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.

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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.

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Race report: R(un) for One 5K

R(un) for One 5K

5K #43

August 19, 2017

Place: 3/38

Time: 24:50

Let’s call this one… Ill-advised. I had heard of this race a few weeks ago and didn’t think much of it. I was reminded of it again the day before and again didn’t think much of it. After all, I’m running a marathon in a week.

But when I got a few miles into my Saturday run and my legs were still feeling okay, I thought: Why not take the opportunity to force myself to run on tired legs.

So I wrapped up my scheduled 8-10 mile run at 8.6 miles and headed home to change shirts, grab Kami and head to Lake Shawnee, about a mile and a half away, and signed up for this little 5K about 20 minutes before it started.

logo

Running for a good cause.

The proceeds from this race went to sponsor unadopted children — a good cause, I thought. That made me feel a little better about signing up last minute for a 5K — something I normally wouldn’t do. In fact, I’ve done it only once before, on a 2012 road trip in St. Louis.

While affixing my bib before the race, we ran into a familiar face. Mindy Chapin, who I’m pretty sure I’d only met a time or two previously, while in Hutchinson, was super friendly to Kami and I. We chatted about mutual friends and races we’d done, etc. Maybe we’ll grab some miles again sometime.

Kami and I both worked with/for Mindy’s husband Brad in Hutchinson, what often seems like a lifetime ago. To be fair, we’ve moved three times since then. Whoa.

trio

Always good to run into someone in Topeka who has been where we’ve been.

Anyway… Back to the race. If you know me at all, you know I started too fast. But you also know that if it’s a small race and I thought I might have a shot at winning. No such luck this time, folks.

start

Here I am, looking like I’m going to run really fast and win the day.

start group

Zoom, zoom, mother effers.

I led the eventual winner (guy on left in above pic) for about half the race — but only by about a millimeter (seriously, get off my bumper, bro). When he zoomed by, I suddenly remembered that at this point, I was 10+ miles in on my day. It was getting hot fast, too.

It wasn’t long after that until the next guy (dude in red in above pic) passed me, too. Knew I wasn’t sticking with him either. Regardless of how much slower I would get, no one else was passing me, so I basically coasted. Walked a few steps on a couple hills, waved at a puppy, waved at some boaters. Wonder if they sensed my jealousy from all the way out there?

My splits were hilariously regressive. But, hey, 11.81 miles on the day and a comfortable, albeit low-key third place finish. So, whatever.

6:33 | 7:37 | 8:48

nerd

I try to not take myself too seriously.

Came out of the event with a fun morning, a cool shirt that doesn’t fit, but hopefully will after a little more conscious healthy living, and a good test for my legs with a week to go until a marathon that I’m otherwise drastically unprepared for.

medal

Hung my medal for a quick shot at Lake Shawnee. I’ve gotten a lot of miles in at that place in my year+ in Topeka.

All in all, a good day. And I’m glad to say my race entry fee went to sponsor Ribka, a 9-year-old Pakistani girl. Ribka enjoys studying and learning. Her teachers say she is both intelligent and confident. She hopes to join the Army someday. Go, Ribka!

shirt

Sweet shirt, medal (with handmade lanyard), and my bib.

Race report: Run for Your Momma Half Marathon

Run for Your Momma Half Marathon

Half Marathon #16

August 12, 2017

Place: 11/46

Time: 1:59:35

I went into this race just hoping to maintain a steady pace to show myself I was ready for my marathon two weeks later (ah, 9.5 days from now) in Nebraska — even though I know I’m really not.

I do enjoy the half marathon distance, regardless of my fitness, however. It’s a long enough run to challenge me and provide a good workout, but short enough that it doesn’t hurt for more than a day after. The marathon is a different animal — not to mention ultras.

Kami was out of town, so I was by myself for the weekend. So I hopped in the car and hit the road to Marion — at 4:20 a.m.

lake office.jpg

Kami wasn’t there, so you get pictures like this. What do you want from me?

I arrived at the race at a few minutes before 6, with the race starting at 6:30. I felt uneasy about the course, unsure of how hilly it would be. I’m also never sure what people mean when they say “dirt/gravel roads.” Sometimes, it means flat dirt. Sometimes it means you’re going to run on boulders.

This was somewhere in between, but not my favorite terrain, if I’m being honest. The views were good, though.

shirt and bib.jpg

My shirt — which doesn’t fit — and my bib, pre-race.

The view before the race — and during the last couple miles — wasn’t too shabby around the lake. The rest was nice, too, being secluded out in the country and even in town within the Marion city limits. But, man, I’m a sucker for a good sunrise.

lake.jpg

Marion County Lake

My goal was to stick between the 8:20 and 8:40 time per mile and just stay steady. I started out a few seconds fast, but my steadiness held up for 6-plus miles. The rocks and hills started to really kick my butt around the midway point. I hit a wall and my pace goals went out the window.

