Race report: Run for the Rocks half marathon

Run for the Rocks half marathon

September, 2015 — Hutchinson, KS

Half Marathon #9

Place: 133/278

Time: 2:12:52

Half marathon together with the wife on our first anniversary? Sure!

It was Kami’s first half marathon. We had no real expectations going in; just have fun. However, being the numbers Nazi that I am, I had suggested an optimistic goal of 2:30. She scoffed at the idea a bit, not wanting to feel any “pressure.” Understandable. But that 2:30-2:35 range was in the back of my mind the whole time, anyway.

A finish time of 2:30 would have meant an average pace of 11:26 per mile. I knew we’d maintain that for 8 miles or so, but wasn’t sure after that. Figured we’d do a decent amount of walking, which was fine by me. Nice weather, lovely wife next to me; I had nothing to complain about.

Started out with a 9:58 first mile. Perfect. I kind of figured if we could hover right around that 10-minute pace for a few miles, we’d be golden. Then a 9:47. Then a 9:41. Then a 9:39. We barely walked, other than briefly through aid stations. Wife was a machine on this day. That said, I was a little nervous we wouldn’t be able keep it up. Thrilled to say I was wrong.

Our overall splits on the day:

9:58, 9:47, 9:41, 9:39, 10:31, 10:17, 9:49, 10:20, 10:08, 10:43, 10:36, 10:42, 9:45

Not a single split slower than 10:43, with six miles faster than 10-per. Fantastic. She surprised herself, and I was immensely proud. But more importantly, she was proud of herself.

We crossed the finish line on the track at Gowan’s Stadium, together — holding hands. Official time: 2:12:52.

She/we managed to only walk aid stations and maybe one other time for less than 30 seconds or so. I am still in amazement of her determination. Little miss “I’m not a competitive person” demolished what she thought she was capable of. How cool is that?

We have already signed up for another half marathon; this one on Halloween in Haviland, KS — Run for Missions, it’s called. Should be a really fun day. Then again, it always is with her.

It was a pretty crazy first year of marriage. Lots of changes in our lives, with more to come. I expect Year Two to be just as crazy. And Year Three, and Year 60, and all the years in between. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I look forward to not only running more races with her, but more importantly, being next to her wherever life takes us, and however fast it takes us there.

My shirt, bib and medal from my fourth Run for the Rocks + my ninth half marathon.

My shirt, bib and medal from my fourth Run for the Rocks + my ninth half marathon.

Kami and me after her first half marathon on our first anniversary. Love that girl.

Kami and me after her first half marathon on our first anniversary. Love that girl.

Race report: South Haven Fair Run 5K & 1-mile

Fair Run 5K

August 22, 2015 — South Haven, KS

5K #34

Place: 1/45

Age Group: 1st

Time: 21:18

Though I’m nowhere near my 5K PR these past couple of years, sometimes it’s fun to get out there and see what I can do. After severe thunderstorms hit unexpectedly, I wondered if the race would actually get called off. But they subsided just in time, and we got to run. I went out in front early, and led from start to finish. Second place running made me work for it. I seriously thought she’d catch me up until about 2.7 or so.

But I was able to hold on for the W — my 10th overall win, sixth in a 5K. Paid $20 for two races, won $25 + a trophy, two medals. Also came away with a shirt and two bibs. A win, all around.

Fair Run 1-mile

August 22, 2015 — South Haven, KS

1-mile #9

Place: 8/?

Age Group: 1st

Time: 6:29

Never stood a chance in this one. Several local HS football players ran away with it. Get it? Ran. Anyway, I didn’t care much after putting in my scheduled 15 miles on the day, and already having won the 5K.

Fun day, nice support in a small town — even smaller than my hometown! Not a bad drive either; maybe 18 minutes from us here in Wellington.

Hey, neat. A trophy!

Hey, neat. A trophy!

My takeaway from the day. Not too shabby.

My takeaway from the day. Not too shabby.

Blurry, filtered start line pic, taken by my wife, Kami.

Race report: Old Settlers Day 4-mile & 1-mile

Old Settlers’ 1-mile

August 15, 2015 — Mulvane, KS

1-mile #8

Place: ?/?

Age Group: 1st

Time: 6:43

Love this event in Mulvane. My third time doing it. Had 20 miles on the marathon training plan, so I had already run 11+ miles before these races started. Tiring day, but had some fun with it. Cool shirts, too, so that’s always a plus.

Old Settlers’ 4-mile

August 15, 2015 — Mulvane, KS

4-mile #3

Place: ?/?

Age Group: 3rd

Time: 32:16

Got in miles 17-20 on the day during this 4-mile race. Steady pace throughout as I had no interest in racing this one. Got to run maybe a mile or so of it toward the end with my old college teammate, Zach Kimble, of Mulvane. One of the few races I fully expect to try to get to each year. Affordable price, cool neighborhoods, fun atmosphere, and sweet shirts. Not much else to say about this one.

