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

Logo

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.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Race report: Firecracker 8K

Firecracker 8K

8K #1

June 24, 2017 — Hutchinson, KS

Place: 4/53

Time: 37:01

Always good to be back close to home. Had 10 miles planned as part of my marathon training, but I had signed up for the Firecracker 8K in Hutchinson. I had done the Firecracker race twice before as part of the Hutch Rec Race Series, but this was the first year for the 8K distance — automatic PR!

shirt

Cool shirt + bib

Since I didn’t care about my race time, I got five-plus easy miles in before the race, then ditched the watch before the race began. Man, that has been fun and liberating to run tech-free this summer. I’ve gotten a few solid training runs with it, so I’ve really enjoyed just getting out there and running without looking at my wrist every five seconds.

Side note: I couldn’t have possibly asked for better weather for a run. Late June and a race start temperature of 60-62 degrees? Phenomenal.

I tried to hang with my friend Lisa for a bit. Managed to do so for about three miles or so before she inevitably started to pull away. She was just one of several familiar faces I was able to see throughout the race. Good times that made me a little homesick. That’s likely to maximize when I’m back home (like — home, home) next month for the Rodeo Run.

with Lisa

My friend Lisa Johnson. Great runner, better person.

Lisa mentioned at the two-mile mark that our first mile was 7:25 and our second was 7:38, but otherwise, I have no idea what my splits were.

She had told me earlier in the week that she hoped for 37 minutes. I’d told her I wasn’t sure I could manage that. I was right. I crossed the finish line in 37:01 — 57 seconds behind Lisa.

I was fourth overall; second male. The first place guy finished about six hours ahead of me — or so it seemed. That dude was blazing. I was just happy to hold off the guy behind me by six seconds.

8k finish 2

Crossing the finish line.

One complaint about this event: Reading the results took about a week and a half. I enjoyed everything else about the race, but that part was incredibly tedious. I could’ve run another 10 miles while we waited. No big deal, though. I almost left without the medal, which I didn’t need — but, like I said — PR.

AG win

Should’ve worn shades, man.

All, in all, a good day. I feel like I ran a good race with all things considered.

I told Lisa and Kami that until about mile three of the race, my brain had forgotten that I’d actually run eight-plus miles up to then — but that’s about when my legs remembered.

Safe to say those last couple of miles were one part coasting and one part trying like crazy to hold off the guy behind me. It wouldn’t have hurt my feelings if he’d passed me — he was nowhere near my age group. But it’s always good to remain competitive.

This race isn’t on my must-do list, but we were back in town anyway, and it’s a course I enjoy. I would do it again.

8k medal

8K medal (first place age group) + shirt

Next up: Freedom Run 15K in Lyons/Sterling on Tuesday, July 4.

Race report: Love Life Run 10K

Love Life Run 10K

November 7, 2015 — Hutchinson, KS

10K #14

Place: 4/99

Time: 44:20

What a great event for my 100th race. My/our amazing friend Sonya Caley does a great job putting this race on. I’m not sure who made it exactly, but her son Declan gave me a sign congratulating me on my 100th race. How cool is that?!

I mean, 100 races may or may not be a big deal. Lots of 5K/1-mile combos in there helped it add up quickly. I suppose when you consider my first race wasn’t until a St. Patrick’s 5K in March of 2012, maybe it’s a big deal? I dunno. Anyway…

Although I haven’t been race ready for any distance in ages, I decided to at least try and see what I could do. I expected somewhere in the 46-minute range. By the way, my PR is 39:57. It would be great to beat that someday, but hey. It is what it is.

Started off fast, like always. Slowed a bit, but actually wound up with one of my more consistent races ever, thanks to a guy named Tim chasing me down for the last 3-4 miles or so. I was certain he’d get me; I just thought I’d make him work for it.

I managed to hold him off and edge him out by 5 seconds, taking 4th place overall. He later thanked me for taking 10 years off his life. I said “You’re welcome.” But seriously, he made me work hard. I hated it. And I loved it.

Post-race environment was a blast as always. Managed to see Kami finish with her new 10K PR — 55:30. She was amazing, as always.

Great day, all-in-all. Here’s to another 100…

Pre-race the wife; all smiles. Well, she is. I don't like smiling.

Pre-race the wife; all smiles. Well, she is. I don’t like smiling.

10k2

Podium, son.

