Race report: Brat Trot 5K

Brat Trot 5K

5K #52

June 1, 2019

Place: 14/131

Time: 23:43

Signed up for this one 20 minutes before the start because it was in town, near my office and also… brats.

shirt and bib

Fun shirt (despite being 100% cotton, so I’ll probably wear it twice or less) and bib, which I wound up losing later on.

Bryant loves the stroller rides now, so I wasn’t worried about him for this one. Weather was great, too. We’re really just practicing for “the big race” now — Father’s Day 4M race in Kansas City in two weeks.

We’ve got our distance down, this was time to work on speed.

But first, silly selfies…

After pushing Bryant 13.1 miles last Saturday in Manhattan, 3.1 seemed like an easy call. Strangely, this actually hurt more. Running fast hurts, you guys. And we did go fast.

We spent just about the entire race (after weaving through people in the beginning) trying to avoid letting a fast guy with a stroller passing us.

The course took us out and around a loop near my office. When we got near the building, we came to a fork in the path. The route took us left, but Bryant pointed to the right right because I’m fairly certain he recognized the building. The kid is smart, man.

I thought we had him, but when I pulled out my bib to hold up for the finish line folks to see (they suggested right before the start not to put it on your leg and I realized especially with the stroller, that was a suggestion I shouldn’t ignore), we must’ve slowed just a little and the guy with the other stroller sped up and almost got us — ALMOST.

It was a fun, furious race to the finish, at which we edged them out to be the first stroller across the finish line. Folks nearby enjoyed the show.

It took me a while to catch my breath, but we eventually made our way to the food.

brat

I had about 1.5 brats + half a banana. Bryant and Kami enjoyed some snacks, too. It was a good time.

A little bit bummed that I lost my bib, so I won’t have it to save with all my others. Must’ve left it sitting on the ground when I sat down after the finish, then walked away.

Oh well. No big deal. Good morning and a fun event.

bib on shorts

Proof that the bib existed — before I removed it from my shorts and tucked in the stroller.

Next up: Tonganoxie Library Run 10K — Saturday, June 8 — Tonganoxie, KS

 

Race report: Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon

Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon

Half Marathon #26

May 25, 2019

Place: 835/940

Time: 2:41:50

Signed up the week of the race for the Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon. While I’m not a K-State fan, I was itching for a long run and figured this a good way to force myself to get moving.

I really wanted to push Bryant in the stroller for at least some of the miles, but the forecast was iffy at best, so that plan was up in the air going in to race day.

The course is about 8 miles along the highway before entering Manhattan city limits and meandering through town and finishing on the field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

course map

Course route.

When we got into town and Bryant was awake early and happy, I thought we’d try starting the race together and passing him off to Kami around mile 8 if he wasn’t having it — just hopefully he could make it that far.

We picked up my packet at the stadium, before making our way to the start so Kami could drop us off — meaning we’d avoid the shuttle since we had the stroller with us.

field pre race

Quiet as a mouse pre-race.

pre race swag

Pre-race swag.

 

start pack

The crowd at the start.

 

Bryant loved seeing all the people at the beginning. We had zero goals on time, just wanted to enjoy the miles together. We stopped for snacks and drinks at the aid stations, sprinkled in a bit of walking, but kept on moving.

We also practiced our animal sounds and colors, sang songs, told stories, pointed out all the cars, trucks and tractors and had a blast.

 

The course had some rolling hills, but nowhere near as hilly as a few people told me it would be. I actually found it to be a really enjoyable course that was quite a bit easier than expected — especially considering I was pushing him in the stroller.

Speaking of which, we’d never gone more than 5.5 miles together, which we had accomplished just one week earlier in/around downtown Topeka.

As we made our way into Manhattan, Bryant was still doing really well and having a good time. We called Kami after leaving each aid station. We were really thinking about giving it a shot all the way to the finish with the stroller at this point.

me and B

Almost into town!

Knew it could be a risk if he started hating it at any time.

 

When we got to her shortly after mile 8, we had decided to go for it. Of course, we stopped and snacked again and chatted for a minute before taking off again.

