May 5, 2018
Back for another dose of pain on the flint hills of Cassoday, Kansas. I’ve been on this course for about 250 miles or so now across different races and pacing duties.
Two weeks after my rainy PR at Flint Hills 50 outside Manhattan, the goal here was to just reach the finish line of a 50-mile race for the fifth time. Sure, I had a time I’d like to hit, but that was out the window with the heat and the weary legs.
Said goodbye to the family Friday afternoon, then to Cassoday to get my shirt and bib.
Got to Cassoday, where I immediately saw my friends and race directors, Jason Dinkel and Barry Smith. Good guys. Thanks to them for putting on such a great event once again.
After meeting a few fellow runners and chatting a bit, I was back on the road to El Dorado to my hotel.
Lounged a bit, stressed about my lack of readiness, watched some mindless TV — and a little bit of Field of Dreams — before eventually getting to sleep.
Race morning, more stress — mostly about the incoming heat. But hey, at least it wasn’t going to rain for a change. Really wasn’t sure how long my legs could hang so soon after another 50, but you know what they say — only one way to find out.
I started with an easy, comfortable pace in the mid-upper 10s as I chatted with a handful of runners. Usually, I don’t like talking while I run, but maybe I was more relaxed with putting less pressure on my result — or maybe I’m just becoming less of a prick.
No, it’s probably the first thing.
I got to meet, say hello to, or even share some miles with several folks throughout the day — Chris Wilson, Will Sprouse, Adele Jordan, Mike Rives, Chris Bosch, Jeff Grabbe, Jason Flores, Tiffany Fiedler, Matthew Stroupe, Ken Childress, Chrissy Whitten and Brent Larson, Cindy Knull and Rosie Saiz.
Fun people from all over the place. Love the ultrarunning community.
That early stretch of 8.4 miles or so before the Battle Creek aid station is my favorite stretch on the course — on the way out anyway.
She took that right before a herd of cattle crossed the path in front of us. That was kind of an invigorating sight to see.
Got to the aid station and did my best to refuel, though, as always, I struggled to eat anything. But I topped off my bottles, saw some friends working the station and browsed through my drop bag. I had to.
I had notes/cards waiting for me in each one.
I had to show those off at each aid station.
Mentally, I held up longer than usual during these things. I was still feeling good between the ears until around miles 38-42 when the big hills hit again.
But my legs? They were shot by mile 28 or so. Tons of walking the second half of the race — even slower than walking the last 7-8 miles. I was genuinely struggling to continue moving forward. I was resigned to the fact that this would be my slowest finish time of all my 50s by about mile 40.
Bummed about it, but still kept trudging along one step at a time.
I preached to myself (and others) all day long, that life — like running — is all a matter of perspective. Last race, I set my PR — my fastest time — and got last place. LAST. This time? I was by far slower than I’d ever been before and beat five people. Whatever, man.
I did it. Heartland 50 finisher for the third time. Fifty mile finisher for the fifth time. Tough, tough day, but a rewarding experience like all the others.
I’m taking a break for awhile. No running for at least a week. My legs need to recover. Need to ease back into it when ready — and of course — improve my fitness.
But I also want to have a little fun. I’ll run the Father’s Day 4-mile race in KCMO in June, pushing Bryant in the stroller. Excited about that one.
Might do the Tonganoxie Library Run 10K the week prior, although registration doesn’t appear to be open yet.
Nothing big planned for awhile — maybe not even for the rest of the year. I really did plan to try 100 this year, but I’m still not quite confident enough in my ability to finish one of those. We’ll see.