Race report: Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Half marathon #20

February 3, 2018

Place: 158/224

Time: 2:20:57


Race logo

After running this race last year, I thought it would be fun to return. Good miles + good chocolate = a good time. Two weeks after running the Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon, I think I may have run once in between the two events. I’ve got to find time to run again. It’s going to be a battle getting back into shape, but I’ve got some races on my calendar to focus on, so it’s time… Meanwhile…

Kami and Bryant didn’t make the trip for this one. C’mon, warmer weather! Knew I’d be slow, but figured I’d just try to maintain a steady pace (ha) and have some fun.

The race started/finished on the campus of Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe. I entered the building wear packets were being handed out to collect mine before returning to the car to prep for the start.

shirt, bib, cocoa

This year’s shirt + my bib + a packet of hot cocoa.

The shirts were white again this year (ugh), but dri-fit. Normally, I don’t hope for “tech” shirts at races because they never fit right. This one fits fine. But it’s white, so I’ll never wear it as my outer layer. Could work as an under shirt, though.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, as always.

I was hoping to avoid the hat and heavier gloves, but the wind made for a colder day than I’d thought, so I had to be prepared.

Temperature: 24-28 degrees
Real feel: 20-24 degrees
Wind: 13-16 MPH


Had to go with the blue laces to match the compression sleeves and shirt — though I had to wear a less blue jacket over the shirt, which spoiled my color-coordination a bit.

I started out slow by design. Having pace groups for a half marathon always throws me off. I almost never have any interest in running with a pace group — or hearing other humans talk, so I was bummed about my decision to not take the headphones.

Had to stop and pee at the port-a-potty at mile 2.6, but continued on and kept my pace semi-steady. For awhile, anyway. This would wound up being my second slowest half marathon ever. Second only to the Cow Pie Trail Run Half Marathon I ran in Loup City, Nebraska in late 2014. That was ALL hills/trails. This was mostly flat pavement. Yeah, so I was slow.

Me on course

I’m not sure how far along in the race this is, but my guess is around mile 4-5. 

As expected, I hit a wall. Did a good amount of walking the last several miles and just wound up happy to be done.

Splits: 9:32, 9:20, 9:43, 9:33, 9:23, 9:29, 9:44, 9:50, 10:50, 11:41, 13:16, 13:28, 13:44, 11:05 (0.13)

Yeesh. Bad, man. Whatever, time for chocolate.


I ate half of one of these donuts + one marshmallow + two Hershey kisses.

The donut was stale, the marshmallow was stale and seemed like it was a year old and the chocolate was bitter. Last year’s selection was great, this year it was just awful. Major bummer.

I sat around in the gym for a bit. Chatted with a couple people briefly — mostly about the disappointing selection of chocolate — before I decided I’d take off and head for home.


The set-up in the gym was cool this year. Less crowded than having everyone out in the hallway + in a lecture hall last year.

So, while I’m happy I did this race a second time and I didn’t have an awful experience, I sort of doubt that I will return.

The bad chocolate coupled with white shirts in back-to-back years, plus poor marketing of the race and results mess-ups… Yeah, probably not worth my time/money/effort to return to this one.


This year’s swag. Hey, at least the medal was cool. Too bad I couldn’t eat it, huh? No, I didn’t try to eat it.

Next up: I’m actually not sure. I’m not currently signed up for anything at the moment. The next race I plan to do is Flint Hills 50 on April 21 — but who knows if I’ll find a smaller event prior to that to sign up for in the meantime.

Stay tuned.


Race report: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Half marathon #19

January 20, 2018

Place: 129/208

Time: 2:17:28

TTA logo

Race logo

Living in Topeka now, I figured I ought to do this race. Not sure why I didn’t last year, but wanted to give it a try — hills and all.

It was kinda different picking up my packet the day before a race where I was not staying in a hotel. But hey, I wasn’t mad about it.

bib, socks, shirt

Bib 53, socks and 1/4 zip pullover. Nice swag.

With very little running the past few months — even less outdoor running and not much more sleeping due to the new baby boy, I had zero expectations for this one. Not to mention the pending hills throughout the race and muddy slop in miles 8-12. Luckily, the temperatures at least cooperated.

pre-race gear

My race day attire.