 

Around mile 9.2, Bryant was getting really upset. I thought I needed to change him, so I pulled off into the grass and laid him down. DRY. Crap. That meant he was just mad or bored. I desperately took a guess and said “Bryant, do you wanna keep your shoes off?”

He gave a quick, loud and clear “YEAH.” Heck yes, boy. I tossed his shoes into the bottom of the stroller, buckled him back in and took off. He was happy as can be the rest of the way, putting his stocking feet up on the ‘dash’ and laughing quite a bit those last four miles or so. Score!

We made our way onto the K-State campus, where we bobbed and weaved a little bit until finding the stadium near the finish. We were flying by several folks at this point.

 

We passed five or six people in the last couple hundred yards alone. Super proud of the kid for lasting 13.1 miles in the stroller after never going more than 5.5. He was awesome!

 

Kami even got a shot of us on the jumbotron.

jumbotron

Go us!

My slowest half marathon ever, but more than likely my most fun.

finish with B

Official race photographer finish line shot.

medal

Finisher medal.

I even got to see a few friends at the race — and missed some others, as they were all faster than us on this day.

me and Lisa

Always great to see Lisa!

swag

Post-race swag.

Bryant did phenomenal in the stroller, but was ready to get out and play some himself. He had a blast running around on the turf field, playing on the “tractor” and in the bounce house with the big kids.

 

I could definitely see doing this one again.

Maybe KU or WSU could get something similar going. 🙂

 

Race report: Flint Hills 50

Flint Hills 50

50 mile #6

April 13, 2019

Place: 17/17

Time: 12:15:18

 

Back for another year at my favorite race — Flint Hills 50. Drastically undertrained and overworked, but anxious to get out there and see how far my legs and brain would carry me.

The motivation for this one was simple: Become the first/only 3-time finisher. Spoiler alert: Mission accomplished.

I arrived in Manhattan Friday afternoon and went straight to the hotel, where I wound up doing a little work from my iPad. We’ve been understaffed lately, meaning I’ve been putting in some extra hours. I genuinely love my job, but yeah — I was ready to get out and move.

I then went to get my packet and some supper.

Manhattan Running Company

Chatted with Adam and Todd a bit at packet pickup before finding some food.

Qdoba

Qdoba — yum.

Back at the hotel, I tried to relax — wound up working quite a bit more, but nothing too stressful. I took some company along, since Kami and Bryant couldn’t be there.

Frank at hotel

This is Frank. Hi, Frank.

But I made sure to take Bryant with me — I actually had the photo still in my car from my hundo attempt in October.

me and Bryant

Pinned this to my hydration pack.

I got my stuff ready to go and stretched out with some mindless television — my favorite.

Got up in the morning and headed for the start line at Green Valley Community Center.

Took a pre-race selfie — then another with Adam over my shoulder talking about something. Probably tips on how to run fast or something. I clearly missed it.

There were 21 of us who signed up, 18 who showed up and there were 17 eventual finishers. What a great day of weather we had — a real blessing after the last two years were … well, not as pleasant.

Chatted with a few folks early on, like usual. You know, before things spread out.

Layton start 1

Mile 1 — or 0.4, more accurately.

Got in quite a few miles (probably 25+ in all) with my buddy Jeff Grabbe, who I met last year at Heartland 50. Jeff is a beast, man. He had just run Prairie Spirit 50 two weeks prior. Having him with me (and leapfrogging it at times) was a huge help to my day.

I even got a couple really cool shots of him early in the race — at one point petting a horse. Lol. Gotta love ultra running, man.

As seen in the shot above, William Layton Photography does a phenomenal job at this one. He’s always so positive and encouraging out there. Oh, and he’s really good at what he does, which is also pretty neat.

Layton wave

This is on the second loop, probably around mile 37.

Jeff and I got to the start/finish turnaround together, made some necessary changes and refreshments before leaving the loop at around the 5:21 mark — a little slower than I’d been the last two years, but that was to be expected. I was also moving more steadily than I had expected, which was nice.

late race selfie

Had to rep the SHMS XC shirt. Good motivator.

