Race report: Salt City Half Marathon

Salt City Half Marathon

Half marathon #30

October, 2019

Place: 73/147

Time: 2:26:05

Second weekend in a row pushing the kid in a half marathon. Goal going into this one was to beat our time yet again, though we knew it would be tough — especially with the pending storm.

We got to the start line, chatted with a couple friends, snapped a couple selfies and got ready to go. No rain early on. We knew it would hit eventually, though.

But it was a good day for us out on the course — which had a small detour along the way, making it just a hair long. Bonus mileage and whatnot. 🙂

course map

This was my 30th half marathon overall, seventh in Hutchinson and third pushing Bryant. Love the half marathon distance because it’s a good workout, but my legs don’t really hurt after, which is always nice.

We got to about mile five before the rains hit. It lasted about 10 minutes before the skies really opened up for a bit, releasing a heavy downpour for a few minutes. Bryant was a trooper throughout the whole thing, getting wet but staying happy. The downpour ended, but the steady rain continued for about six miles.

dark skies

Course along Jim P. Martinez Trail.

We were soaked, but he used my towel as a blanket and we kept soldiering on. Once the rain finally stopped, the sun actually came out. That was a welcome relief for the last few miles toward the finish line.

We got in some snacks, but stopped for shorter periods of time than we had before, which helped our time. We wound up beating our PR from one week earlier by 4:17.

10:57 | 10:38 | 11:17 | 10:12 | 10:53 | 11:05 | 10:50 | 11:25 | 12:36 | 11:49 | 10:45 | 11:19 | 10:19 | 7:06 (0.28)

We did lots of talking and singing and making animal sounds throughout the race. I love that kid so much. We have lots of fun.

We did annoy a lady early in the race, who I overheard groaning and complaining about my nonstop talking. I apologize for nothing. We had several other folks mention how much fun and entertaining we were. For the second week in a row, we were the only stroller in the race. I like that.

We flew down the stretch the last half mile or so. Probably the fastest I’ve ever run with a stroller. The legs felt good and Bryant yelled “Go!” a bunch of times, so… I went.

We passed a handful of folks that last half mile or so on our way to the finish line.

Anyway, all things considered it was a great day. I didn’t get any photos with any of my friends who I saw there, like I usually do. But I did get to chat with some folks and got some fun pics with Bryant, so that’s fun.

Not sure when our next race together will be. I fear perhaps not until 2020, but maybe we can find a shorter one or two and get lucky with some weather. Until then…

bib, shirt, medal

Next up: Heartland 50 — October 12 — Cassoday, KS

Race report: Royals Charities 10K

Royals Charities 10K

10K #32

August 10, 2019

Place: 36/106

Time: 56:57

I was excited about this one. Knew it would be fun to run another race pushing Bryant in the stroller and getting to run on the field at a Major League Baseball stadium.

Despite being at the Royals’ ballpark, we had to rep our favorite team. Bryant wore his Kris Bryant jersey and I had my Cubs hat off and on, then changed into my Cubs shirt after the race.

Got there not long before the race, but had enough time to get ready before taking off. Our goal was to beat our best 10K time together of 59:01 — which was our first attempt in Tonganoxie back in June. We ran at Sunflower State Games in July, but finished in 1:01:07 due to warmer temps, along with some extended snack breaks.

SportsPhotos_DSC01574

The only shot we were in from the race photographer.

Spoiler alert: We did it. We finished in 56:57 — 4:10 faster than our previous best. Really happy with that. AND we had a blast in the process, despite Bryant falling asleep somewhere around mile four.

sleeping on field

Sleeping on the center field warning track. Shame, kid.

He wasn’t even awake for when we saw the lion mascot (Slugerrr) and the hot dogs. Bummer.

hot dogs and mascot

Fun on the video board, creepy up close.

It’s not Wrigley or anything, but it’s pretty cool being on the field in an MLB ballpark.

Our splits were pretty good, despite the slow sixth mile, due to taking it easy on the field to soak it in a little bit with some time to spare.

8:29 | 8:59 | 8:49 | 9:01 | 9:18 | 10:28 | 8:47 (0.22)

Bryant slept until shortly after we finished the race, but was probably asleep for the last two miles or so. I didn’t realize it until well after that, but wondered when he stopped responding to me. He was super talkative until he wasn’t at all.

wave near finish

Just a few steps from the finish.

