Race report: Heartland 100 (DNF)

Heartland 100

October 8, 2016 — Cassoday, KS

Place: DNF

Time: –:–:–

bib

Pre-race, Heartland 100.

I was ready for this race — until I wasn’t. I dropped out of my first 100-mile race after 58.1 miles, but the October 8 DNF could have easily been a DNS due to a pretty gross September 10 ankle injury. See injury below:

ankle

The ankle.

It honestly did feel a lot better prior to race day. Fastest healing I’d ever done, I told people. Maybe it was the gradual pounding on the gravel roads of the Flint Hills. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried in the first place. I dunno. But I’m paying the price since race day.

Sure, I have fleeting moments where I tell myself “You should have kept going. You should have gone until it fell off.” But let’s be honest — that would have been beyond dumb. Some long-term healing is needed at this point.

On to the race.

It was chilly early, but when the sun began to rise, the stunning views made it difficult to feel any pain or have any negative thoughts. I love Kansas.

sunrise

The Flint Hills at sunrise, ladies and gentlemen.

After the 8.5 mile aid station, the hills get bigger and longer until the next aid station at 17. I knew this, however, having finished the spring 50 each of the past two years. I still felt decent heading into that 17th mile and beyond.

shades

One of my favorite shots of the day. Pretty sure I look tougher here than I felt.

My beautiful wife (and crew) Kami, did a tremendous job all day long and in to the night, as I expected she would. My other crew member (and pacer) Melissa was invaluable, as well. They were there for me when I needed them most. They almost had me convinced at mile 58 to go another stretch to the next aid station (64). Mentally, I was still in it. Emotionally, I was as prepared as possible to go the full 103+ or whatever it wound up being.

Physically, I was finished. My foot just couldn’t take the pounding any more.

I actually considered quitting at mile 25, when my foot/ankle acted up a bit and I was struggling to breathe — same song, different verse with that one.

But they convinced me to keep going.

dfl

The view from last place was actually super peaceful. Then I said “F this” and took off, passing a handful of runners over the next 5 miles.

I struggled until about 28. That’s when I hit a groove. I’m not sure what got into me, but I was probably a solid half-mile or more back in last place when I picked off seven or eight runners over the next few miles. I moved surprisingly well until hitting another wall around mile 34.

I again considered tossing the towel at mile 37, when this picture Melissa took summed up my feelings perfectly.

sad

Mile 37 feels.

Here’s another from that same aid station, after changing clothes. Had to work on the ankle a bit here…

pizza

Kami works on my ankle while I attempt to eat some food for once.

I made it solo to mile 43, where I was allowed a pacer. Melissa joined me for those next 15, but it wasn’t more than 3 or 4 before I knew I was in trouble. I did get a small boost or two while listening to the Cubs NLDS Game 2 victory over San Francisco, which is probably the only reason I don’t look completely miserable here…

48

Listening to the Cubbies near mile 47 or so.

All in all, yes — I’m immensely disappointed with how this race turned out. But given my fitness level (I’ve gained back the majority of the weight I lost when I started running in the first place) and the relatively short turnaround after the ankle injury, I’m not sure what else I could have reasonably expected.

Though I’m upset with how I did and the circumstances that unfolded, there’s not a doubt in my mind that shutting it down was the right call. Each step I take, I wonder if maybe I should have shut it down sooner. But I live to run another day — eventually.

I love the Heartland course, and I will be back. Perhaps at the 50, perhaps for the 100 again. Who knows. Either way, until next time, Cassoday…

scenic

This place is something else, you guys.

Race report: KUS 6/12/24 Hour Run

Nov 16, 2013 — Wichita, KS

KUS 12-Hour Race

Place: 5/9; 1st in age group

Time: 12:00:00

Distance: 44.28 miles

Wow. Where do I even start for this one? My second Ultra, sponsored by KUS (Kansas Ultrarunners’ Society). I ran a 9 hour, 11 minute race on 9/11 in Olathe, and completed 38 miles (36 officially). Eventually, I’ll get into distance specific Ultras, but this was still a new, longer challenge.

I had to complete 50 miles to win a belt buckle (I guess they’re like trophies to Ultra runners or something). That’s my longest run ever PLUS a Half Marathon or so. Eek. I knew it would be tough, but I really thought I could do it.

In the end, I finished with 46.01 miles — exactly 8 miles farther than my previous distance PR. I was at 45.5 on my watch when I crossed the finish line for the last time (GPS is never 100%, plus most other people seemed to be off of their official distances, too)… Still had 10 minutes to go in my race, so I walked/jogged until I hit 46 right at the 12-hour mark. Official race distance completed: 44.28 miles.

Twelve hours is a long time to do anything, especially on your feet. It was a 1.23 mile loop around Buffalo Park in Wichita, but it never really got boring out there, which may come as a surprise to many. Got to run the first couple hours (and off and on throughout the day) with my friend Mike. I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: Mike is a terrific runner, and an even better person, and dad. It was cool to see his family out there supporting him — “Team Stout” as they call themselves. He was in the 24 hour race, and put in 70 (or more) miles for the second time in 5 weeks. Think about that for a second.

I tried my best to not think about pace all day long, as I really just needed to keep moving. There would be a lot of walking, regardless. Too much so, in the end, as I fell short. But anytime you can increase your longest run ever by 8+ miles, it’s a good day.

There were only nine people in my 12-hour race, and I finished with the most miles of anyone who did not get a buckle. That stings a little, to be honest. But you know what? I’ve done two Ultras now, and finished 5th in both. Amount of runners aside, I kind of like the sound of that.

My beautiful girlfriend Kami and her sister Macey were there off and on all day long, and supported me a lot, especially toward the end. I’m immensely grateful for having them there.

At work, we teach kids about feelings, and emotional warning signs. Funny, because during the course of this race, I experienced every single one of them. I went from content to sad to happy to depressed to thrilled to proud — just in the final few minutes. I confess that I started to cry a bit the minute I realized I had no chance for 50 miles and a buckle award. Quickly made myself snap out of it and just do my best in the end.

All in all, a successful day. BIG thanks to:

* Mike Stout for lots of running company + Team Stout for general support and friendship.

* Kami & Macey Hodson for support, food, and company the last few laps.

* Ron Micah Lapoint for support. He’s 10x the runner I am & had to drop out, but was still encouraging.

* Adam Monaghan for putting on an awesome 1st Annual event. Fun shirts, and cool bibs. A great runner himself, I know it was hard for him to not be running, but he did an outstanding job of organizing this thing, and was super supportive to all the runners all day long.

* Zach Adams for support and occasional running company. Realized we’d met each other at 9/11 Ultra in Olathe.

* Di — I don’t know her last name or where she was from, but she was positive and friendly all day long.

* Colorado lady for support. I don’t know her name or who she was there for. In fact, I thought she was from Nebraska until Kami told me otherwise. But Colorado lady offered me something each time I stopped by my car, which was right next to hers. She may have been there with the guy who won the 24-hour race with 107 miles. Yeah, 107. Either way, thanks Colorado lady!