Race report: KRT 100 (DNF)

KRT 100

October 27, 2018 — Ottawa, KS

Place: DNF

Time: –:–:–

krt

Kansas Rails to Trails

Well, it’s only taken me nearly four weeks to write this. One of these days, I will conquer 100 miles. Or maybe not. After this one, I’m not sure when I’ll muster the courage to try again. This recap will be short.

I went in on extremely well rested legs. Read: Busy AF with little time to run. But I still thought I had a good shot at it, with the easy terrain and tremendous forecast for race weekend.

Before leaving town the day before the race, I double and triple checked my items — both necessary and un. I said goodbye to the family and hit the road — only about an hour drive to Ottawa.

I arrived in Ottawa and went straight to packet pick-up. I was certainly the first runner there, as I was actually a couple minutes early (I’m always early) and they were still getting set up.

I took the opportunity to collect my things, get checked in and take a look around.

I then went to check in at my hotel and get some food before trying to relax — that never pans out well.

As you can see, Bryant loaned me Thidwick for the weekend. He brought me some comfort the night before, but ultimately Thidwick wasn’t going to run the miles for me.

It was on the chilly side on race morning, but I knew that wouldn’t last.

Wound up needing the headlamp for longer than expected with the tree coverage and all, but no worries there. I had fresh batteries.

 

Lined up next to a couple of ultra running legends there at the start — Will Sprouse and Rene Villalobos. Definitely felt and looked out of my element next to them — and it showed with our collective results. Oh, well.

My legs felt good early. I was moving fairly well, but not fast. That was fine, as 100 miles is sort of far, after all.

Once the sun started coming out, I started noticing just how pretty the course was. Lots of crunching leaves underfoot as well.

sunrise

Somewhere between mile 7-9.

Hit the first manned aid station (Princeton) at mile 9.2, ate a couple things, refilled and kept on.

At this point, I was still feeling chilly, but comfortable. Got to the next manned station (Richmond) at mile 15.73 and still felt okay. Same protocol as before. Although I couldn’t drink the water after this station — worst water I’ve ever tasted in my life. Something was in that, man. Several others commented the same. Something akin to what I imagine foot sweat might taste like. I don’t intend to find out.

But I kept moving.

Approached Garnett (mile 25) starting to feel warm. Passed it off as no big deal, as I figured I could simply recharge and keep going.

That’s what I did, but as the next few miles ticked by, I got warmer and warmer and warmer… I knew the temperature wasn’t exactly “hot,” but when I went from chilly to warm to hot pretty quickly, I grew concerned.

Temps seemed to go from 40 to 74 pretty rapidly. Insane to think that at just 74, I could overheat as badly as I did. Looking back, I never really recovered from this.

By mile 32 or so, I felt like I was in trouble. I tried not to let it show, but it wasn’t easy. I did throw up for the first time around mile 33, which helped clear my airwaves, at least momentarily.

When I finally — slowly — reached the Welda aid station at mile 33.44, I felt like collapsing. I laid down under some trees for what felt like a year. It likely wasn’t more than 15 minutes, but in aid station time, that’s an eternity.

I got some ice in my hat, which cooled me off for a bit, but it wouldn’t last.

I eventually kept moving on toward the Colony aid station at mile 41.35, where I met my pacer, my good friend Lisa Johnson. She was great. I wish I could have put in a better effort for her. But I appreciate her greatly, nonetheless.

The camera man here captured a comical shot here — I took too long to realize he was standing there, then once I noticed him, I had a hilariously slow reaction time that makes it appear as though I might murder him.

what are you looking at

I was not doing great, but not as angry as it appears here.

Anyway, Lisa and I ventured onward and into the darkness — although I was mostly only able to walk from this point on. I was struggling to stay cool, struggling to breathe, struggling to eat… just struggling.

I threw up several more times — at mile 46.6, 54.6, 56.3, 58.3 and 60.7. Only the first two times made me feel better/cleared airwaves. The ensuing instances did not feel good.

We eventually made our way past a creepy abandoned building and a pack of coyotes and to the turnaround at mile 51.51 in Iola. With just a few minutes before the cutoff there, I knew that even moving at my best, I’d likely get cut off at some point soon. I was not moving at my best or even close to it.

That was super demoralizing, to be honest. A bit of “What’s the point?” kept creeping into my mind. Lisa was doing a great job of trying to keep me positive, but the damage had been done by that point. I was just not doing well physically or emotionally.

