Race report: Cauldron Run 10K

Cauldron Run 10K

10K #24

July 14, 2018

Place: 20/47

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

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Race report: Father’s Day Four Mile

Father’s Day Four Mile

June 16, 2018

Place: 65/350

Time: 36:41

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Father’s Day Four Mile

All week, leading up to my first race pushing Bryant in his stroller, we talked about “the big race.” We talked about how we’d pass people and say “Catch ya later, nerds!” (in a funny voice, of course).

The race was to be a loop course around Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City. It proved to be a really cool course that I’d love to return to. This could be a fun traditional event for us, should it continue.

shirt +bib

Instant favorite shirt, too.

We got out, ate some graham crackers and geared up for the big race.

prerace selfie

We got in a few pre-race selfies, of course.

I’ve got the coolest kid, you guys.

cool guys

For real. Kid’s a baller.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts once again.

We got there a bit early, because that’s how I roll. If you’re not early, you’re late. I’m determined to teach him that lesson. When better to do it than… well, early.

photog

We even stopped for a photo from the race photographer.

love him

We were ready to go!

4

Finally heading to the start line!

start

The start line. We’re on the left. 

We started out near the very back out of courtesy. Didn’t want to get trampled. I’d estimate 20 people at most started further back than we did. We had some work to do.

Bryant got really fussy upon starting and I worried he’d have a tough time throughout the race, which would’ve led to a lot of walking. I was fine with the idea of having to walk and prepared for that possibility. I just wanted him to do well and maybe even have fun.

It was really congested early on, as we had a lot of maneuvering to do to pass some people. Lots of “zoom-zoom”-ing and weaving in and out of people. The more open space we saw, the better he did. I even heard him laugh once or twice. Love that.

We settled in and maintained a steady-ish pace for awhile, although obviously slower than I’d run without a stroller.

We got to see some pretty sweet views along the ways. It was an airport — and I love planes.

skyline

That KC skyline is something else, you guys.

We even had a couple of hills, which seemed worse because of the stroller than they would have otherwise.

Bryant stayed happy and awake until at least 2.5 miles in, when he dozed off. He slept through a fairly noisy bit of construction at the 3-mile mark and I expect mostly through the finish line.

finish

Official time — 36:41

Our splits8:44 | 9:31 | 9:28 | 8:20 | 6:40 (0.11) 

Yeah… that last tenth or so of a mile — 6:40 pace. Wow. We were flying. Had to pass those last few guys before the finish.

We got a kick out of people sighing when they were passed by a stroller. But hey, everyone did their best out there — another lesson for B Dizzle.

I was so proud of him — as always.

champion

Even when he’s sleeping, this kid is a champion.

We got a sweet medal to go with the sweet shirt and the cool KC Running Company bib.

shirt w medal

Swag

Our medal is now hanging on Bryant’s wall just above his light switch. We’ve talked about it every day since the big race.

pose w medal

He earned that bling.

eat the medal

Chomp, chomp.

Next up for me: Freedom Run 15K — July 4

Next up with Bryant: Undecided

 

Race report: Heartland 50

Heartland 50

50-mile #5

May 5, 2018

Place: 37/42

Time: 14:23:09

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Heartland 50 logo

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.

shirt and bib

My favorite shirt from this event yet. This one actually (sort of) fits. Yay!

After meeting a few fellow runners and chatting a bit, I was back on the road to El Dorado to my hotel.

Pizza Hut

But not before my customary pre-race dinner from Pizza Hut.

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 outfit prep

Race gear ready.

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.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, mismatched laces. Go time.

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.

Anyway…

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.

Adele's shot

Courtesy photo: Adele. Thanks, friend!

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.

peace sign

Race photographer was great, as always. Glad he was able to capture me having fun, since I wasn’t always.

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.

hills

This wasn’t that moment, but a glimpse of a hill or two.

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.

black + white

Black and white photos make people look tougher — I guess.

