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: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Half marathon #19

January 20, 2018

Place: 129/208

Time: 2:17:28

TTA logo

Race logo

Living in Topeka now, I figured I ought to do this race. Not sure why I didn’t last year, but wanted to give it a try — hills and all.

It was kinda different picking up my packet the day before a race where I was not staying in a hotel. But hey, I wasn’t mad about it.

bib, socks, shirt

Bib 53, socks and 1/4 zip pullover. Nice swag.

With very little running the past few months — even less outdoor running and not much more sleeping due to the new baby boy, I had zero expectations for this one. Not to mention the pending hills throughout the race and muddy slop in miles 8-12. Luckily, the temperatures at least cooperated.

pre-race gear

My race day attire.

I wound up seeing a few people I knew at the race — though none actually from Topeka. I spotted Tom Snook, Aaron Wilson and Jacob Carlo. I hadn’t actually met Jacob previously, but know his mom and I know he’s super fast. I also met another friend of Tom/Aaron: Shawndra Burgart. I would wind up running the first 8.5 miles or so with Shawndra.

Indian Hills Elementary

Started near here: Indian Hills Elementary

After leaving my car at the building — Kami and Bryant would meet me at the finish — we walked to the start line just down at the end of the Indian Hills Elementary parking lot on the street.

bib on shorts

Bib ready to go.

I can’t wear my bib on my shirt anymore, man. I need as many places to wipe sweat as I can find. Same reason I’ll never go sleeveless. Don’t judge me, bro.

start line

Pre-race start line.

I’d been told the worst of the hills were in the first six miles, leading up to the worst of the worst — Urish hill. But whatever, man. Like I said, I hadn’t been able to run much lately anyway, so I was just happy to be outside and enjoying the fresh, though finally not frigid, air.

Weather: 40-48 degrees, minimal wind, clouds

The miles ticked by as Shawndra and I chatted about a lot of things — comically enough, she was at the race where I proposed to my now wife back in February of 2014. Small world.

The hills were noticeable, but manageable. And then came Urish.

Urish Hill

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a doozy.

The strategy there was just to shorten the stride, look up and at least try to fake enthusiasm when you reached the top of the hill — where the race photographer just happened to be located.

me on hill

That’s Shawndra behind me. I wasn’t really trying to pass her; I just have longer legs.

My splits for this race, as usual, wound up being pretty hilarious. I knew that would be the case, but once again — just wanted to get some miles in and enjoy being out there.

8:50 | 9:05 | 9:20 | 9:11 | 9:47 | 9:32 | 10:32 | 9:32 | 10:49 | 10:51 | 12:39 | 12:33 | 11:58 | 10:17(final 0.27 mi) — 10:21 overall pace

I was still feeling pretty good until about mile 8 when the course turned to dirt — well, mud. Shawndra was doing her best to be encouraging, but I knew she’d be taking off on me shortly. I needed to pull back and would need to walk off and on the rest of the way.

I finally lost her about 8.5 miles in. The rest of the way would be solo, which I’m used to anyway, really. She wound up finishing about eight minutes and change ahead of me. Thanks for the miles, new friend.

The mud was an adventure for the next four miles. I was happy to finally see pavement at mile 12 for the rest of the way. Even after a stretch of pavement and kicking a bunch of the muck off my shoes, they still looked like this…

shoes

Yippee Ki-Yay, MF

But perhaps an even more welcome surprise than the pavement was seeing some kids I know from Shawnee Heights, where I coach middle school basketball and track. The SHHS cross country team was manning the mile 12 aid station. I told them later they should’ve been stationed earlier in the race when I was holding up better. Oh well.

I managed to finish, nonetheless.

finish 1

Official time 2:17:28

The last mile-plus was on pavement and while my time was pretty darn slow, on this day, I was just happy to finish. I enjoyed the miles along the way, which I suppose should really be all that matters.

selfie

Post-race selfie. Love the 1/4 zip.

Oh, and the best part — running a block or two from the finish line to meet Kami and Bryant — probably faster than I’d run at any point during the race.

And then, pancakes. Yum.

Got some pretty sweet swag out of the event, but the pancakes and sausage were probably the best part.

medal, bib, shirt

Medal, bib, 1/4 zip were pretty cool, too, though. Oh, and the socks.

And finally, for my favorite photo of the day — one I totally forgot the guy took until right before posting this…

Me & Bryant 2

Me and the boy. He was a hit, you guys. Everybody loves that little dude.

Next up: Chocolate Rush Half Marathon (Olathe) — February 3

Race report: Hangover 5K*

Hangover 5K*

5K #46

January 7, 2018

Place: 37/135

Time: 26:29

My tradition of running a half marathon on New Year’s Day was planned to continue again this year.

Logo

Hangover Half Marathon Leawood/Overland Park, KS

Until Mother Nature had other plans.

With a real feel race-time temp of -28 degrees on the first day of 2018, the race was postponed. I wasn’t mad about it. Six days later, the temps were warmer (about 25 degrees), but with a steady drizzle. No harm done, I thought. I’d run in worse.

It would be gloomy and I’d had almost zero sleep the night before thanks to the baby boy (get it together, kid), but I was ready to try tackling 13.1 once again.

Bib

Bib on shorts, per uzh

Just a few minutes before toeing the start line, they announced the half marathon had been canceled and all interested runners would be allowed to still complete the 5K distance. Blerg. I drove an hour (plus a few minutes) for this and now wouldn’t get to run. Wish I’d had more warning. I wouldn’t have made the drive for just 3.1 miles.

Whatever. Three miles beats no miles, I guess. I took it steady and slow, running with a guy from Omaha and chatting the whole way. The course indeed was slick; race organizers definitely made the right call. Still bummed, though.

Me and Omaha (I never got his name) slipped a few times and stuck to the grass when possible. Whatever, we thought. Just stay upright and enjoy some conversation.

Course

Running up a hill, and a slick one at that

I’m not sure if anyone actually wound up falling down, but I saw several people slipping and sliding on numerous occasions. While I went home still bummed, I can’t imagine how interesting it might’ve gotten over the course of 10 more miles.

Splits: 8:16, 8:15, 8:34, 8:16 (0.19) — 8:18 overall

But I’ve got a couple more 13.1s planned in the coming weeks, with hopes of gearing up for some spring ultras. We’ll see.

Finish

Me and Omaha — Texas? — crossing the finish line. Thanks for the miles, brother.

For the second straight year, I went home with a pint glass courtesy of KC Running Company and a hat — I had to purchase it separate this year. I wouldn’t have done that had I known going in, but… You know, whatever, man.

Swag

Post race swag.

Man, call me overly stitious, but 139 must be bad luck for me. First time at 139: DNF at Heartland 100. Second time: Half marathon canceled, forced to run 5K.

bib

Pre-race, Heartland 100.

See?

Oh well, you guys. I live to run another day. Speaking of which, I better get to it…

Peace.