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: 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: Fierce-ish 10K

Fierce-ish 10K

10K #22

October 14, 2017

Place: 7/14

Time: 1:00:47

Let’s get this out of the way early: I will not do this race again. I would advise others to avoid it as well. I’ve never wanted my money back after a race until this one. I was offered half my money back, but scoffed at that. Not worth it, really.

FWIW: Yes, I know this was a fun run. I’m totally not “that guy” to throw a fit at a race. But I kind of was today. Not proud of it, but it was bad, you guys.

When an event is so poorly organized as this was, there is no excuse. Don’t organize a race if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t volunteer to help at a race without asking what you’re supposed to do. Don’t send volunteers out onto a course without (correctly) telling them what to do.

Let’s rewind. I was having a blast pre-race. It was, after all, it was a costumed run — and it was Luigi time.

Luigi pre-race

Inside Norsemen Brewing Company before heading out into the street.

Luigi pole

You know the flagpoles at the end of each level? No? Whatever, it’s funny.

Okay, enough goofing around. It’s time to run…

Luigi selfie

Okay, one more. That mustache only lasted a few miles, FYI.

With a really low turnout, I thought I’d have a shot to win. I knew right away I’d win this thing, so I just went out and figured I’d enjoy some miles. I’d won 11 races before and figured a 12th would be fun. I don’t run to win — until I have a shot to win. Because, well, why not?

Luigi start

I would’ve led this thing pretty easily start to finish if not for… Well, keep reading…

So, back to the organization.

The Facebook page event that synced to my iCal indicated the race would start at 8:30. I assumed that was the actual start time — which it was. However, the race registration page showed 5:30 p.m. on Friday night.

Two separate emails went out to participants. One on Thursday. One at 11:22 p.m. Friday night — the night before the race. I saw this one at 1:30 a.m. when Kami woke up, which woke me up (baby day coming soon, you guys).

Neither email — I repeat, neither email stated what time the race would start. How can that be? The emails reminded us what time packet pickup started and what time the costume contest would start. Race time? Anyone? Bueller? Nope, nothing.

Anyway… the race wound up starting at 8:35, so close enough to what the event had listed, I suppose.

The start/finish line was … a gutter. Okay then.

Not like there was a super cool painted stretch less than 20 yards from that gutter or anything…

Rainbow Road

This would’ve been perfect for a start/finish line. But nobody asked me.

Seriously…

Rainbow Road zoom in

Rainbow Road, anyone? Luigi? Sweet, right? Sigh…

I jumped out to a pretty healthy lead early and despite my tendency of starting too fast, I actually stretched the lead a little bit. I was ahead by nearly half a mile when I approached a volunteer. With two dead ends and only two options available, I asked which way I was supposed to turn. She shrugged and said “I don’t know.”

No explanation. No effort to take a guess. Just “I don’t know.”

Most of the runners ran 7-plus miles. Because I was in first and went quite a bit further out of the way than most, I wound up at 7.6 miles. An easy win turned into an annoying seventh place. The girl who won (and actually ran the 6.2 miles) felt guilty. My time at the 10K mark was 3:02 faster than her “winning” time.

Oh well. I chatted with some other runners — including one guy named Ed who I’ve seen at a couple other races. He’s probably about my age and won third place for his dynamite Super Troopers costume.

I was cooling down and ready to move on. Until I got the following excuse…

“That’s why we put the route map online.”

Are you kidding me? The co-RD legit tried to blame runners for the lack of information they gave to their volunteers? No. Not okay. I was steaming once again.

He pulled me aside like he was upset with me — eventually offered me half my money back. Whatever, dude. Not even worth it.

Fierce Life Fitness

Race benefactor. Non-profit or not, I don’t know how they can feel comfortable taking people’s money after a debacle like this…

I received a wooden medal — that was pretty cool. It says “10K finisher” (lol), but we received them for overall placements, apparently. I was told I was the second place male, but I know there were a few guys ahead of me by the time I finished my lengthy venture around the streets of north Topeka.

race swag

Bib, shirt and handmade wooden “medal.”

Anyway… at least I got a few good miles in before the storms hit. Last race pre-baby. I’ll have to just enjoy the casual solo runs for a little while — which is fine, because I’d been enjoying them lately anyway.

Until next time…

Race report: Winged Foot 10K

Winged Foot 10K

10K #21

September 30, 2017

Place: 7/28

Time: 49:35

logo

Winged Foot 10K logo

I did this race last year, two weeks removed from my nasty ankle injury. Naturally, it was slow. I treated it as a tune-up, just to see if I could loosen up my foot/ankle before trying Heartland 100 the following weekend.

This year, I just wanted to have fun with it, as I’ve done with most of my races this year, really. The event kicks of the Kansas Chocolate Festival, so it comes with some candy in the race bag. Score!

candy pre-race

Oops, still have to run…

Last year, I finished 20th of 47 in the 10K, as I hobbled through the first loop with Kami, who did the 5K and sped up just a bit the second loop. Slow time overall, finishing in 57:14. While still slow and not very fit this year, I was at least healthy. Ran the whole thing solo, just trying to stay steady.

start

Kinda enjoy the low-key atmosphere at the Combat Air Museum. This was my third race on this flat, loop course.