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.

finish

I love distances where just reaching the finish line is always an accomplishment.

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.

Award + sticker

Another buffalo/horse shoe award and sticker.

3x Heartland

2015 | 2016 | 2018

5x 50

50 x 5

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.

Race report: Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Half marathon #20

February 3, 2018

Place: 158/224

Time: 2:20:57

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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 wear 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 would 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: Freedom Run 15K

Freedom Run 15K

15K #3

July 4, 2017 —Lyons/Sterling, KS

Place: 8/24

Time: 1:14:27

Made my way back to the Freedom Run for the first time in a few years. I had run the 15K in 2013, then the 5K in 2014 with Kami. Hadn’t been back since. This run is an incredibly monotonous course, starting at Lyons High School and finishing in Sterling. Basically, 8.7 miles of the 9.32 mile course is one straight shot along the highway with no turns.

It’s a small-ish race (the 5K had a good turnout of 131, although quite a bit smaller than the 255 in 2014) with only 24 finishers in the 15K. The shirts in year’s past were not exciting at all, as I wore each probably twice each.

This year, however, was different.

shirt

One of my favorite race shirts so far. I don’t even like red, but combined with the blue, the faded look and the boot design, I’m a fan. Doesn’t hurt that it fits pretty well.

Kami dropped me at the start at Lyons High School. We chatted with some running friends before she took off toward the finish.

flag

Here’s a picture Kami thought I would like. I present to you: A wall. And a flag. And some flowery things. Enjoy.

Always good to see Wyatt and Kristina Clifton and Bev Exposito. Made a new friend in Delaine Wright, who wound up proving to be a challenge. I finally caught up to her around the 5 mile mark and only beat her by a minute and change. Saw some other old running friends at the finish — ones who had done the 5K — Mark Kauffman and Ron Blanton. I know my friend Courtney Wilkey did the 5K as well, but I didn’t get a chance to see her. I’m sure there were others I’m missing. Point being: It’s a good time to run some miles and see some friendly faces.

I planned on just trying to run a steady, goal marathon pace somewhere between 8:30 – 9:00 per mile. I had no interest in flying out of the gate and racing anyone or any particular time.

That plan didn’t really hold up too much. I threw down a 7:52 first mile and knew I had to slow down, so I did. But not for long. Ran an 8:12 mile two and figured I might as well see how long I could hold a pace around 8:00 or so. Turns out, a while.

7:52 | 8:12 | 7:55 | 7:53 | 7:57 | 8:02 | 7:57 | 8:07 | 8:02 || 7:34 = 7:59 / mile overall

I finished in eighth place overall, seventh male and first in my age group. I’ll never understand the age groups for this particular race, as my age group was 26-35.

I got edged out in the last mile by a guy who was 38 and would be in my age group in many races. But… I’ll take the age group win, all the same.

plaque

My collection of plaques is limited. I’ve got medals, trophies, even a few ribbons — but only one or two of these bad boys. I’ll take it.

Hung around a bit after to chat with friends and get results before changing and hitting the road. Had a good time.

w Cliftons

Me and the Cliftons. Good people.

w Bev + Delaine

Bev, Delaine & me: Age group winners.

It sure was good to be back near family over the weekend.

I played in the Sterling Tennis Tournament on Saturday, July 1 — yeah, you read that right. No, I don’t play tennis. I finished 8th place…

There were 8 people in the tournament. But, man, I had a blast. I even won a set. Yeah, I know, it’s not running stuff. But it was part of my holiday weekend — and the main reason I hadn’t shaken off the soreness until probably right before the 15K began.

Final results:

First match: 0-6, 0-6

Second match: 3-6, 6-2 (4-10)

Third match: 0-6, 0-6

tennis 1

I managed to hit a few good shots. For a guy who doesn’t play tennis, anyway.

tennis 2

Tennis Skill Level: Novice.

