Race report: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Half Marathon #34

January 18, 2020

Place: 47/123

Time: 1:58:19

Seems like we just did this. Back in 2019, this event was pushed back 7.5 months to August 31, which made myself and others skeptical that the event would continue moving forward. If it had been up to me, I would’ve kept it on Labor Day weekend. But it wasn’t — and they didn’t.

shirt design

I don’t love the shirts compared to the pullovers in previous years, but it’ll do.

I was impressed they got 100+ people signed up again with that quick of a turnaround, but it’s always nice to do a race here in town and not worry about travel and lodging.

Two weeks prior, as usual, I ran the course preview run, where I got to meet a couple new folks and had a good time, despite the cold temps.

forecast

It would be much of the same on race day. This was the race day forecast as of a few days prior.

Both times I’d run the race previously, I had run it in 2:17:something, going just a few seconds slower the second time than in the first. In the preview run this time around, I got it done in 2:13:something.

Wasn’t sure what to expect on race day. I knew sub-2 was highly unlikely and I had no aspirations of that, if I’m being honest. I was just hoping to beat that 2:17, but didn’t expect faster than 2:10.

Guess again.

I went to work for a bit first thing, to get our youth basketball game tipped off and actually wound up officiating a game due to an illness by one of our veteran officials. Nice little race day warm-up, am I right?

I then went to Indian Hills Elementary School, the site of the start line.

Indian Hills Elementary

Indian Hills Elementary School

swag

Pre-race swag.

back of shirt

Back of the shirt.

I went out strong, with plans to fall back a bit as the miles ticked by. I told myself that I’d hold the pace until I felt I couldn’t any more, then back off.

Turns out, that time never came.

I also told myself to run up the hills because I knew once I got to the tops of them, I wouldn’t want to start running again — so that helped.

Urish Hill

At the top of the hill on Urish.

I realized after a few miles that I would probably beat my 2:17 time.

I realized after I conquered the Urish hill that I would likely beat 2:10.

I realized once I hit the gravel/dirt roads at mile 8 that if I could hold a steady pace, sub-2 wasn’t out of the question. Honestly, that’s what kept me going.

I saw the cross country team from Shawnee Heights High School (I coach at the middle school and knew a few of them) volunteering at the mile 12 aid station.

Knew I would beat two hours, as long as I stayed moving and didn’t walk. Actually thought to myself that if I could get down to the 1:57 range, I could potentially beat my time by 20 minutes.

I didn’t quite get that, but it was still a very successful day, as I crossed the finish line in 1:58:19. I was pretty excited about that time — especially on this course. Sub-2 is pretty challenging for me these days, but this course is really tough and I often commented how it just wouldn’t happen here.

But it did.

Can’t be mad about that.

Splits: 8:47 | 8:56 | 8:47 | 8:51 | 8:51 | 8:48 | 9:14 | 8:48 | 8:56 | 8:52 | 9:31 | 9:15 | 8:59 | 8:07 (0.2 mi)

post race

I got fifth in my age group, but they had extra mugs, so I got one. I felt like I earned it on this day.

Next up: AlfaDog 40 Mile + 25K — March 7 — Pretty Prairie, KS

Race report: Hangover Half Marathon

Hangover Half Marathon

Half Marathon #33

January 1, 2020

Place: 126/171

Time: 2:33:14

logoYet another Hangover Half Marathon to start the year off on a good note.

Weather: Mid-20s to low-30s, low wind, sunshine.

I had no real goals going into this one, as I just wanted to get some miles in and enjoy my new watch I got for Christmas. Kami got me the Garmin Forerunner 945 watch — hands down the coolest and most unexpected Christmas gift I’ve ever received. I love it and am still playing with new features on it each day since.

I actually wound up running a pretty good pace in the early miles and felt good throughout. At the midway point, I decided I’d pick up the pace a little bit. I was on pace to finish in the 1:54 – 1:56 range if I maintained my pace — although I was actually speeding up.

early

statue

I feel you, bro.

UNTIL… I took a wrong turn. No, really. Myself and at least two other runners got off course and wound up going too far. When it was all said and done, I had run 15.38 miles — officially finishing my slowest half marathon time ever. But pace-wise, I wasn’t mad about anything. I still had a really good run overall.

finish

After ditching a couple layers and laughing about the extra mileage.

swag

Finisher swag.

