Race report: Salt City Half Marathon

Salt City Half Marathon

Half Marathon #22

October 6, 2017

Place: 30/150

Time: 1:55:03

logo

2018 race logo

My sixth time running this event — my most of any race, since I just started running 7.5 years ago.

I was very happy to hear some changes were being made this year — changes I’ve been hoping for since the event started. First one: Name change. Love the new one. Simple, to the point, fitting. Second: Moving from Sunday to Saturday. So much more convenient.

The course wasn’t something that bothered me at all in the past, but the update this year was great. Loved starting and finishing in the same spot and the fact that they put a spotlight on Main Street, even if just for one morning.

course map

New course map

Another change made was the date. It was pushed back a couple weeks this year. The date isn’t something that bothered me either way, but I’m just glad to participate. You never know what you’re going to get with Kansas weather anyway. I expected to get rained on all day. Thankfully, just a few light sprinkles early. Lots of puddles, though, which was sort of fun.

Kami and Bryant were out like logs, but my mother-in-law, Lori, was willing to give me a ride to the start line. That was great. Didn’t really feel like running an extra 2.6 miles to get there prior to the race.

shirt + bib

My shirt and bib for this year’s race.

I took the above photo in the truck before she left and I headed to the start. Love the bibs especially this year. Shirt seems good, too. We’ll see how it wears on a run — should be fine.

On to the race: This was probably the steadiest half marathon I’ve run. I didn’t really have any expectations, but figured I’d be in the 2 hour – 2:10 range. I finished in 1:59:51 last year, when it was much warmer.

I also talked more during this race than I almost ever do. First couple of miles, I chatted with some guy named Mark, but there was a girl named Jessica on our heels, who wound up pulling up a bit and I ran with her the last 9-10 miles or so and talked quite a bit.

Turns out, she’s married to a guy from my hometown, who we spotted several times throughout. Fun times.

Zero complaints about my splits. In fact, I was thrilled with them. Finished in just a tick over 1:55. Had to drop back a few steps to let Jessica have her finish line photo. Ha!

8:33 | 8:38 | 8:50 | 8:54 | 8:52 | 8:38 | 8:45 | 8:44 | 8:50 | 8:41 | 8:35 | 8:35 | 8:34 |
7:12 (0.26)

After that mile four of almost 9 minutes, I thought for sure I’d continue to slip back. But I really settled in and hit a groove. Never really felt like I was pushing it much either, so that’s good.

Salt City Half Marathon

Crossing the finish line.

Even took third place in my age group, collecting a pretty sweet little trophy.

Best of all, the boy got to go up with me when I was announced.

Bryant helps get trophy

Fun moment

Of course, like everything else, he wanted to eat it.

Bryant steals trophy

Gimme that.

It was a bit cold for him, but we still got to hang out a bit post-race.

me and Bryant

The boy and me

All in all, I had a great time. No real action shots this year — we’ll blame the weather, but no worries. Still had lots of fun.

medal + trophy

2018 swag

I needed to let myself enjoy this one because…

Next up: KRT 100 — Ottawa, KS — October 27-28

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Race report: Winged Foot 10K

Winged Foot 10K

September 29, 2018

Place: 2/19

Time: 47:35

shirt

Shirt design

This was my third year for this event. In 2016, I hobbled along after an ankle injury, just trying to get moving again before I attempted a 100 miler that I ultimately would DNF.

2016 Winged Foot 10K: 57:14

In 2017, I moved quite a bit better, as I was actually able to run the thing.

2017 Winged Foot 10K: 49:35

This year, I recently completed a 111-day run streak of at least 4 miles every day. That streak ended a few weeks ago, and while I haven’t done much actual running lately, I have been on my feet a ton — with coaching cross country, playing and officiating basketball and standing at work most the day.

2018 Winged Foot 10K: 47:35

I was happy to take another two minutes off my time from last year. I really enjoy this course and will continue to return when I can.

