Race report: Heartland 50

Heartland 50

50 mile #7

April 27, 2019

Place: 34/37

Time: 13:59:28

Heartland logo

Two weeks after completing my sixth 50-miler at Flint Hills 50, I went for number seven at Heartland — the site of my first 50.

Being so drastically undertrained in 2019, I’m in “just happy to finish” mode and I’ve found myself more capable of simply enjoying the miles lately. Don’t get it twisted — I definitely need to get in better shape and plan to do so. But I’m happy, so that’s what matters at the moment.

I got into Cassoday Friday evening to collect my shirt and bib. I considered skipping the drop bags this year and almost certainly will next time around. I’ve found them to be a waste of time at this point. I stress about what to get out of them and piddle around while I try to make a decision, until I ultimately don’t utilize them much, if at all.

I did send one drop bag to the turnaround at Teeterville, but that was it.

I hung out and chatted with Jason Dinkel a little bit, along with other runners who stopped by to collect their race stuff.

bib table

I grabbed a chair. People thought I knew stuff. Ha.

I then made my way to my hotel in El Dorado. That’s the one really unfortunate thing about this race — the 25 minute communte to the race. Maybe I’ll take up camping in the future. But the night before a race? I dunno, man.

At the hotel, I laid out flat Derrick and got as mentally prepared as I could for the miles to come. I had a new hat that Bryant helped me pick out. Had to rock it for this one with the buffalo on it.

I watched some playoff basketball, some Simpsons, did some work and had a pretty tough time getting to sleep. Probably close to midnight with the alarm set for 4:30. Woof.

But I made it to the race in plenty of time to see a few folks and chat a bit.

I overheard a guy named Dan talking with Jason in a panic about not having his shoes. He forgot his main pair, I believe — and had already sent his backups with his drop bag. Something like that anyway.

I asked what size he wore. Lucky enough, size 12 — same, brother. I offered him my second pair and he took me up on it. I was pretty excited to help out another runner and about the obvious joke that my shoes would run 100 miles that day.

I didn’t find out until the aid station at Battle Creek when he caught up to me that his shoes showed up just a few seconds before the race had begun. So he didn’t need mine after all. Ran a mile or two with him and chatted some. He’s from Wichita. He wound up beating me by quite a bit — just like most others.

But that’s okay by me.

My favorite shot of the day is actually a selfie I took as I meandered through the winding roads approaching Battle Creek.

selfie hills

Whoa.

I had the pleasure of sharing the course with lots of other cool folks throughout the day. But I found myself thinking of Chris Wilson this year, as I ran some miles with him last year and he later passed away in September at another ultra race.

Loved seeing Brent Larson out there for yet another year. He and a friend were running the 50K and I got to snap a selfie with Brent after they flew by me, but before they turned around and headed for their finish.

me and Brent

Me and Brent Larson at the Lapland aid station.

Anyway, I enjoyed the course more this year than ever. I took lots of pictures and took it all in more than ever before. Not sure why. I just noticed more about the course and simply enjoyed it.

Enjoy a bunch of random shots of the course — then I’ll get back to the talky part of the race report.

There was even some water along the course. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I ever noticed a drop of water at Heartland before — except for the year we ran through a monsoon (2017 DNF).

water 1

This course is something, you guys.

This was the fourth 50 I’ve run solo. Crazy to think more than half of them have been alone now. But that’s okay. As much as I love having Kami out there — Bryant hasn’t been to one yet — it’s nice to not feel like I have to hurry because someone is waiting on me.

I did feel bummed that I forgot to pin a pic of me and the kid to my pack like last race, but I FaceTimed them at one point during the race and even took this next pic for them.

It was kind of like they were with me, without being with me.

selfie love

SHADE, too?! What? Nice.

As always, there was a good photographer out there — and for the second year in a row, he gave me a ride back to my car after I finished. Talk about working overtime.

Here are a few of his shots — including when he caught my hat falling off. I caught it.

I ran somewhat consistently, though I hit a few obvious walls, as to be expected. What wasn’t expected was what happened after Battle Creek on the way back in. Sitting at mile 42.95, I was struggling. Duh. Struggling to breathe, to stay cool, to stay hydrated, to move, you name it.

The biggest issue was my legs just deciding they were done. I knew my brain would carry me the rest of the way, but the miles from two weeks prior were hitting hard at this point.

selfie sitting

Had to sit a time or two.

My legs had nothing left — until they did.

I sat for a bit, chatted with my buddy Jeff Grabbe and another girl at the aid station whose name I can’t recall — and ate bacon. Three amazing strips of bacon. A couple cups of Coke and I was off and running.

No, really — running. Not walking, not shuffling. I actually did some real running that next few miles. I’ve never been able to run like that that late in an ultra.

My 47th mile was my fastest since mile 14. How insane is that?

Not only was I not going to have my worst time ever, but I had a chance to actually pass a few folks in those last few miles. I was tied for last place at Battle Creek, but passed three runners in the final stretches. That was a new, yet welcome feeling.

I ran almost the whole stretch of pavement to the finish and was feeling good. Well, as good as possible and as good as I ever have at that point, anyway.

Very happy to have crossed another finish line — and did so running, no less.

My seventh 50-mile finish. Kinda weird to have finished just two 50K races (2 of 4), but seven 50-milers (7 of 8). I dunno, man. I like the distance, I guess.

Still not quite ready to shoot for another hundo, but hopefully I’ll conquer that one eventually.

Next up:

  • Tonganoxie Library Run 10K — Tonganoxie, KS — June 8
  • Father’s Day 4-mile — Kansas City, MO — June 15

 

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