Next up: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon — Saturday, January 18

Race report: Christmas Corral Half Marathon

Christmas Corral Half Marathon

Half Marathon #32

December 21, 2019

Place: 27/50

Time: 2:19:10

Directing this second year event was another fun experience. Our numbers dipped slightly, as we had just a few fewer finishers than in 2018, but we had great weather once again and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Despite not running in the past three weeks, I decided I’d give it a go — with a suggestion from my good friend Lisa Johnson to run together giving me just the nudge I needed.

flat derrick

Rather than finisher mugs, we opted for stocking caps, offering two different colors for participants to choose from. They turned out to be even better quality than I expected and they seemed to go over well.

hats

Got up early with my brother Jon to mark the course as Kami, her sister Macey and my mom all prepared the registration table and post-race items like hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

2.25 aid station

Sunrise at mile 2 as we marked the course.

5.25 aid station

Sunrise at mile 5.25 as we marked the course.

I gathered folks in the high school gym lobby, gave a few pre-race instructions and we headed to the start line for the start of the half marathon.

start group

Group at the start line. Courtesy photo: Christopher Eshelman

DCIM101MEDIAMAX_0016.JPG

Drone shot of the start line. Courtesy photo: Corby Stucky

Lisa and I eased in to a fairly comfortable pace, all things considered — that being me on rusty/heavy legs and out of shape lungs, with Lisa having dealt with an illness recently.

Neither of us was on top of our game, but I had a great time running and chatting with my friend, nonetheless.

Lisa and me best

Lisa and I running together near the first aid station.

We got a little slower as the race went on, but still kept moving. It was nice to see the pavement for the last stretch and turn by the water tower — even though the old classic one is now gone. The new one will take some getting used to. Anyway…

Lisa and me 1

Lisa and me, nearing the finish line.

We crossed the finish line and I went inside to eat some cookies and enjoy some hot chocolate. I then helped with some finish line duties and cheered folks in as they finished their own race.

lisa and me selife

Always good to see my friend and share some miles.

2019 Christmas Corral Half Marathon + 4 Mile RESULTS

Thanks to everyone who joined in for this fun, low key event for the second year in a row. I’m always happy to see a good turnout at an event I host.

A day or two after the race, I received our 2020 Rodeo Run logo, which runs along the same course…

2020 Rodeo Run logo

Registration for the 2020 Rodeo Run (July 18) can be found — HERE.

Registration for the 2020 Christmas Corral (December 19) can be found — HERE.

While you’re at it: Registration for the 2020 AlfaDog 40 Mile + 25K can be found — HERE.

Next up for me: Hangover Half Marathon — January 1, 2020 — Leawood, KS

Race report: Spooky Sprint Half Marathon

Spooky Sprint Half Marathon

Half Marathon #31

October 27, 2019

Place: 119/151

Time: 2:33:15

race logo

Wanted one more race with Bryant before the end of the year, so I signed up for this one at Longview Lake in Kansas City. I had been there before for a different race and really enjoyed it.

This experience was an interesting one for a few reasons:

  • They ran out of safety pins and asked runners to donate spare ones.
  • Bryant got cold and was tired, so I handed him off to Kami at 7.3, going the rest solo.
  • It started out out pavement, but quickly transitioned to a soft, fine gravel course.

Still an enjoyable experience overall, despite Bryant struggling. I was happy Kami was there to take him or I would’ve had my first ever DNF at a half marathon. The kid perked up once he warmed up and saw a dog at the finish line. But yeah, he wasn’t having it out there. No worries, though.

Not sure if I should count this as my fourth stroller-pushing half marathon or not, since we didn’t make it the whole way together. Oh well.

Here are some photos:

shirt and bib

swag

Race report: Salt City Half Marathon

Salt City Half Marathon

Half marathon #30

October, 2019

Place: 73/147

Time: 2:26:05

Second weekend in a row pushing the kid in a half marathon. Goal going into this one was to beat our time yet again, though we knew it would be tough — especially with the pending storm.

We got to the start line, chatted with a couple friends, snapped a couple selfies and got ready to go. No rain early on. We knew it would hit eventually, though.

But it was a good day for us out on the course — which had a small detour along the way, making it just a hair long. Bonus mileage and whatnot. 🙂

course map

This was my 30th half marathon overall, seventh in Hutchinson and third pushing Bryant. Love the half marathon distance because it’s a good workout, but my legs don’t really hurt after, which is always nice.

We got to about mile five before the rains hit. It lasted about 10 minutes before the skies really opened up for a bit, releasing a heavy downpour for a few minutes. Bryant was a trooper throughout the whole thing, getting wet but staying happy. The downpour ended, but the steady rain continued for about six miles.

dark skies

Course along Jim P. Martinez Trail.

We were soaked, but he used my towel as a blanket and we kept soldiering on. Once the rain finally stopped, the sun actually came out. That was a welcome relief for the last few miles toward the finish line.