Kami and Bryant stayed home, as it was a bit chilly and the boy had been sick the night before.

selfie

Pre-race selfie

I had no plan going into this one. Just wanted to get some miles in. I wound up with about 10 on the day, including officiating some soccer games soon after the race ended.

bib 258

You know the drill.

I actually wound up with pretty decent splits, with all miles in the 7s. I ran a 7:12 first mile, assumed it wouldn’t hold, but didn’t particularly care. I honestly didn’t look at my watch during this one. Just enjoyed the miles and the course.

I had four people in front of me, but hoped at least a couple were in the 5K. I wouldn’t know for sure until we completed the first loop.

At the end of the loop, I knew for sure three people had finished. So I was in second. Or was I? Either that guy up front was done, too, and I was leading the 10K — or he was waaaaay out in front. Turns out, the latter wound up being the case. I had no prayer of catching him.

I was also quite a ways ahead of third place, so it was a nice, peaceful run, all things considered. No one passing me and no one to pass. Not mad about it.

7:12 | 7:38 | 7:34 | 7:34 | 7:44 | 7:40 | 7:16 (0.3)

finish

Thanks to Kayli Thompson for the finish line photo.

This is the last time for quite awhile that I will even attempt to run fast. I take my second crack at 100 miles in four weeks at KRT 100 in Ottawa.

After I collected my medal for winning my age group, I went with another runner and joined the last place 10K runner as he came through for his last 2/3 mile or so. It was his first 10K. His wife was so excited, hollering loud for him even well before he was even close to being in earshot range. It was a pretty cool moment. 

medal

Always fun to run at the Combat Air Museum in Topeka.

Next up: Salt City Half Marathon — Hutchinson, KS — Saturday, October 6

Race report: Sunflower Run 4-mile

Sunflower Run 4-mile

September 1, 2018

Place: 21/58

Time: 34:24

At a first year event with a mixed course of pavement and grassy trail, I genuinely did not know what to expect going into this one.

But on Day 104 of my streak of running at least four miles per day, I did not particularly care. But I always have a good time in Tonganoxie, so I wanted to support this one.

shirt + bib

My sweet shirt and bib. Loved this one.

Some unexpected rain popped up before the start, leading us all to take cover at the Tonganoxie Fire Station just near the start line.

I had a great supporting cast, as always, as Bryant and Kami hung with me for a bit before I ran.

Team Mead

Team Mead group pic. Photo cred: David Frese

Bryant thought the rain was fun. He made some people laugh. He always does, it seems.

One more group shot as the rains started to slow a bit prior to the start.

Team Mead 2

One of us was shielded under the awning. The other two of us were not. Guess who was who. 

Anyway. It was finally just about time to run.

bib on shorts

Have I told you how much I love even numbers?

start + finish

The start line — and, well, finish.

Normally, I get to a race this size thinking I’ve got a shot at top 8 or 10, but there were some fast folks at this one. I knew it right away and it didn’t bother me a bit. Especially as the race went on.

start selfie

I try to have fun no matter what.

Eventually, there was running, I promise.

My splits were silly, as I probably should have expected.

7:23 | 8:23 | 10:31 | 7:52 | 6:34 (0.04)

Can you tell where the toughest part of the course was? Yikes.

But, man, the views did not suck.

All the volunteers were super friendly, as expected, too.

I looked at my watch when we made the switch from pavement to the cross country course and it was 1.64. I don’t remember exactly what it showed as I reentered the pavement, but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.4.

I flew the rest of the way, trying to catch up to another runner or two.

final turn

Making the final turn toward the finish.

Loved this one and have every expectation to continue returning to Tonganoxie for both this and the Library Run in June.

Special thanks to David Frese for putting on such quality, good cause events worth returning to.

Next time, we gotta get a picture. I totally meant to this time and forgot. I’ll blame the rain.

I even got my name on the back of the shirt as one of the runners in this inaugural event.

back of shirt

First column, seventh name down.