I wound up seeing a few people I knew at the race — though none actually from Topeka. I spotted Tom Snook, Aaron Wilson and Jacob Carlo. I hadn’t actually met Jacob previously, but know his mom and I know he’s super fast. I also met another friend of Tom/Aaron: Shawndra Burgart. I would wind up running the first 8.5 miles or so with Shawndra.

Indian Hills Elementary

Started near here: Indian Hills Elementary

After leaving my car at the building — Kami and Bryant would meet me at the finish — we walked to the start line just down at the end of the Indian Hills Elementary parking lot on the street.

bib on shorts

Bib ready to go.

I can’t wear my bib on my shirt anymore, man. I need as many places to wipe sweat as I can find. Same reason I’ll never go sleeveless. Don’t judge me, bro.

start line

Pre-race start line.

I’d been told the worst of the hills were in the first six miles, leading up to the worst of the worst — Urish hill. But whatever, man. Like I said, I hadn’t been able to run much lately anyway, so I was just happy to be outside and enjoying the fresh, though finally not frigid, air.

Weather: 40-48 degrees, minimal wind, clouds

The miles ticked by as Shawndra and I chatted about a lot of things — comically enough, she was at the race where I proposed to my now wife back in February of 2014. Small world.

The hills were noticeable, but manageable. And then came Urish.

Urish Hill

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a doozy.

The strategy there was just to shorten the stride, look up and at least try to fake enthusiasm when you reached the top of the hill — where the race photographer just happened to be located.

me on hill

That’s Shawndra behind me. I wasn’t really trying to pass her; I just have longer legs.

My splits for this race, as usual, wound up being pretty hilarious. I knew that would be the case, but once again — just wanted to get some miles in and enjoy being out there.

8:50 | 9:05 | 9:20 | 9:11 | 9:47 | 9:32 | 10:32 | 9:32 | 10:49 | 10:51 | 12:39 | 12:33 | 11:58 | 10:17(final 0.27 mi) — 10:21 overall pace

I was still feeling pretty good until about mile 8 when the course turned to dirt — well, mud. Shawndra was doing her best to be encouraging, but I knew she’d be taking off on me shortly. I needed to pull back and would need to walk off and on the rest of the way.

I finally lost her about 8.5 miles in. The rest of the way would be solo, which I’m used to anyway, really. She wound up finishing about eight minutes and change ahead of me. Thanks for the miles, new friend.

The mud was an adventure for the next four miles. I was happy to finally see pavement at mile 12 for the rest of the way. Even after a stretch of pavement and kicking a bunch of the muck off my shoes, they still looked like this…


Yippee Ki-Yay, MF

But perhaps an even more welcome surprise than the pavement was seeing some kids I know from Shawnee Heights, where I coach middle school basketball and track. The SHHS cross country team was manning the mile 12 aid station. I told them later they should’ve been stationed earlier in the race when I was holding up better. Oh well.

I managed to finish, nonetheless.

finish 1

Official time 2:17:28

The last mile-plus was on pavement and while my time was pretty darn slow, on this day, I was just happy to finish. I enjoyed the miles along the way, which I suppose should really be all that matters.


Post-race selfie. Love the 1/4 zip.

Oh, and the best part — running a block or two from the finish line to meet Kami and Bryant — probably faster than I’d run at any point during the race.

And then, pancakes. Yum.

Got some pretty sweet swag out of the event, but the pancakes and sausage were probably the best part.

medal, bib, shirt

Medal, bib, 1/4 zip were pretty cool, too, though. Oh, and the socks.

And finally, for my favorite photo of the day — one I totally forgot the guy took until right before posting this…

Me & Bryant 2

Me and the boy. He was a hit, you guys. Everybody loves that little dude.

Next up: Chocolate Rush Half Marathon (Olathe) — February 3

Race report: Run for Pie 5K

Thanksgiving Day / Run for Pie 5K

5K #45

November 23, 2017

Place: 17/300

Time: 21:39

race logo

Thanks to the Gazaway family in Hutchinson for hosting this each year. It has become tradition.