We got in some snacks, but stopped for shorter periods of time than we had before, which helped our time. We wound up beating our PR from one week earlier by 4:17.

10:57 | 10:38 | 11:17 | 10:12 | 10:53 | 11:05 | 10:50 | 11:25 | 12:36 | 11:49 | 10:45 | 11:19 | 10:19 | 7:06 (0.28)

We did lots of talking and singing and making animal sounds throughout the race. I love that kid so much. We have lots of fun.

We did annoy a lady early in the race, who I overheard groaning and complaining about my nonstop talking. I apologize for nothing. We had several other folks mention how much fun and entertaining we were. For the second week in a row, we were the only stroller in the race. I like that.

We flew down the stretch the last half mile or so. Probably the fastest I’ve ever run with a stroller. The legs felt good and Bryant yelled “Go!” a bunch of times, so… I went.

We passed a handful of folks that last half mile or so on our way to the finish line.

Anyway, all things considered it was a great day. I didn’t get any photos with any of my friends who I saw there, like I usually do. But I did get to chat with some folks and got some fun pics with Bryant, so that’s fun.

Not sure when our next race together will be. I fear perhaps not until 2020, but maybe we can find a shorter one or two and get lucky with some weather. Until then…

bib, shirt, medal

Next up: Heartland 50 — October 12 — Cassoday, KS

Race report: Pony Express Half Marathon

Pony Express Half Marathon

Half marathon #29

September 28, 2019

Place: 60/86

Time: 2:30:22

race logo

We celebrated our anniversary by taking a trip to Kansas City for a long weekend. As part of that fun was the Pony Express Half Marathon in St. Joseph, Missouri — about 35 minutes from our hotel in KC. Kami hung out in town while Bryant and I worked on finishing our second half marathon together.

shirt, bib

Love this bib and shirt.

Our goal was to beat our previous time (2:41:50), but I secretly didn’t want to beat it by too much because we’ll be doing the Salt City Half Marathon next weekend and want to continue improving our time. Too drastic of a PR would make that challenging.

Bryant slept really good the night before, so he was ready to go.

So was I.

bib on shorts

Perfect weather for a run, too. I started with a long sleeve pullover, but ditched it after a couple miles. Aside from a few really challenging hills, it was a really nice run. Bryant did great along the way, too. We had a few breaks for snacks and one to ditch his jacket, but otherwise, we moved pretty steady throughout the race.

Our fastest two miles were our last two miles, which is neat.

11:25 | 11:01 | 11:20 | 12:09 | 12:16 | 12:28 | 12:46 | 11:35 | 10:56 | 12:43 | 11:16 | 10:47 | 10:37

 

We crossed the finish line a few minutes faster than I could’ve imagined, so yeah, beating that time again in a few days will be pretty tough. But that’s okay. It was a great day.

That last mile was all the more impressive when you consider that I tried to get Bryant out of his stroller and run across the finish line with him. That plan fell flat — and so did he. I guess his legs weren’t ready for running after the two-plus hours in the stroller.

Felt like a bad dad in the moment, but he rebounded pretty quickly after the finish.

In the meantime, here are a couple finish line photos gone wrong with Bryant mad as hell about me letting him fall. Oops.

Later on, we had time for a little learning after we finished.

shirt, bib, medal

Swag along with the sweet medal.

Bryant enjoyed playing with the horse medal in the car.

Bryant got to play on the cool playground equipment before we headed back to KC.

Bryant in train

Kami and Bryant

And of course he got some mom time, too.

Once back at the hotel, I got a quick shower in before we headed to the Royals game. It was originally slated for an evening game, but it was moved up due to incoming weather.

Talk about a great time. Love my crew.

Next up: Salt City Half Marathon — Saturday, October 5 — Hutchinson, KS

Race report: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Half marathon #28

August 31, 2019

Place: 114/177

Time: 2:17:47

This race is usually in January, but there was a sheet of ice on the ground with temps well below zero this past January, so they pushed the race back 7.5 months to August 31, which was just fine by me.

Strollers not allowed, so I was solo for this one. No expectations. Hoped to beat my time from last year, but with the tough course, honestly didn’t care either way. Just wanted to have fun and enjoy the miles.

I ran with my friends Marc and Shane for a few miles before they pulled away.

I missed my time from last year by 19 seconds.

Could’ve definitely ran harder.

But I didn’t.

I’m okay with that.

Ate some pancakes after.

This race probably will not continue after this year.

Not much else to say.

Got other stuff to do.

Here are some pictures. 🙂

Urish hill focus

Conquering the Urish hill. 

dirt road selfie

Dirt road selfie.

Next up: Pony Express Half Marathon — St. Joseph, MO — Sept 28