Race report: Longview Half Marathon

Longview Half Marathon

Half Marathon #18

November 11, 2017

Place: 217/521

Time: 2:03:59

race logo

Longview Half Marathon logo

Chalk this up as another “just for fun” race — kind of my theme this year. This was my first race since our son Bryant joined the world three weeks earlier. He nor Kami made the trip as it was a bit on the cold and windy side, but I was happy to get out and run more than 7 miles for the first time in a couple months. The race itself went better than expected.

When I arrived, I was told they did not have my shirt size, but would order it and mail it to me. I was upset for about two seconds and quickly decided it wasn’t worth it. Besides, as a race director myself, I get it. I did, after all, sign up a bit late. No worries. Still a personalized race bib. They even gave me a VIP bracelet to make up for the temporarily missing shirt. That got me a pass into the tent with the heaters and a nicer bathroom. Score.

bib 299

Only third time with my name on my bib — one was a DNF.

When the race started, I took off slowly by design. Wasn’t sure how I’d hold up running farther than I’d run in quite some time. I kept pace just ahead of the 2:10 pace group for the first two-plus miles.

 

That’s when we hit “the hill.” Excluding a couple of trail races I’ve done, this was likely the steepest paved hill I’ve ever run in a race. Brutal. But I counted runners going the other direction to keep my mind off the hill — 275. I was in 276th place by the time I reached the top. Yeah, this was a big race.

KC Running Co bus

KC Running Co. does a good job.

Right at the top of the hill — maybe around mile 2.75 or so — I caught up with the 2:05 pace group. Figured I’d hang with them for a mile or two until I felt the need to drop back again. Instantly got to chatting with a couple guys, Sean and Andy. Sean was one of the pacers, while Andy was a guy in his 40s (I think) running the race a few minutes behind his teenage son.

 

Cool guys. Good conversation. I never like running with groups, but this was a good time. Maybe it was because I forced myself to settle in and not race. Maybe I’ve lightened up since I entered fatherhood. Who knows.

Anyway, off and on during the race, Sean, Andy and myself were joined by a couple of girls — Kelsey and Stephanie. They either knew each other previously or had become fast friends in the early miles of this one. Not sure of their ages, but Stephanie has a baseball playing son and Kelsey was going to do another half marathon the next day. Crazy person.

Hearing other people’s stories gave me an excuse to talk about my own son — Bryant. He’s a stud, you guys.

Back to the race…

me full length

Cold, windy, hilly, fun.

Each mile that ticked by, I thought “Maybe I’ll hang with this group another mile… Okay, maybe two more.” I surprised myself greatly with how steady this race was. I owe a lot of that to Sean’s pacing skills and the good chats with the runners mentioned above.

 

I stuck within a few steps of the group, especially Sean, until about the 11.6 mark. I decided I could push it a bit and tried to pick it up a notch. After my slowest mile of the day (9:44) in mile 11, I sped up by one second in mile twelve, then turned in my fastest mile of the day (8:44) in mile 13.

LOL. Yeah, I’ve definitely never done that in a race before. I even had a little bit left for a sprint through the finish.

9:34 | 9:29 | 9:41 | 9:06 | 9:20 | 9:27 | 9:23 | 9:29 | 9:30 | 9:40 | 9:44 | 9:43 | 8:44 | 6:52 (final 0.16)

 

me finishing

Chip time 2:03:59

I don’t like being slower than two hours in a half marathon, but all things considered, I was very happy with this race. I met some cool people, maintained a steady pace and had a fun time. I would definitely consider doing this race again.

hoodie, bib, medal

Borrowed a guy’s hoodie to snap a pic since mine has to be mailed to me — no idea when that will come.

While the weather was cold, especially when the wind hit the lake just right, I chose a pretty perfect wardrobe for the conditions — especially given that I wasn’t really racing this one. I actually got warm a time or two, but never so much so that I felt inclined to ditch layers.

me close up

Somewhere around mile 11.

Before taking off for home to be with the wife and boy, I meandered around a bit and took in the scenery while stretching out the legs in the process.

