Race report: Race 4 Freedom 5K

Race 4 Freedom 5K

5K #44

September 9, 2017

Place: 76/883

Time: 22:48

After my friend Jennifer White drove to Pretty Prairie for the Rodeo Run in July, I couldn’t not return the favor and participate in her race. I was just one of over 1,000 participants. She wouldn’t have noticed if I wasn’t there. I probably bugged her too much when I was. But it was important to me to support my friend.

Jen does amazing (and important) work with ICT S.O.S. I ran this race in 2012 before I knew her. It was a great turnout back then and even more impressive this time around. Pretty sure I saw somewhere saying it was the largest timed 5K in Wichita. That’s no small feat. Wichita’s a big city. I’m so proud of my friend.

Jen on mic

She stutters a lot less than I do than when addressing a crowd of people.

There was a band…

band

Pretty solid entertainment.

This is how you know the event is legit…

truck

They’ve got their own truck. Big timers.

There was even pancakes and sausage after the race. I forgot to photograph those for this report. I ate them too fast. I apologize for nothing.

Anyway, on to the race…

While I’m not generally a fan of wearing red, the shirts fit great. Even got a cool bag and a pen. I love pens. Oh, and the coolest looking bib I’ve ever had at a race. Shaped like Kansas, design of the Wichita flag. Love it.

shirt + bag

2017 shirt, bib, bag and race map.

I got into the habit during long races of putting my bib on my shorts, rather than my shirt. I continue that habit now, regardless of how short the race is. I always feel like people might be judging me for this, but I don’t care. It keeps my shirt more free for moving and wiping sweat when needed, etc.

bib on shorts

See?

I was going to try my best to find my friend Dan Loving and run with him. I was unable to locate him before the race, although I did spot several other friends. Always good to see familiar faces.

start line

2017 Race 4 Freedom start line.

Since I had not found Dan, I thought I’d just try maneuvering through the crowd and see what I could do. I did not plan on racing this at all, but once I got a mile in, I thought I’d put the lungs to work a little bit.

I actually slowed down once I started trying harder, but then sped up at the end. Probably because my friend Tom Snook passed me right about the two-mile mark. He usually holds on to beat me when that happens, as it’s happened several times. Tom’s a warrior, you guys. I figured he would get me here, too. But I thought I’d at least try to keep up with him while I could.

Thanks to Tom pushing me for awhile, I must’ve found another gear, as I sped up that last mile and edged him in the end by only a few seconds. We then managed to catch up afterward over some pancakes.

finish 1

Nearing the finish line. Tom is in blue.

Mile 17:16

Mile 27:25

Mile 36:58

3 – 3.196:07 pace

shirt bib medal

Shirt and bib, in addition to my sweet finisher medal courtesy of Subaru of Wichita.

While I am not in love with running 5Ks (running fast hurts, man), stuff like this is a blast. The cause is obviously super important, but the people — that’s what make these things worth doing for me.

I did later find Dan, by the way. He did a great job. I did not get a photo with him or Tom or Kayla of Pretty Prairie.

friends

Got one with my friends Aaron Wilson and Jennifer White, however.

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Race report: R(un) for One 5K

R(un) for One 5K

5K #43

August 19, 2017

Place: 3/38

Time: 24:50

Let’s call this one… Ill-advised. I had heard of this race a few weeks ago and didn’t think much of it. I was reminded of it again the day before and again didn’t think much of it. After all, I’m running a marathon in a week.

But when I got a few miles into my Saturday run and my legs were still feeling okay, I thought: Why not take the opportunity to force myself to run on tired legs.

So I wrapped up my scheduled 8-10 mile run at 8.6 miles and headed home to change shirts, grab Kami and head to Lake Shawnee, about a mile and a half away, and signed up for this little 5K about 20 minutes before it started.

logo

Running for a good cause.

The proceeds from this race went to sponsor unadopted children — a good cause, I thought. That made me feel a little better about signing up last minute for a 5K — something I normally wouldn’t do. In fact, I’ve done it only once before, on a 2012 road trip in St. Louis.

While affixing my bib before the race, we ran into a familiar face. Mindy Chapin, who I’m pretty sure I’d only met a time or two previously, while in Hutchinson, was super friendly to Kami and I. We chatted about mutual friends and races we’d done, etc. Maybe we’ll grab some miles again sometime.

Kami and I both worked with/for Mindy’s husband Brad in Hutchinson, what often seems like a lifetime ago. To be fair, we’ve moved three times since then. Whoa.

trio

Always good to run into someone in Topeka who has been where we’ve been.

Anyway… Back to the race. If you know me at all, you know I started too fast. But you also know that if it’s a small race and I thought I might have a shot at winning. No such luck this time, folks.

start

Here I am, looking like I’m going to run really fast and win the day.

start group

Zoom, zoom, mother effers.

I led the eventual winner (guy on left in above pic) for about half the race — but only by about a millimeter (seriously, get off my bumper, bro). When he zoomed by, I suddenly remembered that at this point, I was 10+ miles in on my day. It was getting hot fast, too.