Smaller turnout this year, and I finished in 7th place overall out of 28 finishers in the 10K. Not sure how many finished the 5K. Last year it was 93. My guess is maybe half that this time around.

Combat Air Museum

Fun place, nice flat course, cool atmosphere.

I rarely ever speed up as races go along, but after I slowed up in my fourth mile, I decided I’d try to speed up just a bit. Wasn’t easy, but I was able to do just that, especially in that last mile and a half, when I gunned it and eventually ran down the girl in front of me. I passed her in the final quarter mile to move into seventh place overall.

Harder than I’ve finished a race in quite awhile.

Overall splits

7:24 | 7:41 | 8:06 | 8:35 | 8:00 | 7:34 | 6:54 (final 0.33 mi)

That last part is not a typo. I remember when I used to run that fast or better on a regular basis. Now, though? That’s moving for me — until I get the weight down, anyway.

bib + medal

My medal says 5K, but I promise I ran the 10K.

If they continue to have this event, I’ll continue doing it. It’s an enjoyable time on a smooth, flat course. Having nice weather always helps, too.

I’ve got just one more race before our due date — Fierce-ish 10K here in Topeka on October 14 — two weeks away. I picked up my costume for it yesterday. However, we’re starting to think baby boy might arrive early, so that race may or may not happen. Either way, stay tuned…

Race report: Cauldron Run 10K

Cauldron Run 10K

10K #20

July 15, 2017 —Topeka, KS

Place: 27/66

Time: 53:52

Another on my list of fun summer races. Well, this one wasn’t so fun. Glad I did it and all, but man, the three Hs were brutal — heat, humidity, hills.

Always nice to run a race close to home, though.

bib on shorts

Pre-race bib ready.

Weird to think I’ve lived in Topeka long enough now to do the same race twice, as I ran this one last year after living in town for six or seven weeks. I run in that area up by Lake Shawnee quite a bit, but racing in those hills is not preferred for this flat land kid.

with torch

Posing with the Sunflower State Games torch before running the Cauldron Run 10K race.

Anyway, I forgot my watch at home, which turned out to be a blessing. My goal of just maintaining a steady pace would not happen, though, as I started out fast and slowed down dramatically throughout as the heat (and my clingy black shirt) got to me — hard.

start line

Shot by Kami right after the start of the race. I look way cooler and relaxed here than at the finish, for sure.

While I struggled quite a bit running a mere 6-plus miles, it’s easy to say after the fact that it was an enjoyable experience. If you’d asked me during the race, I might have cursed a time or two.

But, not all runs are great and that’s fine. Glad I did it and somehow managed to come out with third place in my age group.

bib and medal

Another item for my office bulletin board, I suppose. Most races, I put the bibs and medals in a box at home, but these I’ll post up at work — Parks + Rec connection and all.

They ran out of shirts at the race. Not sure how that even happens. Oh well. The guy seemed stunned that I didn’t care. I told him we were entered in SSG Mini Golf later that morning and I’d get one there, so it was fine.

shirt

Grey isn’t my favorite, but this is much better than last year’s white shirt.

Oh and by the way, Mini Golf went okay, too. We had to play singles separately since doubles took place during the race earlier in the morning. Mixed doubles tennis last year, but that wasn’t a suitable option this year — being six months pregnant and all.

So Mini Golf it was. Goals going in: Have fun, don’t get last and don’t fall down and hurt ourselves.

Check, check and check.

I took 14th out of 17. I’m happy with how I played. Five holes-in-one. A bunch of real golfers in that group. Kami tied for 5th out of 7. We both did better than we’d done during our practice round the previous weekend — and earned that post-event Qdoba.

SSG logo

Another fun year at the Sunflower State Games.

Race report: Tonganoxie Library Run

Tonganoxie Library Run 10K

10K #19

June 10, 2017 — Tonganoxie, KS

Place: 6/41

Time: 49:17

logo

30th annual Tonganoxie Library Run

This is a race I was intrigued by as soon as I came across it. As a book nerd with an English degree and a past as a newspaper editor, I loved the idea of running a race to benefit a library.

I’m in the early stages of marathon training and my runs so far have been geared toward trying to maintain a certain pace. That is to say I did not go into this race with the intention of racing 6.2 miles. That being said, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to run without a watch and just sort of let loose. I was curious if I could pull off a steady pace without a watch — which I admittedly look at far too often when I wear it.

It was a cool atmosphere, for starters. Small town compared to Topeka, but obviously much bigger than back home in Pretty Prairie. Lots of friendly folks, though and a good course with great volunteers. Great morning for a run weather-wise, too.

Another cool thing…

Flag

Giant USA flag above the Start/Finish chute.