I even got someone to snap a pic for me…

post race pose

My 18th half marathon.

I may do a free Thanksgiving 5K if they’re still having it this year, back in Hutchinson. Otherwise, my next race is the Hangover Half Marathon in Overland Park on January 1, 2018.

Until then…

Advertisements

Fierce-ish 10K

Fierce-ish 10K

10K #23

October 14, 2017

Place: 7/14

Time: 1:00:47

Let’s get this out of the way early: I will not do this race again. I would advise others to avoid it as well. I’ve never wanted my money back after a race until this one. I was offered half my money back, but scoffed at that. Not worth it, really.

FWIW: Yes, I know this was a fun run. I’m totally not “that guy” to throw a fit at a race. But I kind of was today. Not proud of it, but it was bad, you guys.

When an event is so poorly organized as this was, there is no excuse. Don’t organize a race if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t volunteer to help at a race without asking what you’re supposed to do. Don’t send volunteers out onto a course without (correctly) telling them what to do.

Let’s rewind. I was having a blast pre-race. It was, after all, it was a costumed run — and it was Luigi time.

Luigi pre-race

Inside Norsemen Brewing Company before heading out into the street.

Luigi pole

You know the flagpoles at the end of each level? No? Whatever, it’s funny.

Okay, enough goofing around. It’s time to run…

Luigi selfie

Okay, one more. That mustache only lasted a few miles, FYI.

With a really low turnout, I thought I’d have a shot to win. I knew right away I’d win this thing, so I just went out and figured I’d enjoy some miles. I’d won 11 races before and figured a 12th would be fun. I don’t run to win — until I have a shot to win. Because, well, why not?

Luigi start

I would’ve led this thing pretty easily start to finish if not for… Well, keep reading…

So, back to the organization.

The Facebook page event that synced to my iCal indicated the race would start at 8:30. I assumed that was the actual start time — which it was. However, the race registration page showed 5:30 p.m. on Friday night.

Two separate emails went out to participants. One on Thursday. One at 11:22 p.m. Friday night — the night before the race. I saw this one at 1:30 a.m. when Kami woke up, which woke me up (baby day coming soon, you guys).

Neither email — I repeat, neither email stated what time the race would start. How can that be? The emails reminded us what time packet pickup started and what time the costume contest would start. Race time? Anyone? Bueller? Nope, nothing.

Anyway… the race wound up starting at 8:35, so close enough to what the event had listed, I suppose.

The start/finish line was … a gutter. Okay then.

Not like there was a super cool painted stretch less than 20 yards from that gutter or anything…

Rainbow Road

This would’ve been perfect for a start/finish line. But nobody asked me.

Seriously…

Rainbow Road zoom in

Rainbow Road, anyone? Luigi? Sweet, right? Sigh…

I jumped out to a pretty healthy lead early and despite my tendency of starting too fast, I actually stretched the lead a little bit. I was ahead by nearly half a mile when I approached a volunteer. With two dead ends and only two options available, I asked which way I was supposed to turn. She shrugged and said “I don’t know.”

No explanation. No effort to take a guess. Just “I don’t know.”

Most of the runners ran 7-plus miles. Because I was in first and went quite a bit further out of the way than most, I wound up at 7.6 miles. An easy win turned into an annoying seventh place. The girl who won (and actually ran the 6.2 miles) felt guilty. My time at the 10K mark was 3:02 faster than her “winning” time.

Oh well. I chatted with some other runners — including one guy named Ed who I’ve seen at a couple other races. He’s probably about my age and won third place for his dynamite Super Troopers costume.

I was cooling down and ready to move on. Until I got the following excuse…

“That’s why we put the route map online.”

Are you kidding me? The co-RD legit tried to blame runners for the lack of information they gave to their volunteers? No. Not okay. I was steaming once again.

He pulled me aside like he was upset with me — eventually offered me half my money back. Whatever, dude. Not even worth it.

