Race report: Cauldron Run 10K

Cauldron Run 10K

10K #24

July 14, 2018

Place: 20/47

Time: 50:16

This was my third year doing this event — crazy to think since we’ve just been in Topeka for two years and less than two months.

I found out a few weeks before the race that they’d changed the course, but I didn’t give it much thought since it didn’t particularly matter much to me. I just enjoy running races close to home whenever possible.

But about 18 hours before the race, I discovered the 10K route would be six loops. Yawn. Such a bad idea. So many reasons why. No one I spoke with was happy with the changes.

Anyway… Still good to get some miles in.

shirt and bib

Shirts are okay, I guess. Still don’t love grey, but it’ll do.

With my mom in town, she, Kami and Bryant drove separately and met me at the start.

selfie

Pre-race selfie

bib

Typical bib shot.

Also, one of my athletes, Haley, showed up as well. I felt a bit guilty, as I had gone to watch her run the 100 meters for the Sunflower State Games the evening before. I didn’t even stick around to watch the 200, but she and her mom still returned the favor by showing up to support me for 6.2 — well, 6.41 miles.

She did great, by the way. Rocked it in the 100 and 200 on Friday, plus the 400 on Friday. I also got to see a few other T-Bird student-athletes participating in the track & field events on Friday, as well as a couple at the Cauldron Run on Saturday.

Haley

Thanks for coming, Haley!

I was told there would be 60ish in the 10K, although I believe only 47 finished. Tough to be sure, since to be honest, they don’t do a great job with results. There’s a lot to be desired with the organization of this event.

The finishers in the 10K have dropped from 83 to 66 to 47 in the years I’ve done it. But nobody asked me, so I digress.

start

Start line photo

My only goal here was to attempt to beat my time from last year, which wasn’t overly impressive. I knew the course would be long this year, though, so I had to play with the math as I ran — no worries; I love math.

I did go faster throughout than planned and even maintained a steady-for-me pace.

7:35 | 7:46 | 8:02 | 8:08 | 8:15 | 7:37 | 7:06 (0.41) — 7:51 per mile

Given the heat and the monotony of the course, in addition to the extra distance, I’m happy with my time.

My friend — well, my social media runner friend — Melissa Brunner Brown snapped this picture of me coming in on the conclusion of my fourth loop. Melissa is a news anchor for WIBW here in Topeka and tweeted this out to her 8,300-plus followers.

Melissa Brunner pic

I should’ve known she was taking my picture. Oof. 

And then there’s this one, taken by Haley and sent to me directly…

mile 4

Either after mile 4 or 5. Kami and Bryant cheering me on. 🙂 

I ditched the hat and shades for my final loop. Realized I had a little kick left in me, which is always a good feeling. I took off a little faster, aiming to catch the guy ahead of me a ways, just in case he was in my age group.

As I caught — and passed him, I realized he was definitely in his 50s and I had worked hard for nothing. Okay, not for nothing. Always good to make myself work a bit.

medal

Wound up first in my age group. I now have a 2018 gold to go with my 2016 silver and 2017 bronze.

The above was Take 2 of that photo attempt. Take 1 was more fun, though…

Bryant on shirt

I don’t know what to caption this. I just love that kid.

Next up: Rodeo Run 8/4/1 — Saturday, July 21

RD duties kick into hyper-drive this week, in addition to a busy week at work. I won’t sleep much this week and will probably panic at every step. I just want to do a good job.

But really, there’s still time to sign up, you guys…

Rodeo Run 2018 logo

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Race report: Freedom Run 15K

Freedom Run 15K

15K #4

July 4, 2018

Place: 9/12

Time: 1:33:04

This is such a cool event. I’ll probably do it every time I’m able to. Love holiday races. Love low-key events. Love cost-friendly events. All-around win.

I know a lot of people ran July 4 races where they paid twice as much (or more) and ran half as far (or less)… Not me. No, thanks.

Lyons.JPG

Didn’t take my phone with me, so photos are limited here. This is Lyons High School, where the race would start.

This one starts at Lyons High School at finishes at Sterling Lake. Pretty much 9.3 miles straight alongside one highway with zero turns until the last 200 yards or so.

The shirts have gotten better each year, while the entry fee has remained incredibly reasonable. I’m not mad about that.

shirt

Great color, great feel, great fit. Love it.

I was coming off a rare summer cold for this one. With the added strong headwind, it proved to be incredibly hard to breathe throughout.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts. Purple laces already in for Rodeo Run later this month.

