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

Race report: Wicked Marathon

Wicked Marathon

Marathon #9

March 30, 2019

Place: 61/66

Time: 5:48:03

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.

bib template

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 on shorts

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 26.2 map

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

Race report: Liberty Hospital Half Marathon

Bling, bling.

Liberty Hospital Half Marathon

Half marathon #25

March 2, 2019

Place: 399/1,075

Time: 2:08:28


With almost no running in the last month (last weekend’s trail “run” not withstanding), I had zero expectations for this one.

It was cold, which was to be expected. It was hillier than I am used to. There was a bigger turnout than I’m used to.

I showed up at packet pickup and trekked a good distance from the car to the building to check in. Once I checked in and saw a man about a horse, I then trekked a bit more back outside toward the start line. I made it there just in time — about 5 minutes before the race began. Perfect.



All in all, this one was great. I was shocked at how steadily I would run throughout the day — purely based on feel, as I didn’t glance at my once even once the entire race. I knew where my mile markers were, as there were big signs. Not to mention the beep of my watch at every mile.

Still, it usually bugs me not knowing my pace. Not this time. Always a freeing feeling when I can let go of that need to know and just run.

Though it wouldn’t have bothered me to miss it, given my lack of general fitness of late, I had a time of 2:10 in my head going in. I told myself a 10:00 pace or just under could be attainable, though I didn’t really know.

I stuck with the 2:05 pace group for a couple miles. I stopped briefly somewhere in the fourth mile — had to see a man about a horse again. Otherwise, I moved steadily all day.

by hospital

Heading around the namesake of the race — the Liberty Hospital, somewhere between miles 5 and 6.

Later on, I just tried to stay ahead of the 2:10 pace group, which I was able to sustain through the finish. If I’m being honest, that’s what kept me going in the later miles.

9:24 | 9:40 | 9:21 | 10:08 | 9:40 | 9:31 | 9:43 | 9:54 | 9:37 | 9:36 | 9:10 | 9:55 | 9:46 | 9:14 (0.33) 
A man dressed as the Statue of Liberty caught up to me and passed me momentarily shortly after mile 10. I wasn’t having that. That probably explains my fastest mile of the day occurring in mile 11. 
While this race is my 21st fastest of my 25 half marathons, considering I have not run hardly at all in 2019, I’m actually pretty pleased with this turnout. I was steady throughout and ran sub-10s in every mile except for the one where I stopped to pee — and on a super hilly course, no less.
I’m not mad about that.

Got to finish on the track of William Jewell College in Liberty, MO.

finish 1

Official time — 2:08:28


I’m really hoping these frigid temps will go away soon. Maybe I can decrease a few hours of my recent overtime and actually spend that time running once in awhile.

A couple of April 50-milers, plus a marathon on March 30 as a tune-up run, but first…

Next up: Mater Day Irish Fest 5K — Topeka, KS — March 16

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…