I always say “Start the second half feeling positive mentally and I’ll be fine.” I was still cracking dumb jokes through nearly the entire race, so I’d say that part was a success.

I hit a wall around mile 29.5, where I sat down at the aid station to refresh a bit. A chat with a couple friendly aid station folks and a few Nutella wraps and I was on my way.

Comparitively speaking in terms of the rest of the day, I flew from miles 30-42. Eventually caught back up to and passed Jeff and a couple others. I was feeling great and knew I had a real shot to beat my PR from last year. What? But, how?

Just kidding, though. Hit a wall just after that point and struggled to battle back. Regrouped a bit more at the 43 mile aid station, chatted with Michelle Coleman, who was super friendly — as were the other aid station folks throughout the day.

Basically, I told her I was giving up — not on the finish line, but on the PR. I simply needed to regroup again. I did so, and was on my way. It was almost entirely walking from that point on, but I made my way to the finish line.

Just a couple more shots from those later stages of the race.

A girl passed me in the final 2/3 mile or so, putting me in last place — again. My three finishes at Flint Hills 50: Next-to-last, LAST, LAST. Thanks for the reminder as soon as I sat down, Adam. 🙂

But since they haven’t suspended me for being too slow, I will continue to be back at this race as long as they’ll have me — and I will continue to recruit others to join as well.

Glad I got to see Jeff out there and share some miles with him. Also, Jason Dinkel and his wife Krystal signed up at the last minute and did incredibly well. They passed Jeff and I somewhere around mile 22-23 and wound up finishing more than an hour ahead of me.

Bummed I missed out on the RD photo op.

Jason and Adam

Heartland 50 RD, Jason Dinkel (left) and Flint Hills 50 RD, Adam Dolezal. 

Adam predicted a week or two before that I would run a 12:15. I hoped he’d be wrong. I had higher hopes — although I should have known better. But check this out.

Adam prediction

Wait for it…

result time

Wild.

But as I tell the kids all the time — RUN YOUR RACE. Once again, I did that. I didn’t do as well as I have in the past or perhaps as good as I could have. But I finished and had a good time. That’s enough for me.

shirt, bib, buckle

My XL shirt that fits like a medium. Ha.

Three times at Hearltand + three times at Flint Hills = 6-time 50-mile finisher.

50 x 6

Bling x 6.

Mile 1-10

2017 – 11:29/mile | 2018 – 10:40/mile | 2019 – 11:29/mile

Mile 11-20

2017 – 13:25/mile | 2018 – 11:59/mile | 2019 – 13:04/mile

Mile 21-30

2017 – 14:57/mile | 2018 – 15:30/mile | 2019 – 15:33/mile

Mile 31-40

2017 – 15:43/mile | 2018 – 16:43/mile | 2019 – 15:08/mile

Mile 41-50

2017 – 15:45/mile | 2018 – 15:45/mile | 2019 – 18:12/mile

  • 7,025 calories burned
  • 10th ultra finish
  • 7th longest run

Next up: Heartland 50 — Saturday, April 27 — Cassoday, KS

May or may not drop to 50K distance this time around. Stay tuned.

 

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: 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: Heartland 50

Heartland 50

50-mile #5

May 5, 2018

Place: 37/42

Time: 14:23:09

logo

Heartland 50 logo

Back for another dose of pain on the flint hills of Cassoday, Kansas. I’ve been on this course for about 250 miles or so now across different races and pacing duties.

Two weeks after my rainy PR at Flint Hills 50 outside Manhattan, the goal here was to just reach the finish line of a 50-mile race for the fifth time. Sure, I had a time I’d like to hit, but that was out the window with the heat and the weary legs.

Said goodbye to the family Friday afternoon, then to Cassoday to get my shirt and bib.

Got to Cassoday, where I immediately saw my friends and race directors, Jason Dinkel and Barry Smith. Good guys. Thanks to them for putting on such a great event once again.

shirt and bib

My favorite shirt from this event yet. This one actually (sort of) fits. Yay!