Smaller turnout than ever this year. Only 12 runners for the 15K — probably 130 or so in the 5K. I didn’t mind. I just like the miles, man.

I felt okay early and ran the first couple miles with my friend Delaine Wright at a decent pace. Knew she’d pull away soon after and she did.

I was in sixth place until my friend Jessica White caught up to me around mile 3.5. Two others passed me within the next half mile, putting me in ninth. That’s where I would remain for the rest of the race. So that’s another six miles or so, solo. I run alone all the time, so that didn’t phase me a bit.

The heat and humidity was actually pretty tolerable, given the time of year. But the cold I wasn’t (and am still) not quite over + the headwinds took a toll. I did a fair amount of walking for such a short race.

Oh well. Like I said, I just like the miles — which is good, because this one was SLOW.

Splits: 7:39 | 8:11 | 8:34 | 9:35 | 11:05 | 10:21 | 11:31 | 11:31 | 11:05 | 10:04 (0.34) — 9:58 overall

Plus, with it being such a small turnout, I managed to win my age group once again.

medal

For real. Love the shirt.

Kami, Bryant and the in-laws were waiting (sorry for that, you guys) for me at the finish. Had a good time post-race hanging with them for a bit.

Even pushed the boy the last 15 yards or so across the finish line. But then the real fun started.

 

Next up: Cauldron Run 10K at Sunflower State Games — Saturday, July 14

Race report: Library Run 10K

Tonganoxie Library Run 10K

10K #23

June 9, 2018

Place: 3/19

Time: 49:05

Library Run 10K shirt

2018 Library Run shirt

I went into this 10K similarly to last year — not particularly caring about my time. I did not expect to be fast because I haven’t been since a few years — and a few dozen pounds ago.

But it was a really fun event not terribly far from Topeka and I was excited to return again this year. The shirt was really cool once again, too (see above). I was smart enough to order a more accurate size this year, although I still wish I was a different size. But don’t we all, am I right?

Got a chance to goof off a bit with Bryant while Kami went to the restroom (I assume there was a line, like usual — hooray for being a dude).

Bryant chasing me

I sat on the ground with him in the back of the Escape stretching before the race (he rode in the stroller with Kami for the 5K).

Bryant hitting me

He likes to hit things.

I had to get my usual pre-race photos of my shirt, bib, etc.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, as always.

It was getting close to race time, but I wasn’t in a hurry.

Bryant amazed

Bryant thought we should get going.

On to the start line we went — where we’d take a few more photos waiting during pre-race instructions…

We like to be goofy. And he’s getting a lot more alert nowadays, so it makes things fun.

And of course, we had to get a group shot before I went closer to the start line.

Team Mead

Team Mead

Oh, and in my 142 races, I experienced a first…

As RD David Frese called out the “Ready, set, G…”

finish line

The power went out, this thing deflated and fell to the ground. Pretty hilarious.

It was back up and running in no more than a couple of minutes. Everyone seemed to relax a bit, if they weren’t already. All-in-all, a really well put together race, as expected. I plan to return.

But on to the race…

I went out at a fast, but semi-comfortable pace, although I knew it would be tough to maintain. It was. I knew the hills would hit hard. They did. I knew the humidity would bite. It did.

But once we hit the 5K turnaround, I learned what I suspected — I was in third place overall in the 10K race and still within striking distance of the top two runners.

That’s when the voice of Eminem creeped into my head whenever I have a shot to do something good — or when I’m doubting my abilities.

“But Slim, what if you win? Wouldn’t it be weird?”

But alas, the top two runners — who turned out to be father and daughter — pulled away and I spent the second half of the race not chasing second, but fighting off fourth.

near finish

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but that girl behind on me closed the gap HARD and made me work for my third place finish.

I edged out the girl in fourth by a whopping four seconds. Phew!

If I were 20 pounds lighter or had been working on my speed more recently, I would’ve been pretty frustrated to have not won this race. The winning time was such that I could have won it, for sure. Just not now — at my current fitness level. But that’s okay.

Took every ounce of grit I had left to hold onto third place.

I didn’t go to Tonganoxie planning to win. I went planning to have fun. I went planning to push myself a little, but not to the brink of injury. I did both of those things and left happy. That’s a win.

After my tech-free 49:19 at this race in 2017, I crossed the finish line (watch and all) in 49:05 this year — a 14-second improvement. Darn near 10 minutes from a PR, but that seems like a lifetime ago. My current self will take it, however.

shirt, bib, medal

How cool is that shirt?!