Next up

  • September 8Race for Freedom 5K (Wichita) Virtual Run — Cannot make it in person due to SHMS Cross Country Meet in Emporia
  • September 29Winged Foot 10K (Topeka)

Race report: Run to Remember 10K

FOPA Run to Remember 10K

10K #25

August 25, 2018

Place: 5/26

Time: 48:38

I don’t get to run at Lake Shawnee much. LOL. I joke. I run there all the time. But races are another story. In the three times I’ve run the Cauldron Run 10K for the Sunflower State Games, twice it has started/finished at the lake, but left its parameters on an out-and-back course. The third time, this July, it was a super dumb six loops around Tinman Circle, so we won’t count that.

There was the Run for One 5K last year and the Winter Wonderland 5K the year before that. But this was a 10K, so I got to cover a little more ground. A few hills — though not the two biggest ones — and a super warm day made it not ideal for running. But I still had a great time.

lake, trees pre race

Lake Shawnee

lake pre race

The views don’t suck, y’all.

This one was for a good cause, too, which always helps.

I wasn’t able to run this last year, the first year I’d heard of it, due to being in Grand Island, NE for the Nebraska State Fair Marathon.

I was happy to be able to run it this year. Can’t beat driving a mile and a half to run a race.

course map

Enjoyable course

I picked up my packet the night before. Not sure why, since I live super close to the race, but hey, why not?

bib on shorts

Customary bib on shorts pic.

I knew I wasn’t there to race, since I’m in the middle — okay, near the end — of a pretty long run streak of 4-plus miles every day. My legs are feeling the weight of the streak, added to the riggors of coaching cross country this season and work stuff, dad stuff, husband stuff — you know, life.

Anyway, no real goal here. Just run some miles and have some fun.

early w Bradin

That’s Bradin in blue.

I ran with a kid that we had in track last year until his turnaround for the 5K. After wishing him good luck, I continued on my way. I thought I was in sixth or seventh place, but as it turns out — I was actually in third at the time. Ha. That wouldn’t last.

early in race

Those two guys both caught me eventually.

The shirtless guy above passed me at the turnaround, while the other, shorter fella passed me with probably a mile and change to go.

No worries. I was still running a better pace than I anticipated.

My splits were acceptable, although my fifth mile was a bit silly.

7:18 | 7:38 | 7:36 | 7:51 | 8:26 | 7:58 | 7:52 (0.23)

finish line

Shadowy finish line shot

The guy who was in first or second and way ahead of me early on, flew by me in the end. I thought he had won and doubled back to check on a friend — and was subsequently being a J-Hole by sprinting by me at the finish — beating me by a whopping two seconds.

Turns out, he had struggled, stopped to walk a few times and was legitimately not done yet. Had I known that, I might’ve had enough in the tank to edge him out and finish fourth, rather than fifth.

But I’m not mad about it. Had a great time, finished fifth overall, chatted a bit, stopped at Sonic and arrived home all before 10 a.m. Can’t beat it.

shirt, bib, medal

I don’t hate the shirts.

You know what my favorite part of the day was, though?

This kid…

Bryant and me

Me and Bryant

Next up: Sunflower Run 4-mile — Tonganoxie, KS — Saturday, September 1

Race report: Run for Your Momma Half Marathon

Run for Your Momma Half Marathon

Half Marathon #21

August 11, 2018

Place: 14/42

Time: 1:56:48

race logo

Race logo

I ran this race last year and did not love it. The views were good, but I remember writing last year about the rocks and hills and boo-hooing about my pace and time, yada yada.

Only decided to run it again because I’ve added a half marathon to our Rodeo Run in Pretty Prairie and I thought I’d add another summer-ish race of that distance to my experiences with that in mind.

This year was a whole different experience. Loved every minute of my time on the course this year.

Of course, it meant a dark and early drive to Marion once again for the 6:30 start, but once I got there, it was all good.

Lake Building

Building at the lake

Picked up my packet, visited the rest room, attached my bib, walked to the start line and got ready to run.

