Race report: Run for Your Momma Half Marathon

Run for Your Momma Half Marathon

Half Marathon #16

August 12, 2017

Place: 11/46

Time: 1:59:35

I went into this race just hoping to maintain a steady pace to show myself I was ready for my marathon two weeks later (ah, 9.5 days from now) in Nebraska — even though I know I’m really not.

I do enjoy the half marathon distance, regardless of my fitness, however. It’s a long enough run to challenge me and provide a good workout, but short enough that it doesn’t hurt for more than a day after. The marathon is a different animal — not to mention ultras.

Kami was out of town, so I was by myself for the weekend. So I hopped in the car and hit the road to Marion — at 4:20 a.m.

lake office.jpg

Kami wasn’t there, so you get pictures like this. What do you want from me?

I arrived at the race at a few minutes before 6, with the race starting at 6:30. I felt uneasy about the course, unsure of how hilly it would be. I’m also never sure what people mean when they say “dirt/gravel roads.” Sometimes, it means flat dirt. Sometimes it means you’re going to run on boulders.

This was somewhere in between, but not my favorite terrain, if I’m being honest. The views were good, though.

shirt and bib.jpg

My shirt — which doesn’t fit — and my bib, pre-race.

The view before the race — and during the last couple miles — wasn’t too shabby around the lake. The rest was nice, too, being secluded out in the country and even in town within the Marion city limits. But, man, I’m a sucker for a good sunrise.

lake.jpg

Marion County Lake

My goal was to stick between the 8:20 and 8:40 time per mile and just stay steady. I started out a few seconds fast, but my steadiness held up for 6-plus miles. The rocks and hills started to really kick my butt around the midway point. I hit a wall and my pace goals went out the window.

The second half of the race was really just about trying to beat the two-hour mark. If my fitness was where it needed to be, that would be a super easy goal, but it wasn’t on this day. I barely made it in under the two-hour mark.

My splits:

8:16 | 8:16 | 8:17 | 8:15 | 8:14 | 8:17 | 8:38 | 9:20 | 9:35 |11:00 | 10:10 | 10:30 | 9:42

With my pace goals long gone, I really just tried to avoid letting people pass me. I was in eighth place overall until the 9-mile mark, when one guy passed me. I held onto ninth until about 10.5 miles in and was 10th for another mile.
I suppose I’ll take 11th place out of 46, even with the disappointing time. However, with the hills and rocks being tougher than expected, I can’t be too upset about anything, really.
map.JPG

Course map. About 7 miles of gravel roads with the rest in pavement.

After the race, I enjoyed some biscuits and gravy and a cinnamon roll. Yum. The event organizers hosted a breakfast after the race, during the awards announcements.

Since the only other guy in my age group (he was 39) finished second overall, I did not earn an award. But don’t tell that to my cinnamon roll.

13.1 sign

No food pics, but here’s the sign entering the building.

Not sure if I would do this race again or not. I don’t love the gravel/rocks and hills, but the views were good, the price was reasonable and I like the low-key events. Who knows. Maybe someday.

shirt w medal

Finisher medal added to the shirt & bib.

After the drive home, a shower, lunch and some lounging, I indulged in my favorite post-race food of all: Burritoooooo.

Now to focus on my marathon in 9 days, 10 hours and 35 minutes. Woof.

Race report: Ele-fun Run 5K

Ele-fun Run 5K

5K #40

August 5, 2017

Place: 1/82

Time: 21:31

This whole marathon attempt in a few weeks may very well not go as hoped. I haven’t lost the weight I wanted to lose, I haven’t done the speed work I should’ve done and the weather, as always, is unpredictable.

But my summer of small, mostly low-key, fun races has allowed me to keep my sanity through it all and have kept me from “over-training,” as I’ve done in the past. My legs have stayed fresh.

I swapped my 22-mile run from Saturday to Thursday to make room for this fun little inaugural 5K at the Topeka Zoo.

logo

Race logo.

With all-morning rain in the forecast and it being a first-year event, I didn’t expect much of a turnout. It was better than expected. The guy running the thing said 93 registered and 82 showed up to run or walk.

bib

Bib ready to go. That turquoise dot (indicating 19+ age category) would be completely washed away by the end of the race.

Sure enough, it rained throughout the race. Nothing torrential, but enough to form several puddles to run through. The course was four loops around the zoo, so I was able to get some cheers all along the way, which was nice.

start

Blurry, rainy start line shot, courtesy of Kami.