Race report: Arrowhead 5K

Arrowhead 5K

5K #39

June 16, 2017 — Kansas City, MO

Place: 97/1,871

Time: 22:35

While I don’t like 5Ks (running fast hurts, man) and have no intention of ever truly racing one again, occasionally one will pop up that I’ll decide to participate in just for kicks. This was one of those.

pre-race

Pre-race view of the finish area from up above.

Though I’m a Bears fan, I came across the Arrowhead 5K with the opportunity to finish on the 50-yard line of an NFL stadium and had to do it. I’ve done other sports-themed 5Ks before and enjoyed them. This was a good one to add to that list.

  • MLB All-Star 5K
  • MLS All-Star 5K
  • Big 12 5K
  • Arrowhead 5K
5k start

Start line area an hour or so before the race.

We killed a little time in the parking lot before the race. Probably the closest thing to tailgating I’ll ever do. Not usually my thing, but with the much smaller gathering than a football game, it made for a cool set-up.

shirt

My shirt and bib, along with the football I carried throughout the 3.1 miles.

Since I didn’t care about my time anyway, I decided I’d run the whole race carrying a football. That was a fun addition. Though my hands got pretty sweaty late in the race, I managed to finish without fumbling.

For this Bears fan, the best that could be asked of me for this one is my red shorts.

shorts

Bib pinned on and ready to go.

I had no intention of trying to race anyone; just wanted to have fun with the environment. Over 1,800 runners in total. We got to circle Kauffman Stadium as well, before circling the spiral ramps and finishing on the 50 at Arrowhead.

I did gather a little speed and passed 10 people or so heading down the ramp as we approached the field — which was good because I finished 97th overall, so that got me inside the top 100.

I finished in 22:35, which is a 7:17 per mile pace. Since I’ll never PR again (18:32 | 5:58 per mile), I never really have any 5K expectations anymore. So I’ll take that time, especially given my current fitness, the fact that I carried a football the whole way, dealt with some steep upward spirals and stopped for water at both stations.

The environment after the race was pretty cool.

end zone.jpg

Sitting in the corner of the end zone after the race.

And of course, I had the best company, as always.

post race

Kami and I on the field. Love that she’s repping the T-Birds at Arrowhead.

I had a good hot dog, attempted a field goal (don’t ask), played some catch and played a pretty epic 30-minute game of Giant Jenga. We even had a crowd gathered around after a while. Guess who won?

Jenga

Not her. #GiantJengaChamp

Had to pose for a couple of corny photos in the process, too.

50 yard line

On the 50.

on the logo

On the logo.

Not sure I feel the need to do this race again now that I’ve done it once. If it was Soldier Field, I could see it. #GoBears

Definitely love the atmosphere of the sports venue races, though. Even got a cool medal out of the day — despite the Chiefs logo, I guess.

bib and medal

Bib and finisher medal.

Race report: Flint Hills 50

Flint Hills 50

50-mile #3

April 15, 2017 — Manhattan, KS

Place: 12/13

Time: 11:52:57

Flint Hills - shirt.png

Race shirt + bib courtesy of Manhattan Running Co.

I was unsure of myself heading into this race, as in many others. My training had lagged a bit due to being busy at work and with helping coach track and field this season at Shawnee Heights Middle School (Go, T-Birds!) But I learned in a big way that there’s something to be said for fresh legs.

I’ll say it right now: This is the smartest race I’ve ever run. Due to that and several other factors, so far it is perhaps my new favorite one as well.

I was almost five hours behind the overall winner and one hour, seven minutes and 24 seconds behind the person in front of me. But I tell kids all the time to just do their job and worry about themselves. For once, I did a good job of following my own advice. I simply ran my own race, and it felt great.

During the race, I texted Kami every hour with some updates — partially to help her know how I was doing, partially to aide in this very race report. So, here goes…

Only 18 signed up for the 50-mile distance, although there were two no-shows, leaving 16 of us at the start. Here’s me…

Flint Hills - start

Before starting my third 50-miler.