Fierce Life Fitness

Race benefactor. Non-profit or not, I don’t know how they can feel comfortable taking people’s money after a debacle like this…

I received a wooden medal — that was pretty cool. It says “10K finisher” (lol), but we received them for overall placements, apparently. I was told I was the second place male, but I know there were a few guys ahead of me by the time I finished my lengthy venture around the streets of north Topeka.

race swag

Bib, shirt and handmade wooden “medal.”

Anyway… at least I got a few good miles in before the storms hit. Last race pre-baby. I’ll have to just enjoy the casual solo runs for a little while — which is fine, because I’d been enjoying them lately anyway.

Until next time…

Race report: Winged Foot 10K

Winged Foot 10K

10K #22

September 30, 2017

Place: 7/28

Time: 49:35

logo

Winged Foot 10K logo

I did this race last year, two weeks removed from my nasty ankle injury. Naturally, it was slow. I treated it as a tune-up, just to see if I could loosen up my foot/ankle before trying Heartland 100 the following weekend.

This year, I just wanted to have fun with it, as I’ve done with most of my races this year, really. The event kicks of the Kansas Chocolate Festival, so it comes with some candy in the race bag. Score!

candy pre-race

Oops, still have to run…

bib on shorts

Bib on and ready to go.

bib + candy

Race bag/bib + candy.

Last year, I finished 20th of 47 in the 10K, as I hobbled through the first loop with Kami, who did the 5K and sped up just a bit the second loop. Slow time overall, finishing in 57:14. While still slow and not very fit this year, I was at least healthy. Ran the whole thing solo, just trying to stay steady.

start

Kinda enjoy the low-key atmosphere at the Combat Air Museum. This was my third race on this flat, loop course.

Smaller turnout this year, and I finished in 7th place overall out of 28 finishers in the 10K. Not sure how many finished the 5K. Last year it was 93. My guess is maybe half that this time around.

Combat Air Museum

Fun place, nice flat course, cool atmosphere.

I rarely ever speed up as races go along, but after I slowed up in my fourth mile, I decided I’d try to speed up just a bit. Wasn’t easy, but I was able to do just that, especially in that last mile and a half, when I gunned it and eventually ran down the girl in front of me. I passed her in the final quarter mile to move into seventh place overall.

Harder than I’ve finished a race in quite awhile.

Overall splits

7:24 | 7:41 | 8:06 | 8:35 | 8:00 | 7:34 | 6:54 (final 0.33 mi)

That last part is not a typo. I remember when I used to run that fast or better on a regular basis. Now, though? That’s moving for me — until I get the weight down, anyway.

bib + medal

My medal says 5K, but I promise I ran the 10K.

award

After receiving my age group award.

If they continue to have this event, I’ll continue doing it. It’s an enjoyable time on a smooth, flat course. Having nice weather always helps, too.

I’ve got just one more race before our due date — Fierce-ish 10K here in Topeka on October 14 — two weeks away. I picked up my costume for it yesterday. However, we’re starting to think baby boy might arrive early, so that race may or may not happen. Either way, stay tuned…

Welcome to the world, kid — grab a helmet

Dear son,

According to the calendar, you won’t be here for another four weeks and change. But it could really be any day now. There are so many things I want to tell you — so I suppose I better get started now.

The world is tough. Like, really tough. Things are gonna happen that will hurt you. It might be a cut or a scrape or a broken bone. It could be someone’s words that hurt you on the inside. You may cry or scream or say a naughty word — we’ll talk about those later. Probably over some root beers when your mom isn’t around. But it’s going to happen. What’s important is how you respond to it.

I’ve suffered broken bones and a broken heart. One of those taught me how to shoot lefty and the other led me to your mom. She’s goofy, but I love her. You will, too.

Be honest. If someone hurts you, call them out on it. Tell them how you feel. If you like someone, tell them. If you dislike someone… Okay, maybe don’t tell them that. I don’t have all the answers, man. I’m learning as I go.

If I’m being honest, I’m terrified of you. I have no idea how to be a dad. I was never shown how. My mom did her best, but it’s not the same. I’m going to do my best, too. I’m going to screw up at times. You’re going to hate me once in awhile, and that’s okay. But you’ll always know I’m there. Always.

