Race report: AlfaDog 40 Mile

AlfaDog 40 Mile

40 Mile #1 / Ultra #12

March 7, 2020

Place: 15/15

Time: 10:15:48

I was excited about this inaugural event from the moment I came up with the idea for it while sitting on a park bench in my hometown of Pretty Prairie on the Saturday of Easter weekend, 2019.

Like all races I host, I was determined to run this one. Especially this one. One day after my birthday, I wasn’t NOT running this race.

First things first, I was hyped about the sweet shirt design. Thanks to our friends at Fincher’s Findings, Inc. I am determined to round up a few more sponsors for next year, but I don’t hate rocking the big Fincher’s logo on the back of these shirts. They earned it for that design.

For those who haven’t heard/read already, the race name and logo come from Pretty Prairie’s most famous ever resident, Carl Switzer — aka ‘Alfalfa’ from Lil Rascals/Our Gang, along with the high school mascot of the Bulldogs.

Yeah, that’s a Bulldog with Alfalfa hair and bow-tie. Freaking awesome.

I gave Brett Fincher a specific vision for the logo and he and his people knocked it out of the park. Kami and I made finisher awards. I designed the bibs. This one had a real small-town, homemade feel to it. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

flat Derrick

Flat Derrick.

bib

Names in gold, plus a monster truck sticker on all bibs (my 2-year-old son, Bryant’s idea).

I got back in town on Friday night — my birthday. We made our way around the course to scope out the roads and get a lay of the land before race morning.

Even had a close encounter with some deer.

Woke up early on Saturday to prep our aid stations, mark turns and all that fun stuff.

And now, for the most breathtaking shot I took on the day…

sunrise 2

Pretty Prairie, indeed.

Greeted folks and handed out bibs and shirts, gave some pre-race instructions and got ready to run. Of course, in all my haste, I forgot my water bottle on the first loop. Oops.

bib on shorts

This bib would be a just a bit more tattered by the end of the day.

Another great shot I’m really happy we took was a pre-race group shot. My logic was wanting to get the group all at once since we didn’t have an official photographer on the course. Turned out to be a nice memento of our first race and a group I only hope will grow from year-to-year.

group shot

2020 AlfaDog participants.

We had 25 people sign up for our inaugural event — 17 in the 40 mile and 8 in the 25K. I’m hoping to grow both those numbers next year. But I’m happy with them for this year, especially with our 40 miler turnout.

I ran too fast and too much in my first loop. Couldn’t help myself. Got caught up chatting with various runners throughout the first loop and a half as I slowed down and they never seemed to.

I didn’t mind. I was enjoying myself and really just wanted to make sure others were as well. I also wanted to capture as much of it as I could and simultaneously pull off RD duties.

I got in a bunch of cool course shots of dirt roads that never seem to get old — to me, anyway.

I got in a couple shots with some friends.

me and Lisa

That’s Lisa. She’s one of my most favorite humans.

me and trio

Krista, Jennifer, Ingrid. They’re super fun.

Some shots with no one.

selfie on course

It was windy out there, man.

Oh, and of course I had to grab a shot with my favorite co-race-director.

me and Kami

I’ve called this woman my assistant for the last time. She’s as much or more a part of putting these things together as I am. Love her. 

I got word well before my day ended that we had our winner. He actually passed me at the aid station of my second loop — his third. Yeah, he lapped me. With several miles to go. He’s a fast human.

Sivanich

40M winner, Andy Sivanich (5:22:33)

He was almost twice as fast as I was. Lol. I’m not even mad, I’m just impressed.

Believe it or not, I eventually crossed the finish line.

finisher

Place: 15/15 (DFL) … Time: 10:15:48

All in all, an incredibly fun, rewarding day. I’m so thankful for all the people who joined us and hope many of them will be back and bring some friends next year.

I had the course marked a bit long (better than short) at 40.76 miles, which was good for… well, a whole lot of steps on the day. Thanks for that exhausting information, Garmin.

Already excited for next year — race day March 6, which is ON my birthday this time. Speaking of next year, registration is open!

2021 AlfaDog 40 Mile + 25K Registration

If you want to see more information on this race, check out our page on Ultra Signup (link above) which also has results uploaded — link here. And don’t forget to ‘like’ our Facebook page — link here.