The second half of the race was really just about trying to beat the two-hour mark. If my fitness was where it needed to be, that would be a super easy goal, but it wasn’t on this day. I barely made it in under the two-hour mark.

My splits:

8:16 | 8:16 | 8:17 | 8:15 | 8:14 | 8:17 | 8:38 | 9:20 | 9:35 |11:00 | 10:10 | 10:30 | 9:42

With my pace goals long gone, I really just tried to avoid letting people pass me. I was in eighth place overall until the 9-mile mark, when one guy passed me. I held onto ninth until about 10.5 miles in and was 10th for another mile.
I suppose I’ll take 11th place out of 46, even with the disappointing time. However, with the hills and rocks being tougher than expected, I can’t be too upset about anything, really.
map.JPG

Course map. About 7 miles of gravel roads with the rest in pavement.

After the race, I enjoyed some biscuits and gravy and a cinnamon roll. Yum. The event organizers hosted a breakfast after the race, during the awards announcements.

Since the only other guy in my age group (he was 39) finished second overall, I did not earn an award. But don’t tell that to my cinnamon roll.

13.1 sign

No food pics, but here’s the sign entering the building.

Not sure if I would do this race again or not. I don’t love the gravel/rocks and hills, but the views were good, the price was reasonable and I like the low-key events. Who knows. Maybe someday.

shirt w medal

Finisher medal added to the shirt & bib.

After the drive home, a shower, lunch and some lounging, I indulged in my favorite post-race food of all: Burritoooooo.

Now to focus on my marathon in 9 days, 10 hours and 35 minutes. Woof.

Race report: Ele-fun Run 5K

Ele-fun Run 5K

5K #40

August 5, 2017

Place: 1/82

Time: 21:31

This whole marathon attempt in a few weeks may very well not go as hoped. I haven’t lost the weight I wanted to lose, I haven’t done the speed work I should’ve done and the weather, as always, is unpredictable.

But my summer of small, mostly low-key, fun races has allowed me to keep my sanity through it all and have kept me from “over-training,” as I’ve done in the past. My legs have stayed fresh.

I swapped my 22-mile run from Saturday to Thursday to make room for this fun little inaugural 5K at the Topeka Zoo.

logo

Race logo.

With all-morning rain in the forecast and it being a first-year event, I didn’t expect much of a turnout. It was better than expected. The guy running the thing said 93 registered and 82 showed up to run or walk.

bib

Bib ready to go. That turquoise dot (indicating 19+ age category) would be completely washed away by the end of the race.

Sure enough, it rained throughout the race. Nothing torrential, but enough to form several puddles to run through. The course was four loops around the zoo, so I was able to get some cheers all along the way, which was nice.

start

Blurry, rainy start line shot, courtesy of Kami.

I jumped out to an early lead and unlike most races, when I start super fast and can’t hold it, I was able to maintain a mostly steady pace and led throughout the race.

By early on in the third loop, the guys in second and third were out of sight when I turned around to look behind me. I figured as long as I kept it steady-ish, I could hold on for the win — and I did.

win

Overall winner with a time of 21:31.

I crossed the finish line in 21:31 — a good 2 minutes and 59 seconds slower than my PR. Buuuuut, it was good enough for the win and faster than I expected to be — especially two days after running 22-plus miles. So I was happy with it.

award

Fun little awards ceremony after the race.

This was my 11th overall victory (2 10K, 7 5K, 1 4K, 1 1-mile) and my 40th 5K. I don’t run many of those any more these days and never truly try to race them, but when I have a chance to compete, I take it.

Update: I’ve recently added the virtual races I’ve done to the count of my race totals, making this actually my 42nd 5K. 

This race came with an entrance to the zoo, but in the rain, we didn’t get to see much — specifically, no elephants. Bummer. But we did get to see the giraffes (indoors) and walked around the rainforest exhibit for a bit.

I love the zoo and had a lot of fun with this event — and not just because I happened to win the race. But, yeah, that wasn’t a bad bonus.

swag

Bib, medal, drawstring bag, water bottle and medal.

The consensus was that they planned to do this event again next year. I hope so. I would return to do it again.

Race report: Rodeo Run 8/4/1

Rodeo Run 8

8-mile #2

July 22, 2017

Place: 14/39

Time: 1:10:05

Before I get into the RD stuff, here’s a photo of me from the 8-mile race — since I’ve got stats from that one leading this thing off…

mid 8

It got hot fast. Cruised in the second loop and got the chance to chat with a bunch of friends.

Months of preparation came to fruition with my fifth edition as Race Director of the Rodeo Run this year in my hometown of Pretty Prairie. It’s never my fastest running, especially this year with the heat — but I never really care.

I’m just happy when there are no issues and everyone has a good time.

Turn

Marking turns before the race.

Dean + Silver Lake

The corner of Dean and Silver Lake prior to the race.