It wasn’t long after that until the next guy (dude in red in above pic) passed me, too. Knew I wasn’t sticking with him either. Regardless of how much slower I would get, no one else was passing me, so I basically coasted. Walked a few steps on a couple hills, waved at a puppy, waved at some boaters. Wonder if they sensed my jealousy from all the way out there?

My splits were hilariously regressive. But, hey, 11.81 miles on the day and a comfortable, albeit low-key third place finish. So, whatever.

6:33 | 7:37 | 8:48

nerd

I try to not take myself too seriously.

Came out of the event with a fun morning, a cool shirt that doesn’t fit, but hopefully will after a little more conscious healthy living, and a good test for my legs with a week to go until a marathon that I’m otherwise drastically unprepared for.

medal

Hung my medal for a quick shot at Lake Shawnee. I’ve gotten a lot of miles in at that place in my year+ in Topeka.

All in all, a good day. And I’m glad to say my race entry fee went to sponsor Ribka, a 9-year-old Pakistani girl. Ribka enjoys studying and learning. Her teachers say she is both intelligent and confident. She hopes to join the Army someday. Go, Ribka!

shirt

Sweet shirt, medal (with handmade lanyard), and my bib.

Race report: Ele-fun Run 5K

Ele-fun Run 5K

5K #40

August 5, 2017

Place: 1/82

Time: 21:31

This whole marathon attempt in a few weeks may very well not go as hoped. I haven’t lost the weight I wanted to lose, I haven’t done the speed work I should’ve done and the weather, as always, is unpredictable.

But my summer of small, mostly low-key, fun races has allowed me to keep my sanity through it all and have kept me from “over-training,” as I’ve done in the past. My legs have stayed fresh.

I swapped my 22-mile run from Saturday to Thursday to make room for this fun little inaugural 5K at the Topeka Zoo.

logo

Race logo.

With all-morning rain in the forecast and it being a first-year event, I didn’t expect much of a turnout. It was better than expected. The guy running the thing said 93 registered and 82 showed up to run or walk.

bib

Bib ready to go. That turquoise dot (indicating 19+ age category) would be completely washed away by the end of the race.

Sure enough, it rained throughout the race. Nothing torrential, but enough to form several puddles to run through. The course was four loops around the zoo, so I was able to get some cheers all along the way, which was nice.

start

Blurry, rainy start line shot, courtesy of Kami.

I jumped out to an early lead and unlike most races, when I start super fast and can’t hold it, I was able to maintain a mostly steady pace and led throughout the race.

By early on in the third loop, the guys in second and third were out of sight when I turned around to look behind me. I figured as long as I kept it steady-ish, I could hold on for the win — and I did.

win

Overall winner with a time of 21:31.

I crossed the finish line in 21:31 — a good 2 minutes and 59 seconds slower than my PR. Buuuuut, it was good enough for the win and faster than I expected to be — especially two days after running 22-plus miles. So I was happy with it.

award

Fun little awards ceremony after the race.

This was my 11th overall victory (2 10K, 7 5K, 1 4K, 1 1-mile) and my 40th 5K. I don’t run many of those any more these days and never truly try to race them, but when I have a chance to compete, I take it.

Update: I’ve recently added the virtual races I’ve done to the count of my race totals, making this actually my 42nd 5K. 

This race came with an entrance to the zoo, but in the rain, we didn’t get to see much — specifically, no elephants. Bummer. But we did get to see the giraffes (indoors) and walked around the rainforest exhibit for a bit.

I love the zoo and had a lot of fun with this event — and not just because I happened to win the race. But, yeah, that wasn’t a bad bonus.

swag

Bib, medal, drawstring bag, water bottle and medal.

The consensus was that they planned to do this event again next year. I hope so. I would return to do it again.

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: South Haven Fair Run 5K & 1-mile

Fair Run 5K

August 22, 2015 — South Haven, KS

5K #34

Place: 1/45

Age Group: 1st

Time: 21:18

Though I’m nowhere near my 5K PR these past couple of years, sometimes it’s fun to get out there and see what I can do. After severe thunderstorms hit unexpectedly, I wondered if the race would actually get called off. But they subsided just in time, and we got to run. I went out in front early, and led from start to finish. Second place running made me work for it. I seriously thought she’d catch me up until about 2.7 or so.

But I was able to hold on for the W — my 10th overall win, sixth in a 5K. Paid $20 for two races, won $25 + a trophy, two medals. Also came away with a shirt and two bibs. A win, all around.

Fair Run 1-mile

August 22, 2015 — South Haven, KS

1-mile #9

Place: 8/?

Age Group: 1st

Time: 6:29

Never stood a chance in this one. Several local HS football players ran away with it. Get it? Ran. Anyway, I didn’t care much after putting in my scheduled 15 miles on the day, and already having won the 5K.

Fun day, nice support in a small town — even smaller than my hometown! Not a bad drive either; maybe 18 minutes from us here in Wellington.

Hey, neat. A trophy!

Hey, neat. A trophy!

My takeaway from the day. Not too shabby.

My takeaway from the day. Not too shabby.