20 miles on the day. Two races, two medals, one shirt. Good day.

20 miles on the day. Two races, two medals, one shirt. Good day.

Start line photo, taken by my wife, Kami.

Race report: Rodeo Run 5K & 1-mile

Rodeo Run 5K

July 18, 2015 — Pretty Prairie, KS

5K #33

Place: 4/111

Time: 22:11

Man, it felt nice to just get out on the country roads from back home and run. After spending weeks/months getting ready for this event as a Race Director, and all morning handing out packets, signing up race-day entries, etc., I knew I wouldn’t be fast, but it felt good to just GO. If it ever gets to be a big enough event that I can’t also run the race, it’ll be good for the event, but sad for me.

Last year, I was 11th of 75. Figured maybe top 10 this year since I didn’t recognize many fast names signed up. I started out in the top 7 or 8 and was actually able to pass a few people as the race went on. That was a nice feeling — one I rarely ever feel, especially in a short race. I generally start way too fast and get passed as I go. I held on for 4th place overall, despite making a push for top 3 overall near the end. Out of 111, I’ll take that no question. At my fastest, I could have won the race. But I’m not at my fastest, and that’s okay. It was a fun race.

Rodeo Run 1-mile

July 18, 2015 — Pretty Prairie, KS

1-mile #7

Place: 13/53

Time: 7:38

I had no desire to go hard in this race. I opted to run with Charles Chege, a 9-year old from Wichita — a 2-time Half Marathon runner before his 9th birthday. I told him if he ran faster than 6:30, he was on his own. We held an 8:15 pace most of the way, before he turned it up a notch at the end. He came in one second ahead of me at 7:37. Kid’s a stud. I was able to wave and chat with folks along the way + shake a few hands with friends. Doing all that during a 7:38 mile was a lot more fun than racing a sub-6. Another fun race.

As a Race Director…

The event went better than I could have expected. We’ve done better each year of my three years being involved. Volunteers were phenomenal. Having Pretty Prairie EMS step up at the last minute to hand out water at the finish + aid station was a major bonus.

I will likely make some changes to the event moving forward. Considering a distance/route change + an earlier start time and just work on always making it a more positive experience for all. While I’ve had two very nasty complainers (one via Email, one via Facebook), and a few casual in-person complainers on race day morning, the majority of the feedback I’ve gotten has been positive.

As frustrating as the negativity has been, it will also serve as a lesson moving forward — whether in how to change things moving forward, or how to practice not letting it bother me as much. :)

Thanks to everyone involved for making this such a successful day.



Welcome to Pretty Prairie, Kansas.

Welcome to Pretty Prairie, Kansas.

Race day sunrise on Silver Lake Rd.

Race day sunrise on Silver Lake Rd.

Looking down Dean Rd. after the 2-mile aid station & turn. I grew up about 2 miles south of this spot.

Looking down Dean Rd. after the 2-mile aid station & turn. I grew up about 2 miles south of this spot.



Race report: Best Road Race by a Dam Site 10K

Best Road Race by a Dam Site 10K

July 4, 2015 — Alma, NE

10K #13

Place: 8/33

Time: 46:25

Nice little 10K in Alma, NE — officially my new favorite town in Nebraska. Population of just under 1,200, but lots of cool things in this town. Really enjoyable course, too.

I haven’t been able to run a 10K hard in ages, and knew I wouldn’t be able to here. I really just wanted to have fun with it, and maybe even manage semi-consistent splits. The 5K had probably 120 or so people, while the 10K had just 33. The top two 10Kers were both females. They were blazing. Not only did they beat everyone else, but they did it by quite a wide margin. They had to both be sub-40, for sure. My 10K PR is 39:57.

I went out with a 6:59 first mile. That was an accident. I was hoping to keep all my splits in the 7s. I knew it’d be tough in the last 2-3 miles as I have been running longer, sloooooow runs, and sub-8 feels really fast to me lately. Gotta fix that. But I was able to avoid the 8s on the day, so that was good.

My splits — 6:59, 7:05, 7:25, 7:31, 7:54, 7:56

Slower each mile, but all under 8-per, and a top 10 finish. Considering my lack of hard running the past year-plus, I’ll take it.

Kami finished 25th overall with a time of 58:54. It was her fourth 10K, and her second fastest. She was also a bit concerned with lack of “fastness” lately, and was unsure what to expect. But she did awesome, as I expected she would.

All in all, it was a fun, small-town race event. They also had a pretty cool parade. We had lunch in the park with, stopped at a local dessert shop and I even had a Dad’s Root Beer from a local grocery. It was definitely a nice, old-timey Independence Day for Team Mead.