After meeting a few fellow runners and chatting a bit, I was back on the road to El Dorado to my hotel.

Pizza Hut

But not before my customary pre-race dinner from Pizza Hut.

Lounged a bit, stressed about my lack of readiness, watched some mindless TV — and a little bit of Field of Dreams — before eventually getting to sleep.

race outfit prep

Race gear ready.

Race morning, more stress — mostly about the incoming heat. But hey, at least it wasn’t going to rain for a change. Really wasn’t sure how long my legs could hang so soon after another 50, but you know what they say — only one way to find out.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, mismatched laces. Go time.

I started with an easy, comfortable pace in the mid-upper 10s as I chatted with a handful of runners. Usually, I don’t like talking while I run, but maybe I was more relaxed with putting less pressure on my result — or maybe I’m just becoming less of a prick.

No, it’s probably the first thing.

I got to meet, say hello to, or even share some miles with several folks throughout the day — Chris Wilson, Will Sprouse, Adele Jordan, Mike Rives, Chris Bosch, Jeff Grabbe, Jason Flores, Tiffany Fiedler, Matthew Stroupe, Ken Childress, Chrissy Whitten and Brent Larson, Cindy Knull and Rosie Saiz.

Fun people from all over the place. Love the ultrarunning community.

Anyway…

That early stretch of 8.4 miles or so before the Battle Creek aid station is my favorite stretch on the course — on the way out anyway.

Adele's shot

Courtesy photo: Adele. Thanks, friend!

She took that right before a herd of cattle crossed the path in front of us. That was kind of an invigorating sight to see.

peace sign

Race photographer was great, as always. Glad he was able to capture me having fun, since I wasn’t always.

Got to the aid station and did my best to refuel, though, as always, I struggled to eat anything. But I topped off my bottles, saw some friends working the station and browsed through my drop bag. I had to.

I had notes/cards waiting for me in each one.

I had to show those off at each aid station.

Mentally, I held up longer than usual during these things. I was still feeling good between the ears until around miles 38-42 when the big hills hit again.

hills

This wasn’t that moment, but a glimpse of a hill or two.

But my legs? They were shot by mile 28 or so. Tons of walking the second half of the race — even slower than walking the last 7-8 miles. I was genuinely struggling to continue moving forward. I was resigned to the fact that this would be my slowest finish time of all my 50s by about mile 40.

Bummed about it, but still kept trudging along one step at a time.

black + white

Black and white photos make people look tougher — I guess.

I preached to myself (and others) all day long, that life — like running — is all a matter of perspective. Last race, I set my PR — my fastest time — and got last place. LAST. This time? I was by far slower than I’d ever been before and beat five people. Whatever, man.

finish

I love distances where just reaching the finish line is always an accomplishment.

I did it. Heartland 50 finisher for the third time. Fifty mile finisher for the fifth time. Tough, tough day, but a rewarding experience like all the others.

Award + sticker

Another buffalo/horse shoe award and sticker.

3x Heartland

2015 | 2016 | 2018

5x 50

50 x 5

I’m taking a break for awhile. No running for at least a week. My legs need to recover. Need to ease back into it when ready — and of course — improve my fitness.

But I also want to have a little fun. I’ll run the Father’s Day 4-mile race in KCMO in June, pushing Bryant in the stroller. Excited about that one.

Might do the Tonganoxie Library Run 10K the week prior, although registration doesn’t appear to be open yet.

Nothing big planned for awhile — maybe not even for the rest of the year. I really did plan to try 100 this year, but I’m still not quite confident enough in my ability to finish one of those. We’ll see.

Race report: Flint Hills 50

Flint Hills 50

50-mile #4

April 21, 2018

Place: 13/13

Time: 11:46:31

race logo

Race logo

First off, I will write this report similar to the way I did last year’s [here] — where I detail my experiences hour-by-hour. Plus a little more pre-race leading up to it.