We started a couple minutes late, but no worries. Soaked in the nice temps and bowed for the pre-race prayer before we all took off.

pre race selfie

Pre-race selfie

I had no expectations, time-wise, other than my hope to stay at least somewhat steady. I was also hoping to start really slow and gradually speed up throughout. One of these two things would happen. Stay tuned.

early race views

Enjoying the horizon

Started off with an 8:40 first mile. That would prove to be my fastest of the day. I told myself to walk the aid stations and make sure to stay hydrated since I didn’t feel like carrying anything with me.

Slowed to grab a drink, then stopped to pee early in mile 2. That one wound up at 9:10, my slowest of the day. Wait, what? Yeah. All 13-plus miles fell between that 30-second window of 8:40-9:10. I was really happy with that.

sunrise

Can’t beat a good sunrise in the country.

While I had no intention of going fast or even speeding up much, if any, since I was already a little faster than planned, I still managed to pass some folks as the miles ticked by.

race views curve

Probably my favorite shot of the day. Spoiler: That’s fog, not water.

My steady splits continued, despite walking through the aid stations. I really just told myself to try to sustain it for as long as possible. Really happy with how that played out throughout the morning.

About mile 3, the course turned from dirt/gravel to pavement in town. I like the change-up of the views here, as Marion is really a fairly nice town. My great-grandparents lived there and I visited a few times as a kid.

Marion water tower

Nice little water tower shot in town.

We got a few miles in town before hitting the dirt/gravel roads again for a bit. I spent several miles chasing a really badass lady pushing a stroller. Tough course to do that on. She’s a warrior.

I finally caught up to her somewhere between miles 8 and 9. She slowed up a bit the rest of the way, but still did amazing. If she had not pushed me (without knowing it) the way she did, I likely would not have finished as well as I did.

late race selfie

Still not worried about my time. Chillin’ around mile 7.5.

We got almost to mile 10 when we hit pavement again for a loop around the lake the rest of the way. A couple hills here, but nothing as bad as I thought I remembered from the year before. I definitely handled everything much better this time around.

mile 10 lake

I’m telling you, man: Solid views.

I caught up to a few more people on my trip around the lake. I was able to sustain — and even improve — my overall pace a bit.

In 2017, I finished this race in 1:59:35 and was upset. I had started off fast with high expectations and faltered hard.

This year? I never really hit a wall, finished in 1:56:48 and couldn’t have been happier. I enjoyed it a lot more, that’s for sure. What a great day for it, weather-wise, too. That always helps.

Splits — 8:40 | 9:10 | 8:44 | 9:03 | 9:03 | 8:50 | 8:59 | 8:44 | 8:46 | 9:07 | 8:55 | 8:56 | 8:42 | 7:48 (0.14)

I finished 14th place overall out of 42 finishers in the half marathon. Whatever, man. I’m not mad about it.

After enjoying an ice cold bottle of water at the finish, it was back over to the lake building for breakfast.

breakfast

Biscuits + gravy were the highlight here

After being unsure if I’d return after 2017, I now can say I’m almost certain I’ll return again for this one. It’s crazy how perspectives can change.

shirt + medal

My shirt, bib and medal.

I even saw a sign for the race on my way out of town — it was pretty dark on my way in.

race sign

Thanks for a good race, Marion.

Next up: Kansas Law Enforcement Run to Remember 10K — Saturday, August 25 — Topeka

Race report: Rodeo Run 8/4/1

Rodeo Run 8

8-mile #3

July 21, 2018

Place: 23/32

Time: 1:15:50

Rodeo Run 2018 logo

2018 shirt design

The 2018 Rodeo Run was a success once again. We had a great turnout, though down slightly overall from 2017.

Purple shirts were a unique touch that made some of my K-State friends happy.

I was able to get back to town in the afternoon on Friday, which made the set up less stressful. We sorted shirts on Friday, marked turns on the course. As a result, I was less stressed going into Saturday morning.