I jumped out to an early lead and unlike most races, when I start super fast and can’t hold it, I was able to maintain a mostly steady pace and led throughout the race.

By early on in the third loop, the guys in second and third were out of sight when I turned around to look behind me. I figured as long as I kept it steady-ish, I could hold on for the win — and I did.

win

Overall winner with a time of 21:31.

I crossed the finish line in 21:31 — a good 2 minutes and 59 seconds slower than my PR. Buuuuut, it was good enough for the win and faster than I expected to be — especially two days after running 22-plus miles. So I was happy with it.

award

Fun little awards ceremony after the race.

This was my 11th overall victory (2 10K, 7 5K, 1 4K, 1 1-mile) and my 40th 5K. I don’t run many of those any more these days and never truly try to race them, but when I have a chance to compete, I take it.

Update: I’ve recently added the virtual races I’ve done to the count of my race totals, making this actually my 42nd 5K. 

This race came with an entrance to the zoo, but in the rain, we didn’t get to see much — specifically, no elephants. Bummer. But we did get to see the giraffes (indoors) and walked around the rainforest exhibit for a bit.

I love the zoo and had a lot of fun with this event — and not just because I happened to win the race. But, yeah, that wasn’t a bad bonus.

swag

Bib, medal, drawstring bag, water bottle and medal.

The consensus was that they planned to do this event again next year. I hope so. I would return to do it again.

Race report: Rodeo Run 8/4/1

Rodeo Run 8

8-mile #2

July 22, 2017

Place: 14/39

Time: 1:10:05

Before I get into the RD stuff, here’s a photo of me from the 8-mile race — since I’ve got stats from that one leading this thing off…

mid 8

It got hot fast. Cruised in the second loop and got the chance to chat with a bunch of friends.

Months of preparation came to fruition with my fifth edition as Race Director of the Rodeo Run this year in my hometown of Pretty Prairie. It’s never my fastest running, especially this year with the heat — but I never really care.

I’m just happy when there are no issues and everyone has a good time.

Turn

Marking turns before the race.

Dean + Silver Lake

The corner of Dean and Silver Lake prior to the race.

Escape window

Windows got a little dirty on the back roads. Ah, home.

Pre 8

Giving a few pre-race instructions before 8-milers took off.

Pre 8 2

Waiting for the RD to shut up so we could all run already.

I had a blast seeing the phenomenal turnout this year, seeing old friends and making new ones.

This year, I chose Kelly Green for our shirts, because, well… I like green.

RR shirt + bibs

2017 shirts + my bibs for the 8-mile and 1-mile this year. I pick my own numbers first and I’m not even sorry about it.

We got some great sponsor help this year, too. This was the busiest the backs of our shirts have been, and that means good helpers.

Like this kid…

water kid

Thanks to EMS and their helpers for the assistance once again this year. They rock!

Shirt back

Props to my grandpa, too.

Rodeo Run 1

1-mile #11

July 22, 2017

Place: 65/190

Time: 9:49

The 1-mile is always a fun time and this year was no exception. Our finisher total jumped from 75 to 190 as Main Street and Park Street were a bit on the packed side this year. What a fun sight to see in Pretty Prairie, Kansas.

pre 1

Prior to the start of the 1-mile on Main Street.

pre 1 2

Giving some pre-race instructions to the 1-milers.

end 1

Having a good time near the end of the 1-mile.

I had a great time at this year’s race once again and I am extraordinarily grateful for all the support along the way. We raised a bunch of money toward PPHS athletics, specifically the cross country and track programs.

This year’s total reached $3,440, while I have now helped raise $9,295 since 2012 for PPHS athletics. So proud to be a Bulldog.

And now, here are some shots with me and some friends. I missed getting photos with several others. Next year, guys!

Alli

Me and my awesome friend, Alli.

Jennifer

Me and one of the most inspirational humans alive, Jennifer White. Jen does amazing things with ICT SOS and as RD of Race 4 Freedom in Wichita. So happy she was generous enough to join us!

Mel

My friend Melissa came from far away to run with us! She was my pacer when I attempted Heartland 100 last fall. Thanks for all your support, Mel!

Rachel

Me and my friend Rachel. She’s one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.

Mike

THE Mike B Stout. Love this guy. He’s so fast and has a great beard. What a guy!

Lastly, major props to Jessie Cable Photography for getting so many great shots at this year’s event. The link to the album of photos can be found on the Rodeo Run 8/4/1 Facebook page.

Results from this year’s race can be found online [here].

