Race report: Last Run & First Run 10Ks

Last Run 10K

December 31, 2014 — Lincoln, NE

10K #10

Place: 10/50

Time: 57:14

Made the trip to Lincoln for a couple races and a little getaway for the wife and I. I’d been sick for two or three days, and didn’t even feel like running. But the races were paid for, and I was there, so…

Last Run 10K took place at 10 PM on New Year’s Eve, starting/finishing at Ploughshare Brewery in Lincoln.

Coldest race I’ve ever participated in. Real feel temp at race time was -5 degrees. NEGATIVE five degrees. Woof. Wore a ton of layers. I wasn’t really racing, after all. Lots of slow moving, even some brief walking spurts as there was lots of snow and ice on the path, and with my throat still throbbing, it was tough to breathe even without the cold air. Finished in 57:14, my slowest 10K ever — one second slower than Kami and I ran the Manhattan Beach 10K together on our honeymoon. Slightly different conditions for that one. My place is an estimation, as this was a very unofficial “race” with no official finish line, or official time kept.

First Run 10K

January 1, 2015 — Lincoln, NE

10K #11, race #80

Place: 19/70

Time: 55:15

First Run 10K started at 10:30 AM on New Year’s Day, again from/to Ploughshare Brewery. Just a bit warmer, and just a bit faster. Still lots of layers — including my TMNT hat, shirt, and pajama pants. Looked goofy, but stayed warm-ish (real feel temp of 7 degrees at race time). Again, placement is an estimation as there was no official finish line or clock being used. Despite the extraordinarily slow-for-me times and well below freezing temps, this was a fun trip. Sweet medals + cool shirts. Not a lot else to say about these races. Fun event that I doubt I’d do again, but it was fun to do once.

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Race Report: June – December

Well…

It’s been a busy year, folks. As most of you certainly know, Kami and I got engaged in February. Married in September. Moved to Nebraska in October. Started a new job. A new life.

As far as running is concerned, I ran fewer races, fewer miles, slower miles. My last race report was my May 50K. I’d really like to do a better job of entering a race report for every race — even the small ones. It’s helped me looking back in regards to deciding if I want to run that event again or remind myself of how terrible it was. So, I pledge in ’15 to at least document how each race goes, even if it’s a just a paragraph or two on each one. The longer the race, the longer the analysis, I imagine.

For now, let me (very) briefly recap each of my races from June – December of this year.

July 4: Freedom Run 5K (Sterling, KS) — Paced Kami to her 5K PR at the time. I finished in 25:36, 54th of 255 overall.

July 11: Lunar Trek 100K (Scandia, KS) — Bonked hard early. Dropped to 22-mile race. Finished in 5:16:57, 5th of 8 overall.

July 19: Rodeo Run 5K (Pretty Prairie, KS) — Race director/runner. Finished in 21:36, 11th of 75 overall. Big success as RD.

July 19: Rodeo Run 1-mile (Pretty Prairie, KS) — Man, that was a slow mile. But a fun day. Finished in 6:35, 7th of 47 overall.

Aug 2: Run for the Son 2.5K (Hutchinson, KS) — Fun day dressed as Ninjas w/ Kami. Finished in 13:16, 2nd of 9 overall.

Sept 21: Run for the Rocks HM (Hutchinson, KS) — First ever tech-free race. Finished in 1:42:44, 29th of 329 overall.

Oct 4: Manhattan Beach 10K (Manhattan Beach, CA) — Honeymoon w/ Kami. Finished in 57:13, 1,292 of 3,309 overall.

Oct 11: Cow Pie Trail Run HM (Loup City, NE) — BRUTAL hills. SO slow, but fun day. Finished in 2:22:38, 13th of 29 overall.

Oct 18: Nebraska Spina Bifida 5K (Holdrege, NE) — Short course. First Nebraska win. Finished in 20:25, 1st of 40.

Nov 27: Thanksgiving Day 5K (Hutchinson, KS) — Missed out on pie by 8 seconds. Near PR. Finished in 18:34, 4th of 230+.

I will likely be doing a LOT fewer races now that I live in Nebraska. Mostly because there are almost no races within an hour’s drive from where we live, especially longer than 5Ks. Talk about frustrating. But also in part because I plan to start a 20-week, 50-mile race training plan this coming Monday with the intention of running Heartland 50-miler on May 2 in Cassoday, KS.

Ideally, I’d be getting myself geared up for a possible 100-mile attempt next fall, but let’s take it one step at a time. The 50-mile mark has eluded me for far too long, so I’ve finally made a plan to attack it the right way.

I’m also trying to keep my pages (links at the top of the page) updated with run/race stats, 2015 goals, race schedules, etc.

In the meantime, enjoy the new layout (until I decide I don’t like it and change it again). Happy running!

Race report: Country Roads 50K

May 18, 2014 — Goddard, KS

Ultra #3, 50K #1

Place: 6/9

Time: 6:07:25

Going into my first 50K, I didn’t really know what to expect. Before a race, people will often ask “Are you ready?” My typical, and honest, response is “I have no idea.” I rarely know if I’m ready for a race, especially a long one, until I’m in it. Anything can happen — I suppose, especially, in ultra running.

