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: Spooky Sprint Half Marathon

Spooky Sprint Half Marathon

Half Marathon #31

October 27, 2019

Place: 119/151

Time: 2:33:15

race logo

Wanted one more race with Bryant before the end of the year, so I signed up for this one at Longview Lake in Kansas City. I had been there before for a different race and really enjoyed it.

This experience was an interesting one for a few reasons:

  • They ran out of safety pins and asked runners to donate spare ones.
  • Bryant got cold and was tired, so I handed him off to Kami at 7.3, going the rest solo.
  • It started out out pavement, but quickly transitioned to a soft, fine gravel course.

Still an enjoyable experience overall, despite Bryant struggling. I was happy Kami was there to take him or I would’ve had my first ever DNF at a half marathon. The kid perked up once he warmed up and saw a dog at the finish line. But yeah, he wasn’t having it out there. No worries, though.

Not sure if I should count this as my fourth stroller-pushing half marathon or not, since we didn’t make it the whole way together. Oh well.

Here are some photos:

shirt and bib

swag

Race report: Wicked Marathon

Wicked Marathon

Marathon #9

March 30, 2019

Place: 61/66

Time: 5:48:03

Just finish, man. That’s what I told myself going into this one. My fitness level is rubbish, to say the least — and to put it mildly.

The weather forecast was… well, worse than rubbish.

My expectations for this race were extremely low. Not that I didn’t trust the folks in Wamego to put on a good event — they did — it’s just that I didn’t need much out of it other than time on my feet and to get some long miles in two weeks ahead of Flint Hills 50.

I didn’t need a cool shirt or medal or a good time. Just finish, man.

I did know going in the bibs would be fun.

bib template

This was the bib template they shared on Facebook.

I got to Wamego after the 45 minute drive from Topeka (while getting pelted with snow/rain mixture) and landed a cherry parking spot right across from the building where check-in was located.

I checked in, got my packet, used the restroom, chatted with some folks and meandered to the start line for my longest run of more than 15 miles since October — if I lasted that long. I wasn’t certain going into it.

I didn’t understand a couple things about this event. One: why the half marathon starts first, then the 5K runners and marathoners started 15 minutes later — together. Bizarre. Never seen that before. Two: Why, on the above bags, list the longest distance in the middle, rather than first or last?

Just the things that make me wonder. But like I said, I didn’t care nothing about nothing on this day. Just finish, man.

shirt

Shirt fits nice, but is… well… not attractive. Stop it with the white, race directors.

bib on shorts

Bib affixed to shorts, as always.

Despite the cold morning, I opted against the compression sleeves, thicker gloves and stocking cap at the last minute at the expense of comfort. Great decision in the end, as it turned out.

We would run three three-mile loops before starting a would-be brutal out-and-back in what seemed like the middle of nowhere.

Wicked 26.2 map

Wicked Marathon course map.

In what would be my saving grace in the early going, I linked up with another runner who actually looks a little bit like me — if I had a sweeter beard.

By that, I mean… he’s tall like me. Tall folks (6 feet plus) stand out more than I’d like at running events. It might be in my head, but I doubt it.

I probably got in 14-15 miles in with him at my side. We chatted it up for most of that stretch. Dude’s from Manhattan — farmer/grain trader. Wife is due with their first baby next week.

His phone rang in mile 2 and I thought my running partner would vanish as soon as he arrived, but nope. Work stuff. We ran together until my ankles gave me fits and he pulled away around mile 16 or so.

I asked how he did shortly after I finished and was pretty pumped to hear how strong he finished — especially with it being his first marathon.

Thanks for the miles, Jake — and congrats on your upcoming promotion to Dad.

As for me… Just finish, man.

After a few miles of snow, a few miles of rain, a few more of sleet and several more of drizzle and rain and wind — the sun finally popped out for the last 8 miles or so. Thank goodness.

I knew I’d fight to beat the cutoff and fight to avoid last place. I occasionally thought I cared about either of those, but nah. I am out of shape lately. Been busy. Like, real busy. My ankles were swelling up, my feet were sore. Blah, blah, blah. Excuses, I know. But I said it over and over — Just finish, man.

I shuffled along at a snail’s pace until finally reaching civilization inside the city limits of Wamego again. Passed a couple ladies in the last few blocks and crossed the finish line in 5:48:03 — my worst marathon time ever by 13 minutes. Brutally embarrassing splits late that would barely hack it in a 50-miler, let alone a marathon.

But on this day… in these conditions… in these circumstances… Just finish, man.