One thing I loved about this course was the breaking up of the route with two 25-mile loops, the three different one-mile-ish stretches of pavement each loop (total of about six miles of pavement) and more turns than the Heartland course I was more accustomed to.

After 1 hour — 5.25 miles; 15th place of 16

I was keeping a smart, steady pace and never really worried about other runners — at least until later on when I tried to avoid last place.

Ate a small chunk of banana at the aid station 4.35 miles into the race. Eating during a race is always something I’ve struggled with.

The official race photographer was out and about getting good shots all day. Here’s one of me at some point in the first couple of hours…

Flint Hills - Layton Photography.png

Photo courtesy: William Layton Photography

After 2 hours — 10.42 miles; 15th place of 16

Ate another chunk of a banana at Mile 10 aid station. Seriously, that’s all I ate? Sheesh, man, I got problems.

The rains were off and on early in the day, though steady and fairly heavy at times through mile 10.5 or so.

I took this shot to send to my friend Lisa at Mile 14.5 after the rains had cleared but some clouds remained.

Flint Hills - landscape

The Flint Hills never disappoint.

After 3 hours — 15.18 miles; 15th place of 16

Ate one cookie at Mile 12, then popped a Gin Gin candy shortly thereafter. That lasted until Mile 15.

It was during that third hour that I really started to feel soreness for the first time and the winds started picking up quite a bit. Pretty sure the gusts were in the 30s at certain points in the day.

After 4 hours — 19.45 miles; 15th place of 16

Dry heaved at Mile 16.3. It’s an odd thought, but I’m always thankful when this happens, as I really struggle with breathing during long runs and this somehow helps clear my air ways or something. Felt better immediately and kept going. This would happen three or four more times throughout the race.

Ate one Lemon Oreo, one piece of watermelon and drank one cup of Coca Cola at Mile 19.45 aid station.

After 5 hours — 23.4 miles; 15th place of 16

I don’t remember much of that stretch, which I’m taking as a good sign. I was ready to recharge a bit at the end of the loop and was already determined to run the second — versus being convinced I was quitting halfway through like I felt the last time I ran a 50.

Even as the sun came out and it began to warm up quickly, I found a way to stay upbeat for the most part.

Flint Hills - selfie.png

Selfie on the course.

One last mental boost before the end of the loop, as I crossed paths with a group of supporters who was clearly waiting on a particular runner. But they were friendly and enthusiastic, so what did I do?

Flint Hills - group shot.png

I took a selfie with them.

Back at Green Valley Community Center, where the race started/finished, I recharged a bit. I applied some sunscreen, grabbed my shades, toweled off and changed my socks.

I also ate another chunk of banana, another Lemon Oreo, another piece of watermelon, a tiny sliver of turkey from a sandwich, drank another cup of Coca Cola in addition to my regular all-day intake of water and Powerade Zero (I alternated blue and purple).

Oh, and of course I grabbed a picture with my biggest supporter…

Flint Hills - me and Kami.png

She’s my favorite.

I left the start/finish area for my second loop after 5:28, giving me 7 hours and change to complete the second loop and beat my 50-mile PR of 12:55:39. I was feeling positive mentally and knew that if I stayed smart, I had it in the bag.

I was informed that three people had opted to drop out of the race, knocking the number of us still on the course down to just 13 for the 50-mile distance.

After 6 hours — 27.25 miles; 12th place of 13

The guy behind me was entering the start/finish area as I was leaving. He stayed a little less than I did, too, and continued to gain on me for the next couple of hours. I was convinced he’d pass me.

But as long as I stayed on pace to beat my best time, I genuinely did not care.