I had run two ultras before, both of longer distances. My first was the Patriots’ Run ultra last September 11 in Olathe. The race lasted 9 hours, 11 minutes with runners logging as many miles as they could in the time allotted. I finished with 36 miles officially. My second was last November 16 in Wichita. This one was a 12-hour race of the same concept. That day, I officially logged my personal best for mileage, with 44.28 miles — even though my watch showed 46.

Anyway, this was my first ultra with an actual finish line, which was kind of cool. I had two goals going in — 1) Finish in under 6 hours; 2) Don’t get last. I really didn’t care to get wrapped up in racing any other runners, and I didn’t have a PR to chase after.

I planned to try a run/walk interval of 10 minutes/2 minutes for as long as I could handle it. I got to run the first 10 minutes with my friend Mike, who is crazy fast. He wound up finishing 2nd place overall, despite running 3+ miles too far — and then hung around long enough to help me finish. What a guy.

At around the 3.5 mile mark, the rains came. It rained pretty steadily until I got to the mid-point aid station at mile 15.5. Yeah, 12 miles in the rain. Fun times! (Note: No, I’m actually not being sarcastic). I was able to maintain my 10/2 plan pretty well through the first three hours. At that point, I tried to pull it back to 8/2. But after two cycles of that, I was getting pretty sore. A lot more walking from that point on.

My first 10 miles were each under 10 minutes, and 18 of my first 20 miles were under 12 minutes each. That’s pretty slow, but steady-ish for me, considering how far I was going.

My lovely fiancee Kami, and her sister Macey were out there for me at all the aid stations, and even in between a couple of them. They refilled my water, supplied me with all the Powerade Zero, chocolate milk, antacids (tried them to fix my running hiccups, which seems to have worked), and even donuts (yeah, donuts) that I needed. They helped keep me going really well.

One of the beauties of ultra running, at least for me, was that I felt free to stop and stretch when I felt a cramp coming on, without worrying too much about pace, etc. Despite increasing soreness, I felt better mentally all day long than I have for any of my marathons. That is probably due in large part because of my lack of any real expectations. Regardless of why I felt better mentally, it was definitely a relief.

Somewhere after the 20-mile mark, I got to see several familiar, friendly (and much faster than me) people, as they headed toward the finish, while I was heading out on the final out & back stretch. I got high fives from Micah LaPoint (overall winner, 3:50), Raquel Stucky (my friend from Pretty Prairie), and Fernando Martinez (he doesn’t know me, but I know of him because he’s fast). The latter three were all on relay teams. I even squeezed in a short chat with Mike again as he assured me Kami was not far ahead.

Experienced 100-miler Elden Galano gained on me more and more over the last 10 miles or so. I knew he would either pass me, or would come damn close. At mile 24, I saw probably the biggest turtle ever. I really wanted to snap a pic, but convinced myself to focus. I kept moving.

I did get a little bummed when I realized somewhere in those last two miles that I wasn’t going sub-6, but still understood that I’d finish with an automatic PR, which is always nice. Kami jog/walked the last mile or so with me (in jeans!), and Mike joined for the last few blocks. With about 200 yards to go, I had to walk one last time across the final street when I heard Elden yell “Run!” He later told me he wasn’t going to pass me unless I was walking.

I finished in 6:07:25, exactly six seconds ahead of Elden, who did a cheer/jump across the finish line. It hurt me just to watch it.

All in all, Country Roads 50K was a very positive experience for me. I was a little slower than I would’ve liked, and probably a lot slower than I’m capable of, but with an automatic PR, a super cool course, an affordable price, lots of friendly volunteers and a great personal support staff, I honestly have zero complaints about this race — as long as I get my race shirt in the mail, as promised. They somehow had me down for a Medium, a size I haven’t worn since probably 7th grade.

Not sure where life will take us with getting married in September, but this is definitely a race I’d like to return to do again.

Race report: Eisenhower Marathon

April 12, 2014 — Abilene, KS

Marathon #6

Place: 107/146

Time: 4:56:15

I don’t want to write this. Everything I’m about to write will be an embarrassment. It will be hard to put a positive spin on any of my thoughts from this race. But I’m a firm believer in learning from experience, both positive and negative. So here goes.

This was a bad race. A bad day. Bad conditions. Bad mentality. Bad memories. All bad.

I was prepared. I was more focused mentally than for any of my previous five marathons. My brain was ready, my heart was ready, my legs were ready… I had a goal going in of 3:42. I knew it was optimistic, but was certain I’d at least run my first sub-4, and I never really even entertained the notion that I could possibly do any worse than my PR of 4:12:37. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening.

I started off a hair faster than planned, but it was a sustainable pace for me. I felt comfortable. My first four miles were solid; ahead of schedule with a pace of 8:02/mile.

Mile 1-4 — 8:02, 8:06, 8:00, 8:00

Slowed down a bit the next few, and tried to settle in. I did just that, and still felt good through nine miles with a pace of 8:10/mile.

