Race report: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Half Marathon #34

January 18, 2020

Place: 47/123

Time: 1:58:19

Seems like we just did this. Back in 2019, this event was pushed back 7.5 months to August 31, which made myself and others skeptical that the event would continue moving forward. If it had been up to me, I would’ve kept it on Labor Day weekend. But it wasn’t — and they didn’t.

shirt design

I don’t love the shirts compared to the pullovers in previous years, but it’ll do.

I was impressed they got 100+ people signed up again with that quick of a turnaround, but it’s always nice to do a race here in town and not worry about travel and lodging.

Two weeks prior, as usual, I ran the course preview run, where I got to meet a couple new folks and had a good time, despite the cold temps.

forecast

It would be much of the same on race day. This was the race day forecast as of a few days prior.

Both times I’d run the race previously, I had run it in 2:17:something, going just a few seconds slower the second time than in the first. In the preview run this time around, I got it done in 2:13:something.

Wasn’t sure what to expect on race day. I knew sub-2 was highly unlikely and I had no aspirations of that, if I’m being honest. I was just hoping to beat that 2:17, but didn’t expect faster than 2:10.

Guess again.

I went to work for a bit first thing, to get our youth basketball game tipped off and actually wound up officiating a game due to an illness by one of our veteran officials. Nice little race day warm-up, am I right?

I then went to Indian Hills Elementary School, the site of the start line.

Indian Hills Elementary

Indian Hills Elementary School

swag

Pre-race swag.

back of shirt

Back of the shirt.

I went out strong, with plans to fall back a bit as the miles ticked by. I told myself that I’d hold the pace until I felt I couldn’t any more, then back off.

Turns out, that time never came.

I also told myself to run up the hills because I knew once I got to the tops of them, I wouldn’t want to start running again — so that helped.

Urish Hill

At the top of the hill on Urish.

I realized after a few miles that I would probably beat my 2:17 time.

I realized after I conquered the Urish hill that I would likely beat 2:10.

I realized once I hit the gravel/dirt roads at mile 8 that if I could hold a steady pace, sub-2 wasn’t out of the question. Honestly, that’s what kept me going.

I saw the cross country team from Shawnee Heights High School (I coach at the middle school and knew a few of them) volunteering at the mile 12 aid station.

Knew I would beat two hours, as long as I stayed moving and didn’t walk. Actually thought to myself that if I could get down to the 1:57 range, I could potentially beat my time by 20 minutes.

I didn’t quite get that, but it was still a very successful day, as I crossed the finish line in 1:58:19. I was pretty excited about that time — especially on this course. Sub-2 is pretty challenging for me these days, but this course is really tough and I often commented how it just wouldn’t happen here.

But it did.

Can’t be mad about that.

Splits: 8:47 | 8:56 | 8:47 | 8:51 | 8:51 | 8:48 | 9:14 | 8:48 | 8:56 | 8:52 | 9:31 | 9:15 | 8:59 | 8:07 (0.2 mi)

post race

I got fifth in my age group, but they had extra mugs, so I got one. I felt like I earned it on this day.

Next up: AlfaDog 40 Mile + 25K — March 7 — Pretty Prairie, KS

Race report: Hangover Half Marathon

Hangover Half Marathon

Half Marathon #33

January 1, 2020

Place: 126/171

Time: 2:33:14

logoYet another Hangover Half Marathon to start the year off on a good note.

Weather: Mid-20s to low-30s, low wind, sunshine.

I had no real goals going into this one, as I just wanted to get some miles in and enjoy my new watch I got for Christmas. Kami got me the Garmin Forerunner 945 watch — hands down the coolest and most unexpected Christmas gift I’ve ever received. I love it and am still playing with new features on it each day since.

I actually wound up running a pretty good pace in the early miles and felt good throughout. At the midway point, I decided I’d pick up the pace a little bit. I was on pace to finish in the 1:54 – 1:56 range if I maintained my pace — although I was actually speeding up.

early

statue

I feel you, bro.

UNTIL… I took a wrong turn. No, really. Myself and at least two other runners got off course and wound up going too far. When it was all said and done, I had run 15.38 miles — officially finishing my slowest half marathon time ever. But pace-wise, I wasn’t mad about anything. I still had a really good run overall.

finish

After ditching a couple layers and laughing about the extra mileage.

swag

Finisher swag.

Next up: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon — Saturday, January 18

Race report: Christmas Corral Half Marathon

Christmas Corral Half Marathon

Half Marathon #32

December 21, 2019

Place: 27/50

Time: 2:19:10

Directing this second year event was another fun experience. Our numbers dipped slightly, as we had just a few fewer finishers than in 2018, but we had great weather once again and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Despite not running in the past three weeks, I decided I’d give it a go — with a suggestion from my good friend Lisa Johnson to run together giving me just the nudge I needed.

flat derrick

Rather than finisher mugs, we opted for stocking caps, offering two different colors for participants to choose from. They turned out to be even better quality than I expected and they seemed to go over well.

hats

Got up early with my brother Jon to mark the course as Kami, her sister Macey and my mom all prepared the registration table and post-race items like hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

2.25 aid station

Sunrise at mile 2 as we marked the course.

5.25 aid station

Sunrise at mile 5.25 as we marked the course.

I gathered folks in the high school gym lobby, gave a few pre-race instructions and we headed to the start line for the start of the half marathon.

start group

Group at the start line. Courtesy photo: Christopher Eshelman

DCIM101MEDIAMAX_0016.JPG

Drone shot of the start line. Courtesy photo: Corby Stucky

Lisa and I eased in to a fairly comfortable pace, all things considered — that being me on rusty/heavy legs and out of shape lungs, with Lisa having dealt with an illness recently.