10k3

My favorite race shirt yet. Great color, awesome fit (for once) and neat font.

10k4

Me and my race director friend, Sonya. And the sign her family made for me.

Race report: Run for the Rocks half marathon

Run for the Rocks half marathon

September, 2015 — Hutchinson, KS

Half Marathon #9

Place: 133/278

Time: 2:12:52

Half marathon together with the wife on our first anniversary? Sure!

It was Kami’s first half marathon. We had no real expectations going in; just have fun. However, being the numbers Nazi that I am, I had suggested an optimistic goal of 2:30. She scoffed at the idea a bit, not wanting to feel any “pressure.” Understandable. But that 2:30-2:35 range was in the back of my mind the whole time, anyway.

A finish time of 2:30 would have meant an average pace of 11:26 per mile. I knew we’d maintain that for 8 miles or so, but wasn’t sure after that. Figured we’d do a decent amount of walking, which was fine by me. Nice weather, lovely wife next to me; I had nothing to complain about.

Started out with a 9:58 first mile. Perfect. I kind of figured if we could hover right around that 10-minute pace for a few miles, we’d be golden. Then a 9:47. Then a 9:41. Then a 9:39. We barely walked, other than briefly through aid stations. Wife was a machine on this day. That said, I was a little nervous we wouldn’t be able keep it up. Thrilled to say I was wrong.

Our overall splits on the day:

9:58, 9:47, 9:41, 9:39, 10:31, 10:17, 9:49, 10:20, 10:08, 10:43, 10:36, 10:42, 9:45

Not a single split slower than 10:43, with six miles faster than 10-per. Fantastic. She surprised herself, and I was immensely proud. But more importantly, she was proud of herself.

We crossed the finish line on the track at Gowan’s Stadium, together — holding hands. Official time: 2:12:52.

She/we managed to only walk aid stations and maybe one other time for less than 30 seconds or so. I am still in amazement of her determination. Little miss “I’m not a competitive person” demolished what she thought she was capable of. How cool is that?

We have already signed up for another half marathon; this one on Halloween in Haviland, KS — Run for Missions, it’s called. Should be a really fun day. Then again, it always is with her.

It was a pretty crazy first year of marriage. Lots of changes in our lives, with more to come. I expect Year Two to be just as crazy. And Year Three, and Year 60, and all the years in between. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I look forward to not only running more races with her, but more importantly, being next to her wherever life takes us, and however fast it takes us there.

My shirt, bib and medal from my fourth Run for the Rocks + my ninth half marathon.

My shirt, bib and medal from my fourth Run for the Rocks + my ninth half marathon.

Kami and me after her first half marathon on our first anniversary. Love that girl.

Kami and me after her first half marathon on our first anniversary. Love that girl.

Race report: St. Pat’s 10K

Mar 1, 2014 — Hutchinson, KS

10K

Place: 1/10

Time: 44:38

I did this race for simple, albeit nerdy reasons. The St. Patrick’s 5K (same event) was my first race ever in 2012. I finished in a time of 20:59, which at the time, I was thrilled with. Last year, I did the 10K at this event. It took place six days after I’d run the Ardmore Marathon in Oklahoma, and I had a rather sore knee at the time. It rained all day, but somehow I managed to win first place overall (out of just 28) with a rather slow-for-me time of 44:19.

The last two years, this was the first race after my birthday (March 6), but this year it was held earlier, and was the last race before my birthday.

The weather this year, well, sucked. Race time temperature was three degrees. THREE. Only 14 people were signed up, and just 10 showed up to run (there were 43 in the 5K). I managed to win first place overall once again, this time even slower — 44:38. I ran a pretty good first mile at 6:02, but knew that wouldn’t keep up.

It seemed like a had a big lead for quite awhile, but the guy behind me closed the gap hard — or so it seemed. I won by 11 seconds, although it seemed like 0.11 seconds. But, I’ll take the win.

As I crossed the finish line, I noticed my shirt was basically a sheet of ice. Awesome to have Kami there as always.

Fun day with some cool, yet slightly odd perks.

I won a wooden plaque that is actually a cutting board (WTF?), a “pot of gold” of Rolo candies, a giant shamrock cookie, and a free large pizza from Pizza Hut.

Now that’s winning.