Team Mead, pre-race.

Team Mead, pre-race.

Shirt + Bib.

Shirt + Bib.

Race report: Kansas Gravel Grind 50K

Kansas Gravel Grind 50K

June 27, 2015 — El Dorado, KS

Place: x / 31

Time: DNF

This one will be short. Things went wrong, I didn’t finish. My first ever DNF. I’ve dropped to a shorter distance option on a couple of occasions, but I’ve never just not finished. Until now. I don’t love it.

Here are the excuses: I likely hadn’t recovered much mentally from the grind of Heartland 50 and the 20 weeks of training I put in leading up to it. My mileage went down. My weight went up. Woke up the day before the race with a headache and intense dizziness. It never went away until maybe right before the race Saturday morning. I got hot fast. I overheated. I got dehydrated.

About the race: The shirts were awesome. The venue was awesome. Got to see my good buddy Mike Stout, who did well, as always. I ran a solid first eight miles, most of that with two girls named Jessica and … Something. I’m sure she had a name, but I’m drawing a blank. We ran a steady 9:06 – 9:27 pace for those first eight miles.

I first saw Kami around 10.4 miles in. The aid stations were not where I thought they’d be. I quickly realized that if I have to rely on aid stations, it’s a pretty clear indication that I’m not ready. After changing shirts and hydrating, I went on my way. I made it to around Mile 12 before I started to fall apart. It was around then that my friend Allyson passed me. She was feeling strong and went on to dominate, as I expected. As for me, that’s around the time I knew I likely wouldn’t finish.

I got to Mile 14 having already walked much of the previous two miles. I considered quitting then, but remembered the cool medals that finishers got. So I changed shirts again, hydrated and kept on. Again, mostly walking. I just didn’t have it in me. I had been light-headed for a few miles and couldn’t focus for the life of me. I made it to just shy of 18, and I was done. I had to drop. Hated to quit, especially when I knew I’d just run a 50+ mile race just seven weeks earlier. But I knew it was probably the right call. I would’ve had to walk the last 14ish miles, and further damage would’ve been done.

It just wasn’t my day. Hitched a ride with Kami to the finish line where we hung out with Team Stout to see Mike finish. That’s not something I ever get to see, since he’s always so far ahead of me — and most other people. Seeing his kids run across the finish line with him was made me even more envious than his running ability does. Someday…

Later in the evening, after we’d returned home, I got much worse. Dizziest I’ve ever been. Room was spinning rapidly. I fell every time I tried to stand up. No idea what caused it. Woke up Sunday morning feeling fine, and have felt nothing similar since. So strange.

What’s next? We’re running a nearby 10K this weekend on July 4, but not “race ready,” so it’ll be for fun. At least I should finish that one, huh? I’d like to run a fall marathon and kick up training for that soon, but we’re not sure where we’ll be by then. Aside from that, I’m occupied as Race Director for Rodeo Run 5K & 1-mile in my hometown of Pretty Prairie July 18.

Nothing else planned just yet. Maybe that’s good. For now. I’ll be back.




Bib + Shirt


Mike and Me.


The wives, Kami and Shelly.

Race report: Heartland 50

Heartland 50

May 2, 2015 — Cassoday, KS

50-miler #1 / Ultra #5

Place: 23/29

Time: 12:55:39

This is it. The race I trained for for 20 weeks. I documented everything for 140 days. Seriously. I have an Excel file with miles run (912.16), time run (125:17:47), time playing basketball (26 hours), time on the bike (37 miles), time in the pool, soda drank, weight loss/gain (+3.2 lbs overall), etc.

My longest run ever coming into this had been 46 miles — 44.28 officially at KUS 12-Hour race in November of 2013. I tried and failed to hit 50 miles on a few occasions, twice on solo runs, once in a 100K, where I had to drop to the 22-mile distance. I knew I wasn’t ready mentally — and probably not even physically. So charting everything for nearly five months kept me focused on the goal of finishing my first 50-miler.

The training…

I started my training plan on December 15. Most days for those first few weeks, it was in the -20s here. I ran treadmill miles. I ran indoor track miles. Sometimes, I sucked it up and ran some outdoor single digit temperature miles — you know, when it was warm.

When February rolled around and my mileage went up, I was outdoors regularly. Mostly pavement, some trail (including a March 7 50K race), some dirt. The back-to-back 18-milers on March 21/22 were big for me. I somehow managed to run 20 seconds faster on the second day, when I really just wanted to get it done and expected some walking. Two weeks later, I ran 20 in Wichita with my great friend, Mike B. Stout, before an incredibly windy 20 solo the next day. Fast forward another week, and I ran a solo 31 in the afternoon. Battled stomach issues throughout, and still managed to get in 10 more miles the next day. My heavy mileage was done. It was taper time. One more 10/10 weekend, one of which was in 30 degrees, 30+ MPH wind, and constant rain. Nice little adventurous run that was. All that was left was to compulsively check May 2 weather reports every 10 minutes, put together drop bags, and fight off the panic attacks.