Next up: (I have had two races, a 5K and 50K, canceled over the course of the next three weeks)Flint Hills 50 Mile — Saturday, April 18 — Manhattan, KS

 

Race report: Thanksgiving Day 5K

Thanksgiving Day 5K

5K #53

November 28, 2019

Place: 3/30

Time: 25:17

The annual free Thanksgiving Day 5K was moved at the last minute this year, since the Gazaway family recently moved and was unable to host this year’s event.

I helped supply bibs, while others helped organize and set up a course, starting and finishing at Prairie Hills Middle School in Hutchinson.

Usually, there are 250-300 people in attendance, but the changed venue and gross weather resulted in only 30 runners this year.

No worries. Still good to get in some miles with friends before spending the day with family eating everything in sight.

me, Jess, Lisa

Jess, Lisa, me

I ran the whole race with my friend Lisa, who is quite a bit faster than I am at this point. But we had fun running together and chatting, eventually tying for third place overall.

Splits: 8:20, 8:18, 7:53, 7:17 (0.1)

Lisa and me

Lisa is easily one of my most favorite running friends.

Next up: Christmas Corral Half Marathon — Pretty Prairie, KS — December 21

 

Race report: Heartland 50 (DNF)

Heartland 50

October 12, 2019

Place: DNF

Time: –:–:–

It has been eight days since my DNF at the fall version of Heartland 50. I will keep this report short.

My mind was elsewhere and my body was unprepared. I called it a day at mile 25.57 and went home to see my family. I’d been pretty busy lately and hadn’t spent enough quality time at home. That needed remedied more than I needed another finisher award.

My phone blowing up with work issues simply exacerbated my desire to not be out there all day long.

This was the first/only ultra so far that I’ve done without staying in a hotel the night before. I don’t believe that was a factor in my DNF, but it certainly didn’t help the stress levels having to get up at 3:30 and hit the road at 4.

Anyway…

Here are a few selfies I took during the day:

Here are some shots of the course:

Here are some shots of the singular most ridiculous shirt I’ve ever seen at a race event of any kind:

race swag

Seriously. I wish that was a joke, but it isn’t. I can’t even begin to understand that one.

Mile 90 Photography was out there once again and once again, did a phenomenal job. Despite the DNF, I really enjoyed these photos:

And here is what apparently happens to your bib when you get a DNF:

bib

My kid is an artist, you guys.

Probably shouldn’t have signed up for this one to begin with, but I was stubborn and wanted to give it a go. My next ultra will have to wait until 2020 — almost certainly the new one I’m hosting and will also run — AlfaDog 40

Next up: Spooky Sprint Half Marathon — Sun, Oct 27 — Kansas City, MO

Race report: Rodeo Run 4 + a Half

Rodeo Run Half Marathon

Half marathon #27

July 20, 2019

Place: 31/53

Time: 2:25:53

My seventh time directing the Rodeo Run was a success yet again. Proud of the event and what it’s become, as we’ve raised a good chunk of change for the Pretty Prairie High School cross country and track & field programs over the years.

In the first three years, we had a 5K and 1-mile, then in 2016 switched to 8-mile/4-mile/1-mile for another three years. This year, I opted to swap out the 8-mile for a half marathon, which is always a popular distance. We also added a bike option this year, which was a fun twist.

Participant numbers were down this year, especially in the 1-mile, but our profits were up. When you add a longer distance and charge just a little bit more, it really adds up.

Participants this year:

Half marathon RUN: 53

Half marathon BIKE: 8

4 mile RUN: 52

4 mile BIKE: 9

1 mile run/walk: 53

Results link here: 2019 Rodeo Run Results

Anyway… Always cool to participate in an event I host and get rid of at least a little stress by taking off for a run with my friends.

flat Derrick

Love the shirts this year — and picking my own bib number.

Here are some photos from throughout the day, as I will try to limit the wordiness of this report. Mostly because, well, we have a Facebook page, you guys. [here]

7.2 selfie

Selfie in the shade after aid station at the end of my childhood driveway at mile 7.

1082

Chris Wilson ran Rodeo Run each of the last two years. He died at another race in September, wearing bib 1082. I carried this with me throughout our race this year.

water tower

Love hosting and running a race back home. Cool to run by the old water tower, which will be coming down in the near future. 

I finished with my slowest half marathon time ever, but I wasn’t even upset about it. I had a steady pace until the aid station at mile seven, where I took a little break and sprinkled in some walking the rest of the way — not to mention fixing a couple turn markers and all that jazz.