We did make our way back to Colony inbound at mile 61.96, where my next pacer, Adam Dolezal was waiting. I knew I was past the cutoff and was ready to be done. However, he had darn near convinced me to change my shoes and keep trying to move forward toward the next aid station when I was told they were pulling me from the course.

I didn’t blame them a bit. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little relieved. Not sure I truly had anything left to give.

If I’m being honest, I’m not entirely sure what I could have done differently to earn a different outcome.

Maybe I’ll try again someday. Maybe I won’t. I’m now 0-2 in my 100 mile efforts. For now, that’s just not where my focus is. And that’s okay.

 

Race report: Salt City Half Marathon

Salt City Half Marathon

Half Marathon #22

October 6, 2018

Place: 30/150

Time: 1:55:03

logo

2018 race logo

My sixth time running this event — my most of any race, since I just started running 7.5 years ago.

I was very happy to hear some changes were being made this year — changes I’ve been hoping for since the event started. First one: Name change. Love the new one. Simple, to the point, fitting. Second: Moving from Sunday to Saturday. So much more convenient.

The course wasn’t something that bothered me at all in the past, but the update this year was great. Loved starting and finishing in the same spot and the fact that they put a spotlight on Main Street, even if just for one morning.

course map

New course map

Another change made was the date. It was pushed back a couple weeks this year. The date isn’t something that bothered me either way, but I’m just glad to participate. You never know what you’re going to get with Kansas weather anyway. I expected to get rained on all day. Thankfully, just a few light sprinkles early. Lots of puddles, though, which was sort of fun.

Kami and Bryant were out like logs, but my mother-in-law, Lori, was willing to give me a ride to the start line. That was great. Didn’t really feel like running an extra 2.6 miles to get there prior to the race.

shirt + bib

My shirt and bib for this year’s race.

I took the above photo in the truck before she left and I headed to the start. Love the bibs especially this year. Shirt seems good, too. We’ll see how it wears on a run — should be fine.

On to the race: This was probably the steadiest half marathon I’ve run. I didn’t really have any expectations, but figured I’d be in the 2 hour – 2:10 range. I finished in 1:59:51 last year, when it was much warmer.

I also talked more during this race than I almost ever do. First couple of miles, I chatted with some guy named Mark, but there was a girl named Jessica on our heels, who wound up pulling up a bit and I ran with her the last 9-10 miles or so and talked quite a bit.

Turns out, she’s married to a guy from my hometown, who we spotted several times throughout. Fun times.

Zero complaints about my splits. In fact, I was thrilled with them. Finished in just a tick over 1:55. Had to drop back a few steps to let Jessica have her finish line photo. Ha!

8:33 | 8:38 | 8:50 | 8:54 | 8:52 | 8:38 | 8:45 | 8:44 | 8:50 | 8:41 | 8:35 | 8:35 | 8:34 |
7:12 (0.26)

After that mile four of almost 9 minutes, I thought for sure I’d continue to slip back. But I really settled in and hit a groove. Never really felt like I was pushing it much either, so that’s good.

Salt City Half Marathon

Crossing the finish line.

Even took third place in my age group, collecting a pretty sweet little trophy.

Best of all, the boy got to go up with me when I was announced.

Bryant helps get trophy

Fun moment

Of course, like everything else, he wanted to eat it.

Bryant steals trophy

Gimme that.

It was a bit cold for him, but we still got to hang out a bit post-race.

me and Bryant

The boy and me

All in all, I had a great time. No real action shots this year — we’ll blame the weather, but no worries. Still had lots of fun.

medal + trophy

2018 swag

I needed to let myself enjoy this one because…

Next up: KRT 100 — Ottawa, KS — October 27-28

Race report: Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Half marathon #20

February 3, 2018

Place: 158/224

Time: 2:20:57

logo

Race logo

After running this race last year, I thought it would be fun to return. Good miles + good chocolate = a good time. Two weeks after running the Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon, I think I may have run once in between the two events. I’ve got to find time to run again. It’s going to be a battle getting back into shape, but I’ve got some races on my calendar to focus on, so it’s time… Meanwhile…

Kami and Bryant didn’t make the trip for this one. C’mon, warmer weather! Knew I’d be slow, but figured I’d just try to maintain a steady pace (ha) and have some fun.

The race started/finished on the campus of Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe. I entered the building where packets were being handed out to collect mine before returning to the car to prep for the start.

shirt, bib, cocoa

This year’s shirt + my bib + a packet of hot cocoa.