Race report: Love Life Run 10K

Nov 9, 2013 — Hutchinson, KS

Love Life Run 10K

Place: 2/95; 1st in age group

Time: 42:58

This was a fun event. I was nowhere near ready to race a 10K. I’ve done zero speed work these past few months, and I also have a 12-hour Ultra in Wichita this coming Saturday. But I mostly wanted to just see how I could place, then hurry back to finish with my lovely girlfriend Kami, who was running her first 10K.

My first couple miles were right where I wanted them, and actually on PR pace, but I knew that wouldn’t hold. The leader was a long ways ahead of me by Mile 2, and the third place runner was a long ways behind me. I joked with one of the volunteers that it was getting lonely out there.

Here’s a snippet of my in-race thought process, in case you wondered what I think about sometimes:

“That guy is way up there. Where’d he go? He’s really fast. I think he was at the Press Run 5K. I got 2nd there. Won some money; that was cool. Who’s in 3rd place? I don’t see anyone. Am I going the right way? Surely. Stop turning around. You’ll trip and fall. Remember in Family Guy, when he falls and goes ‘tss-ahh,’ like 10 times? Hilarious. Stop. You’re not going to fall. Look out for that stick! It’s quiet out here. This is like Tortoise and the Hare. Hare took a nap, right? I’m not fast enough to be the Hare. I like turtles more. Wait… Mile 5 already? Dude, you have A.D.D. Focus.”

Anyway… I finished in 2nd place overall out of 95 finishers. Won my age group (there were only 4 of us) with my fifth worst 10K time (42:58) out of seven tries. Collected my medal, chatted with a couple friends for a minute, then took off backward on the course to find Kami.

Before the race, we’d discussed her trying to beat 1:10, or maybe something in the 1:08 range (I secretly thought 1:05ish). When I got to her, she was still moving really well, and still smiling. I took this as a good sign, and not just because I like her smile. After running and talking with her for a minute, I looked at my watch to realize she had a great shot at beating 1:00:00. I was pumped. Naturally, she finished strong with a time of 59:03. I never doubted her, but she definitely surprised me (and I think herself) a little bit. She completed her first 10K faster than either of us expected, got her first medal, and even got to hit the PR gong — with a swing that would have made Ernie Banks jealous. She also took 55th place, beating 40 people after joking she might get last. Super proud of that girl.

Overall, this was a super fun, well-organized event with interesting perks. Fun atmosphere all-around. There aren’t many races where I walk away saying “I’m definitely doing that one again,” but… I’m definitely doing that one again.

Race report: Run for the Rocks Half Marathon

Sept 22, 2013 — Hutchinson, KS

Run for the Rocks Half Marathon

Place: 20/351, 3rd in age group

Time: 1:36:38

My fourth Half Marathon. I was completely unprepared for this. Several reasons (okay, excuses) why I knew I would not do very well. I’ve been battling plantar fasciitis for six months, I had done zero speed work, I had just run my first Ultra Marathon 11 days earlier. Not a good recipe for success. With a 1:31:32 in this race last year, and a PR of 1:28:06 at Texarkana in February, I knew I’d be nowhere near those.

If you know me, you know I’m stubborn, and a little voice told me to go for it anyway. Through four miles, I was right where I wanted to be. Then, reality it. Slowed down each mile the rest of the way, and wound up trudging across the finish with a time of 1:36:38 — 5:06 slower than last year, 8:32 slower than my PR… I finished 20th overall out of 35; I was 13th out of 428 last year — not sure why there were 77 fewer runners this year. Weird.

Given the circumstances, I can’t be too disappointed. Granted, it’s slower than I wanted, but I knew that was coming. Besides, I got to see several people I know cross the finish line — many of them notched their own PR. I also got some awesome support from my girlfriend Kami, and her sister, Macey. It’s also a nice, local course which happens to be the only race longer than a 10K available at all here in Hutchinson. So, that’s nice.

I often pick my friend Mike’s brain about running, and I’m learning from him (I learn like I run — slowly). Like he said, the Half Marathon is a tough distance to PR if you’re not training for it. And I wasn’t. That Texarkana Half remains my best race to date, but right now, I’ll turn my sights to the KC Marathon on October 19.

I’ve run four marathons thus far. Since one was a trail race, I’ll keep that time (4:31) separate. As far as the others, I’ve improved on each — 4:57, 4:26, 4:12 … Here’s hoping I can finally break sub-4 in KC.