Race report: Cauldron Run 10K

Cauldron Run 10K

10K #20

July 15, 2017 —Topeka, KS

Place: 27/66

Time: 53:52

Another on my list of fun summer races. Well, this one wasn’t so fun. Glad I did it and all, but man, the three Hs were brutal — heat, humidity, hills.

Always nice to run a race close to home, though.

bib on shorts

Pre-race bib ready.

Weird to think I’ve lived in Topeka long enough now to do the same race twice, as I ran this one last year after living in town for six or seven weeks. I run in that area up by Lake Shawnee quite a bit, but racing in those hills is not preferred for this flat land kid.

with torch

Posing with the Sunflower State Games torch before running the Cauldron Run 10K race.

Anyway, I forgot my watch at home, which turned out to be a blessing. My goal of just maintaining a steady pace would not happen, though, as I started out fast and slowed down dramatically throughout as the heat (and my clingy black shirt) got to me — hard.

start line

Shot by Kami right after the start of the race. I look way cooler and relaxed here than at the finish, for sure.

While I struggled quite a bit running a mere 6-plus miles, it’s easy to say after the fact that it was an enjoyable experience. If you’d asked me during the race, I might have cursed a time or two.

But, not all run is great and that’s fine. Glad I did it and somehow managed to come out with third place in my age group.

bib and medal

Another item for my office bulletin board, I suppose. Most races, I put the bibs and medals in a box at home, but these I’ll post up at work — Parks + Rec connection and all.

They ran out of shirts at the race. Not sure how that even happens. Oh well. The guy seemed stunned that I didn’t care. I told him we were entered in SSG Mini Golf later that morning and I’d get one there, so it was fine.

shirt

Grey isn’t my favorite, but this is much better than last year’s white shirt.

Oh and by the way, Mini Golf went okay, too. We had to play singles separately since doubles took place during the race earlier in the morning. Mixed doubles tennis last year, but that wasn’t a suitable option this year — being six months pregnant and all.

So Mini Golf it was. Goals going in: Have fun, don’t get last and don’t fall down and hurt ourselves.

Check, check and check.

I took 14th out of 17. I’m happy with how I played. Five holes-in-one. A bunch of real golfers in that group. Kami tied for 5th out of 7. We both did better than we’d done during our practice round the previous weekend — and earned that post-event Qdoba.

SSG logo

Another fun year at the Sunflower State Games.

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: Tonganoxie Library Run

Tonganoxie Library Run 10K

10K #19

June 10, 2017 — Tonganoxie, KS

Place: 6/41

Time: 49:17

logo

30th annual Tonganoxie Library Run

This is a race I was intrigued by as soon as I came across it. As a book nerd with an English degree and a past as a newspaper editor, I loved the idea of running a race to benefit a library.

I’m in the early stages of marathon training and my runs so far have been geared toward trying to maintain a certain pace. That is to say I did not go into this race with the intention of racing 6.2 miles. That being said, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to run without a watch and just sort of let loose. I was fairly curious if I could pull off a steady pace without a watch — which I admittedly look at far too often when I wear it.

It was a cool atmosphere, for starters. Small town compared to Topeka, but obviously much bigger than back home in Pretty Prairie. Lots of friendly folks, though and a good course with great volunteers. Great morning for a run weather-wise, too.

Another cool thing…

Flag

Giant USA flag above the Start/Finish chute.

I picked up my packet inside the Tonganoxie Library when we arrived in town about 30 minutes before the race began.

Shirt + bib

Love the shirts — the design, the color, the logo, the feel. Good shirts.

My optimistic, yet “so what if I don’t get it” goal going in was to maintain a pace of around 8:00 per mile. Ideally, I wanted to be faster than 8:15 or so per mile, but didn’t want to go faster than 7:45 per mile. I’m capable, but didn’t want to burn myself out. I had 10 miles scheduled for Sunday and again — this one was supposed to be for fun.

At one point, I told Kami I wanted to finish between 48 and 51 minutes. Then I said maybe I’d like to be in the 49 to 50 minute range. My goal marathon pace is in the 8:40 – 9:00 per mile range, so I thought maybe I could get down into the low-8s for this one. Maybe. Running without a watch, I wasn’t so sure. When I saw a few of the hills and had no idea what kind of pace I was running, I was even less sure.

I gave lots of high fives. I chatted up a few volunteers, joked about them moving the hills and even high fived a guy driving a moving truck going the opposite direction down one of the streets near the finish. That was cool. Just a flat out good time at this one, I tell you.

