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.

Cheers,

Derrick

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.

Post-race.

Post-race.

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.

Cheers,

Derrick

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.

Cheers,

Derrick

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Bib + Shirt

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Mike and Me.

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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.

50.

50.

Race reports: 5K Run for Hunger + Shamrock Shuffle 10K

5K Run for Hunger

March 14, 2015 — Holdrege, NE

5K #31

Place: 1/25

Time: 21:32

Local 5K that I ran for just that reason; it was local. On roads I’ve run a dozen or more times, this was a fun one. I knew I’d be slow, and I was. A week after a trail 50K race, I still didn’t have my legs completely under me yet. I also had a 10K in Kearney later in the day, and 10 miles total on the schedule for my 50-mile race training plan.

There was only a max of 25 runners in this one. I saw a few people I knew, which was nice. I went out quick early, and led the entire way. My first half mile was solid, but I slowed down from there with a 6:43 first mile. After that, I just wanted to coast, honestly. I wasn’t going to stop or walk, but just coast. Mile 2 came in around 7:15, and mile 3 at 7:18. I don’t remember the last time I ran a 21+ minute 5K, but like I said, it was a fun/simple local race. I wish there were more of those here.

I have now run two races in Holdrege and won them both. Neat.

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Shamrock Shuffle 10K

March 14, 2015 — Kearney, NE

10K #12

Place: 102/135

Time: 1:01:52

Second race of the day. Wound up with 11.5ish miles total. Knew I’d be nowhere near a 10K. I’m slower than ever in the short race distances. But I thought I’d go out hard early and see how I felt. I was top 7 or 8 for the first 1.5 or so. I believe I was in 14th place after that until the 3-mile mark.

Right around that point, I decided it wasn’t worth it. I likely would’ve maintained a top 20 finish had I kept going, but wanted to be smart and save my legs. So I stopped and sat on a bench. WHAT?! Yes. I stopped. During a race. And sat down. I got lots of sympathetic looks and comments as runners went by. They had no idea I was fine, and just waiting for my wife. When Kami came by, I ran the last half of the race with her. Saved my legs, and had 10x more fun. I’m not sorry.

We probably would’ve been sub-60 had we not chatted so much, but we had fun and enjoyed ourselves — as we always do. This was my 12th 10K, her 3rd. Both of our slowest. But it was a fun event with lots of people, so we didn’t mind a bit.

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Good day overall with seven weeks to go until Heartland 50.

Cheers,

Derrick

Race report: Stampede Trail Run 50K

Stampede Trail Run 50K

March 7, 2015 — Lincoln, NE

50K #2

Place: 12/14

Time: 7:38:14

I knew going into this one I wasn’t going to PR. Of course when I saw the weather would be nice, I entertained the idea, but that didn’t last long. I’ll get this out of the way early — I am not a trail runner. I’m not good at it. Or at least I’m not used to it.

With my first 50-mile race [Heartland 50] on tap for May 2, this 50K was simply meant as a long training run. Easier said than done when in the moment, though. My run 8/walk 2 plan worked for the first hour and a half or two, but not for nearly as long as I’d hoped it would. My recurring hiccups hit me around mile 12 this time — a bit sooner than usual. I really wish I could get that figured out, especially if I’m going to maintain hopes of finishing a 50-mile race. Anyway… With the inability to breathe combined with sore legs and more mud than I’ve ever seen in my life, I was resigned to walking much of the rest of the race, with brief run intervals mixed in. I was also unable to eat much of anything, as always. I imagine that’s probably related to my struggles to breathe, but again, I have no real idea…

I had never seen so much mud. Must have had lots of melted snow in the woods. As the temps rose, the mud got worse throughout the day. For long stretches, moving forward simply consisted of clogging through the mud and hoping my shoe didn’t come off with each step. The shoes were subsequently trashed post-race. They’d had 600+ miles on them anyway; they went out as heroes.

The course was at Wilderness Park in Lincoln, with three loops of 10ish miles. The second loop, I ran/walked much of the way with a girl named Emily. She decided we should finish together, which I was fine with since I wasn’t there to race and couldn’t run much anyway. But she had a pacer show up for the last 10 miles, and as I suspected they would, they took off without me. When I saw them take off, I knew I’d be finishing in last place.

I mean, technically, two (that I know of) had to drop to the 10-mile due to injuries, which is why my placing post at the top is an estimate. But… Among the people who finished the 50K, I was last. That sucks.

But I did say going in that my goals were to finish the race, and to not get injured. Those were accomplished.

Now to the fun part…

With just under a mile to go, I busted my ass in the mud. Splashed all over. My hands, my legs, my arms, my eye. So, I decided to make the most of it (picture below)… If you’re gonna be slow, be fun.

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Thanks to my wife, Kami, for being amazingly supportive as always. She swears she didn’t get bored while waiting out there, but who knows. Also thanks to RD Jim Craig for putting on a great event. I even got a green cotton race shirt. My favorite race shirt yet. SO tired of tech shirts and tired of the whites, yellows, and oranges. I’m bummed that I was so slow, but glad I did this race. Fun experience in the end.

I now have just 7+ weeks until Heartland 50. Time to start panicking.

Cheers,

Derrick

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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