The shirts were white again this year (ugh), but dri-fit. Normally, I don’t hope for “tech” shirts at races because they never fit right. This one fits fine. But it’s white, so I’ll never wear it as my outer layer. Could work as an under shirt, though.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, as always.

I was hoping to avoid the hat and heavier gloves, but the wind made for a colder day than I’d thought, so I had to be prepared.

Weather
Temperature: 24-28 degrees
Real feel: 20-24 degrees
Wind: 13-16 MPH

legs

Had to go with the blue laces to match the compression sleeves and shirt — though I had to wear a less blue jacket over the shirt, which spoiled my color-coordination a bit.

I started out slow by design. Having pace groups for a half marathon always throws me off. I almost never have any interest in running with a pace group — or hearing other humans talk, so I was bummed about my decision to not take the headphones.

Had to stop and pee at the port-a-potty at mile 2.6, but continued on and kept my pace semi-steady. For awhile, anyway. This wound up being my second slowest half marathon ever. Second only to the Cow Pie Trail Run Half Marathon I ran in Loup City, Nebraska in late 2014. That was ALL hills/trails. This was mostly flat pavement. Yeah, so I was slow.

Me on course

I’m not sure how far along in the race this is, but my guess is around mile 4-5. 

As expected, I hit a wall. Did a good amount of walking the last several miles and just wound up happy to be done.

Splits: 9:32, 9:20, 9:43, 9:33, 9:23, 9:29, 9:44, 9:50, 10:50, 11:41, 13:16, 13:28, 13:44, 11:05 (0.13)

Yeesh. Bad, man. Whatever, time for chocolate.

food

I ate half of one of these donuts + one marshmallow + two Hershey kisses.

The donut was stale, the marshmallow was stale and seemed like it was a year old and the chocolate was bitter. Last year’s selection was great, this year it was just awful. Major bummer.

I sat around in the gym for a bit. Chatted with a couple people briefly — mostly about the disappointing selection of chocolate — before I decided I’d take off and head for home.

Gymnasium

The set-up in the gym was cool this year. Less crowded than having everyone out in the hallway + in a lecture hall last year.

So, while I’m happy I did this race a second time and I didn’t have an awful experience, I sort of doubt that I will return.

The bad chocolate coupled with white shirts in back-to-back years, plus poor marketing of the race and results mess-ups… Yeah, probably not worth my time/money/effort to return to this one.

swag

This year’s swag. Hey, at least the medal was cool. Too bad I couldn’t eat it, huh? No, I didn’t try to eat it.

Next up: I’m actually not sure. I’m not currently signed up for anything at the moment. The next race I plan to do is Flint Hills 50 on April 21 — but who knows if I’ll find a smaller event prior to that to sign up for in the meantime.

Stay tuned.

Race report: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Half marathon #19

January 20, 2018

Place: 129/208

Time: 2:17:28

TTA logo

Race logo

Living in Topeka now, I figured I ought to do this race. Not sure why I didn’t last year, but wanted to give it a try — hills and all.

It was kinda different picking up my packet the day before a race where I was not staying in a hotel. But hey, I wasn’t mad about it.

bib, socks, shirt

Bib 53, socks and 1/4 zip pullover. Nice swag.

With very little running the past few months — even less outdoor running and not much more sleeping due to the new baby boy, I had zero expectations for this one. Not to mention the pending hills throughout the race and muddy slop in miles 8-12. Luckily, the temperatures at least cooperated.

pre-race gear

My race day attire.

I wound up seeing a few people I knew at the race — though none actually from Topeka. I spotted Tom Snook, Aaron Wilson and Jacob Carlo. I hadn’t actually met Jacob previously, but know his mom and I know he’s super fast. I also met another friend of Tom/Aaron: Shawndra Burgart. I would wind up running the first 8.5 miles or so with Shawndra.

Indian Hills Elementary

Started near here: Indian Hills Elementary

After leaving my car at the building — Kami and Bryant would meet me at the finish — we walked to the start line just down at the end of the Indian Hills Elementary parking lot on the street.

bib on shorts

Bib ready to go.

I can’t wear my bib on my shirt anymore, man. I need as many places to wipe sweat as I can find. Same reason I’ll never go sleeveless. Don’t judge me, bro.

start line

Pre-race start line.

I’d been told the worst of the hills were in the first six miles, leading up to the worst of the worst — Urish hill. But whatever, man. Like I said, I hadn’t been able to run much lately anyway, so I was just happy to be outside and enjoying the fresh, though finally not frigid, air.