10:06, 10:40, 10:56, 11:03. 11:12. 11:00, 10:49, 10:31, 11:12, 10:42, 11:21, 11:10, 12:20, 13:06, 12:04, 12:54, 13:45, 16:17, 16:15, 16:34, 16:38, 17:09, 18:04, 16:19, 15:01, 13:18, 12:44 (0.57)
13:05 / mile overall

The (plastic) finisher medal was huge. Somehow, someway, I managed third in my age group and another (plastic) medal. The bagel I snagged was stale. But the chair was nice. Called the wife, updated her and headed for home.

And of course we went for Mexican food for supper. Kind of a post-race ritual — especially when you burn 3,910 calories. Should be that plus at least half again after Flint Hills.

swag

Wicked Marathon swag.

Next up: Kickin’ it for Kids 10K — Mayetta, KS — Saturday, April 6

Race report: Liberty Hospital Half Marathon

Bling, bling.

Liberty Hospital Half Marathon

Half marathon #25

March 2, 2019

Place: 399/1,075

Time: 2:08:28

logo

With almost no running in the last month (last weekend’s trail “run” not withstanding), I had zero expectations for this one.

It was cold, which was to be expected. It was hillier than I am used to. There was a bigger turnout than I’m used to.

I showed up at packet pickup and trekked a good distance from the car to the building to check in. Once I checked in and saw a man about a horse, I then trekked a bit more back outside toward the start line. I made it there just in time — about 5 minutes before the race began. Perfect.

 

 

All in all, this one was great. I was shocked at how steadily I would run throughout the day — purely based on feel, as I didn’t glance at my once even once the entire race. I knew where my mile markers were, as there were big signs. Not to mention the beep of my watch at every mile.

Still, it usually bugs me not knowing my pace. Not this time. Always a freeing feeling when I can let go of that need to know and just run.

Though it wouldn’t have bothered me to miss it, given my lack of general fitness of late, I had a time of 2:10 in my head going in. I told myself a 10:00 pace or just under could be attainable, though I didn’t really know.

I stuck with the 2:05 pace group for a couple miles. I stopped briefly somewhere in the fourth mile — had to see a man about a horse again. Otherwise, I moved steadily all day.

by hospital

Heading around the namesake of the race — the Liberty Hospital, somewhere between miles 5 and 6.

Later on, I just tried to stay ahead of the 2:10 pace group, which I was able to sustain through the finish. If I’m being honest, that’s what kept me going in the later miles.

Splits
9:24 | 9:40 | 9:21 | 10:08 | 9:40 | 9:31 | 9:43 | 9:54 | 9:37 | 9:36 | 9:10 | 9:55 | 9:46 | 9:14 (0.33) 
A man dressed as the Statue of Liberty caught up to me and passed me momentarily shortly after mile 10. I wasn’t having that. That probably explains my fastest mile of the day occurring in mile 11. 
While this race is my 21st fastest of my 25 half marathons, considering I have not run hardly at all in 2019, I’m actually pretty pleased with this turnout. I was steady throughout and ran sub-10s in every mile except for the one where I stopped to pee — and on a super hilly course, no less.
I’m not mad about that.
stadium

Got to finish on the track of William Jewell College in Liberty, MO.

finish 1

Official time — 2:08:28

 

I’m really hoping these frigid temps will go away soon. Maybe I can decrease a few hours of my recent overtime and actually spend that time running once in awhile.

A couple of April 50-milers, plus a marathon on March 30 as a tune-up run, but first…

Next up: Mater Day Irish Fest 5K — Topeka, KS — March 16

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: Run for Pie 5K

Thanksgiving Day Run for Pie 5K

5K #50

November 22, 2018

Place: 140/280 (estimate)

Time: 39:25

This one has become a tradition. Thanks to the Gazaway family for another great event. Love getting to see so many Hutch area friends.

group

They don’t always invite me to join the pic — probably because I always have to stand in the back.

Oh, this was also my 50th 5K. I don’t run many of them on purpose anymore.

Left the boy at the in-laws’ so Kami and I could run this one together. Quite a bit of walking and chatting that led to easily my slowest 5K time ever. Didn’t care one bit.

with kami pre race

Got in a pre-race selfie with the Mrs.

We jogged, we walked, we talked — and repeat. Chilly morning, but it’s always good to get the heart pumping before stuffing ourselves with holiday food with family.

Told ya we just enjoyed ourselves. Well, perhaps I did a little more than she.

Crossed the finish line, collected our woodal and had some hot chocolate. The woodals went to the first 250 finishers. There was probably more finishers than that, so my placing figure above is merely an estimate.

shirt

The Gazaway family rocks, you guys.

Should’ve gotten even more pics, but only had one more for the day — with Kami and our good friend, Lisa.

lisa and kami

Thanks for the picture, Lisa!

We will likely continue to do this event as long as they host it. Always a good turnout on a holiday morning that brings folks together.

Thanks again, Gazaways!