I resisted the urge to ask numerous volunteers or fellow runners “Hey, how far have we gone?” or “What time is it?” I knew if I knew the answer to either of those questions, I’d start doing math. And I’m really good at math, so I would’ve figured out my pace had I asked.

Told myself going into the last turn that I was having a great time and genuinely did not care if I was in that 48-51 minute window or even my more exact 49-50 minute window. Then, I made that last turn and eventually the clock was in sight. Forty-eight something. I’m sure I gave a shrug and a chuckle. Cool. Or whatever.

Saw it tick to 49:00, but I was close enough to the finish, I had it easily. Official chip time: 49:17. That’s a pace of 7:56 per mile.

10K finish

49:17; sixth place overall

I finished in sixth place overall. I was the fifth male and first in my age group. Earned myself a medal for it, too.

Medal + bib

My first place age group medal and bib.

Didn’t go expecting that, but I’ll take it. I was far enough behind fifth place and far enough ahead of seventh place that I didn’t kick myself for pushing it any harder.

10K AG win

Me and some other age group winners.

I really couldn’t have asked for more from this race. Kami even got to catch up with her friend, who lives in Tonganoxie. They mentioned something about a running group that meets on Monday evenings. Maybe one of these weeks, I’ll make the 40-minute drive, run with a group there so Kami can hang with her friend again. Could be fun.

Either way, I would love to do this race again next year. It’ll go on my race calendar for sure. Special thanks to David Frese and all the volunteers that put this race on. I’ll do my best to be back.

10K post-race

Dueces, Tonganoxie.

Race report: Country Roads 50K

May 18, 2014 — Goddard, KS

Ultra #3, 50K #1

Place: 6/9

Time: 6:07:25

Going into my first 50K, I didn’t really know what to expect. Before a race, people will often ask “Are you ready?” My typical, and honest, response is “I have no idea.” I rarely know if I’m ready for a race, especially a long one, until I’m in it. Anything can happen — I suppose, especially, in ultra running.

I had run two ultras before, both of longer distances. My first was the Patriots’ Run ultra last September 11 in Olathe. The race lasted 9 hours, 11 minutes with runners logging as many miles as they could in the time allotted. I finished with 36 miles officially. My second was last November 16 in Wichita. This one was a 12-hour race of the same concept. That day, I officially logged my personal best for mileage, with 44.28 miles — even though my watch showed 46.

Anyway, this was my first ultra with an actual finish line, which was kind of cool. I had two goals going in — 1) Finish in under 6 hours; 2) Don’t get last. I really didn’t care to get wrapped up in racing any other runners, and I didn’t have a PR to chase after.

I planned to try a run/walk interval of 10 minutes/2 minutes for as long as I could handle it. I got to run the first 10 minutes with my friend Mike, who is crazy fast. He wound up finishing 2nd place overall, despite running 3+ miles too far — and then hung around long enough to help me finish. What a guy.

At around the 3.5 mile mark, the rains came. It rained pretty steadily until I got to the mid-point aid station at mile 15.5. Yeah, 12 miles in the rain. Fun times! (Note: No, I’m actually not being sarcastic). I was able to maintain my 10/2 plan pretty well through the first three hours. At that point, I tried to pull it back to 8/2. But after two cycles of that, I was getting pretty sore. A lot more walking from that point on.

My first 10 miles were each under 10 minutes, and 18 of my first 20 miles were under 12 minutes each. That’s pretty slow, but steady-ish for me, considering how far I was going.

My lovely fiancee Kami, and her sister Macey were out there for me at all the aid stations, and even in between a couple of them. They refilled my water, supplied me with all the Powerade Zero, chocolate milk, antacids (tried them to fix my running hiccups, which seems to have worked), and even donuts (yeah, donuts) that I needed. They helped keep me going really well.

One of the beauties of ultra running, at least for me, was that I felt free to stop and stretch when I felt a cramp coming on, without worrying too much about pace, etc. Despite increasing soreness, I felt better mentally all day long than I have for any of my marathons. That is probably due in large part because of my lack of any real expectations. Regardless of why I felt better mentally, it was definitely a relief.

Somewhere after the 20-mile mark, I got to see several familiar, friendly (and much faster than me) people, as they headed toward the finish, while I was heading out on the final out & back stretch. I got high fives from Micah LaPoint (overall winner, 3:50), Raquel Stucky (my friend from Pretty Prairie), and Fernando Martinez (he doesn’t know me, but I know of him because he’s fast). The latter three were all on relay teams. I even squeezed in a short chat with Mike again as he assured me Kami was not far ahead.

