March 30, 2019
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.
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 fits nice, but is… well… not attractive. Stop it with the white, race directors.
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 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.
Wicked Marathon swag.
Next up: Kickin’ it for Kids 10K — Mayetta, KS — Saturday, April 6