After 7 hours — 31.52 miles; 12th place of 13

Ate an Oreo and drank a cup of Coca Cola at the Mile 29.35 aid station. For the past several miles, I had been counting steps and walking hills. In my last 50-miler, when I was really struggling, experienced ultrarunner Ken “TZ” Childress encouraged me to run 200 steps and then walk. I did this off and on until very late in the race when I could only muster 100 — or sometimes 50 — at a time.

This sounds, and is, incredibly monotonous, but it helped keep me focused — and most importantly — it kept me moving forward.

After 8 hours — 35.28 miles; 12th place of 13.

Ate a piece of watermelon, drank a cup of Coke and drank some Sprite as well. I also snacked on some Sour Cream & Onion potato chips off and on during these late hours. Ah, salt.

Guy behind me was still on my heels, as he and his brother (his pacer) were now just a couple hundred yards or so behind me for the next few miles. I just knew he’d get me, but was doing my best to hold him off. That, too, kept me going.

After 9 hours — 39.05 miles; tied for 13th place of 13

The dude behind me was no longer behind me by this point, as he caught up to me at the aid station. The three of us — me, him and his pacer/brother, walked together for probably near half a mile or so. He said he’d be walking the rest, but I wasn’t sure if I believed him or not — despite him saying 50K was his previous long run.

Even still, his eventual finish time was still far under my previous best time. Great performance by him — and all the other runners out there in both the 50-mile and the marathon distances.

After puking up some nasty green goopy-looking stuff that was impossible to identify since I didn’t remember eating any algae, I again felt much better and took off. After being even at 39.5, I would eventually hold on to beat him by a little more than 15 minutes.

After 10 hours — 42.89 miles; 12th place of 13

Not by an exorbitant amount, but I covered more ground during my 10th hour than during my ninth or my eighth. Hey, that’s neat. Managed to stay focused and moving throughout the day. Big win for me.

Couldn’t get my iPod to turn on, so I had zero music all day long and only the last inning and a half of the Cubs game. Otherwise, it was just me and nature. And it was kinda awesome.

After 11 hours — 46.56 miles; 12th place of 13

Counting steps was still paying off, as I was really covering some ground with the whole run/jog/hobble-but-at-least-it’s-faster-than-walking thing.

I knew I was going to smash my PR, but the majority of that second loop was spent also doing math, trying to stay on pace to beat my PR by an hour. My previous PR was set at Heartland 50 in April 2015, and I hadn’t PR’ed in any distance in longer than I care to remember.

As I hit the pavement for the final time about a mile from the finish, I knew I had it unless I fell down and knocked myself unconscious — which wasn’t a given at that point.

Mission accomplished, though.

Flint Hills - finish.png

11:52:57 (New PR)

It’s always nice to cross that finish line in long races like this — especially feeling accomplished like I did. It’s no secret that I’m my own biggest critic, so it’s no small thing when I say I’m very happy with how this race turned out.

Flint Hills - me and Kami at finish.png

The company when I’m done isn’t too bad either.

This was a great day and a sweet race that I’d definitely love to do again. Huge props to Race Director Adam Dolezal, who did a terrific job with this first-year race. I know he was excited to host this event in his hometown of Manhattan. I even got a shot with him after I finished.

Flint Hills - me and Adam.png

Thanks for a great race, Adam.

And to top things off, I earned my first buckle. Even though it’s a common finisher award for ultra races, my other ultras have given different awards. So, yeah, first buckle for me. Sweet.

Flint Hills - buckle

50 mile buckle.

Now, with less than two weeks to prepare for this year’s Heartland 50 (9 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes at the time of this post), I need to shake off the soreness and get ready to do it all again — on a tougher, longer (almost 52 mile) course. Until then…

Because I’m a stats/numbers geek, let’s wrap this up with some numbers…

Mile 1-10: 11:29/mile

Mile 11-20: 13:25/mile

Mile 21-30: 14:57/mile

Mile 31-40: 15:43/mile

Mile 41-50: 15:45/mile

  • 6, 205 calories burned
  • 7th ultra finish
  • 4th longest run ever (for now)