Race report: Run for the Rocks Half Marathon

Run for the Rocks Half Marathon

Half Marathon #17

September 24, 2017

Place: 40/183

Time: 1:59:51

Logo

2017 RFR logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My fifth time running this race. I enjoy the course, the people and environment. There are a bunch of things I wish were different with the event (conversations with several friends indicate I’m not alone) and it makes me sad to see its participants dwindle each year. There has been a 57% decrease in finishers from 2012 to 2017 — 428 down to 183. But I’m not in charge, so I’ll just continue to show up when I can and enjoy the miles.

That’s precisely what I had in mind for this one. I tweaked a calf muscle a bit in a basketball league game a few days prior and it was feeling a bit tight. I knew I wasn’t ready for a fast race, but thought I’d give it what I had. I held up better physically than I expected and though I slowed down throughout, I was able to (barely) eke out a sub-2 finish.

Let’s rewind, though.

Shirt + bib

This year’s shirt.

The shirts have always been my least favorite part of this race. They never fit right. This one is sharp, though. And though I haven’t run in it yet, it seems to fit really well. Nice!

Start area

The start area.

I did zero warming up before the start. I mingled and chatted with a few friends I saw in July at the Rodeo Run and some I hadn’t seen in a bit longer. Good times.

Pre-race goofy

Always be yourself. Even if you’re weird.

I started fast in relation to my overall pace in the end, but I was feeling comfortable. I ran with a guy for a few miles who ran Rodeo Run, but I don’t know his name. I’ve seen him at several races over the years. All I know is that his mustache is the stuff of legend. Seriously, it’s phenomenal.

Mr. Mustache and I parted ways about 3.5 miles in or so when I slowed my pace down a bit (by design) and he maintained his.

Mile 4-5

Somewhere near Rice Park, probably about mile 4.5 or 5.

I slowed to a walk through the aid stations, drank water here and there, thanked the volunteers and spectators. Shout out to Hutch PD and the HCC Cross Country and Track teams who were out and about. They were great.

I knew it was going to be a fight to finish sub-2 since I was slowing mile after mile. And while I didn’t particularly care about my time, as long as I had a shot to finish under two hours, I was going to stay focused on that goal.

Overall splits

8:17 | 8:11 | 8:12 | 8:20 | 8:27 | 8:47 | 9:08 | 9:22 | 9:38 | 9:55 | 9:24 | 9:42 | 9:35 | 8:53 (final 0.33 mi)
Finish (photo company)

Finish line photo, courtesy of the race photographers.

Finish (Kami)

Finish line photo, courtesy of Kami in the bleachers of Gowans Stadium.

Took me awhile, as usual, to catch my breath, but once I did, I had a good time mingling. My mom and Kami came down to meet me and we chatted for awhile. Talked with some other running friends and a few who were spectators as well.

Somehow, embarrassingly, I finished second in my age group. I’ve run this race before — MUCH faster — and not come anywhere near placing. But, hey, I guess I’ll take it.

Awards + shirt

Run for the … tile, I guess. My age group award + finisher medal + the sweet shirt again.

This was my 24th race in Hutchinson, where I lived for three years. I enjoy the half marathon distance — mostly because here I am 24 hours after finishing and I’m not really sore anymore. That’s always nice.

Anytime you get to grab some miles and see friends, it’s a good day in my book.

I really only got one photo with friends, but Kami was starting to get warm (getting close to baby time, y’all) and I was ready to get on the road and back to Topeka.

Running friends

My friends Aaron Wilson and Lisa Johnson. They both did an amazing job, as always.

 

 

 

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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: Freedom Run 15K

Freedom Run 15K

15K #3

July 4, 2017 —Lyons/Sterling, KS

Place: 8/24

Time: 1:14:27

Made my way back to the Freedom Run for the first time in a few years. I had run the 15K in 2013, then the 5K in 2014 with Kami. Hadn’t been back since. This run is an incredibly monotonous course, starting at Lyons High School and finishing in Sterling. Basically, 8.7 miles of the 9.32 mile course is one straight shot along the highway with no turns.

It’s a small-ish race (the 5K had a good turnout of 131, although quite a bit smaller than the 255 in 2014) with only 24 finishers in the 15K. The shirts in year’s past were not exciting at all, as I wore each probably twice each.

This year, however, was different.

shirt

One of my favorite race shirts so far. I don’t even like red, but combined with the blue, the faded look and the boot design, I’m a fan. Doesn’t hurt that it fits pretty well.

Kami dropped me at the start at Lyons High School. We chatted with some running friends before she took off toward the finish.

flag

Here’s a picture Kami thought I would like. I present to you: A wall. And a flag. And some flowery things. Enjoy.