This was my fifth year running this race. I won a pie one year and a shirt another. I may have won a pie twice, I don’t remember. I’m not that fast anymore — and the turnout keeps growing. Oh well.

We’re always back in the area to see family for the holidays, so this free, fun little race is a must whenever possible. Always great to see friends.

The Gazaway family hosts this event and works very hard each year on handmade, wooden finisher awards, supplies bibs, sells shirts to those who want them and provide pies for the top three male/female finishers. So cool of them to do all that.


Love the creativity of these.


I never buy a shirt if I have the option. I have so many shirts as it is. But here is a photo of this year’s shirt anyway.

I didn’t plan to try to really race this thing and took a couple minutes working my way up from the back after chatting with friends before the start.

That being said, I still wound up quite a bit faster than planned. It was cold, but not too cold. Nice morning for a 5K, I would say.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, as always. I’m that guy.

But the best part of this event is always the pre- and post-race, hanging out and catching up with friends from the area.

me & turkey

Not him. He’s not a friend. He’s a turkey.

3 friends

Me, Kristina, Jess, Tuck (he’s a dog)

4 friends

Lisa, Kristina, Jess, me

me & Lisa

Just me and Lisa. She’s fast, you guys.

This is now one of just three events I’ve done five times. And I see no reason to stop participating in this one, unless they decide to stop hosting it. Always a good time.

bib + woodal

This year’s swag.


Race report: Longview Half Marathon

Longview Half Marathon

Half Marathon #18

November 11, 2017

Place: 217/521

Time: 2:03:59

race logo

Longview Half Marathon logo

Chalk this up as another “just for fun” race — kind of my theme this year. This was my first race since our son Bryant joined the world three weeks earlier. He nor Kami made the trip as it was a bit on the cold and windy side, but I was happy to get out and run more than 7 miles for the first time in a couple months. The race itself went better than expected.

When I arrived, I was told they did not have my shirt size, but would order it and mail it to me. I was upset for about two seconds and quickly decided it wasn’t worth it. Besides, as a race director myself, I get it. I did, after all, sign up a bit late. No worries. Still a personalized race bib. They even gave me a VIP bracelet to make up for the temporarily missing shirt. That got me a pass into the tent with the heaters and a nicer bathroom. Score.

bib 299

Only third time with my name on my bib — one was a DNF.

When the race started, I took off slowly by design. Wasn’t sure how I’d hold up running farther than I’d run in quite some time. I kept pace just ahead of the 2:10 pace group for the first two-plus miles.

That’s when we hit “the hill.” Excluding a couple of trail races I’ve done, this was likely the steepest paved hill I’ve ever run in a race. Brutal. But I counted runners going the other direction to keep my mind off the hill — 275. I was in 276th place by the time I reached the top. Yeah, this was a big race.

KC Running Co bus

KC Running Co. does a good job.

Right at the top of the hill — maybe around mile 2.75 or so — I caught up with the 2:05 pace group. Figured I’d hang with them for a mile or two until I felt the need to drop back again. Instantly got to chatting with a couple guys, Sean and Andy. Sean was one of the pacers, while Andy was a guy in his 40s (I think) running the race a few minutes behind his teenage son.

Cool guys. Good conversation. I never like running with groups, but this was a good time. Maybe it was because I forced myself to settle in and not race. Maybe I’ve lightened up since I entered fatherhood. Who knows.

Anyway, off and on during the race, Sean, Andy and myself were joined by a couple of girls — Kelsey and Stephanie. They either knew each other previously or had become fast friends in the early miles of this one. Not sure of their ages, but Stephanie has a baseball playing son and Kelsey was going to do another half marathon the next day. Crazy person.

Hearing other people’s stories gave me an excuse to talk about my own son — Bryant. He’s a stud, you guys.

Back to the race…

me full length

Cold, windy, hilly, fun.

Each mile that ticked by, I thought “Maybe I’ll hang with this group another mile… Okay, maybe two more.” I surprised myself greatly with how steady this race was. I owe a lot of that to Sean’s pacing skills and the good chats with the runners mentioned above.