The 8-mile started at 7:00 this year — earlier than in the past, which went over well with participants. The cooler temps (low-mid 70s at race time) didn’t hurt matters. It was pretty humid, but a gentle breeze helped combat that.

We had 32 runners at the start line and all 32 finished the 8M race.

IMG_3245

Getting ready for the 8M start.

I pushed Bryant for the first 4-mile loop. This was another decision made with the intention of minimizing stress a bit. Worked like a charm.

He was ready.

IMG_3197

How awesome is his shirt?

I thought he was in his stroller and ready to go, but he was not…

IMG_3244

Sorry for holding up the start of the race, you guys!

IMG_3246

We had some fast folks this year — particularly the women. Bryant and I were a bit slower, but had a great time.

Bryant and I ‘zoomed on ’em’ on the pavement and slowed a bit on the dirt. We got a chance to chat with some friends along the way and I handed him off to my mom at the completion of the first loop.

He got grouchy for about 30 seconds right before the aid station. We stopped and chatted with the EMS volunteers and took a little snack and water break.

IMG_3249

Gotta stay hydrated, you guys!

After Bryant finished 4 miles in right at 39 minutes (23rd place for him — out of 72 in the 4M), I continued on by myself for the second loop.

Bryant was a champion.

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This is his champion pose.

I ran a quick mile 5 to catch up with my friend Kristina Clifton, with whom I would run the rest of the way. She might be the most steady runner I’ve ever met. Chatting away, we still maintained a super even pace. I don’t know how she does it. But it was good to run with a friend and have a good time.

IMG_3252

Me and Kristina nearing the finish.

Overall splits — 8:45 | 9:23 | 10:21 | 9:54 | 8:25 | 9:35 | 9:43 | 9:40 | 9:40 = 9:28/mile

I finished 23rd overall (same as Bryant) in the 8M race — out of 32. I was the last place finisher among the males, but whatever, man. My slowest race in this distance, but I genuinely did not care. I had a great time.

IMG_3203

My shirt, 8M bib and finisher medal.

James White and Melissa Hartman were the 8-mile winners.

I was not present for the start of the 4-mile race, but my wife, Kami, did a great job of getting them off and… well, running.

IMG_3247

Josh White and Sharon Ceja won the 4M event.

Time to get prepared for the 1-mile.

Rodeo Run 1

1-mile #12

July 21, 2018

Place: 27/125

Time: 8:29

IMG_3258

1M start line

We had 190 finishers in the one-mile in 2017. I knew we’d be short of that this year by quite a bit. Still a good turnout with 125 finishing this time around. I’ll take it.

My friend — and incredibly fast human — Javier Ceja joined us this year. He was on hand to promote his new coaching business, Basher Endurance. But he also ran the one-mile race after his wife (also a very fast human) ran — and won — the 4M race on the women’s side.

IMG_3259

Javier, of course, won the 1M. I’ll let you guess which one is him. He ran it in 4:57, topping our course record by less than a second.

I ran the 1M as well, though not hard. Just hard enough to break a sweat while still chatting and having fun.

I finished in 8:29, though I never pay attention to time in this one. It truly is just a fun run for me, as I just like to get out there with all our other participants and enjoy myself.

IMG_3256

Nearing the 1M finish line.

After crossing the finish line, I doubled back to meet some friends and eventually my mom, who was pushing Bryant.

Congrats to my mom for completing her mile, despite her doubts that she’d make it. Bryant, meanwhile, slept for this one.

Then, time to enjoy some company with friends.

Then… Downtown for a delicious breakfast at Graber Mercantile, courtesy of Karin Allen with Locoflavor Culinary Adventures.

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Breakfast was a big hit!

Of course we had to get a family photo to commemorate a successful day and Bryant’s first Rodeo Run.

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Team Mead

I’m already excited about the changes I’m making to the Rodeo Run moving forward, as well as the new Christmas event I’ve added for later this year.

But for now, I’ll enjoy a successful event — my sixth and try to rest a bit. LOL. Yeah, right.