Visit the Pretty Prairie Rodeo Run  tab on the blog to view results from every year from 2013-2017.

Thanks again, everyone! Hope you’ll join us next year.

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: Arrowhead 5K

Arrowhead 5K

5K #39

June 16, 2017 — Kansas City, MO

Place: 97/1,871

Time: 22:35

While I don’t like 5Ks (running fast hurts, man) and have no intention of ever truly racing one again, occasionally one will pop up that I’ll decide to participate in just for kicks. This was one of those.

pre-race

Pre-race view of the finish area from up above.

Though I’m a Bears fan, I came across the Arrowhead 5K with the opportunity to finish on the 50-yard line of an NFL stadium and had to do it. I’ve done other sports-themed 5Ks before and enjoyed them. This was a good one to add to that list.

  • MLB All-Star 5K
  • MLS All-Star 5K
  • Big 12 5K
  • Arrowhead 5K
5k start

Start line area an hour or so before the race.

We killed a little time in the parking lot before the race. Probably the closest thing to tailgating I’ll ever do. Not usually my thing, but with the much smaller gathering than a football game, it made for a cool set-up.

shirt

My shirt and bib, along with the football I carried throughout the 3.1 miles.

Since I didn’t care about my time anyway, I decided I’d run the whole race carrying a football. That was a fun addition. Though my hands got pretty sweaty late in the race, I managed to finish without fumbling.

For this Bears fan, the best that could be asked of me for this one is my red shorts.

shorts

Bib pinned on and ready to go.

I had no intention of trying to race anyone; just wanted to have fun with the environment. Over 1,800 runners in total. We got to circle Kauffman Stadium as well, before circling the spiral ramps and finishing on the 50 at Arrowhead.

I did gather a little speed and passed 10 people or so heading down the ramp as we approached the field — which was good because I finished 97th overall, so that got me inside the top 100.

I finished in 22:35, which is a 7:17 per mile pace. Since I’ll never PR again (18:32 | 5:58 per mile), I never really have any 5K expectations anymore. So I’ll take that time, especially given my current fitness, the fact that I carried a football the whole way, dealt with some steep upward spirals and stopped for water at both stations.

The environment after the race was pretty cool.

end zone.jpg

Sitting in the corner of the end zone after the race.

And of course, I had the best company, as always.

post race

Kami and I on the field. Love that she’s repping the T-Birds at Arrowhead.

I had a good hot dog, attempted a field goal (don’t ask), played some catch and played a pretty epic 30-minute game of Giant Jenga. We even had a crowd gathered around after a while. Guess who won?

Jenga

Not her. #GiantJengaChamp

Had to pose for a couple of corny photos in the process, too.

50 yard line

On the 50.

on the logo

On the logo.

Not sure I feel the need to do this race again now that I’ve done it once. If it was Soldier Field, I could see it. #GoBears

Definitely love the atmosphere of the sports venue races, though. Even got a cool medal out of the day — despite the Chiefs logo, I guess.

bib and medal

Bib and finisher medal.

Race report: Tonganoxie Library Run

Tonganoxie Library Run 10K

10K #19

June 10, 2017 — Tonganoxie, KS

Place: 6/41

Time: 49:17

logo

30th annual Tonganoxie Library Run

This is a race I was intrigued by as soon as I came across it. As a book nerd with an English degree and a past as a newspaper editor, I loved the idea of running a race to benefit a library.

I’m in the early stages of marathon training and my runs so far have been geared toward trying to maintain a certain pace. That is to say I did not go into this race with the intention of racing 6.2 miles. That being said, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to run without a watch and just sort of let loose. I was fairly curious if I could pull off a steady pace without a watch — which I admittedly look at far too often when I wear it.

It was a cool atmosphere, for starters. Small town compared to Topeka, but obviously much bigger than back home in Pretty Prairie. Lots of friendly folks, though and a good course with great volunteers. Great morning for a run weather-wise, too.

Another cool thing…

Flag

Giant USA flag above the Start/Finish chute.

I picked up my packet inside the Tonganoxie Library when we arrived in town about 30 minutes before the race began.

Shirt + bib

Love the shirts — the design, the color, the logo, the feel. Good shirts.

My optimistic, yet “so what if I don’t get it” goal going in was to maintain a pace of around 8:00 per mile. Ideally, I wanted to be faster than 8:15 or so per mile, but didn’t want to go faster than 7:45 per mile. I’m capable, but didn’t want to burn myself out. I had 10 miles scheduled for Sunday and again — this one was supposed to be for fun.