Weather: 40-48 degrees, minimal wind, clouds

The miles ticked by as Shawndra and I chatted about a lot of things — comically enough, she was at the race where I proposed to my now wife back in February of 2014. Small world.

The hills were noticeable, but manageable. And then came Urish.

Urish Hill

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a doozy.

The strategy there was just to shorten the stride, look up and at least try to fake enthusiasm when you reached the top of the hill — where the race photographer just happened to be located.

me on hill

That’s Shawndra behind me. I wasn’t really trying to pass her; I just have longer legs.

My splits for this race, as usual, wound up being pretty hilarious. I knew that would be the case, but once again — just wanted to get some miles in and enjoy being out there.

8:50 | 9:05 | 9:20 | 9:11 | 9:47 | 9:32 | 10:32 | 9:32 | 10:49 | 10:51 | 12:39 | 12:33 | 11:58 | 10:17(final 0.27 mi) — 10:21 overall pace

I was still feeling pretty good until about mile 8 when the course turned to dirt — well, mud. Shawndra was doing her best to be encouraging, but I knew she’d be taking off on me shortly. I needed to pull back and would need to walk off and on the rest of the way.

I finally lost her about 8.5 miles in. The rest of the way would be solo, which I’m used to anyway, really. She wound up finishing about eight minutes and change ahead of me. Thanks for the miles, new friend.

The mud was an adventure for the next four miles. I was happy to finally see pavement at mile 12 for the rest of the way. Even after a stretch of pavement and kicking a bunch of the muck off my shoes, they still looked like this…

shoes

Yippee Ki-Yay, MF

But perhaps an even more welcome surprise than the pavement was seeing some kids I know from Shawnee Heights, where I coach middle school basketball and track. The SHHS cross country team was manning the mile 12 aid station. I told them later they should’ve been stationed earlier in the race when I was holding up better. Oh well.

I managed to finish, nonetheless.

finish 1

Official time 2:17:28

The last mile-plus was on pavement and while my time was pretty darn slow, on this day, I was just happy to finish. I enjoyed the miles along the way, which I suppose should really be all that matters.

selfie

Post-race selfie. Love the 1/4 zip.

Oh, and the best part — running a block or two from the finish line to meet Kami and Bryant — probably faster than I’d run at any point during the race.

And then, pancakes. Yum.

Got some pretty sweet swag out of the event, but the pancakes and sausage were probably the best part.

medal, bib, shirt

Medal, bib, 1/4 zip were pretty cool, too, though. Oh, and the socks.

And finally, for my favorite photo of the day — one I totally forgot the guy took until right before posting this…

Me & Bryant 2

Me and the boy. He was a hit, you guys. Everybody loves that little dude.

Next up: Chocolate Rush Half Marathon (Olathe) — February 3

Race report: Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Half Marathon #13

February 4, 2017 — Olathe, KS

Place: 80/215

Time: 1:58:45

After a five week stretch of running at least 5 miles or more every day (though mostly treadmill miles), my ankle was slowly feeling a little bit stronger heading into this one.

The Chocolate Rush Half Marathon took place in Olathe, starting and finishing on the campus of Mid-America Nazarene University.

Another cold race, similar to the one I did on New Year’s Day, five weeks earlier. This one was windier, however, which made it that much less desirable for most folks. But the course was a good one and mostly flat, which suited me just fine.

I decided to start with a pace group for the early miles, which I never do. If I’m being honest, I don’t like talking — or listening — when I run. Well, to strangers, anyway. Maybe I just don’t do small talk well. I enjoy running with friends. But when a stranger tries to chat my ear off during a race? I’m not all about that life.

Anyway, I stuck with the pace group for most of the first 6 miles or so and kept them in sight through about mile 9 or 10. I sprinkled in bits of walking the last few miles, as my recent head cold had made it tough to breathe in spurts — although not nearly as bad as I’d expected.

But my lungs worked harder than the rest of me seemed to throughout this one, as my legs, feet (ankle included) and brain all felt pretty good following the race.

Since I’ll likely never PR this distance again as long as I live, I really just wanted to run fairly consistent and finish sub-2 hours, if at all possible.

Once I lost sight of the pace group, that plan was in jeopardy, but I managed to keep my walk breaks brief and stay on track, coming in just under the two hour mark.

I did visit a little with a girl over the last few miles who said this was her first half marathon. She is a soccer player at MNU, who was talked into running by some teammates. After going together for a bit, then alternating leads between the two of us, she finished strong, just ahead of me.