Always good to see Wyatt and Kristina Clifton and Bev Exposito. Made a new friend in Delaine Wright, who wound up proving to be a challenge. I finally caught up to her around the 5 mile mark and only beat her by a minute and change.Saw some other old running friends at the finish — ones who had done the 5K — Mark Kauffman and Ron Blanton. I know my friend Courtney Wilkey did the 5K as well, but I didn’t get a chance to see her. I’m sure there were others I’m missing. Point being: It’s a good time to run some miles and see some friendly faces.

I planned on just trying to run a steady, goal marathon pace somewhere between 8:30 – 9:00 per mile. I had no interest in flying out of the gate and racing anyone or any particular time.

That plan didn’t really hold up too much. I threw down a 7:52 first mile and knew I had to slow down, so I did. But not for long. Ran an 8:12 mile two and figured I might as well see how long I could hold a pace around 8:00 or so. Turns out, a while.

7:52 | 8:12 | 7:55 | 7:53 | 7:57 | 8:02 | 7:57 | 8:07 | 8:02 || 7:34 = 7:59 / mile overall

I finished in eighth place overall, seventh male and first in my age group. I’ll never understand the age groups for this particular race, as my age group was 26-35.

I got edged out in the last mile by a guy who was 38 and would be in my age group in many races. But… I’ll take the age group win, all the same.

plaque

My collection of plaques is limited. I’ve got medals, trophies, even a few ribbons — but only one or two of these bad boys. I’ll take it.

Hung around a bit after to chat with friends and get results before changing and hitting the road. Had a good time.

w Cliftons

Me and the Cliftons. Good people.

w Bev + Delaine

Bev, Delaine & me: Age group winners.

It sure was good to be back near family over the weekend.

I played in the Sterling Tennis Tournament on Saturday, July 1 — yeah, you read that right. No, I don’t play tennis. I finished 8th place…

There were 8 people in the tournament. But, man, I had a blast. I even won a set. Yeah, I know, it’s not running stuff. But it was part of my holiday weekend — and the main reason I hadn’t shaken off the soreness until probably right before the 15K began.

Final results:

First match: 0-6, 0-6

Second match: 3-6, 6-2 (4-10)

Third match: 0-6, 0-6

tennis 1

I managed to hit a few good shots. For a guy who doesn’t play tennis, anyway.

tennis 2

Tennis Skill Level: Novice.

Race report: Firecracker 8K

Firecracker 8K

8K #1

June 24, 2017 — Hutchinson, KS

Place: 4/53

Time: 37:01

Always good to be back close to home. Had 10 miles planned as part of my marathon training, but I had signed up for the Firecracker 8K in Hutchinson. I had done the Firecracker race twice before as part of the Hutch Rec Race Series, but this was the first year for the 8K distance — automatic PR!

shirt

Cool shirt + bib

Since I didn’t care about my race time, I got five-plus easy miles in before the race, then ditched the watch before the race began. Man, that has been fun and liberating to run tech-free this summer. I’ve gotten a few solid training runs with it, so I’ve really enjoyed just getting out there and running without looking at my wrist every five seconds.

Side note: I couldn’t have possibly asked for better weather for a run. Late June and a race start temperature of 60-62 degrees? Phenomenal.

I tried to hang with my friend Lisa for a bit. Managed to do so for about three miles or so before she inevitably started to pull away. She was just one of several familiar faces I was able to see throughout the race. Good times that made me a little homesick. That’s likely to maximize when I’m back home (like — home, home) next month for the Rodeo Run.

with Lisa

My friend Lisa Johnson. Great runner, better person.

Lisa mentioned at the two-mile mark that our first mile was 7:25 and our second was 7:38, but otherwise, I have no idea what my splits were.

She had told me earlier in the week that she hoped for 37 minutes. I’d told her I wasn’t sure I could manage that. I was right. I crossed the finish line in 37:01 — 57 seconds behind Lisa.

I was fourth overall; second male. The first place guy finished about six hours ahead of me — or so it seemed. That dude was blazing. I was just happy to hold off the guy behind me by six seconds.

8k finish 2

Crossing the finish line.

One complaint about this event: Reading the results took about a week and a half. I enjoyed everything else about the race, but that part was incredibly tedious. I could’ve run another 10 miles while we waited. No big deal, though. I almost left without the medal, which I didn’t need — but, like I said — PR.

AG win

Should’ve worn shades, man.

All, in all, a good day. I feel like I ran a good race with all things considered.

I told Lisa and Kami that until about mile three of the race, my brain had forgotten that I’d actually run eight-plus miles up to then — but that’s about when my legs remembered.

Safe to say those last couple of miles were one part coasting and one part trying like crazy to hold off the guy behind me. It wouldn’t have hurt my feelings if he’d passed me — he was nowhere near my age group. But it’s always good to remain competitive.

This race isn’t on my must-do list, but we were back in town anyway, and it’s a course I enjoy. I would do it again.

8k medal

8K medal (first place age group) + shirt

Next up: Freedom Run 15K in Lyons/Sterling on Tuesday, July 4.