Escape window

Windows got a little dirty on the back roads. Ah, home.

Pre 8

Giving a few pre-race instructions before 8-milers took off.

Pre 8 2

Waiting for the RD to shut up so we could all run already.

I had a blast seeing the phenomenal turnout this year, seeing old friends and making new ones.

This year, I chose Kelly Green for our shirts, because, well… I like green.

RR shirt + bibs

2017 shirts + my bibs for the 8-mile and 1-mile this year. I pick my own numbers first and I’m not even sorry about it.

We got some great sponsor help this year, too. This was the busiest the backs of our shirts have been, and that means good helpers.

Like this kid…

water kid

Thanks to EMS and their helpers for the assistance once again this year. They rock!

Shirt back

Props to my grandpa, too.

Rodeo Run 1

1-mile #11

July 22, 2017

Place: 65/190

Time: 9:49

The 1-mile is always a fun time and this year was no exception. Our finisher total jumped from 75 to 190 as Main Street and Park Street were a bit on the packed side this year. What a fun sight to see in Pretty Prairie, Kansas.

pre 1

Prior to the start of the 1-mile on Main Street.

pre 1 2

Giving some pre-race instructions to the 1-milers.

end 1

Having a good time near the end of the 1-mile.

I had a great time at this year’s race once again and I am extraordinarily grateful for all the support along the way. We raised a bunch of money toward PPHS athletics, specifically the cross country and track programs.

This year’s total reached $3,440, while I have now helped raise $9,295 since 2012 for PPHS athletics. So proud to be a Bulldog.

And now, here are some shots with me and some friends. I missed getting photos with several others. Next year, guys!

Alli

Me and my awesome friend, Alli.

Jennifer

Me and one of the most inspirational humans alive, Jennifer White. Jen does amazing things with ICT SOS and as RD of Race 4 Freedom in Wichita. So happy she was generous enough to join us!

Mel

My friend Melissa came from far away to run with us! She was my pacer when I attempted Heartland 100 last fall. Thanks for all your support, Mel!

Rachel

Me and my friend Rachel. She’s one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.

Mike

THE Mike B Stout. Love this guy. He’s so fast and has a great beard. What a guy!

Lastly, major props to Jessie Cable Photography for getting so many great shots at this year’s event. The link to the album of photos can be found on the Rodeo Run 8/4/1 Facebook page.

Results from this year’s race can be found online [here].

Visit the Pretty Prairie Rodeo Run  tab on the blog to view results from every year from 2013-2017.

Thanks again, everyone! Hope you’ll join us next year.

Race report: Cauldron Run 10K

Cauldron Run 10K

10K #20

July 15, 2017 —Topeka, KS

Place: 27/66

Time: 53:52

Another on my list of fun summer races. Well, this one wasn’t so fun. Glad I did it and all, but man, the three Hs were brutal — heat, humidity, hills.

Always nice to run a race close to home, though.

bib on shorts

Pre-race bib ready.

Weird to think I’ve lived in Topeka long enough now to do the same race twice, as I ran this one last year after living in town for six or seven weeks. I run in that area up by Lake Shawnee quite a bit, but racing in those hills is not preferred for this flat land kid.

with torch

Posing with the Sunflower State Games torch before running the Cauldron Run 10K race.

Anyway, I forgot my watch at home, which turned out to be a blessing. My goal of just maintaining a steady pace would not happen, though, as I started out fast and slowed down dramatically throughout as the heat (and my clingy black shirt) got to me — hard.

start line

Shot by Kami right after the start of the race. I look way cooler and relaxed here than at the finish, for sure.

While I struggled quite a bit running a mere 6-plus miles, it’s easy to say after the fact that it was an enjoyable experience. If you’d asked me during the race, I might have cursed a time or two.

But, not all run is great and that’s fine. Glad I did it and somehow managed to come out with third place in my age group.

bib and medal

Another item for my office bulletin board, I suppose. Most races, I put the bibs and medals in a box at home, but these I’ll post up at work — Parks + Rec connection and all.

They ran out of shirts at the race. Not sure how that even happens. Oh well. The guy seemed stunned that I didn’t care. I told him we were entered in SSG Mini Golf later that morning and I’d get one there, so it was fine.

shirt

Grey isn’t my favorite, but this is much better than last year’s white shirt.

Oh and by the way, Mini Golf went okay, too. We had to play singles separately since doubles took place during the race earlier in the morning. Mixed doubles tennis last year, but that wasn’t a suitable option this year — being six months pregnant and all.

So Mini Golf it was. Goals going in: Have fun, don’t get last and don’t fall down and hurt ourselves.

Check, check and check.

I took 14th out of 17. I’m happy with how I played. Five holes-in-one. A bunch of real golfers in that group. Kami tied for 5th out of 7. We both did better than we’d done during our practice round the previous weekend — and earned that post-event Qdoba.

SSG logo

Another fun year at the Sunflower State Games.