The race…

The temperature felt great at the start. I pretended it would last, and it did for longer than I thought.

Goals: 1) FINISH. 2) Don’t get last. 3) Beat 13.5 hours. 4) Beat 12.5 hours.

I honestly only cared about Goal #1. The others were really just throw-ins. In the end, I beat all but #4 — although my watch showed 12:28:40 when it hit 50 miles. So, I sorta met all my goals, maybe? Whatever.

Miles 1 – 8 — Average pace: 10:40/mile

I felt good early. The sunrise was beautiful. I was able to stay in the moment, and enjoy the scenery. Zero walking before the first aid station. I focused on my breathing and was holding up fine. Though I was glad to see the aid station and get recharged a bit. Ate a handful of Cocoa Puffs, and a few M&Ms, refilled my water bottle, threw a Jolly Rancher in my pocket, changed my shirt, grabbed my iPod, and kept going. This would be the only aid station where I did not sit down. Looking back, perhaps I should have.

Miles 9 – 17 — Average pace: 14:11/mile

I hit a wall. Hard. I was unprepared for the next 8+ miles of hills I was about to encounter. I struggled into the next aid station accompanied by some serious doubts.

My wife, Kami, was a savior here. Just seeing her was a big boost, not to mention her assistance. She was fantastic all day long. I drank some chocolate milk, popped a Gas-X pill, two Ibuprofen, and an S-Cap. This is when I puked. I hadn’t thrown up since November of 2001. I was a Junior in High School before a basketball game. Streak over. This would prove to be a huge turning point in my day. I downed a slice of watermelon, drank some Sprite, and soldiered on.

Miles 18 – 25 — Average pace: 13:42

Crazy to think I actually sped up a bit after so many miles, but like I said, turning point. Despite feeling better overall, the temps and the winds were starting to kick up a notch, and the mileage was starting to take a toll. Again, I was ready for an aid station. On the positive, at least these miles weren’t as hilly. I began to see the leaders heading back the other direction. I expected this to be demoralizing since I was much further back, but it was honestly just nice to see some other humans out there. I also got rained on for a mile or two, which felt fantastic.

I took two more Ibuprofen, ate some Pringles, something else I can’t even remember, drank some Powerade Zero, and changed my shirt — I actually did this at every aid station, which I’m glad I did. Definitely a nice refresher. This aid station is a bit hazy to me overall. I remember chatting with Kami and RD Jason Dinkel, seeing badass ultra runner April Calloway, and that’s about it.

Miles 26 – 34 — Average pace: 16:00/mile

My slowest miles of the day. If I’m being honest, I don’t remember these miles very well at all. All I know is that it was getting hot — fast. Lots of walking here.

I got to see Kami one more time at the aid station. I probably ate and drank some things, but again, I don’t even remember.

Miles 35 – 43 — Average pace: 15:36/mile

Puked again at mile 38. Sped up a lot from 38-40. Caught up to awesome runner, Megan Swett and three of her friends at around 39. Ran out of water at 41+ with over a mile to go until the last aid station. Remember that Jolly Rancher I put in my pocket at mile 8? That came in super handy here.

Here came the last aid station. Other than my great friend (and groomsman), Mike Stout, my favorite runner is probably Elden Galano. Elden, an 18-time 100-mile finisher, was working this aid station, and he had told me prior to the race on Facebook that he’d kick me out and make sure I finished. Seeing him was a boost, for sure.

I ate more here than I had eaten all day, and it helped immensely. Two popsicles (yes!), a handful of Pringles, a couple cookies — and that’s just the stuff I remember. As soon as I stood up, I knew I was going to finish. Onward I went.

Miles 44 – 51+ — Average pace: 15:53/mile

These miles were beautiful. I received a text from Mike reminding me to soak it all in during the final miles — and that’s just what I did. They weren’t fast, but they weren’t painful either, surprising as that sounds. The finish line was a great sight to see. On one hand, I know I put in the work and the training, and knew I was capable. On the other hand, I can’t believe I ran 50 miles! I’d like to eventually conquer the 100-miler, but for now, I’ll enjoy this, and yes — even be a little proud.

Thank you to everyone who supported, encouraged, and motivated me along the way. And thanks for reading, if you made it this far.

Until next time… Here are some pictures…

Bib + shirt

Bib + shirt

Mile 17 w/ Kami

Mile 17 w/ Kami

Final steps toward the finish.

Final steps toward the finish.

Finisher bling.

Finisher bling.