Race report: Pony Express Half Marathon

Pony Express Half Marathon

Half marathon #29

September 28, 2019

Place: 60/86

Time: 2:30:22

race logo

We celebrated our anniversary by taking a trip to Kansas City for a long weekend. As part of that fun was the Pony Express Half Marathon in St. Joseph, Missouri — about 35 minutes from our hotel in KC. Kami hung out in town while Bryant and I worked on finishing our second half marathon together.

shirt, bib

Love this bib and shirt.

Our goal was to beat our previous time (2:41:50), but I secretly didn’t want to beat it by too much because we’ll be doing the Salt City Half Marathon next weekend and want to continue improving our time. Too drastic of a PR would make that challenging.

Bryant slept really good the night before, so he was ready to go.

So was I.

bib on shorts

Perfect weather for a run, too. I started with a long sleeve pullover, but ditched it after a couple miles. Aside from a few really challenging hills, it was a really nice run. Bryant did great along the way, too. We had a few breaks for snacks and one to ditch his jacket, but otherwise, we moved pretty steady throughout the race.

Our fastest two miles were our last two miles, which is neat.

11:25 | 11:01 | 11:20 | 12:09 | 12:16 | 12:28 | 12:46 | 11:35 | 10:56 | 12:43 | 11:16 | 10:47 | 10:37

 

We crossed the finish line a few minutes faster than I could’ve imagined, so yeah, beating that time again in a few days will be pretty tough. But that’s okay. It was a great day.

That last mile was all the more impressive when you consider that I tried to get Bryant out of his stroller and run across the finish line with him. That plan fell flat — and so did he. I guess his legs weren’t ready for running after the two-plus hours in the stroller.

Felt like a bad dad in the moment, but he rebounded pretty quickly after the finish.

In the meantime, here are a couple finish line photos gone wrong with Bryant mad as hell about me letting him fall. Oops.

Later on, we had time for a little learning after we finished.

shirt, bib, medal

Swag along with the sweet medal.

Bryant enjoyed playing with the horse medal in the car.

Bryant got to play on the cool playground equipment before we headed back to KC.

Bryant in train

Kami and Bryant

And of course he got some mom time, too.

Once back at the hotel, I got a quick shower in before we headed to the Royals game. It was originally slated for an evening game, but it was moved up due to incoming weather.

Talk about a great time. Love my crew.

Next up: Salt City Half Marathon — Saturday, October 5 — Hutchinson, KS

Race report: Royals Charities 10K

Royals Charities 10K

10K #32

August 10, 2019

Place: 36/106

Time: 56:57

I was excited about this one. Knew it would be fun to run another race pushing Bryant in the stroller and getting to run on the field at a Major League Baseball stadium.

Despite being at the Royals’ ballpark, we had to rep our favorite team. Bryant wore his Kris Bryant jersey and I had my Cubs hat off and on, then changed into my Cubs shirt after the race.

Got there not long before the race, but had enough time to get ready before taking off. Our goal was to beat our best 10K time together of 59:01 — which was our first attempt in Tonganoxie back in June. We ran at Sunflower State Games in July, but finished in 1:01:07 due to warmer temps, along with some extended snack breaks.

SportsPhotos_DSC01574

The only shot we were in from the race photographer.

Spoiler alert: We did it. We finished in 56:57 — 4:10 faster than our previous best. Really happy with that. AND we had a blast in the process, despite Bryant falling asleep somewhere around mile four.

sleeping on field

Sleeping on the center field warning track. Shame, kid.

He wasn’t even awake for when we saw the lion mascot (Slugerrr) and the hot dogs. Bummer.

hot dogs and mascot

Fun on the video board, creepy up close.

It’s not Wrigley or anything, but it’s pretty cool being on the field in an MLB ballpark.

Our splits were pretty good, despite the slow sixth mile, due to taking it easy on the field to soak it in a little bit with some time to spare.

8:29 | 8:59 | 8:49 | 9:01 | 9:18 | 10:28 | 8:47 (0.22)

Bryant slept until shortly after we finished the race, but was probably asleep for the last two miles or so. I didn’t realize it until well after that, but wondered when he stopped responding to me. He was super talkative until he wasn’t at all.

wave near finish

Just a few steps from the finish.

We hung out a bit after the race and enjoyed the environment before taking off for some lunch.

Bryant and Soler

I’m still mad we traded 4 years of Jorge Soler for 1 year of Wade Davis, too, buddy.

All in all, it was a great morning. But then again, Bryant can pretty much have fun anywhere, doing anything. Like, playing with rocks or whatever.

B playing with rocks

Love this kid.

Later on, after probably the best family nap since before Bryant was born, we went to the Sporting KC vs. Real Salt Lake MLS game. Had a good time there, too, even though the good guys came up short.

 

 

Next up: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon — August 31 — Topeka, KS

Race report: Liberty Hospital Half Marathon

Bling, bling.

Liberty Hospital Half Marathon

Half marathon #25

March 2, 2019

Place: 399/1,075

Time: 2:08:28

logo

With almost no running in the last month (last weekend’s trail “run” not withstanding), I had zero expectations for this one.

It was cold, which was to be expected. It was hillier than I am used to. There was a bigger turnout than I’m used to.

I showed up at packet pickup and trekked a good distance from the car to the building to check in. Once I checked in and saw a man about a horse, I then trekked a bit more back outside toward the start line. I made it there just in time — about 5 minutes before the race began. Perfect.

 

 

All in all, this one was great. I was shocked at how steadily I would run throughout the day — purely based on feel, as I didn’t glance at my once even once the entire race. I knew where my mile markers were, as there were big signs. Not to mention the beep of my watch at every mile.