Got the chance to run a few miles with my friends Wyatt and Kristina Clifton, along with meeting several other cool people throughout the morning.

Crossed the finish line, grabbed a root beer (yeah, root beer) and the stroller to push Bryant in the one-mile event.

Spoiler alert: That would also be slow/fun.

Rodeo Run 1-mile

1-mile #12

July 20, 2019

Place: 47/53

Time: 19:51

We rarely jogged and only in spurts. We mostly walked and talked and made animal sounds. Zero hurry in this one. Just hanging out with friends and moving a bit (more).

My legs were pretty gassed after finishing the half marathon run maybe three minutes before starting the one-mile run/walk. Oh well.

With a block to go in the race, we stopped the stroller so I could get the kid out and walk with him to the finish — well, sort of. He only enjoyed it for a bit. So we had a pick-up break in between, before walking again to cross the finish line.

B, Roscoe at finish

The kid finishes! 

B hugs mom

And a hug from mom!

I love hanging with the kid. If we hadn’t started so early (had to with the summer heat), I would’ve pushed him in the half marathon. I would’ve been quite a bit slower still, but man, it would be fun. Always is with that boy.

B at HS

Pretty cool seeing him walk around like he owns the place back in my old stomping grounds.

After the races were over, I walked downtown to eat some post-race breakfast and mingle. By that, I mean chat with and thank as many people as I could for participating. This is such a humbling endeavor. I’m always immensely thankful and appreciative to all the people who take time out of their days and pay money to travel to Pretty Prairie, Kansas and participate in an event that I host. I absolutely love it.

Thank you once again to all participants, volunteers and sponsors involved in this event. I couldn’t do it without any of you!

Sheila, Lisa, me

My crazy fast friends, Sheila and Lisa. They rock!

Cyn and me

My friend Cynthia skipped out on the 4 mile (quitter) but still came for the 1 mile and even helped out at the breakfast. She’s the best.

After the races were over and clean-up was done, we got cleaned up and drove to Pizza Hut, where we gave shirts to the store manager and his wife, who are big supporters of our event. They provided a ton of cups to us for the second year in a row. I can’t tell you how valuable such a small thing is.

They have expressed interest in continuing to help us out in the future. It’s become a traidition in the past two years to go to Pizza Hut in Kingman for lunch. What a delicious tradition, you guys.

Oh, did I mention we got Bryant his own shirt this year? It’s a little big — for now.

All in all, a very successful Rodeo Run yet again. Already looking forward to next year.

shirt, bib, medal

Custom race medals to boot. Get it? Boot? It’s a rodeo joke, you guys. 

Next up: Urban ICT 50-mile — Friday/Saturday, July 26/27 — Wichita, KS

 

 

Race report: Cauldron Run 10K (SSG)

Cauldron Run 10K

10K #31

July 13, 2019

Place: 22/31

Time: 1:01:07

Having been in Topeka now for three years and two-plus months, this is my fourth summer, and therefore, my fourth Cauldron Run 10K with the Sunflower State Games.

Unfortunately, the route is still an insanely boring six loops around Tinman Circle at Lake Shawnee. Here’s hoping they fix that next year.

I was also pretty disappointed at the scheduling, with it taking place the same weekend as Mexican Fiesta 5K here in town that I was hoping to do, but oh well.

This was my first time pushing the kid in the stroller at this event.

shirt and bib

The FOURTH time I’ve had bib # 210. Weird.

We had a huge day ahead with moving into a new house a few miles away, so while Kami was doing some moving tasks, Bryant and I went to the race, fellas only.

me and B ready

Getting ready for the race. Bib and watch on the stroller. Snacks ready.

me and B silly

Making funny faces.

start shot

Almost ready to go!

We didn’t beat our goal of improving on our 10K stoller PR (59:01 at the Tonganoxie Library Run), but given the heat and the two snack breaks, we did okay. We finished in 1:01:07. We ran a little bit with Melissa, a local TV reporter. She’s super friendly. Always good to see her out there.

I thought I saw one other stroller out in front of us, but pretty sure we were the only one in the 10K, so you know, that’s a win.

For the first time, I did not earn an age group medal at this one. BUT… When posing with the kid on the podium, one of the Sunflower State Games workers gave Bryant a first place medal from the Kids Run. That was super nice!