I went into this race — my first ultra without a crew — actually feeling confident for a change. I learned last year the amazing benefit of fresh legs. I loved knowing that I’d finished this awesome course before and was excited to have another go at it. I knew what the forecast said, but I was still hoping for a PR.

I left Topeka solo for Manhattan on Friday afternoon.

family

But not before a group shot with my team at home.

After about an hour of lounging and channel surfing at the hotel, I swung over to Manhattan Running Company to pick up my packet. Got to chat a bit with RD, Adam Dolezal. He does a great job. He’s proud of this race he’s put on and it shows. I love this one, you guys. Highly recommend.

Of course this year’s shirt was awesome in color (more green than the photo looks) and feel. But of course, for the second year in a row, the shirt won’t fit me. Bah. Oh well. I was in it for the experience anyway.

Loved my bib and number at least.

shirt

My shirt and bib.

Stopped to pick up a pretty traditional supper for me the night before a race.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut pasta + cheese sticks, of course.

Got my gear set up while watching some mindless television and some NBA playoff action before eventually getting some sleep.

pre race gear

Gear set up.

Oh, and I also snuck in some FaceTime with the wife and boy.

Bryant face time

Oh, hey Bryant.

On to race day…

pre race selfie

Pre-race selfie.

Though 18 of us signed up for the 50-mile, just 16 toed the start line — just like last year.

I updated a note in my phone so Kami could see updates from home, and so I could try to keep ahead of my pace from last year.

My A goal was to run a sub-11.

My B goal was to just PR — 11:52:57 was my time on this course last year.

My C goal was to just finish.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts + bright, mismatched laces because I do what I want.

After 1 hour — 5.65 miles; 8th place out of 16

I was 0.4 mile ahead of last year’s pace and moving well. Chatted a bit with a few guys early on and felt good despite the steady drizzle.

2 miles in

Can’t even see the rain here. I promise, it was there.

Of course, I didn’t eat much throughout the day — as usual. I didn’t keep nearly as close tabs on my intake as I did last year. I ate several cookies and lots of chips later on, but not much early.

William Layton Photography

Photo courtesy: William Layton Photography

After 2 hours — 11.35 miles; 9th place out of 16

I was still feeling pretty good despite the rains. I was now 0.93 ahead of last year’s pace and moving well past the first two aid stations — even though I missed my drop bag at mile 10. Turns out, it showed up a few minutes after I’d left the station.

So, that was a bummer. But oh well, onward I went.

After 3 hours — 16.49 miles; 12th place out of ?

My place was slipping (I put a question mark because I’m not certain when the first person dropped exactly), but I didn’t care one bit. I was still picking up my pace and was now 1.31 miles ahead of last year’s pace at the same time.

I was feeling good about my race, even though I would’ve killed for some sunshine.

No go on this day, friends.

 

Layton 2

Love having a great race photographer to capture moments.

After 4 hours — 21.1 miles; 12th place out of ?

I was ready to be done with the loop. At this point, despite my continuing improvement on my pace (now 1.65 miles ahead), I had already decided I would be changing shirts, socks and hats at the midway point.

Ran a bit with girl named Melanie around this stretch. Another guy ran with us for a short stretch. I don’t recall his name off hand, but he was bib number 5. Friendly guy. Love the running community — especially ultra runners.

There was also a guy named Keith who was real nice. I read his report earlier today. He was great out there. Inspiring stuff. But like last year — like I tell our student-athletes to do — I was just there to run my race. If it meant winning or getting last place, so be it.

After 5 hours — 24.98 miles; 13th place out of ?

I actually completed my first loop in under five hours — probably close to 4:45 or so, but after changing clothes and grabbing something tiny to eat, I was on my way out for the start of my second loop right as my watch hit the five-hour mark.

After 6 hours — 28.88 miles; 13th place out of ?

Holy slow moving miles at this point. I was still ahead of my pace, but my margin was no longer increasing — 1.63 miles ahead). Lots of walking the second loop as my legs were getting heavy, the winds were picking up, the rains were getting heavier and the mud was getting thicker.