At one point, I told Kami I wanted to finish between 48 and 51 minutes. Then I said maybe I’d like to be in the 49 to 50 minute range. My goal marathon pace is in the 8:40 – 9:00 per mile range, so I thought maybe I could get down into the low-8s for this one. Maybe. Running without a watch, I wasn’t so sure. When I saw a few of the hills and had no idea what kind of pace I was running, I was even less sure.

I gave lots of high fives. I chatted up a few volunteers, joked about them moving the hills and even high fived a guy driving a moving truck going the opposite direction down one of the streets near the finish. That was cool. Just a flat out good time at this one, I tell you.

I resisted the urge to ask numerous volunteers or fellow runners “Hey, how far have we gone?” or “What time is it?” I knew if I knew the answer to either of those questions, I’d start doing math. And I’m really good at math, so I would’ve figured out my pace had I asked.

Told myself going into the last turn that I was having a great time and genuinely did not care if I was in that 48-51 minute window or even my more exact 49-50 minute window. Then, I made that last turn and eventually the clock was in sight. Forty-eight something. I’m sure I gave a shrug and a chuckle. Cool. Or whatever.

Saw it tick to 49:00, but I was close enough to the finish, I had it easily. Official chip time: 49:17. That’s a pace of 7:56 per mile.

10K finish

49:17; sixth place overall

I finished in sixth place overall. I was the fifth male and first in my age group. Earned myself a medal for it, too.

Medal + bib

My first place age group medal and bib.

Didn’t go expecting that, but I’ll take it. I was far enough behind fifth place and far enough ahead of seventh place that I didn’t kick myself for pushing it any harder.

10K AG win

Me and some other age group winners.

I really couldn’t have asked for more from this race. Kami even got to catch up with her friend, who lives in Tonganoxie. They mentioned something about a running group that meets on Monday evenings. Maybe one of these weeks, I’ll make the 40-minute drive, run with a group there so Kami can hang with her friend again. Could be fun.

Either way, I would love to do this race again next year. It’ll go on my race calendar for sure. Special thanks to David Frese and all the volunteers that put this race on. I’ll do my best to be back.

10K post-race

Dueces, Tonganoxie.

Race report: Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Half Marathon #13

February 4, 2017 — Olathe, KS

Place: 80/215

Time: 1:58:45

After a five week stretch of running at least 5 miles or more every day (though mostly treadmill miles), my ankle was slowly feeling a little bit stronger heading into this one.

The Chocolate Rush Half Marathon took place in Olathe, starting and finishing on the campus of Mid-America Nazarene University.

Another cold race, similar to the one I did on New Year’s Day, five weeks earlier. This one was windier, however, which made it that much less desirable for most folks. But the course was a good one and mostly flat, which suited me just fine.

I decided to start with a pace group for the early miles, which I never do. If I’m being honest, talking — or listening — when I run. Well, to strangers, anyway. Maybe I just don’t do small talk well. I enjoy running with friends. But when a stranger tries to chat my ear of during a race? I’m not all about that life.

Anyway, I stuck with the pace group for most of the first 6 miles or so and kept them in sight through about mile 9 or 10. I sprinkled in bits of walking the last few miles, as my recent head cold had made it tough to breathe in spurts — although not nearly as bad as I’d expected.

But my lungs worked harder than the rest of me seemed to throughout this one, as my legs, feet (ankle included) and brain all felt pretty good following the race.

Since I’ll likely never PR this distance again as long as I live, I really just wanted to run fairly consistent and finish sub-2 hours, if at all possible.

Once I lost sight of the pace group, that plan was in jeopardy, but I managed to keep my walk breaks brief and stay on track, coming in just under the two hour mark.

I did visit a little with a girl over the last few miles who said this was her first half marathon. She is a soccer player at MNU, who was talked into running by some teammates. After going together for a bit, then alternating leads between the two of us, she finished strong, just ahead of me.

My splits were good early and tapered off late. Still managed to maintain a sub-9 pace overall with an 8:58 through 13.24 miles.

8:44 | 8:30 | 8:15 | 8:17 | 8:23 | 8:12 | 8:38 | 8:34 | 8:55 | 9:41 | 9:55 | 10:13 | 10:22

Factor in the sweet, chocolatey food at the post-race festivities, this was an event I’d definitely do again.

16426072_10101182106955442_3116393621858993626_n

Race swag + my pink-laced kicks. Loved the medal from this race, not to mention the post-race chocolate.

chocolate-rush

Hold up real quick, lemme pose for a second.