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

Advertisements

Race report: Freedom Run 15K

Freedom Run 15K

15K #4

July 4, 2018

Place: 9/12

Time: 1:33:04

This is such a cool event. I’ll probably do it every time I’m able to. Love holiday races. Love low-key events. Love cost-friendly events. All-around win.

I know a lot of people ran July 4 races where they paid twice as much (or more) and ran half as far (or less)… Not me. No, thanks.

Lyons.JPG

Didn’t take my phone with me, so photos are limited here. This is Lyons High School, where the race would start.

This one starts at Lyons High School at finishes at Sterling Lake. Pretty much 9.3 miles straight alongside one highway with zero turns until the last 200 yards or so.

The shirts have gotten better each year, while the entry fee has remained incredibly reasonable. I’m not mad about that.

shirt

Great color, great feel, great fit. Love it.

I was coming off a rare summer cold for this one. With the added strong headwind, it proved to be incredibly hard to breathe throughout.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts. Purple laces already in for Rodeo Run later this month.

Smaller turnout than ever this year. Only 12 runners for the 15K — probably 130 or so in the 5K. I didn’t mind. I just like the miles, man.

I felt okay early and ran the first couple miles with my friend Delaine Wright at a decent pace. Knew she’d pull away soon after and she did.

I was in sixth place until my friend Jessica White caught up to me around mile 3.5. Two others passed me within the next half mile, putting me in ninth. That’s where I would remain for the rest of the race. So that’s another six miles or so, solo. I run alone all the time, so that didn’t phase me a bit.

The heat and humidity was actually pretty tolerable, given the time of year. But the cold I wasn’t (and am still) not quite over + the headwinds took a toll. I did a fair amount of walking for such a short race.

Oh well. Like I said, I just like the miles — which is good, because this one was SLOW.

Splits: 7:39 | 8:11 | 8:34 | 9:35 | 11:05 | 10:21 | 11:31 | 11:31 | 11:05 | 10:04 (0.34) — 9:58 overall

Plus, with it being such a small turnout, I managed to win my age group once again.

medal

For real. Love the shirt.

Kami, Bryant and the in-laws were waiting (sorry for that, you guys) for me at the finish. Had a good time post-race hanging with them for a bit.

Even pushed the boy the last 15 yards or so across the finish line. But then the real fun started.

 

Next up: Cauldron Run 10K at Sunflower State Games — Saturday, July 14

Race report: Father’s Day Four Mile

Father’s Day Four Mile

June 16, 2018

Place: 65/350

Time: 36:41

logo

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: 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: Flint Hills 50

Flint Hills 50

50-mile #4

April 21, 2018

Place: 13/13

Time: 11:46:31

race logo

Race logo

First off, I will write this report similar to the way I did last year’s [here] — where I detail my experiences hour-by-hour. Plus a little more pre-race leading up to it.

I went into this race — my first ultra without a crew — actually feeling confident for a change. I learned last year the amazing benefit of fresh legs. I loved knowing that I’d finished this awesome course before and was excited to have another go at it. I knew what the forecast said, but I was still hoping for a PR.

I left Topeka solo for Manhattan on Friday afternoon.

family

But not before a group shot with my team at home.

After about an hour of lounging and channel surfing at the hotel, I swung over to Manhattan Running Company to pick up my packet. Got to chat a bit with RD, Adam Dolezal. He does a great job. He’s proud of this race he’s put on and it shows. I love this one, you guys. Highly recommend.

Of course this year’s shirt was awesome in color (more green than the photo looks) and feel. But of course, for the second year in a row, the shirt won’t fit me. Bah. Oh well. I was in it for the experience anyway.

Loved my bib and number at least.

shirt

My shirt and bib.

Stopped to pick up a pretty traditional supper for me the night before a race.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut pasta + cheese sticks, of course.

Got my gear set up while watching some mindless television and some NBA playoff action before eventually getting some sleep.

pre race gear

Gear set up.

Oh, and I also snuck in some FaceTime with the wife and boy.

Bryant face time

Oh, hey Bryant.

On to race day…

pre race selfie

Pre-race selfie.

Though 18 of us signed up for the 50-mile, just 16 toed the start line — just like last year.

I updated a note in my phone so Kami could see updates from home, and so I could try to keep ahead of my pace from last year.

My A goal was to run a sub-11.

My B goal was to just PR — 11:52:57 was my time on this course last year.

My C goal was to just finish.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts + bright, mismatched laces because I do what I want.

After 1 hour — 5.65 miles; 8th place out of 16

I was 0.4 mile ahead of last year’s pace and moving well. Chatted a bit with a few guys early on and felt good despite the steady drizzle.

2 miles in

Can’t even see the rain here. I promise, it was there.

Of course, I didn’t eat much throughout the day — as usual. I didn’t keep nearly as close tabs on my intake as I did last year. I ate several cookies and lots of chips later on, but not much early.

William Layton Photography

Photo courtesy: William Layton Photography

After 2 hours — 11.35 miles; 9th place out of 16

I was still feeling pretty good despite the rains. I was now 0.93 ahead of last year’s pace and moving well past the first two aid stations — even though I missed my drop bag at mile 10. Turns out, it showed up a few minutes after I’d left the station.