Listening to what someone says is far more important than simply waiting for your turn to talk. You’ll go further in life this way, I promise. Have an open mind. Time is a valuable thing. If someone is using theirs to speak with you, don’t take that for granted. Hear them out.

The world can be a harsh place. Bad things happen every day. Controversy is everywhere. You’ll have friends who believe in things that will hurt your soul. That’s a hard one to cope with. I’m still working on it myself.

But we’ll talk about that later. Much later. It will probably involve swear words and root beers.

Love you, dude. Can’t wait to meet you…

Dad

boy

 

Race report: Run for the Rocks Half Marathon

Run for the Rocks Half Marathon

Half Marathon #17

September 24, 2017

Place: 40/183

Time: 1:59:51

Logo

2017 RFR logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My fifth time running this race. I enjoy the course, the people and environment. There are a bunch of things I wish were different with the event (conversations with several friends indicate I’m not alone) and it makes me sad to see its participants dwindle each year. There has been a 57% decrease in finishers from 2012 to 2017 — 428 down to 183. But I’m not in charge, so I’ll just continue to show up when I can and enjoy the miles.

That’s precisely what I had in mind for this one. I tweaked a calf muscle a bit in a basketball league game a few days prior and it was feeling a bit tight. I knew I wasn’t ready for a fast race, but thought I’d give it what I had. I held up better physically than I expected and though I slowed down throughout, I was able to (barely) eke out a sub-2 finish.

Let’s rewind, though.

Shirt + bib

This year’s shirt.

The shirts have always been my least favorite part of this race. They never fit right. This one is sharp, though. And though I haven’t run in it yet, it seems to fit really well. Nice!

Start area

The start area.

I did zero warming up before the start. I mingled and chatted with a few friends I saw in July at the Rodeo Run and some I hadn’t seen in a bit longer. Good times.

Pre-race goofy

Always be yourself. Even if you’re weird.

I started fast in relation to my overall pace in the end, but I was feeling comfortable. I ran with a guy for a few miles who ran Rodeo Run, but I don’t know his name. I’ve seen him at several races over the years. All I know is that his mustache is the stuff of legend. Seriously, it’s phenomenal.

Mr. Mustache and I parted ways about 3.5 miles in or so when I slowed my pace down a bit (by design) and he maintained his.

Mile 4-5

Somewhere near Rice Park, probably about mile 4.5 or 5.

I slowed to a walk through the aid stations, drank water here and there, thanked the volunteers and spectators. Shout out to Hutch PD and the HCC Cross Country and Track teams who were out and about. They were great.

I knew it was going to be a fight to finish sub-2 since I was slowing mile after mile. And while I didn’t particularly care about my time, as long as I had a shot to finish under two hours, I was going to stay focused on that goal.

Overall splits

8:17 | 8:11 | 8:12 | 8:20 | 8:27 | 8:47 | 9:08 | 9:22 | 9:38 | 9:55 | 9:24 | 9:42 | 9:35 | 8:53 (final 0.33 mi)
Finish (photo company)

Finish line photo, courtesy of the race photographers.

Finish (Kami)

Finish line photo, courtesy of Kami in the bleachers of Gowans Stadium.

Took me awhile, as usual, to catch my breath, but once I did, I had a good time mingling. My mom and Kami came down to meet me and we chatted for awhile. Talked with some other running friends and a few who were spectators as well.

Somehow, embarrassingly, I finished second in my age group. I’ve run this race before — MUCH faster — and not come anywhere near placing. But, hey, I guess I’ll take it.

Awards + shirt

Run for the … tile, I guess. My age group award + finisher medal + the sweet shirt again.

This was my 24th race in Hutchinson, where I lived for three years. I enjoy the half marathon distance — mostly because here I am 24 hours after finishing and I’m not really sore anymore. That’s always nice.

Anytime you get to grab some miles and see friends, it’s a good day in my book.