My splits were good early and tapered off late. Still managed to maintain a sub-9 pace overall with an 8:58 through 13.24 miles.

8:44 | 8:30 | 8:15 | 8:17 | 8:23 | 8:12 | 8:38 | 8:34 | 8:55 | 9:41 | 9:55 | 10:13 | 10:22

Factor in the sweet, chocolatey food at the post-race festivities, this was an event I’d definitely do again.

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Race swag + my pink-laced kicks. Loved the medal from this race, not to mention the post-race chocolate.

chocolate-rush

Hold up real quick, lemme pose for a second.

Race report: Cauldron Run 10K

Cauldron Run 10K

July 9, 2016 — Topeka, KS

10K #16

Place: 20/83

Time: 55:17

This was my first race in Topeka since moving here on May 31. I wasn’t remotely ready for a 10K with all my long distance training. The nasty humidity didn’t help matters either. But it was nice to feel a race environment again, even if I wasn’t “racing” myself.

The race took place as part of the Sunflower State Games at Lake Shawnee, where I do probably two-thirds of my running. I like it over there.

I had a few walk breaks, which felt silly in a 10K, but like I said — I wasn’t prepared for fast running. Went out hard in Mile 1 (go figure) and the humidity hit hard.

Had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t there for a fast time.

Regardless, I still found a way to take second in my age group and get a sweet medal. It was a fun day all around, as Kami and I took off immediately after the race to coach a 6U soccer team we got roped into coaching since I couldn’t get a parent to volunteer at work.

We then spent our evening and ensuing afternoon participating in the mixed double tennis competition for the SSG. It was our first ever time playing tennis.

How did it go? We stunk. And it… was… awesome. We had a great time, despite the heat. I’m sure we’ll participate in another event or two next year, whether it’s tennis or not.

As for the Cauldron Run event, I can’t think of a reason why I wouldn’t do it again. It’s a location I enjoy for a good price with neat medals and a good atmosphere. Oh, and snacks.

Cauldron Run 10K

My cool medal and bib — and the shirt that I have two of but will never wear. Stop it with the white shirts, folks.

Race report: Rodeo Run 8/4/1

Rodeo Run 8/4/1

July 23, 2016 — Pretty Prairie, KS

8-mile

Place: 7/18

Time: 1:04:12

Another year of RD duties in the books. I opted to switch up the distances this year, allowing runners and walkers to start and finish at the same spot.

I knew it was the right call, but I’m not sure I realized just how well it would go until race day. Talk about convenient. Participants for the later events gathered at the start/finish area to cheer on others as they waited.

Overall, we had a few less runners and made slightly less profit than in 2015. But when you consider how much better it went overall this time around, I’m thrilled with the changes. I have big ideas for how well it could go next year, as the 80th annual Pretty Prairie Rodeo looms in 2017.

As a runner, of course I opted for the longer 8-mile distance. We had 21 sign up, 19 start and 18 finish the race. I came in seventh overall, flying by two runners in the final few blocks. I never finish that well. It hurt a little, but felt exhilarating at the same time.

The 4-mile went well, won by Josh White — a fellow Pretty Prairie boy. That distance saw 33 finish the race. Next up was the 1-mile.

1-mile

Place: 31/75

Time: 9:something

We opted to only give medals to top three finishers for boys and girls in the 12-and-under age bracket. Another good decision, I felt. Too many adults took this too seriously in the past. Knowing it wasn’t meant as a competitive distance this time around (duh), it seemed to make things more fun.

Keeping with that theme, I gave this one an easy jog on sore legs, having fun along the way, chatting with a few friends and some kids. I even gave my mom a hug at the halfway point aid station. I’d never done that in a race before.

Overall, 73 humans and two dogs completed the 1-mile course. Good times were had by all.

I have now helped raise $5,658.58 for PPHS athletics over the past five years. It started with a $1,225 donation check during the training for my first marathon. It has continued for the past four years with the organization of this race. I plan to continue to help raising money for Bulldog athletics as long as I’m allowed and able.

Whether you’ve joined us in the past or not, you should consider it next July. Should be a great time once again.

PP Main St

Pretty Prairie, KS. I love my hometown.

RR shirt

The 2016 Dr. Pepper colored Rodeo Run shirts.

RR start

2016 1-mile start

IMG_1892

2012 presentation of my $1,225 donation check to then-superintendent Brad Wade.