Blurry, filtered start line pic, taken by my wife, Kami.

Race report: Rodeo Run 5K & 1-mile

Rodeo Run 5K

July 18, 2015 — Pretty Prairie, KS

5K #33

Place: 4/111

Time: 22:11

Man, it felt nice to just get out on the country roads from back home and run. After spending weeks/months getting ready for this event as a Race Director, and all morning handing out packets, signing up race-day entries, etc., I knew I wouldn’t be fast, but it felt good to just GO. If it ever gets to be a big enough event that I can’t also run the race, it’ll be good for the event, but sad for me.

Last year, I was 11th of 75. Figured maybe top 10 this year since I didn’t recognize many fast names signed up. I started out in the top 7 or 8 and was actually able to pass a few people as the race went on. That was a nice feeling — one I rarely ever feel, especially in a short race. I generally start way too fast and get passed as I go. I held on for 4th place overall, despite making a push for top 3 overall near the end. Out of 111, I’ll take that no question. At my fastest, I could have won the race. But I’m not at my fastest, and that’s okay. It was a fun race.

Rodeo Run 1-mile

July 18, 2015 — Pretty Prairie, KS

1-mile #7

Place: 13/53

Time: 7:38

I had no desire to go hard in this race. I opted to run with Charles Chege, a 9-year old from Wichita — a 2-time Half Marathon runner before his 9th birthday. I told him if he ran faster than 6:30, he was on his own. We held an 8:15 pace most of the way, before he turned it up a notch at the end. He came in one second ahead of me at 7:37. Kid’s a stud. I was able to wave and chat with folks along the way + shake a few hands with friends. Doing all that during a 7:38 mile was a lot more fun than racing a sub-6. Another fun race.

As a Race Director…

The event went better than I could have expected. We’ve done better each year of my three years being involved. Volunteers were phenomenal. Having Pretty Prairie EMS step up at the last minute to hand out water at the finish + aid station was a major bonus.

I will likely make some changes to the event moving forward. Considering a distance/route change + an earlier start time and just work on always making it a more positive experience for all. While I’ve had two very nasty complainers (one via Email, one via Facebook), and a few casual in-person complainers on race day morning, the majority of the feedback I’ve gotten has been positive.

As frustrating as the negativity has been, it will also serve as a lesson moving forward — whether in how to change things moving forward, or how to practice not letting it bother me as much. 🙂

Thanks to everyone involved for making this such a successful day.

Cheers,

Derrick

Welcome to Pretty Prairie, Kansas.

Welcome to Pretty Prairie, Kansas.

Race day sunrise on Silver Lake Rd.

Race day sunrise on Silver Lake Rd.

Looking down Dean Rd. after the 2-mile aid station & turn. I grew up about 2 miles south of this spot.

Looking down Dean Rd. after the 2-mile aid station & turn. I grew up about 2 miles south of this spot.

Post-race.

Post-race.

Race reports: 5K Run for Hunger + Shamrock Shuffle 10K

5K Run for Hunger

March 14, 2015 — Holdrege, NE

5K #31

Place: 1/25

Time: 21:32

Local 5K that I ran for just that reason; it was local. On roads I’ve run a dozen or more times, this was a fun one. I knew I’d be slow, and I was. A week after a trail 50K race, I still didn’t have my legs completely under me yet. I also had a 10K in Kearney later in the day, and 10 miles total on the schedule for my 50-mile race training plan.

There was only a max of 25 runners in this one. I saw a few people I knew, which was nice. I went out quick early, and led the entire way. My first half mile was solid, but I slowed down from there with a 6:43 first mile. After that, I just wanted to coast, honestly. I wasn’t going to stop or walk, but just coast. Mile 2 came in around 7:15, and mile 3 at 7:18. I don’t remember the last time I ran a 21+ minute 5K, but like I said, it was a fun/simple local race. I wish there were more of those here.

I have now run two races in Holdrege and won them both. Neat.

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Shamrock Shuffle 10K

March 14, 2015 — Kearney, NE

10K #12

Place: 102/135

Time: 1:01:52

Second race of the day. Wound up with 11.5ish miles total. Knew I’d be nowhere near a 10K. I’m slower than ever in the short race distances. But I thought I’d go out hard early and see how I felt. I was top 7 or 8 for the first 1.5 or so. I believe I was in 14th place after that until the 3-mile mark.

Right around that point, I decided it wasn’t worth it. I likely would’ve maintained a top 20 finish had I kept going, but wanted to be smart and save my legs. So I stopped and sat on a bench. WHAT?! Yes. I stopped. During a race. And sat down. I got lots of sympathetic looks and comments as runners went by. They had no idea I was fine, and just waiting for my wife. When Kami came by, I ran the last half of the race with her. Saved my legs, and had 10x more fun. I’m not sorry.

We probably would’ve been sub-60 had we not chatted so much, but we had fun and enjoyed ourselves — as we always do. This was my 12th 10K, her 3rd. Both of our slowest. But it was a fun event with lots of people, so we didn’t mind a bit.

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Good day overall with seven weeks to go until Heartland 50.

Cheers,

Derrick