Neither of us was on top of our game, but I had a great time running and chatting with my friend, nonetheless.

Lisa and me best

Lisa and I running together near the first aid station.

We got a little slower as the race went on, but still kept moving. It was nice to see the pavement for the last stretch and turn by the water tower — even though the old classic one is now gone. The new one will take some getting used to. Anyway…

Lisa and me 1

Lisa and me, nearing the finish line.

We crossed the finish line and I went inside to eat some cookies and enjoy some hot chocolate. I then helped with some finish line duties and cheered folks in as they finished their own race.

lisa and me selife

Always good to see my friend and share some miles.

2019 Christmas Corral Half Marathon + 4 Mile RESULTS

Thanks to everyone who joined in for this fun, low key event for the second year in a row. I’m always happy to see a good turnout at an event I host.

A day or two after the race, I received our 2020 Rodeo Run logo, which runs along the same course…

2020 Rodeo Run logo

Registration for the 2020 Rodeo Run (July 18) can be found — HERE.

Registration for the 2020 Christmas Corral (December 19) can be found — HERE.

While you’re at it: Registration for the 2020 AlfaDog 40 Mile + 25K can be found — HERE.

Next up for me: Hangover Half Marathon — January 1, 2020 — Leawood, KS

Race report: Thanksgiving Day 5K

Thanksgiving Day 5K

5K #53

November 28, 2019

Place: 3/30

Time: 25:17

The annual free Thanksgiving Day 5K was moved at the last minute this year, since the Gazaway family recently moved and was unable to host this year’s event.

I helped supply bibs, while others helped organize and set up a course, starting and finishing at Prairie Hills Middle School in Hutchinson.

Usually, there are 250-300 people in attendance, but the changed venue and gross weather resulted in only 30 runners this year.

No worries. Still good to get in some miles with friends before spending the day with family eating everything in sight.

me, Jess, Lisa

Jess, Lisa, me

I ran the whole race with my friend Lisa, who is quite a bit faster than I am at this point. But we had fun running together and chatting, eventually tying for third place overall.

Splits: 8:20, 8:18, 7:53, 7:17 (0.1)

Lisa and me

Lisa is easily one of my most favorite running friends.

Next up: Christmas Corral Half Marathon — Pretty Prairie, KS — December 21

 

Race report: Psycho WyCo 10-mile

Psycho WyCo 10M

10-mile #4

February 26, 2019

Place: 140/192

Time: 3:15:13

logo

Psycho WyCo Run Toto Run

I signed up for this 50K several weeks in advance, knowing my massive amounts of overtime at work were not allowing me to run much — if at all. I actually didn’t touch my running shoes for three weeks leading up to the event.

That fact, coupled with my hatred of hills, snow, ice, and most everything about this event, convinced me pretty easily to drop to the 20-mile distance before the race began.

selfie

Pre-race selfie.

I knew less than three miles in that much wasn’t even happening.

Let me be clear: I love running. Trail running is a lie, as far as I’m concerned. There was almost zero running for me in this. This is, simply put, rock climing. No thanks. Sloshing around through the mud, slipping and sliding on the snow and ice? No thanks.

So I took my 10-mile finish and bounced while I was still in one piece and in fairly positive spirts. Not much else to say about this one, other than to say maybe it’s good to do a trail race once every three or four years to remind myself how much I enjoy actual running — not that I had really forgotten.

Not much else to say about this one, so here are some pictures to document the event actually happened — and then we’ll just move on.

fire at mile 8

Fire pit at mile 8.

swag

Race swag. A mug I won’t use, a shirt I won’t wear, a sticker I won’t display, a bib for distance I didn’t run. LOL. Nice. 

Mile 90 photo

Shot of the day. Photo courtesty: Mile 90 Photography

Next up: Liberty Hospital Half Marathon — March 2

Race report: Hangover Half Marathon

Hangover Half Marathon

Half marathon #24

January 1, 2019

Place: 35/115

Time: 1:57:07

logo

Always good to start the year off with some miles — cold as they may be.

With a real feel of 8 degrees throughout the race, this would be pretty frigid. Thankfully, though, I managed to warm up — or at least go numb — a few miles in. That made for a tolerable run for the duration.

Love the cheap, low-key feel of this one.

I found a parking spot about 30 feet from the start line and lingered in my car until I absolutely had to get to the start line. From that point, I wasn’t thrilled about running. It was cold, man.

selfie

Pre-race selfie.

And of course…

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts.

pre race cold

This perfectly captures my mentality in the moment: “Don’t talk to me. It’s cold. This is dumb.”

I didn’t look at my watch once until I stopped to pee, so I genuinely had no idea what my pace was like. My watch was covered by my sleeves for warmth, so I was actually fine with not looking at my watch. I looked once at that point, then not again until after the turnaround.

early in race

In the first mile or two of the race.

I was moving faster than planned overall, but I had kept it steady thusfar and I was feeling pretty good.

After the turnaround, another runner caught up with me and we chatted a bit. We quickly realized we were running a similar pace and actually wound up running the last six miles or so together.

Actually made the miles tick by a little quicker having some company — especially with the gloomy, depressing-looking conditions.

Thanks for the miles, Rachel.

uphill 3

About mile 11.5.

Aside from the mile with the turnaround with hills and ice thrown in (underlined below), my splits were fairly consistent, considering the conditions.

8:17, 8:19, 8:21, 8:25, 8:59, 8:42, 10:22, 9:06, 8:53, 8:35, 8:47, 9:16, 8:58, 7:35 (0.28)

finish 2

Finish line photo.

I really enjoy this event. As long as I live in the area (sort of), I’ll probably continue keep it going at this one.

Next up: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon — January 19

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.