Mile 5-9 — 8:09, 8:21, 8:11, 8:12, 8:31

Somewhere around that ninth mile, I started to feel a little weird. I was having trouble breathing. A couple big hiccups (a trend for me; usually kicks in around mile 15) caught me off guard. The wind was picking up, but I knew I was going with it until mile 13. It was getting warmer. I figured it was just in my head, and tried to shake it off. But I slowed down as I neared the halfway mark, where I’d turn around and repeat the 13.1-mile loop. Pace at the half marathon mark was still 8:26/mile… I needed 8:28/mile, so I was still on track, but slowing down big time. I kept telling myself that 3:42 was optimistic, but I was still on track, and I just needed sub-4 or better.

Mile 10-13 — 8:56, 9:02, 9:03, 9:04

After convincing myself I still wasn’t done, and that I still had a lot to shoot for, I made the turnaround for the second half of the race, and headed into the wind. It was like a punch in the face, and I never recovered. As the temperatures rose, and the wind picked up, the hiccups got worse, and so did my ability to breathe. Every breath was a deep, painful inhale and a strain to exhale. Worse than usual, even. I wish it was something I could explain. Some weird form of asthma? Acid reflux?

*Web MD search makes me think it might be something like Exercise Heartburn, but I’ll read more into it before I jump to conclusions*

That 14th mile was my final mile that was under 10 minutes at 9:52. Most of the race was spent walking, as I never could regain my breath. The most frustrating part about this race is that my legs actually still felt pretty good for another 5-6 miles. But it’s hard to run when you can’t breathe.

Excuses aside, I needed to be better for this race, and I just wasn’t. The marathon is not my favorite race. It’s the longest race that I care about how fast I’m running, which is why I plan to find an ultra or two before I get married this fall, as well as find my way back onto a basketball court — aka: my happy place. I don’t like things I’m not good at (who does?), and I am just not good at the marathon. For now, anyway.

I finished last place in my age group — LAST. That has never happened to me. Granted, four of the six in my age group smashed my goal, so even at my best, I would’ve come in 5th of 6. But it’s still frustrating.

I will try again. Likely not until 2015 after I’ve become a married man, and had some time to research and reflect — but I will try again.

Since I feel like this post has been extraordinarily whiny, I will end this with a couple of positive notes:

My beautiful fiance Kami was, as always, incredibly supportive. She posed for a couple pictures, took a few of her own, made and displayed signs for me, handed me drinks, food, etc — even got yelled at to get off the course by an old grouchy lady who didn’t seem to care that Kami was helping me stay standing, as well as supporting hundreds of others, while being in no one’s way.

Lastly, my good friend Mike was a beast on this day. Under the tough conditions, he, unlike myself, was able to fight through them, and finish with a PR of 3:10. He also missed his goal, but a 3:10 is no joke, and neither is a PR, no matter what it is. He also came back to mile 24 or so and helped me hobble across the finish and narrowly avoid my personal worst. His selflessness is always appreciated.

Not signed up for any upcoming races just yet, but I’ve been shooting more hoops, and may check out a nearby 50K next month — you know, just for fun.

Until next time,

Derrick

Race report: St. Pat’s 10K

Mar 1, 2014 — Hutchinson, KS

10K

Place: 1/10

Time: 44:38

I did this race for simple, albeit nerdy reasons. The St. Patrick’s 5K (same event) was my first race ever in 2012. I finished in a time of 20:59, which at the time, I was thrilled with. Last year, I did the 10K at this event. It took place six days after I’d run the Ardmore Marathon in Oklahoma, and I had a rather sore knee at the time. It rained all day, but somehow I managed to win first place overall (out of just 28) with a rather slow-for-me time of 44:19.

The last two years, this was the first race after my birthday (March 6), but this year it was held earlier, and was the last race before my birthday.

The weather this year, well, sucked. Race time temperature was three degrees. THREE. Only 14 people were signed up, and just 10 showed up to run (there were 43 in the 5K). I managed to win first place overall once again, this time even slower — 44:38. I ran a pretty good first mile at 6:02, but knew that wouldn’t keep up.

It seemed like a had a big lead for quite awhile, but the guy behind me closed the gap hard — or so it seemed. I won by 11 seconds, although it seemed like 0.11 seconds. But, I’ll take the win.

As I crossed the finish line, I noticed my shirt was basically a sheet of ice. Awesome to have Kami there as always.

Fun day with some cool, yet slightly odd perks.

I won a wooden plaque that is actually a cutting board (WTF?), a “pot of gold” of Rolo candies, a giant shamrock cookie, and a free large pizza from Pizza Hut.

Now that’s winning.

Race report: Not for Wimps 10-miler

Feb 16, 2014 — Derby, KS

10-mile trail race

Place: 34/80

Time: 1:28:01

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.

Race report (and a proposal): Cupid’s Combo 10K Relay

Feb 8, 2014 — Wichita, KS

10K relay

Place: 4/19; 1st in age group

Time: 51:40

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.