Experienced 100-miler Elden Galano gained on me more and more over the last 10 miles or so. I knew he would either pass me, or would come damn close. At mile 24, I saw probably the biggest turtle ever. I really wanted to snap a pic, but convinced myself to focus. I kept moving.

I did get a little bummed when I realized somewhere in those last two miles that I wasn’t going sub-6, but still understood that I’d finish with an automatic PR, which is always nice. Kami jog/walked the last mile or so with me (in jeans!), and Mike joined for the last few blocks. With about 200 yards to go, I had to walk one last time across the final street when I heard Elden yell “Run!” He later told me he wasn’t going to pass me unless I was walking.

I finished in 6:07:25, exactly six seconds ahead of Elden, who did a cheer/jump across the finish line. It hurt me just to watch it.

All in all, Country Roads 50K was a very positive experience for me. I was a little slower than I would’ve liked, and probably a lot slower than I’m capable of, but with an automatic PR, a super cool course, an affordable price, lots of friendly volunteers and a great personal support staff, I honestly have zero complaints about this race — as long as I get my race shirt in the mail, as promised. They somehow had me down for a Medium, a size I haven’t worn since probably 7th grade.

Not sure where life will take us with getting married in September, but this is definitely a race I’d like to return to do again.

Race report: Eisenhower Marathon

April 12, 2014 — Abilene, KS

Marathon #6

Place: 107/146

Time: 4:56:15

I don’t want to write this. Everything I’m about to write will be an embarrassment. It will be hard to put a positive spin on any of my thoughts from this race. But I’m a firm believer in learning from experience, both positive and negative. So here goes.

This was a bad race. A bad day. Bad conditions. Bad mentality. Bad memories. All bad.

I was prepared. I was more focused mentally than for any of my previous five marathons. My brain was ready, my heart was ready, my legs were ready… I had a goal going in of 3:42. I knew it was optimistic, but was certain I’d at least run my first sub-4, and I never really even entertained the notion that I could possibly do any worse than my PR of 4:12:37. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening.

I started off a hair faster than planned, but it was a sustainable pace for me. I felt comfortable. My first four miles were solid; ahead of schedule with a pace of 8:02/mile.

Mile 1-4 — 8:02, 8:06, 8:00, 8:00

Slowed down a bit the next few, and tried to settle in. I did just that, and still felt good through nine miles with a pace of 8:10/mile.

Mile 5-9 — 8:09, 8:21, 8:11, 8:12, 8:31

Somewhere around that ninth mile, I started to feel a little weird. I was having trouble breathing. A couple big hiccups (a trend for me; usually kicks in around mile 15) caught me off guard. The wind was picking up, but I knew I was going with it until mile 13. It was getting warmer. I figured it was just in my head, and tried to shake it off. But I slowed down as I neared the halfway mark, where I’d turn around and repeat the 13.1-mile loop. Pace at the half marathon mark was still 8:26/mile… I needed 8:28/mile, so I was still on track, but slowing down big time. I kept telling myself that 3:42 was optimistic, but I was still on track, and I just needed sub-4 or better.

Mile 10-13 — 8:56, 9:02, 9:03, 9:04

After convincing myself I still wasn’t done, and that I still had a lot to shoot for, I made the turnaround for the second half of the race, and headed into the wind. It was like a punch in the face, and I never recovered. As the temperatures rose, and the wind picked up, the hiccups got worse, and so did my ability to breathe. Every breath was a deep, painful inhale and a strain to exhale. Worse than usual, even. I wish it was something I could explain. Some weird form of asthma? Acid reflux?

*Web MD search makes me think it might be something like Exercise Heartburn, but I’ll read more into it before I jump to conclusions*

That 14th mile was my final mile that was under 10 minutes at 9:52. Most of the race was spent walking, as I never could regain my breath. The most frustrating part about this race is that my legs actually still felt pretty good for another 5-6 miles. But it’s hard to run when you can’t breathe.

Excuses aside, I needed to be better for this race, and I just wasn’t. The marathon is not my favorite race. It’s the longest race that I care about how fast I’m running, which is why I plan to find an ultra or two before I get married this fall, as well as find my way back onto a basketball court — aka: my happy place. I don’t like things I’m not good at (who does?), and I am just not good at the marathon. For now, anyway.

I finished last place in my age group — LAST. That has never happened to me. Granted, four of the six in my age group smashed my goal, so even at my best, I would’ve come in 5th of 6. But it’s still frustrating.

I will try again. Likely not until 2015 after I’ve become a married man, and had some time to research and reflect — but I will try again.