I was getting really frustrated at this point. Nearing the 29.5 mile aid station, I was getting a bit dizzy and light-headed. I wanted to quit, but wasn’t yet planning to. Just struggling to keep moving.

When I reached that point shortly after the six-hour mark, it had begun pouring for a short stretch. I talked to a kid at the aid station who is on the Wamego High School cross country team. Nice kid.

After 7 hours — 32.44 miles; 13th place out of ?

Still trudging along. Still struggling. Just trying to make it to the next aid station. Now just 0.92 mile ahead of last year’s pace. I was still convinced I was ahead of at least a couple people, though.

Nope.

After 8 hours — 35.65 miles; 13th place out of 13

Talked to a guy and his kids from Topeka at the aid station. Cool fellas. Topeka man told me I was in last place. I was bummed about this fact for about half a second. Then I realized it might be a blessing.

I probably look back once every five minutes or so in a race. I may have looked back three times the rest of the race — probably some rustling sounds or something. Otherwise, peaceful the rest of the way, for the most part.

I was now just 0.37 mile ahead of last year’s pace.

I had given up on my B goal and was convinced I could no longer set a PR. No worries. Just finish, dude.

Saw this sign shortly after finding out I was in last place:

do not pass

I bet Adam put this there just for me. Jerk.

After 9 hours — 39.44 miles; 13th place out of 13

Wait. I’ve got a shot to PR still after all. Just keep moving. Just needed to maintain a 16-minute pace the rest of the way. Math became my friend once again. I love math. My wife hates it. She thinks she knows how much math I do in my head — she actually has no idea. *chuckle*

After 10 hours — 43.24 miles; 13th place out of 13

Now just 0.35 ahead of last year’s pace. But it’s still possible to PR. Just. Keep. Moving.

After 10 hours and 5 seconds — watch dies. CRAP. 

Math upon math upon math the rest of the way. I was going to have to compute this thing tech-free the rest of the way. Which meant adding, multiplying and estimating all at once while keeping my legs moving and my mind occupied.

After 11 hours — 46.82 (that’s an estimate); 13th place out of 13

I told the guy at the final aid station — who was that guy? Was that Ben? Adam’s brother? Or another guy? I dunno, man. I don’t remember everyone’s name. They’re all friendly dudes — anyway, I told him to kick me out of there in three minutes because I was estimating that I’d PR by 30 seconds to a minute.

It would be cloooose.

Saw Adam driving back toward me to pick up signs. Okay, I get it, you guys. I’m in last and you want to go home. I’m trying my best. Kind of weird to be gutting it out for a PR and still have people waiting on you.

Bah. Oh well, man.

As I made the final stretches, I realized it wasn’t going to be quite as close a call as I’d thought.

Crossed the finish line in 11:46:31 — 6 minutes, 26 seconds faster than last year. A new PR. Last place, but I ain’t mad about it.

buckle

8th ultra finish, 4th 50-miler (PR), 2nd buckle

I was craving Qdoba for the last 15 miles or so, so where did I go after the race?

Qdoba

Swimming in this Loaded Tortilla Soup, that’s where.

This was a hard race. Mostly because of the conditions, but also because, well, 50 miles is kinda far.

But I had a great time once again and I’m happy I made it to the finish line.

Orange Mud

My handy Orange Mud drop bags, my HydraQuiver Double Barrel hydration pack + my muddy shoes, race bib and buckle.

Of course, my team at home was happy for me as well.

Bryant + Kami post race

Love them.

They even made motivational cards and notes for me and placed one in each of my drop bags so I could see them during the race.

cards from Bryant

How cool is that?

20172018

Mile 1-10: 11:29/mile10:40/mile

Mile 11-20: 13:25/mile | 11:59/mile

Mile 21-30: 14:57/mile15:30/mile

Mile 31-40: 15:43/mile16:43/mile

Mile 41-50: 15:45/mile15:45/mile

  • 7,240 calories burned
  • 8th ultra finish
  • 6th longest run

Next up: Heartland 50 — May 5, 2018