So, that was a bummer. But oh well, onward I went.

After 3 hours — 16.49 miles; 12th place out of ?

My place was slipping (I put a question mark because I’m not certain when the first person dropped exactly), but I didn’t care one bit. I was still picking up my pace and was now 1.31 miles ahead of last year’s pace at the same time.

I was feeling good about my race, even though I would’ve killed for some sunshine.

No go on this day, friends.

 

Layton 2

Love having a great race photographer to capture moments.

After 4 hours — 21.1 miles; 12th place out of ?

I was ready to be done with the loop. At this point, despite my continuing improvement on my pace (now 1.65 miles ahead), I had already decided I would be changing shirts, socks and hats at the midway point.

Ran a bit with girl named Melanie around this stretch. Another guy ran with us for a short stretch. I don’t recall his name off hand, but he was bib number 5. Friendly guy. Love the running community — especially ultra runners.

There was also a guy named Keith who was real nice. I read his report earlier today. He was great out there. Inspiring stuff. But like last year — like I tell our student-athletes to do — I was just there to run my race. If it meant winning or getting last place, so be it.

After 5 hours — 24.98 miles; 13th place out of ?

I actually completed my first loop in under five hours — probably close to 4:45 or so, but after changing clothes and grabbing something tiny to eat, I was on my way out for the start of my second loop right as my watch hit the five-hour mark.

After 6 hours — 28.88 miles; 13th place out of ?

Holy slow moving miles at this point. I was still ahead of my pace, but my margin was no longer increasing — 1.63 miles ahead). Lots of walking the second loop as my legs were getting heavy, the winds were picking up, the rains were getting heavier and the mud was getting thicker.

I was getting really frustrated at this point. Nearing the 29.5 mile aid station, I was getting a bit dizzy and light-headed. I wanted to quit, but wasn’t yet planning to. Just struggling to keep moving.

When I reached that point shortly after the six-hour mark, it had begun pouring for a short stretch. I talked to a kid at the aid station who is on the Wamego High School cross country team. Nice kid.

After 7 hours — 32.44 miles; 13th place out of ?

Still trudging along. Still struggling. Just trying to make it to the next aid station. Now just 0.92 mile ahead of last year’s pace. I was still convinced I was ahead of at least a couple people, though.

Nope.

After 8 hours — 35.65 miles; 13th place out of 13

Talked to a guy and his kids from Topeka at the aid station. Cool fellas. Topeka man told me I was in last place. I was bummed about this fact for about half a second. Then I realized it might be a blessing.

I probably look back once every five minutes or so in a race. I may have looked back three times the rest of the race — probably some rustling sounds or something. Otherwise, peaceful the rest of the way, for the most part.

I was now just 0.37 mile ahead of last year’s pace.

I had given up on my B goal and was convinced I could no longer set a PR. No worries. Just finish, dude.

Saw this sign shortly after finding out I was in last place:

do not pass

I bet Adam put this there just for me. Jerk.

After 9 hours — 39.44 miles; 13th place out of 13

Wait. I’ve got a shot to PR still after all. Just keep moving. Just needed to maintain a 16-minute pace the rest of the way. Math became my friend once again. I love math. My wife hates it. She thinks she knows how much math I do in my head — she actually has no idea. *chuckle*

After 10 hours — 43.24 miles; 13th place out of 13

Now just 0.35 ahead of last year’s pace. But it’s still possible to PR. Just. Keep. Moving.

After 10 hours and 5 seconds — watch dies. CRAP. 

Math upon math upon math the rest of the way. I was going to have to compute this thing tech-free the rest of the way. Which meant adding, multiplying and estimating all at once while keeping my legs moving and my mind occupied.

After 11 hours — 46.82 (that’s an estimate); 13th place out of 13

I told the guy at the final aid station — who was that guy? Was that Ben? Adam’s brother? Or another guy? I dunno, man. I don’t remember everyone’s name. They’re all friendly dudes — anyway, I told him to kick me out of there in three minutes because I was estimating that I’d PR by 30 seconds to a minute.

It would be cloooose.

Saw Adam driving back toward me to pick up signs. Okay, I get it, you guys. I’m in last and you want to go home. I’m trying my best. Kind of weird to be gutting it out for a PR and still have people waiting on you.

Bah. Oh well, man.

As I made the final stretches, I realized it wasn’t going to be quite as close a call as I’d thought.

Crossed the finish line in 11:46:31 — 6 minutes, 26 seconds faster than last year. A new PR. Last place, but I ain’t mad about it.

buckle

8th ultra finish, 4th 50-miler (PR), 2nd buckle

I was craving Qdoba for the last 15 miles or so, so where did I go after the race?

Qdoba

Swimming in this Loaded Tortilla Soup, that’s where.

This was a hard race. Mostly because of the conditions, but also because, well, 50 miles is kinda far.

But I had a great time once again and I’m happy I made it to the finish line.

Orange Mud

My handy Orange Mud drop bags, my HydraQuiver Double Barrel hydration pack + my muddy shoes, race bib and buckle.

Of course, my team at home was happy for me as well.