We hung out a bit after the race and enjoyed the environment before taking off for some lunch.

Bryant and Soler

I’m still mad we traded 4 years of Jorge Soler for 1 year of Wade Davis, too, buddy.

All in all, it was a great morning. But then again, Bryant can pretty much have fun anywhere, doing anything. Like, playing with rocks or whatever.

B playing with rocks

Love this kid.

Later on, after probably the best family nap since before Bryant was born, we went to the Sporting KC vs. Real Salt Lake MLS game. Had a good time there, too, even though the good guys came up short.

 

 

Next up: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon — August 31 — Topeka, KS

Race report: Christmas Corral Half Marathon

Christmas Corral Half Marathon

Half marathon #23

December 22, 2018

Place: 18/63

Time: 2:01:36

mug logo

In addition to the annual Rodeo Run that I direct every year in my hometown of Pretty Prairie, I added this first-time event as a cold weather course preview to the new half marathon I’m going to add to the Rodeo Run in 2019.

I expected a really low turnout, as I didn’t put half the effort into marketing that I do for Rodeo Run. I was hopeful we’d get 20 runners in the half marathon, plus another 30 or so in the 4 Mile, giving us 50 or so total.

under tree

My personal race prep the night before.

Boy howdy, was I off.

We wound up with 63 finishers in the half marathon and 44 in the 4 Mile. What a turnout!

I ordered some finisher mugs, made some signs for the turns, set out some water and snacks, offered hot chocolate and Christmas cookies and music at the finish. Not a ton of work, to be honest.

Water and hay

Aid station 2.

I’m thrilled with the turnout we got and that everyone seemed to really enjoy the event.

bib on shorts

And of course, I had to run, too. Peep the bib number, Holmes.

As for running, I just missed out on a sub-two, but I had zero expectations and ran more consistently and steadily than I imagined I would. Much of that is thanks to running and chatting the whole way with my friend Sheila Meggers and another runner I just met during the race.

I also listened to Christmas music the entire race, so that was fun. I really love Christmas, you guys.

Main Street

Some of my friends shortly after the start — and shortly before they zoomed by me.

early race

Early race shot by PPUMC Pastor, Christopher Eshelman.

More consistent splits than I expected:

8:29, 8:50, 9:08, 9:12, 9:12, 9:10, 9:20, 9:15, 9:46, 9:35, 9:38, 9:24, 9:04, 7:43 (0.19)

I expected to do a good amount of walking, but didn’t. I stopped to get a quick drink of water twice and Gatorade with a cookie at the aid station — which just happened to be at the end of my childhood driveway. How awesome is that?

I had a shot to break two hours and contemplated going for it, but after the strong headwinds hit around mile 10, it wasn’t going to happen. I was the first finisher after the two-hour mark, so there’s that.

I finished 18th overall out of 63. Not mad about it in the least.

At the end of the day, it was a good event that left many feeling like they’d earned their holiday treats.

Bryant

Bryant was tuckered out.

Loved getting to see so many friends, but wish I would’ve gotten pictures with more of them.

I just love hosting events, especially in my hometown. Always grateful to see how many people are willing to support not only a good cause — but me as well. I have great friends, you guys.

I’m not sure I could be any happier with how this event turned out.

mug and bib

My mug and bib, post-race.

Rodeo selfie

Always good to be back here.

Start, finish

See you in July, folks.

Finally: I wrote up a little article for the local Ninnescah Valley News on the race. Read it below, if you like:

White wins inaugural Christmas Corral Half Marathon

If you were dreaming of a White Christmas, you got your wish at the inaugural Christmas Corral Half Marathon + 4 Mile race in Pretty Prairie on December 22.

No, there was no snow. In fact, the weather conditions were quite favorable for a run save for a bit of wind in the later miles.

But Josh White, 41, of Pretty Prairie, ran a speedy 1:28:14 to win the half marathon race by nearly seven minutes over second place finisher, Elmer Schlaback of Goshen, Indiana.

Sheryl Collins of Wichita was the overall female winner, finishing with a time of 1:42:11.

The course went over well with participants.

“For my first open half marathon, I thought the course was great,” White said after his win. “There was just enough dirt running versus pavement and gradual hills to keep you moving! The course was marked well and there were plenty of hydration stations throughout the race.”