I really only got one photo with friends, but Kami was starting to get warm (getting close to baby time, y’all) and I was ready to get on the road and back to Topeka.

Running friends

My friends Aaron Wilson and Lisa Johnson. They both did an amazing job, as always.

 

 

 

Race report: Race 4 Freedom 5K

Race 4 Freedom 5K

5K #44

September 9, 2017

Place: 76/883

Time: 22:48

After my friend Jennifer White drove to Pretty Prairie for the Rodeo Run in July, I couldn’t not return the favor and participate in her race. I was just one of over 1,000 participants. She wouldn’t have noticed if I wasn’t there. I probably bugged her too much when I was. But it was important to me to support my friend.

Jen does amazing (and important) work with ICT S.O.S. I ran this race in 2012 before I knew her. It was a great turnout back then and even more impressive this time around. Pretty sure I saw somewhere saying it was the largest timed 5K in Wichita. That’s no small feat. Wichita’s a big city. I’m so proud of my friend.

Jen on mic

She stutters a lot less than I do than when addressing a crowd of people.

There was a band…

band

Pretty solid entertainment.

This is how you know the event is legit…

truck

They’ve got their own truck. Big timers.

There was even pancakes and sausage after the race. I forgot to photograph those for this report. I ate them too fast. I apologize for nothing.

Anyway, on to the race…

While I’m not generally a fan of wearing red, the shirts fit great. Even got a cool bag and a pen. I love pens. Oh, and the coolest looking bib I’ve ever had at a race. Shaped like Kansas, design of the Wichita flag. Love it.

shirt + bag

2017 shirt, bib, bag and race map.

I got into the habit during long races of putting my bib on my shorts, rather than my shirt. I continue that habit now, regardless of how short the race is. I always feel like people might be judging me for this, but I don’t care. It keeps my shirt more free for moving and wiping sweat when needed, etc.

bib on shorts

See?

I was going to try my best to find my friend Dan Loving and run with him. I was unable to locate him before the race, although I did spot several other friends. Always good to see familiar faces.

start line

2017 Race 4 Freedom start line.

Since I had not found Dan, I thought I’d just try maneuvering through the crowd and see what I could do. I did not plan on racing this at all, but once I got a mile in, I thought I’d put the lungs to work a little bit.

I actually slowed down once I started trying harder, but then sped up at the end. Probably because my friend Tom Snook passed me right about the two-mile mark. He usually holds on to beat me when that happens, as it’s happened several times. Tom’s a warrior, you guys. I figured he would get me here, too. But I thought I’d at least try to keep up with him while I could.

Thanks to Tom pushing me for awhile, I must’ve found another gear, as I sped up that last mile and edged him in the end by only a few seconds. We then managed to catch up afterward over some pancakes.

finish 1

Nearing the finish line. Tom is in blue.

Mile 17:16

Mile 27:25

Mile 36:58

3 – 3.196:07 pace

shirt bib medal

Shirt and bib, in addition to my sweet finisher medal courtesy of Subaru of Wichita.

While I am not in love with running 5Ks (running fast hurts, man), stuff like this is a blast. The cause is obviously super important, but the people — that’s what make these things worth doing for me.

I did later find Dan, by the way. He did a great job. I did not get a photo with him or Tom or Kayla of Pretty Prairie.

friends

Got one with my friends Aaron Wilson and Jennifer White, however.

Race report: Nebraska State Fair Marathon

Nebraska State Fair Marathon

Marathon #7

August 26, 2017

Place: 154/181

Time: 5:35:16

I hadn’t attempted a marathon since October of 2015 (Wichita), when I had to drop out 9 miles in, due to hiccup/breathing issues. I hadn’t finished one since April 2014. Hadn’t been to Nebraska since we left Holdrege (an hour:10 or so Grand Island) in July of 2015.

logo

Race logo.