Bryant + Kami post race

Love them.

They even made motivational cards and notes for me and placed one in each of my drop bags so I could see them during the race.

cards from Bryant

How cool is that?

20172018

Mile 1-10: 11:29/mile10:40/mile

Mile 11-20: 13:25/mile | 11:59/mile

Mile 21-30: 14:57/mile15:30/mile

Mile 31-40: 15:43/mile16:43/mile

Mile 41-50: 15:45/mile15:45/mile

  • 7,240 calories burned
  • 8th ultra finish
  • 6th longest run

Next up: Heartland 50 — May 5, 2018 

Race report: Eisenhower Marathon

Eisenhower Marathon

Marathon #8

April 7, 2018

Place: 67/87

Time: 4:58:53

logo

Race logo

I went into this race with no expectation of running fast. In fact, this was my first marathon in which I wanted to force myself to slow down. I was using it as a training run for Flint Hills 50 and Heartland 50 coming up in the coming weeks (by the time of this post, FH 50 is now just 7.5 days away).

Kansas in spring is fickle, man. Never know what you’re going to get. April 2018 might be one of the weirder example. Thirty six hours prior to race time, it was 73. Race time temp was 10 — TEN. Four days later, it was 82. Whatever, man.

Time to bundle up and go run.

hoodie + bib

2002 PPHS Bulldog basketball hoodie

I figured surely I’d warm up eventually and ditch the hoodie or at least the gloves and hat. Nope! Not once — well, not until the end anyway. It was cold out there.

pre-race start line

Kind of eerie in the quiet and cold, pre-race

Not sure how many folks signed up for the race and said “F that” when they saw the forecast, but it was a good crowd of friendly runners as far as I could tell.

bib + shirt

I’m not in love with grey t-shirts, but whatever, man.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, as customary.

Some people were fast. Some of us others, eh, not so much. But I was cool with that. Well, COLD with that, if you know what I mean. It was cold outside. That’s the joke.

Start (winner post)

Dude in orange won the marathon. He was fast.

I started off with a 9:10 and an 8:48 to begin the race — oops. I cut out that nonsense real quick. Had to force some walk breaks and pull back to a more relaxed pace if I wanted to last. Smart choice.

early in race

Nice group shot early on. Hey, dude in yellow. Good work on your first marathon! Speedy fellow.

With aid stations every mile, it was an easy choice as well. I ran the majority of the time, but took 30 seconds or more at each aid station to grab a drink, catch a break and make some lame joke to whatever freezing aid station volunteer was willing to engage in my silliness. Made for a fun day and made me forget about the cold, believe it or not.

I ran a few different stretches with various runners and chatted away. Made a few bathroom stops along the way, but maintained a pretty steady pace throughout the day.

turnaround 2

Crossing the line at the midway point. One goal I had was to make it to the turnaround feeling positive. Mission accomplished.

I wanted to take a peek at the medals to give myself a mini boost. The guy at the chute obliged.

don't touch the medals

Ain’t gonna touch ’em, though!

I headed back out for my second loop and was surprised to see how steady I was able to remain — especially after a bathroom break. I kept waiting for the wall. You know the one — the one that always hits around mile 19 — or 17 — or 14. And it didn’t come.

The intentionally slow, easy pace was paying off.

I eventually did hit a wall — at mile 24.5. With my final distance marked at 26.72 miles, that was just over two miles from the finish. Even the “wall” wasn’t a big one, as I was still hobbling along fairly well, all things considered. I finished the race running, not walking — so that’s a win, for sure.

Pretty certain I never walked more than 50 yards straight at a time. I’m happy about that. Hopefully I can hold that kind of consistency in my upcoming ultras.

finish

Finish line shot. Official time of 4:58:53.

I had zero time goals coming in to the day. I told someone I was estimating around five hours, but I was honestly expecting more like 5:15-5:20. Especially considering my last marathon, when I was actually trying to run a certain time, I finished in a miserable 5:35.

Crossed the finish line with an official time of 4:58:53.

  • I had 11 miles under 11 minutes each.
  • I had 11 miles between 11-12 minutes each.
  • I had 4 miles at 12+ minutes.

Not gonna lie, I’m thrilled with that consistency.

Quick lesson: Running — and life — is all about perspective.

When I ran this race in 2014, I was furious with my time of 4:56:15. I was 2 minutes and 38 seconds slower this time around and was thrilled. It was 80 degrees then, 10 degrees here. My mentality was different, my approach was different. Crazy how that works.

Funny note:

2014 — 26.48 miles in 4:56:15

2018 — 26.72 miles in 4:58:53

Some quick math to match the times up as if both were each an equal 26.22 miles…

2014 — 4:53:20

2018 — 4:53:17

Three seconds FASTER. Neat. Too bad that’s not how it works. But hey, I’m not mad.

breakfast

How could you be mad with a post-race breakfast like this?

2018 + 2014 swag

And swag like this.

Tale of the tape:

Medal — 2018 > 2014

Bib — 2018 > 2014

Shirt — 2014 > 2018

Experience — 2018 > 2014

Next up: Flint Hills 50 (Manhattan) — Saturday, April 21

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