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.

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: Winged Foot 10K

Winged Foot 10K

September 24, 2016 — Topeka, KS

10K #17

Place: 20/47

Time: 57:14

This was my second race since moving to Topeka — both 10Ks. Took 20th place overall in both; what are the odds? As it was part of the Kansas Chocolate Festival, we got M&Ms in our packet, which was pretty cool. No shirts as we signed up late, but we have too many goofy race shirts anyway.

I went the first 5K loop with Kami as we kicked off our anniversary weekend, then the last part solo as she finished the 5K in 33rd out of 93.

But this race was really just a test for my ankle, which I had injured badly two weeks prior. Kami and I took it easy those first three miles, though our pace was still faster than I’d gone since the injury — 9:18, 10:18, 10:05 splits for our miles together.

Didn’t anticipate speeding up, but threw on the headphones and took off. Ankle loosed up and I felt good the rest of the way. While I didn’t set any records, my second half splits of 8:49, 8:16, 8:15 were quite the happy surprise.

While Kami placed second in her age group for the 5K, I took third in mine for the 10K and wouldn’t you know it, they only gave medals to the top two in each category. No worries; I’m not a big medal guy anyway, especially when I don’t feel like I’ve actually accomplished something noteworthy.

As I rapidly approach Heartland 100 on October 8, I needed this race for the simple purpose of seeing what my ankle could handle. Let’s face it, even my slowest of those 10K splits will be faster than any mile at Heartland.

This is a race I could definitely do again. Despite the size of this city, this event was on an airport/air force base and was a cool, low-key atmosphere. I like it.

img_6357

Winged Foot 10K for me, 5K for her