Let’s get this out of the way now: I wasn’t ready. I’ve had major struggles getting my weight back down where I want it. When I started running, I dropped 71.6 pounds — from 233 to 161.4. My ideal weight is somewhere in the 180 range. But it’s been over 200 for quite awhile now (almost the entire time I’ve been married) and was sitting around 215 when race day rolled around — the heaviest I’ve ever been heading into a marathon. I have no doubts that is the key factor in my struggle in this race and in my general struggles to get and stay faster. But anyway…

We went straight to packet pickup, where I was thrilled with the cool bib and shirt that fits okay, but will fit better if I can ever get my fitness level in check. (See also: a smaller gut)

shirt, bib

Shirt, bib and state fair ticket.

While I held on to an outside hope of running my first ever sub-4, I knew just shooting for a PR (4:12:37) was more likely, and at the very least, perhaps running a 4:30 or so. Turns out, none of those were even close.

I started out running a perfect race (for me) the first 8-plus miles. My pace was exactly where I wanted it. I was steady, I was calm and I was enjoying the race in the early going.

First 8 miles — 8:46 | 8:45 | 8:42 | 8:46 | 8:45 | 8:44 | 8:45 | 8:43

But the same old breathing issues popped back up, making it damn near impossible to continue. Not to mention the humidity that hit me like a punch in the face. The early cool-ish temps almost masked the humidity, which was a bit deceiving. But it was near 100% through most of the morning.

I was determined, though, that no matter how awful my time was, I was going to finish. I didn’t drive 4.5 hours to another state, get a sweet shirt and bib, only to DNF. Not happening.

I ran a 9:33 and 9:58 the next two miles, but otherwise, it was almost entirely walking until the end…

I knew from my ultra experiences, that if I could just throw up, I’d be able to breathe better and automatically be able to run more. But no luck.

So I had several miles of mostly walking to cope with the fact that my race was going to be complete crap, and try to make the most of it throughout the duration.

A grape icy pop helped. So did a fist bump from a little kid and a few random chats with some aid station volunteers.

map

Marathon course map.

I really liked the first 18 miles of this course, except for a stretch through a creepy cemetery — is there any other kind? After that, though? No, thank you. It was enough that I likely would not return unless they changed it in the future. I was told it’s been considered, but who knows.

A long out-and-back stretch along a fairly busy highway, several cattle trucks zooming by was finally enough to make me puke around mile 24.

Naturally, I sped up from there, just as I knew I would. Mile 26 was a 10:49 — my fastest since mile 10. I was also running a 10:32 pace the final 0.67 (course was almost half a mile long). If only I could’ve puked sooner…

Oh well. The second biggest medal I’ve ever gotten, just a bit smaller than the one from the 2013 Kansas City Marathon.

medal

PSA: I reeeeally hate hearing “at least you finished.” Like, it’s super annoying, you guys. That’s never been my goal. But, yeah, at least I finished.

To finish 38:16 slower than my previous slowest time is unacceptable to me. No other way around it. I’ve just got to be better. I know that and I will be. Eventually.

In the meantime, I’ll be playing in a fall basketball league and a fall softball league and focusing on being a dad soon, as well as coaching basketball.

I have a few other races on tap, but nothing I’m training hard for. I need to be in much better shape before I’m capable of racing to race again. Maybe that day will never come. I’d like to think it will, but for now, I’ve gotta be content just having as much fun as I can.

finish pose

Silly finish line pose. 

After the race, I was determined to have some fun at the fair — my first state fair outside of Kansas. I wanted to ride a ride, play a game and eat some fair food. I wound up doing none of those things.

We walked around for a bit, which hurt. I was having a really hard time breathing (still), felt like I was going to pass out at one point. Knew I couldn’t stomach any food yet, so that was out. Knew I’d puke on people if I tried a ride, so that was out. And I couldn’t justify any of the silly fair games.

It was cool to see another state fair, but it wasn’t really much different than the one in Kansas — except quite a bit smaller. It was getting really hot and we had a long drive, so we hit the road after circling the fairgrounds a couple times.

ferris wheel

Hey, this thing is on my medal. Neat.


dirt sculpture

Some pretty sweet dirt sculpting.


dirt sculpture 2

Mad skills, bro.

Continue reading