We hung around a bit, went to the park so Kami could hang out with her friend and our kids could play — then headed for home.

Not before I flubbed a finish line pose, though.

pose at finish

I meant to hold up 3 fingers here. I did not finish second. I was the second place male, but third overall. That is not a peace sign. That is me having just looked at my “2nd” male medal and forgetting what place I was overall. Oops.

Whatever, man. Like I said, this is a fun one. Numbers were down quite a bit — in the 10K at least (41 last year, 19 this year). But if my schedule allows, I’ll probably return to this one as long as I live in the area.

Running fast hurts, you guys.

Thanks to David Frese and everyone in Tonganoxie involved in putting this one together!

Next up:Father’s Day 4-mile — Kansas City, MO — June 17

Race report: Heartland 50

Heartland 50

50-mile #5

May 5, 2018

Place: 37/42

Time: 14:23:09

logo

Heartland 50 logo

Back for another dose of pain on the flint hills of Cassoday, Kansas. I’ve been on this course for about 250 miles or so now across different races and pacing duties.

Two weeks after my rainy PR at Flint Hills 50 outside Manhattan, the goal here was to just reach the finish line of a 50-mile race for the fifth time. Sure, I had a time I’d like to hit, but that was out the window with the heat and the weary legs.

Said goodbye to the family Friday afternoon, then to Cassoday to get my shirt and bib.

Got to Cassoday, where I immediately saw my friends and race directors, Jason Dinkel and Barry Smith. Good guys. Thanks to them for putting on such a great event once again.

shirt and bib

My favorite shirt from this event yet. This one actually (sort of) fits. Yay!

After meeting a few fellow runners and chatting a bit, I was back on the road to El Dorado to my hotel.

Pizza Hut

But not before my customary pre-race dinner from Pizza Hut.

Lounged a bit, stressed about my lack of readiness, watched some mindless TV — and a little bit of Field of Dreams — before eventually getting to sleep.

race outfit prep

Race gear ready.

Race morning, more stress — mostly about the incoming heat. But hey, at least it wasn’t going to rain for a change. Really wasn’t sure how long my legs could hang so soon after another 50, but you know what they say — only one way to find out.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, mismatched laces. Go time.

I started with an easy, comfortable pace in the mid-upper 10s as I chatted with a handful of runners. Usually, I don’t like talking while I run, but maybe I was more relaxed with putting less pressure on my result — or maybe I’m just becoming less of a prick.

No, it’s probably the first thing.

I got to meet, say hello to, or even share some miles with several folks throughout the day — Chris Wilson, Will Sprouse, Adele Jordan, Mike Rives, Chris Bosch, Jeff Grabbe, Jason Flores, Tiffany Fiedler, Matthew Stroupe, Ken Childress, Chrissy Whitten and Brent Larson, Cindy Knull and Rosie Saiz.

Fun people from all over the place. Love the ultrarunning community.

Anyway…

That early stretch of 8.4 miles or so before the Battle Creek aid station is my favorite stretch on the course — on the way out anyway.

Adele's shot

Courtesy photo: Adele. Thanks, friend!

She took that right before a herd of cattle crossed the path in front of us. That was kind of an invigorating sight to see.

peace sign

Race photographer was great, as always. Glad he was able to capture me having fun, since I wasn’t always.

Got to the aid station and did my best to refuel, though, as always, I struggled to eat anything. But I topped off my bottles, saw some friends working the station and browsed through my drop bag. I had to.

I had notes/cards waiting for me in each one.

I had to show those off at each aid station.

Mentally, I held up longer than usual during these things. I was still feeling good between the ears until around miles 38-42 when the big hills hit again.

hills

This wasn’t that moment, but a glimpse of a hill or two.

But my legs? They were shot by mile 28 or so. Tons of walking the second half of the race — even slower than walking the last 7-8 miles. I was genuinely struggling to continue moving forward. I was resigned to the fact that this would be my slowest finish time of all my 50s by about mile 40.

Bummed about it, but still kept trudging along one step at a time.

black + white

Black and white photos make people look tougher — I guess.

I preached to myself (and others) all day long, that life — like running — is all a matter of perspective. Last race, I set my PR — my fastest time — and got last place. LAST. This time? I was by far slower than I’d ever been before and beat five people. Whatever, man.

finish

I love distances where just reaching the finish line is always an accomplishment.