I stuck within a few steps of the group, especially Sean, until about the 11.6 mark. I decided I could push it a bit and tried to pick it up a notch. After my slowest mile of the day (9:44) in mile 11, I sped up by one second in mile twelve, then turned in my fastest mile of the day (8:44) in mile 13.

LOL. Yeah, I’ve definitely never done that in a race before. I even had a little bit left for a sprint through the finish.

9:34 | 9:29 | 9:41 | 9:06 | 9:20 | 9:27 | 9:23 | 9:29 | 9:30 | 9:40 | 9:44 | 9:43 | 8:44 | 6:52 (final 0.16)

me finishing

Chip time 2:03:59

I don’t like being slower than two hours in a half marathon, but all things considered, I was very happy with this race. I met some cool people, maintained a steady pace and had a fun time. I would definitely consider doing this race again.

hoodie, bib, medal

Borrowed a guy’s hoodie to snap a pic since mine has to be mailed to me — no idea when that will come.

While the weather was cold, especially when the wind hit the lake just right, I chose a pretty perfect wardrobe for the conditions — especially given that I wasn’t really racing this one. I actually got warm a time or two, but never so much so that I felt inclined to ditch layers.

me close up

Somewhere around mile 11.

Before taking off for home to be with the wife and boy, I meandered around a bit and took in the scenery while stretching out the legs in the process.

I even got someone to snap a pic for me…

post race pose

My 18th half marathon.

I may do a free Thanksgiving 5K if they’re still having it this year, back in Hutchinson. Otherwise, my next race is the Hangover Half Marathon in Overland Park on January 1, 2018.

Until then…


Race report: Winged Foot 10K

Winged Foot 10K

10K #22

September 30, 2017

Place: 7/28

Time: 49:35


Winged Foot 10K logo

I did this race last year, two weeks removed from my nasty ankle injury. Naturally, it was slow. I treated it as a tune-up, just to see if I could loosen up my foot/ankle before trying Heartland 100 the following weekend.

This year, I just wanted to have fun with it, as I’ve done with most of my races this year, really. The event kicks of the Kansas Chocolate Festival, so it comes with some candy in the race bag. Score!

candy pre-race

Oops, still have to run…

bib on shorts

Bib on and ready to go.

bib + candy

Race bag/bib + candy.

Last year, I finished 20th of 47 in the 10K, as I hobbled through the first loop with Kami, who did the 5K and sped up just a bit the second loop. Slow time overall, finishing in 57:14. While still slow and not very fit this year, I was at least healthy. Ran the whole thing solo, just trying to stay steady.


Kinda enjoy the low-key atmosphere at the Combat Air Museum. This was my third race on this flat, loop course.

Smaller turnout this year, and I finished in 7th place overall out of 28 finishers in the 10K. Not sure how many finished the 5K. Last year it was 93. My guess is maybe half that this time around.

Combat Air Museum

Fun place, nice flat course, cool atmosphere.

I rarely ever speed up as races go along, but after I slowed up in my fourth mile, I decided I’d try to speed up just a bit. Wasn’t easy, but I was able to do just that, especially in that last mile and a half, when I gunned it and eventually ran down the girl in front of me. I passed her in the final quarter mile to move into seventh place overall.

Harder than I’ve finished a race in quite awhile.

Overall splits

7:24 | 7:41 | 8:06 | 8:35 | 8:00 | 7:34 | 6:54 (final 0.33 mi)

That last part is not a typo. I remember when I used to run that fast or better on a regular basis. Now, though? That’s moving for me — until I get the weight down, anyway.

bib + medal

My medal says 5K, but I promise I ran the 10K.


After receiving my age group award.

If they continue to have this event, I’ll continue doing it. It’s an enjoyable time on a smooth, flat course. Having nice weather always helps, too.

I’ve got just one more race before our due date — Fierce-ish 10K here in Topeka on October 14 — two weeks away. I picked up my costume for it yesterday. However, we’re starting to think baby boy might arrive early, so that race may or may not happen. Either way, stay tuned…


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


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.





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…


Pretty solid entertainment.

This is how you know the event is legit…


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


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.


Got one with my friends Aaron Wilson and Jennifer White, however.