wish I could find results a little sooner and easier, I have no other complaints, and definitely expect to return to Mulvane for this event again next year.
Avid runner? Trying to get healthy? Rodeo fan? Supporter of High School sports programs?
I am working with PPHS Cross Country head coach Jon Johnson in organizing a 5K & 1-mile race on “rodeo Saturday” in my hometown of Pretty Prairie, KS. Here are some details:
What: 5K (3.1 miles), followed by a 1-mile race/fun run.
When: Saturday, July 20, 8:30 AM
Where: Pretty Prairie, KS — Reno County (course details are Coach Johnson’s department, but I’ll work on that)
Why: Get healthy, have fun, compete, hang with family & friends. Besides, nothing beats small town hospitality.
How much: 5K is $20, 1-mile is $15, or you can do both for $25. Price includes your race fee, a t-shirt, and some other goodies. That’s a great deal, you guys.
How to register: Online @ Active.com — [here's the link] … I’ll also have paper registrations available to Pretty Prairie folks. BUT… Be sure to register by July 13 to guarantee yourself a shirt.
Background on Pretty Prairie:
- My hometown.
- Population of 680 as of the 2010 census (growing, believe it or not).
- About 25 minutes south of Hutchinson, and 45 minutes west of Wichita.
- Home of Kansas’ Largest Night Rodeo — this year is 76th annual rodeo. [website here]
- Most famous resident was Carl Switzer, the original Alfalfa on “Little Rascals.” (this kid)
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact me.