B on podium

CHAMP.

podium with B

I love this kid. Oh, and Roscoe.

SSG bibs

My four bibs and three medals from the Cauldron Run 10K at Sunflower State Games.

Bryant got to sit in a fire truck at the finish. He’s gotten to do that several times at various events and he loves it every time.

B on fire truck

Bryant the fireman.

And only a few minutes later…

B sleeping

B, out.

Next up: Rodeo Run 4 + a Half — July 20 — Pretty Prairie, KS

(yay!)

Race report: Library Run 10K

Library Run 10K

10K #30

June 8, 2019

Place: 26/48

Time: 59:01

Back for my third year in a row at this event. I love this event — and this town. So much fun and for a good cause.

My time in 2018 was a few seconds faster than my time in 2017, but I knew going into this one, that wasn’t the goal.

I was pushing Bryant in the stroller and just wanted to beat an hour. Spoiler alert: We did it!

We arrived in Tonganoxie and got checked in and ready to go.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts.

Bryant running

Fast kid!

We took some pre-race selfies and discussed strategy. Our strategy? Zoomin’ on ’em. 

family

Family time. 

Kami and me

First time we were here, it was just us. Crazy how things have changed.

Kami was signed up for the 10K, but dropped to the 5K and ran solo. We met up at the finish and hung out, but Bryant and I needed some practice for THE BIG RACE (Father’s Day 4-mile coming up this Saturday), so we went out ahead.

 

Our first three miles were good — 8:18 / 8:25 / 8:46. We took a brief stop at the turnaround to get a drink and resituate in the stroller. This involved ditching the shoes and socks — his, not mine — and continuing along the way.

Our next three miles were slower — 10:40 / 10:28 / 9:29. But we knew we had some time in the bank and should hit our goal with a small amount to spare.

with Bryant

Just a couple blocks left, B. 

With about half a block to go, I peeled off, got B out of the stroller and walked across the finish holding hands with the kid. Wish someone had gotten a photo of that. Sure was a fun thing we did.

In any event, I had a good time as expected. Team Mead will certainly be back to the Tonganoxie Library Run in 2020 and beyond.

group shot

Group shot in front of the library. We’re somewhere in the back/middle.

 

 

Race report: Brat Trot 5K

Brat Trot 5K

5K #52

June 1, 2019

Place: 14/131

Time: 23:43

Signed up for this one 20 minutes before the start because it was in town, near my office and also… brats.

shirt and bib

Fun shirt (despite being 100% cotton, so I’ll probably wear it twice or less) and bib, which I wound up losing later on.

Bryant loves the stroller rides now, so I wasn’t worried about him for this one. Weather was great, too. We’re really just practicing for “the big race” now — Father’s Day 4M race in Kansas City in two weeks.

We’ve got our distance down, this was time to work on speed.

But first, silly selfies…

After pushing Bryant 13.1 miles last Saturday in Manhattan, 3.1 seemed like an easy call. Strangely, this actually hurt more. Running fast hurts, you guys. And we did go fast.

We spent just about the entire race (after weaving through people in the beginning) trying to avoid letting a fast guy with a stroller passing us.

The course took us out and around a loop near my office. When we got near the building, we came to a fork in the path. The route took us left, but Bryant pointed to the right right because I’m fairly certain he recognized the building. The kid is smart, man.

I thought we had him, but when I pulled out my bib to hold up for the finish line folks to see (they suggested right before the start not to put it on your leg and I realized especially with the stroller, that was a suggestion I shouldn’t ignore), we must’ve slowed just a little and the guy with the other stroller sped up and almost got us — ALMOST.

It was a fun, furious race to the finish, at which we edged them out to be the first stroller across the finish line. Folks nearby enjoyed the show.

It took me a while to catch my breath, but we eventually made our way to the food.

brat

I had about 1.5 brats + half a banana. Bryant and Kami enjoyed some snacks, too. It was a good time.

A little bit bummed that I lost my bib, so I won’t have it to save with all my others. Must’ve left it sitting on the ground when I sat down after the finish, then walked away.

Oh well. No big deal. Good morning and a fun event.

bib on shorts

Proof that the bib existed — before I removed it from my shorts and tucked in the stroller.

Next up: Tonganoxie Library Run 10K — Saturday, June 8 — Tonganoxie, KS