White wasn’t the only Pretty Prairie native to have success in the inaugural event. Tristan England, 16, was the official winner in the four-mile distance with a time of 31:37 after a runner ahead of him all the way from Billings, Montana unfortunately missed a turn and cut the course, resulting in disqualification.

Claire Theis of Hays was just a few seconds behind England, finishing in 31:41 as the overall female winner.

The event was billed a low-key, low-cost holiday affair with a finisher mug, hot chocolate, Christmas cookies and music inside the PPHS cafeteria following the race. The participant count ballooned up higher than expected and feedback was positive.

The half marathon saw 63 finishers, while the four-mile distance had 44 participants cross the finish line. All in all, participants from 10 states took part. In addition to Kansas, other states represented included Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Indiana, Montana and Alaska.

“It’s awesome to have an event like this in our small hometown to bring people together and to give back,” White added. “Derrick did an excellent job coordinating the event. Many thanks to him and all the volunteers that made it happen!”

In addition to his win, White stuck around until the very last participant crossed the finish line and even used his connections to ensure that Santa Claus made an appearance.

The new winter event was used as a preview to the new distance being offered at the 2019 Rodeo Run, which is now open for online registration. The event will also feature a bike option for the first time ever.

Profits from Christmas Corral will go to improve the quality of the annual Rodeo Run, while any excess from both events will go to the PPHS cross country and track programs.

For any questions about the Christmas Corral or Rodeo Run events, contact Derrick Mead at derkfor3@gmail.com.

Race report: Cauldron Run 10K

Cauldron Run 10K

10K #24

July 14, 2018

Place: 21/46

Time: 50:16

This was my third year doing this event — crazy to think since we’ve just been in Topeka for two years and less than two months.

I found out a few weeks before the race that they’d changed the course, but I didn’t give it much thought since it didn’t particularly matter much to me. I just enjoy running races close to home whenever possible.

But about 18 hours before the race, I discovered the 10K route would be six loops. Yawn. Such a bad idea. So many reasons why. No one I spoke with was happy with the changes.

Anyway… Still good to get some miles in.

shirt and bib

Shirts are okay, I guess. Still don’t love grey, but it’ll do.

With my mom in town, she, Kami and Bryant drove separately and met me at the start.

selfie

Pre-race selfie

bib

Typical bib shot.

Also, one of my athletes, Haley, showed up as well. I felt a bit guilty, as I had gone to watch her run the 100 meters for the Sunflower State Games the evening before. I didn’t even stick around to watch the 200, but she and her mom still returned the favor by showing up to support me for 6.2 — well, 6.41 miles.

She did great, by the way. Rocked it in the 100 and 200 on Friday, plus the 400 on Friday. I also got to see a few other T-Bird student-athletes participating in the track & field events on Friday, as well as a couple at the Cauldron Run on Saturday.

Haley

Thanks for coming, Haley!

I was told there would be 60ish in the 10K, although I believe only 47 finished. Tough to be sure, since to be honest, they don’t do a great job with results. There’s a lot to be desired with the organization of this event.

The finishers in the 10K have dropped from 83 to 66 to 47 in the years I’ve done it. But nobody asked me, so I digress.

start

Start line photo

My only goal here was to attempt to beat my time from last year, which wasn’t overly impressive. I knew the course would be long this year, though, so I had to play with the math as I ran — no worries; I love math.

I did go faster throughout than planned and even maintained a steady-for-me pace.

7:35 | 7:46 | 8:02 | 8:08 | 8:15 | 7:37 | 7:06 (0.41) — 7:51 per mile

Given the heat and the monotony of the course, in addition to the extra distance, I’m happy with my time.

My friend — well, my social media runner friend — Melissa Brunner Brown snapped this picture of me coming in on the conclusion of my fourth loop. Melissa is a news anchor for WIBW here in Topeka and tweeted this out to her 8,300-plus followers.

Melissa Brunner pic

I should’ve known she was taking my picture. Oof.

And then there’s this one, taken by Haley and sent to me directly…

mile 4

Either after mile 4 or 5. Kami and Bryant cheering me on. 🙂

I ditched the hat and shades for my final loop. Realized I had a little kick left in me, which is always a good feeling. I took off a little faster, aiming to catch the guy ahead of me a ways, just in case he was in my age group.

As I caught — and passed him, I realized he was definitely in his 50s and I had worked hard for nothing. Okay, not for nothing. Always good to make myself work a bit.

medal

Wound up first in my age group. I now have a 2018 gold to go with my 2016 silver and 2017 bronze.