For real, though…

For more information on Christmas Corral Half Marathon + 4-mile and/or Rodeo Run 4 + a Half, visit our Facebook page and check out the events — HERE.

You can also see lots of information on those events, plus past results, course records, etc. on our website — HERE.

Thanks again to all of our participants, sponsors and volunteers for a great Rodeo Run!

Next up: Run for Your Momma Half Marathon — Marion, KS — Saturday, August 11

Race report: Cauldron Run 10K

Cauldron Run 10K

10K #24

July 14, 2018

Place: 21/46

Time: 50:16

This was my third year doing this event — crazy to think since we’ve just been in Topeka for two years and less than two months.

I found out a few weeks before the race that they’d changed the course, but I didn’t give it much thought since it didn’t particularly matter much to me. I just enjoy running races close to home whenever possible.

But about 18 hours before the race, I discovered the 10K route would be six loops. Yawn. Such a bad idea. So many reasons why. No one I spoke with was happy with the changes.

Anyway… Still good to get some miles in.

shirt and bib

Shirts are okay, I guess. Still don’t love grey, but it’ll do.

With my mom in town, she, Kami and Bryant drove separately and met me at the start.

selfie

Pre-race selfie

bib

Typical bib shot.

Also, one of my athletes, Haley, showed up as well. I felt a bit guilty, as I had gone to watch her run the 100 meters for the Sunflower State Games the evening before. I didn’t even stick around to watch the 200, but she and her mom still returned the favor by showing up to support me for 6.2 — well, 6.41 miles.

She did great, by the way. Rocked it in the 100 and 200 on Friday, plus the 400 on Friday. I also got to see a few other T-Bird student-athletes participating in the track & field events on Friday, as well as a couple at the Cauldron Run on Saturday.

Haley

Thanks for coming, Haley!

I was told there would be 60ish in the 10K, although I believe only 47 finished. Tough to be sure, since to be honest, they don’t do a great job with results. There’s a lot to be desired with the organization of this event.

The finishers in the 10K have dropped from 83 to 66 to 47 in the years I’ve done it. But nobody asked me, so I digress.

start

Start line photo

My only goal here was to attempt to beat my time from last year, which wasn’t overly impressive. I knew the course would be long this year, though, so I had to play with the math as I ran — no worries; I love math.

I did go faster throughout than planned and even maintained a steady-for-me pace.

7:35 | 7:46 | 8:02 | 8:08 | 8:15 | 7:37 | 7:06 (0.41) — 7:51 per mile

Given the heat and the monotony of the course, in addition to the extra distance, I’m happy with my time.

My friend — well, my social media runner friend — Melissa Brunner Brown snapped this picture of me coming in on the conclusion of my fourth loop. Melissa is a news anchor for WIBW here in Topeka and tweeted this out to her 8,300-plus followers.

Melissa Brunner pic

I should’ve known she was taking my picture. Oof.

And then there’s this one, taken by Haley and sent to me directly…

mile 4

Either after mile 4 or 5. Kami and Bryant cheering me on. 🙂

I ditched the hat and shades for my final loop. Realized I had a little kick left in me, which is always a good feeling. I took off a little faster, aiming to catch the guy ahead of me a ways, just in case he was in my age group.

As I caught — and passed him, I realized he was definitely in his 50s and I had worked hard for nothing. Okay, not for nothing. Always good to make myself work a bit.

medal

Wound up first in my age group. I now have a 2018 gold to go with my 2016 silver and 2017 bronze.

The above was Take 2 of that photo attempt. Take 1 was more fun, though…

Bryant on shirt

I don’t know what to caption this. I just love that kid.

Next up: Rodeo Run 8/4/1 — Saturday, July 21

RD duties kick into hyper-drive this week, in addition to a busy week at work. I won’t sleep much this week and will probably panic at every step. I just want to do a good job.

But really, there’s still time to sign up, you guys…

Rodeo Run 2018 logo