I did it. Heartland 50 finisher for the third time. Fifty mile finisher for the fifth time. Tough, tough day, but a rewarding experience like all the others.

Award + sticker

Another buffalo/horse shoe award and sticker.

3x Heartland

2015 | 2016 | 2018

5x 50

50 x 5

I’m taking a break for awhile. No running for at least a week. My legs need to recover. Need to ease back into it when ready — and of course — improve my fitness.

But I also want to have a little fun. I’ll run the Father’s Day 4-mile race in KCMO in June, pushing Bryant in the stroller. Excited about that one.

Might do the Tonganoxie Library Run 10K the week prior, although registration doesn’t appear to be open yet.

Nothing big planned for awhile — maybe not even for the rest of the year. I really did plan to try 100 this year, but I’m still not quite confident enough in my ability to finish one of those. We’ll see.

Race report: Eisenhower Marathon

Eisenhower Marathon

Marathon #8

April 7, 2018

Place: 67/87

Time: 4:58:53

logo

Race logo

I went into this race with no expectation of running fast. In fact, this was my first marathon in which I wanted to force myself to slow down. I was using it as a training run for Flint Hills 50 and Heartland 50 coming up in the coming weeks (by the time of this post, FH 50 is now just 7.5 days away).

Kansas in spring is fickle, man. Never know what you’re going to get. April 2018 might be one of the weirder example. Thirty six hours prior to race time, it was 73. Race time temp was 10 — TEN. Four days later, it was 82. Whatever, man.

Time to bundle up and go run.

hoodie + bib

2002 PPHS Bulldog basketball hoodie

I figured surely I’d warm up eventually and ditch the hoodie or at least the gloves and hat. Nope! Not once — well, not until the end anyway. It was cold out there.

pre-race start line

Kind of eerie in the quiet and cold, pre-race

Not sure how many folks signed up for the race and said “F that” when they saw the forecast, but it was a good crowd of friendly runners as far as I could tell.

bib + shirt

I’m not in love with grey t-shirts, but whatever, man.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, as customary.

Some people were fast. Some of us others, eh, not so much. But I was cool with that. Well, COLD with that, if you know what I mean. It was cold outside. That’s the joke.

Start (winner post)

Dude in orange won the marathon. He was fast.

I started off with a 9:10 and an 8:48 to begin the race — oops. I cut out that nonsense real quick. Had to force some walk breaks and pull back to a more relaxed pace if I wanted to last. Smart choice.

early in race

Nice group shot early on. Hey, dude in yellow. Good work on your first marathon! Speedy fellow.

With aid stations every mile, it was an easy choice as well. I ran the majority of the time, but took 30 seconds or more at each aid station to grab a drink, catch a break and make some lame joke to whatever freezing aid station volunteer was willing to engage in my silliness. Made for a fun day and made me forget about the cold, believe it or not.

I ran a few different stretches with various runners and chatted away. Made a few bathroom stops along the way, but maintained a pretty steady pace throughout the day.

turnaround 2

Crossing the line at the midway point. One goal I had was to make it to the turnaround feeling positive. Mission accomplished.

I wanted to take a peek at the medals to give myself a mini boost. The guy at the chute obliged.

don't touch the medals

Ain’t gonna touch ’em, though!

I headed back out for my second loop and was surprised to see how steady I was able to remain — especially after a bathroom break. I kept waiting for the wall. You know the one — the one that always hits around mile 19 — or 17 — or 14. And it didn’t come.

The intentionally slow, easy pace was paying off.

I eventually did hit a wall — at mile 24.5. With my final distance marked at 26.72 miles, that was just over two miles from the finish. Even the “wall” wasn’t a big one, as I was still hobbling along fairly well, all things considered. I finished the race running, not walking — so that’s a win, for sure.

Pretty certain I never walked more than 50 yards straight at a time. I’m happy about that. Hopefully I can hold that kind of consistency in my upcoming ultras.

finish

Finish line shot. Official time of 4:58:53.

I had zero time goals coming in to the day. I told someone I was estimating around five hours, but I was honestly expecting more like 5:15-5:20. Especially considering my last marathon, when I was actually trying to run a certain time, I finished in a miserable 5:35.

Crossed the finish line with an official time of 4:58:53.

  • I had 11 miles under 11 minutes each.
  • I had 11 miles between 11-12 minutes each.
  • I had 4 miles at 12+ minutes.

Not gonna lie, I’m thrilled with that consistency.

Quick lesson: Running — and life — is all about perspective.