The above was Take 2 of that photo attempt. Take 1 was more fun, though…

Bryant on shirt

I don’t know what to caption this. I just love that kid.

Next up: Rodeo Run 8/4/1 — Saturday, July 21

RD duties kick into hyper-drive this week, in addition to a busy week at work. I won’t sleep much this week and will probably panic at every step. I just want to do a good job.

But really, there’s still time to sign up, you guys…

Rodeo Run 2018 logo

Race report: Library Run 10K

Tonganoxie Library Run 10K

10K #23

June 9, 2018

Place: 3/19

Time: 49:05

Library Run 10K shirt

2018 Library Run shirt

I went into this 10K similarly to last year — not particularly caring about my time. I did not expect to be fast because I haven’t been since a few years — and a few dozen pounds ago.

But it was a really fun event not terribly far from Topeka and I was excited to return again this year. The shirt was really cool once again, too (see above). I was smart enough to order a more accurate size this year, although I still wish I was a different size. But don’t we all, am I right?

Got a chance to goof off a bit with Bryant while Kami went to the restroom (I assume there was a line, like usual — hooray for being a dude).

Bryant chasing me

I sat on the ground with him in the back of the Escape stretching before the race (he rode in the stroller with Kami for the 5K).

Bryant hitting me

He likes to hit things.

I had to get my usual pre-race photos of my shirt, bib, etc.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, as always.

It was getting close to race time, but I wasn’t in a hurry.

Bryant amazed

Bryant thought we should get going.

On to the start line we went — where we’d take a few more photos waiting during pre-race instructions…

We like to be goofy. And he’s getting a lot more alert nowadays, so it makes things fun.

And of course, we had to get a group shot before I went closer to the start line.

Team Mead

Team Mead

Oh, and in my 142 races, I experienced a first…

As RD David Frese called out the “Ready, set, G…”

finish line

The power went out, this thing deflated and fell to the ground. Pretty hilarious.

It was back up and running in no more than a couple of minutes. Everyone seemed to relax a bit, if they weren’t already. All-in-all, a really well put together race, as expected. I plan to return.

But on to the race…

I went out at a fast, but semi-comfortable pace, although I knew it would be tough to maintain. It was. I knew the hills would hit hard. They did. I knew the humidity would bite. It did.

But once we hit the 5K turnaround, I learned what I suspected — I was in third place overall in the 10K race and still within striking distance of the top two runners.

That’s when the voice of Eminem creeped into my head whenever I have a shot to do something good — or when I’m doubting my abilities.

“But Slim, what if you win? Wouldn’t it be weird?”

But alas, the top two runners — who turned out to be father and daughter — pulled away and I spent the second half of the race not chasing second, but fighting off fourth.

near finish

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but that girl behind on me closed the gap HARD and made me work for my third place finish.

I edged out the girl in fourth by a whopping four seconds. Phew!

If I were 20 pounds lighter or had been working on my speed more recently, I would’ve been pretty frustrated to have not won this race. The winning time was such that I could have won it, for sure. Just not now — at my current fitness level. But that’s okay.

Took every ounce of grit I had left to hold onto third place.

I didn’t go to Tonganoxie planning to win. I went planning to have fun. I went planning to push myself a little, but not to the brink of injury. I did both of those things and left happy. That’s a win.

After my tech-free 49:19 at this race in 2017, I crossed the finish line (watch and all) in 49:05 this year — a 14-second improvement. Darn near 10 minutes from a PR, but that seems like a lifetime ago. My current self will take it, however.

shirt, bib, medal

How cool is that shirt?!

We hung around a bit, went to the park so Kami could hang out with her friend and our kids could play — then headed for home.

Not before I flubbed a finish line pose, though.

pose at finish

I meant to hold up 3 fingers here. I did not finish second. I was the second place male, but third overall. That is not a peace sign. That is me having just looked at my “2nd” male medal and forgetting what place I was overall. Oops.

Whatever, man. Like I said, this is a fun one. Numbers were down quite a bit — in the 10K at least (41 last year, 19 this year). But if my schedule allows, I’ll probably return to this one as long as I live in the area.

Running fast hurts, you guys.

Thanks to David Frese and everyone in Tonganoxie involved in putting this one together!

Next up:Father’s Day 4-mile — Kansas City, MO — June 17

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.

16426072_10101182106955442_3116393621858993626_n

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.