I picked up my packet inside the Tonganoxie Library when we arrived in town about 30 minutes before the race began.

Shirt + bib

Love the shirts — the design, the color, the logo, the feel. Good shirts.

My optimistic, yet “so what if I don’t get it” goal going in was to maintain a pace of around 8:00 per mile. Ideally, I wanted to be faster than 8:15 or so per mile, but didn’t want to go faster than 7:45 per mile. I’m capable, but didn’t want to burn myself out. I had 10 miles scheduled for Sunday and again — this one was supposed to be for fun.

At one point, I told Kami I wanted to finish between 48 and 51 minutes. Then I said maybe I’d like to be in the 49 to 50 minute range. My goal marathon pace is in the 8:40 – 9:00 per mile range, so I thought maybe I could get down into the low-8s for this one. Maybe. Running without a watch, I wasn’t so sure. When I saw a few of the hills and had no idea what kind of pace I was running, I was even less sure.

I gave lots of high fives. I chatted up a few volunteers, joked about them moving the hills and even high fived a guy driving a moving truck going the opposite direction down one of the streets near the finish. That was cool. Just a flat out good time at this one, I tell you.

I resisted the urge to ask numerous volunteers or fellow runners “Hey, how far have we gone?” or “What time is it?” I knew if I knew the answer to either of those questions, I’d start doing math. And I’m really good at math, so I would’ve figured out my pace had I asked.

Told myself going into the last turn that I was having a great time and genuinely did not care if I was in that 48-51 minute window or even my more exact 49-50 minute window. Then, I made that last turn and eventually the clock was in sight. Forty-eight something. I’m sure I gave a shrug and a chuckle. Cool. Or whatever.

Saw it tick to 49:00, but I was close enough to the finish, I had it easily. Official chip time: 49:17. That’s a pace of 7:56 per mile.

10K finish

49:17; sixth place overall

I finished in sixth place overall. I was the fifth male and first in my age group. Earned myself a medal for it, too.

Medal + bib

My first place age group medal and bib.

Didn’t go expecting that, but I’ll take it. I was far enough behind fifth place and far enough ahead of seventh place that I didn’t kick myself for pushing it any harder.

10K AG win

Me and some other age group winners.

I really couldn’t have asked for more from this race. Kami even got to catch up with her friend, who lives in Tonganoxie. They mentioned something about a running group that meets on Monday evenings. Maybe one of these weeks, I’ll make the 40-minute drive, run with a group there so Kami can hang with her friend again. Could be fun.

Either way, I would love to do this race again next year. It’ll go on my race calendar for sure. Special thanks to David Frese and all the volunteers that put this race on. I’ll do my best to be back.

10K post-race

Dueces, Tonganoxie.

Race report: Journey for Sight 10K

Topeka Lions Journey for Sight 10K

10K #18

April 1, 2017 — Topeka, KS

Place: 3/8

Time: 47:47

In just my third race of the year, I ran a small, local 10K at the Combat Air Museum here in Topeka. This was my fourth race in town since moving here 10 months ago — my second on this course.

It was nearly my smallest race ever, with just eight of us participating in the 10K. I was told it used to be a big event, put on by the Topeka Lions Club. The event, among others they have, went towards helping provide eye glasses to folks who couldn’t otherwise afford to see. So, good cause and all that.

Let’s be honest here, their advertising for the race was essentially nil. I didn’t mind. I’m a small town kid; I like the small ones.

Despite the low turnout (there was 20 or so in the 5K) I knew an overall win wasn’t likely, as there was one guy who you could just tell was super fast. And I haven’t been in 10K PR shape for quite some time. But I’ve got two 50-milers later this month, so I really just wanted to get out there and have fun running a short race.

Sure enough, fast guy took off like a shot, breezing by me about 10 steps in. He was probably in his mid-20s and finished in 35:something — a time I wouldn’t have sniffed even 40 pounds ago.

Another fellow passed me a little under a mile in. For awhile, I thought maybe I’d keep up with him, but he wound up beating me by a minute or so. The remainder of the race was basically trying to keep my pace steady and hold off the guy behind me.

I managed to do both, finishing in a not-fast-but-fast-enough-to-make-me-sore pace, coming in third place overall and first in my age group — though I was likely the only one in it.

Nothing super noteworthy about this event, but I had a good time and got in some good conversations, a neat medal and a post-race brownie. Good enough to keep me happy. I’m a simple person, y’all.

If they continue to have this event, I’d do it again. One guy suggested he’d be surprised if it continued. I maintain their primary issue was advertising. They didn’t update the event info for this year’s race until only a few weeks ago. That’s not going to get you many participants. But whatever — good day for me, anyway.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got for this one. Here’s a couple pictures, the end.

10K 3

Bib and medal.

10K 1

Taking off from the jam-packed start line. The crowds were intense, folks.

10K 2

Dude in white beat me by a good 12 minutes. But here I am, sorta almost looking like I’m ahead of him, but not really.