When I ran this race in 2014, I was furious with my time of 4:56:15. I was 2 minutes and 38 seconds slower this time around and was thrilled. It was 80 degrees then, 10 degrees here. My mentality was different, my approach was different. Crazy how that works.

Funny note:

2014 — 26.48 miles in 4:56:15

2018 — 26.72 miles in 4:58:53

Some quick math to match the times up as if both were each an equal 26.22 miles…

2014 — 4:53:20

2018 — 4:53:17

Three seconds FASTER. Neat. Too bad that’s not how it works. But hey, I’m not mad.

breakfast

How could you be mad with a post-race breakfast like this?

2018 + 2014 swag

And swag like this.

Tale of the tape:

Medal — 2018 > 2014

Bib — 2018 > 2014

Shirt — 2014 > 2018

Experience — 2018 > 2014

Next up: Flint Hills 50 (Manhattan) — Saturday, April 21

Race report: Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

Half marathon #20

February 3, 2018

Place: 158/224

Time: 2:20:57

logo

Race logo

After running this race last year, I thought it would be fun to return. Good miles + good chocolate = a good time. Two weeks after running the Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon, I think I may have run once in between the two events. I’ve got to find time to run again. It’s going to be a battle getting back into shape, but I’ve got some races on my calendar to focus on, so it’s time… Meanwhile…

Kami and Bryant didn’t make the trip for this one. C’mon, warmer weather! Knew I’d be slow, but figured I’d just try to maintain a steady pace (ha) and have some fun.

The race started/finished on the campus of Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe. I entered the building wear packets were being handed out to collect mine before returning to the car to prep for the start.

shirt, bib, cocoa

This year’s shirt + my bib + a packet of hot cocoa.

The shirts were white again this year (ugh), but dri-fit. Normally, I don’t hope for “tech” shirts at races because they never fit right. This one fits fine. But it’s white, so I’ll never wear it as my outer layer. Could work as an under shirt, though.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, as always.

I was hoping to avoid the hat and heavier gloves, but the wind made for a colder day than I’d thought, so I had to be prepared.

Weather
Temperature: 24-28 degrees
Real feel: 20-24 degrees
Wind: 13-16 MPH

legs

Had to go with the blue laces to match the compression sleeves and shirt — though I had to wear a less blue jacket over the shirt, which spoiled my color-coordination a bit.

I started out slow by design. Having pace groups for a half marathon always throws me off. I almost never have any interest in running with a pace group — or hearing other humans talk, so I was bummed about my decision to not take the headphones.

Had to stop and pee at the port-a-potty at mile 2.6, but continued on and kept my pace semi-steady. For awhile, anyway. This would wound up being my second slowest half marathon ever. Second only to the Cow Pie Trail Run Half Marathon I ran in Loup City, Nebraska in late 2014. That was ALL hills/trails. This was mostly flat pavement. Yeah, so I was slow.

Me on course

I’m not sure how far along in the race this is, but my guess is around mile 4-5. 

As expected, I hit a wall. Did a good amount of walking the last several miles and just wound up happy to be done.

Splits: 9:32, 9:20, 9:43, 9:33, 9:23, 9:29, 9:44, 9:50, 10:50, 11:41, 13:16, 13:28, 13:44, 11:05 (0.13)

Yeesh. Bad, man. Whatever, time for chocolate.

food

I ate half of one of these donuts + one marshmallow + two Hershey kisses.

The donut was stale, the marshmallow was stale and seemed like it was a year old and the chocolate was bitter. Last year’s selection was great, this year it was just awful. Major bummer.

I sat around in the gym for a bit. Chatted with a couple people briefly — mostly about the disappointing selection of chocolate — before I decided I’d take off and head for home.

Gymnasium

The set-up in the gym was cool this year. Less crowded than having everyone out in the hallway + in a lecture hall last year.

So, while I’m happy I did this race a second time and I didn’t have an awful experience, I sort of doubt that I will return.

The bad chocolate coupled with white shirts in back-to-back years, plus poor marketing of the race and results mess-ups… Yeah, probably not worth my time/money/effort to return to this one.

swag

This year’s swag. Hey, at least the medal was cool. Too bad I couldn’t eat it, huh? No, I didn’t try to eat it.

Next up: I’m actually not sure. I’m not currently signed up for anything at the moment. The next race I plan to do is Flint Hills 50 on April 21 — but who knows if I’ll find a smaller event prior to that to sign up for in the meantime.

Stay tuned.

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