Since I feel like this post has been extraordinarily whiny, I will end this with a couple of positive notes:

My beautiful fiance Kami was, as always, incredibly supportive. She posed for a couple pictures, took a few of her own, made and displayed signs for me, handed me drinks, food, etc — even got yelled at to get off the course by an old grouchy lady who didn’t seem to care that Kami was helping me stay standing, as well as supporting hundreds of others, while being in no one’s way.

Lastly, my good friend Mike was a beast on this day. Under the tough conditions, he, unlike myself, was able to fight through them, and finish with a PR of 3:10. He also missed his goal, but a 3:10 is no joke, and neither is a PR, no matter what it is. He also came back to mile 24 or so and helped me hobble across the finish and narrowly avoid my personal worst. His selflessness is always appreciated.

Not signed up for any upcoming races just yet, but I’ve been shooting more hoops, and may check out a nearby 50K next month — you know, just for fun.

Until next time,

Derrick

Race report: KUS 6/12/24 Hour Run

Nov 16, 2013 — Wichita, KS

KUS 12-Hour Race

Place: 5/9; 1st in age group

Time: 12:00:00

Distance: 44.28 miles

Wow. Where do I even start for this one? My second Ultra, sponsored by KUS (Kansas Ultrarunners’ Society). I ran a 9 hour, 11 minute race on 9/11 in Olathe, and completed 38 miles (36 officially). Eventually, I’ll get into distance specific Ultras, but this was still a new, longer challenge.

I had to complete 50 miles to win a belt buckle (I guess they’re like trophies to Ultra runners or something). That’s my longest run ever PLUS a Half Marathon or so. Eek. I knew it would be tough, but I really thought I could do it.

In the end, I finished with 46.01 miles — exactly 8 miles farther than my previous distance PR. I was at 45.5 on my watch when I crossed the finish line for the last time (GPS is never 100%, plus most other people seemed to be off of their official distances, too)… Still had 10 minutes to go in my race, so I walked/jogged until I hit 46 right at the 12-hour mark. Official race distance completed: 44.28 miles.

Twelve hours is a long time to do anything, especially on your feet. It was a 1.23 mile loop around Buffalo Park in Wichita, but it never really got boring out there, which may come as a surprise to many. Got to run the first couple hours (and off and on throughout the day) with my friend Mike. I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: Mike is a terrific runner, and an even better person, and dad. It was cool to see his family out there supporting him — “Team Stout” as they call themselves. He was in the 24 hour race, and put in 70 (or more) miles for the second time in 5 weeks. Think about that for a second.

I tried my best to not think about pace all day long, as I really just needed to keep moving. There would be a lot of walking, regardless. Too much so, in the end, as I fell short. But anytime you can increase your longest run ever by 8+ miles, it’s a good day.

There were only nine people in my 12-hour race, and I finished with the most miles of anyone who did not get a buckle. That stings a little, to be honest. But you know what? I’ve done two Ultras now, and finished 5th in both. Amount of runners aside, I kind of like the sound of that.

My beautiful girlfriend Kami and her sister Macey were there off and on all day long, and supported me a lot, especially toward the end. I’m immensely grateful for having them there.

At work, we teach kids about feelings, and emotional warning signs. Funny, because during the course of this race, I experienced every single one of them. I went from content to sad to happy to depressed to thrilled to proud — just in the final few minutes. I confess that I started to cry a bit the minute I realized I had no chance for 50 miles and a buckle award. Quickly made myself snap out of it and just do my best in the end.

All in all, a successful day. BIG thanks to:

* Mike Stout for lots of running company + Team Stout for general support and friendship.

* Kami & Macey Hodson for support, food, and company the last few laps.

* Ron Micah Lapoint for support. He’s 10x the runner I am & had to drop out, but was still encouraging.

* Adam Monaghan for putting on an awesome 1st Annual event. Fun shirts, and cool bibs. A great runner himself, I know it was hard for him to not be running, but he did an outstanding job of organizing this thing, and was super supportive to all the runners all day long.

* Zach Adams for support and occasional running company. Realized we’d met each other at 9/11 Ultra in Olathe.

* Di — I don’t know her last name or where she was from, but she was positive and friendly all day long.

* Colorado lady for support. I don’t know her name or who she was there for. In fact, I thought she was from Nebraska until Kami told me otherwise. But Colorado lady offered me something each time I stopped by my car, which was right next to hers. She may have been there with the guy who won the 24-hour race with 107 miles. Yeah, 107. Either way, thanks Colorado lady!

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.