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: Cauldron Run 10K

Cauldron Run 10K

July 9, 2016 — Pretty Prairie, 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’d 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

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

 

Race report: Night Hawk 50K

Night Hawk 50K

June 25, 2016 — Lawrence, KS

Ultra (attempt) #7

50K (attempt) #4

Place: DNF

Time: —

This was supposed to my ultimate training run for a potential 100. It would be hot, humid, dark, hilly, and all the stuff I hate. I wanted to learn to run when I’m ridiculously uncomfortable.

However, this race taught me that there’s a huge difference between pushing through discomfort and pushing through something that just isn’t fun.

Trail running, particularly the type one must endure at Clinton Lake in Lawrence, simply isn’t fun for me. The rocks, roots, low-hanging tree branches, etc. were never-ending, it seemed. The humidity made everything worse. By the time darkness hit, my decision had long-since been made.

I knew less than 3 miles in I was having a miserable time. Not just because I was struggling; I just wasn’t having any fun. I wanted to go home.

I called it quits after one 10.3 mile loop and went home to reassess. Took 5 days off from running — my most in, well, maybe since I started running.

I have since signed up for Heartland 100, minus the arduous training run I was expecting. But while 100 miles will be the most challenging thing I have ever attempted, at least that’s something I want to do.

Running over miles and miles of rocks? Not so much. If I ever want to be a rock climber, I’ll just be a rock climber. The sort of stuff this race had to offer, I never intend to attempt again. It’s just not fun.

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Goofy, flimsy hat I’ll never wear + my eventual DNF bib.

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At least the race photographer was legit. Too bad I didn’t give him a good photo op. Credit: Mile 90 photography

Cheers,

Derrick

 

Race report: Kansas Gravel Grind 50K

Kansas Gravel Grind 50K

June 27, 2015 — El Dorado, KS

Place: x / 31

Time: DNF

This one will be short. Things went wrong, I didn’t finish. My first ever DNF. I’ve dropped to a shorter distance option on a couple of occasions, but I’ve never just not finished. Until now. I don’t love it.

Here are the excuses: I likely hadn’t recovered much mentally from the grind of Heartland 50 and the 20 weeks of training I put in leading up to it. My mileage went down. My weight went up. Woke up the day before the race with a headache and intense dizziness. It never went away until maybe right before the race Saturday morning. I got hot fast. I overheated. I got dehydrated.

About the race: The shirts were awesome. The venue was awesome. Got to see my good buddy Mike Stout, who did well, as always. I ran a solid first eight miles, most of that with two girls named Jessica and … Something. I’m sure she had a name, but I’m drawing a blank. We ran a steady 9:06 – 9:27 pace for those first eight miles.

I first saw Kami around 10.4 miles in. The aid stations were not where I thought they’d be. I quickly realized that if I have to rely on aid stations, it’s a pretty clear indication that I’m not ready. After changing shirts and hydrating, I went on my way. I made it to around Mile 12 before I started to fall apart. It was around then that my friend Allyson passed me. She was feeling strong and went on to dominate, as I expected. As for me, that’s around the time I knew I likely wouldn’t finish.

I got to Mile 14 having already walked much of the previous two miles. I considered quitting then, but remembered the cool medals that finishers got. So I changed shirts again, hydrated and kept on. Again, mostly walking. I just didn’t have it in me. I had been light-headed for a few miles and couldn’t focus for the life of me. I made it to just shy of 18, and I was done. I had to drop. Hated to quit, especially when I knew I’d just run a 50+ mile race just seven weeks earlier. But I knew it was probably the right call. I would’ve had to walk the last 14ish miles, and further damage would’ve been done.

It just wasn’t my day. Hitched a ride with Kami to the finish line where we hung out with Team Stout to see Mike finish. That’s not something I ever get to see, since he’s always so far ahead of me — and most other people. Seeing his kids run across the finish line with him was made me even more envious than his running ability does. Someday…

Later in the evening, after we’d returned home, I got much worse. Dizziest I’ve ever been. Room was spinning rapidly. I fell every time I tried to stand up. No idea what caused it. Woke up Sunday morning feeling fine, and have felt nothing similar since. So strange.

What’s next? We’re running a nearby 10K this weekend on July 4, but not “race ready,” so it’ll be for fun. At least I should finish that one, huh? I’d like to run a fall marathon and kick up training for that soon, but we’re not sure where we’ll be by then. Aside from that, I’m occupied as Race Director for Rodeo Run 5K & 1-mile in my hometown of Pretty Prairie July 18.

Nothing else planned just yet. Maybe that’s good. For now. I’ll be back.

Cheers,

Derrick

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Bib + Shirt

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Mike and Me.

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The wives, Kami and Shelly.