Still, it usually bugs me not knowing my pace. Not this time. Always a freeing feeling when I can let go of that need to know and just run.

Though it wouldn’t have bothered me to miss it, given my lack of general fitness of late, I had a time of 2:10 in my head going in. I told myself a 10:00 pace or just under could be attainable, though I didn’t really know.

I stuck with the 2:05 pace group for a couple miles. I stopped briefly somewhere in the fourth mile — had to see a man about a horse again. Otherwise, I moved steadily all day.

by hospital

Heading around the namesake of the race — the Liberty Hospital, somewhere between miles 5 and 6.

Later on, I just tried to stay ahead of the 2:10 pace group, which I was able to sustain through the finish. If I’m being honest, that’s what kept me going in the later miles.

Splits
9:24 | 9:40 | 9:21 | 10:08 | 9:40 | 9:31 | 9:43 | 9:54 | 9:37 | 9:36 | 9:10 | 9:55 | 9:46 | 9:14 (0.33) 
A man dressed as the Statue of Liberty caught up to me and passed me momentarily shortly after mile 10. I wasn’t having that. That probably explains my fastest mile of the day occurring in mile 11. 
While this race is my 21st fastest of my 25 half marathons, considering I have not run hardly at all in 2019, I’m actually pretty pleased with this turnout. I was steady throughout and ran sub-10s in every mile except for the one where I stopped to pee — and on a super hilly course, no less.
I’m not mad about that.
stadium

Got to finish on the track of William Jewell College in Liberty, MO.

finish 1

Official time — 2:08:28

 

I’m really hoping these frigid temps will go away soon. Maybe I can decrease a few hours of my recent overtime and actually spend that time running once in awhile.

A couple of April 50-milers, plus a marathon on March 30 as a tune-up run, but first…

Next up: Mater Day Irish Fest 5K — Topeka, KS — March 16

Race report: Father’s Day Four Mile

Father’s Day Four Mile

June 16, 2018

Place: 65/350

Time: 36:41

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Father’s Day Four Mile

All week, leading up to my first race pushing Bryant in his stroller, we talked about “the big race.” We talked about how we’d pass people and say “Catch ya later, nerds!” (in a funny voice, of course).

The race was to be a loop course around Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City. It proved to be a really cool course that I’d love to return to. This could be a fun traditional event for us, should it continue.

shirt +bib

Instant favorite shirt, too.

We got out, ate some graham crackers and geared up for the big race.

prerace selfie

We got in a few pre-race selfies, of course.

I’ve got the coolest kid, you guys.

cool guys

For real. Kid’s a baller.

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts once again.

We got there a bit early, because that’s how I roll. If you’re not early, you’re late. I’m determined to teach him that lesson. When better to do it than… well, early.

photog

We even stopped for a photo from the race photographer.

love him

We were ready to go!

4

Finally heading to the start line!

start

The start line. We’re on the left. 

We started out near the very back out of courtesy. Didn’t want to get trampled. I’d estimate 20 people at most started further back than we did. We had some work to do.

Bryant got really fussy upon starting and I worried he’d have a tough time throughout the race, which would’ve led to a lot of walking. I was fine with the idea of having to walk and prepared for that possibility. I just wanted him to do well and maybe even have fun.

It was really congested early on, as we had a lot of maneuvering to do to pass some people. Lots of “zoom-zoom”-ing and weaving in and out of people. The more open space we saw, the better he did. I even heard him laugh once or twice. Love that.

We settled in and maintained a steady-ish pace for awhile, although obviously slower than I’d run without a stroller.

We got to see some pretty sweet views along the ways. It was an airport — and I love planes.

skyline

That KC skyline is something else, you guys.

We even had a couple of hills, which seemed worse because of the stroller than they would have otherwise.

Bryant stayed happy and awake until at least 2.5 miles in, when he dozed off. He slept through a fairly noisy bit of construction at the 3-mile mark and I expect mostly through the finish line.

finish

Official time — 36:41

Our splits8:44 | 9:31 | 9:28 | 8:20 | 6:40 (0.11) 

Yeah… that last tenth or so of a mile — 6:40 pace. Wow. We were flying. Had to pass those last few guys before the finish.

We got a kick out of people sighing when they were passed by a stroller. But hey, everyone did their best out there — another lesson for B Dizzle.

I was so proud of him — as always.

champion

Even when he’s sleeping, this kid is a champion.

We got a sweet medal to go with the sweet shirt and the cool KC Running Company bib.

shirt w medal

Swag

Our medal is now hanging on Bryant’s wall just above his light switch. We’ve talked about it every day since the big race.

pose w medal

He earned that bling.

eat the medal

Chomp, chomp.

Next up for me: Freedom Run 15K — July 4

Next up with Bryant: Undecided

 

Race report: Longview Half Marathon

Longview Half Marathon

Half Marathon #18

November 11, 2017

Place: 217/521

Time: 2:03:59

race logo

Longview Half Marathon logo

Chalk this up as another “just for fun” race — kind of my theme this year. This was my first race since our son Bryant joined the world three weeks earlier. He nor Kami made the trip as it was a bit on the cold and windy side, but I was happy to get out and run more than 7 miles for the first time in a couple months. The race itself went better than expected.

When I arrived, I was told they did not have my shirt size, but would order it and mail it to me. I was upset for about two seconds and quickly decided it wasn’t worth it. Besides, as a race director myself, I get it. I did, after all, sign up a bit late. No worries. Still a personalized race bib. They even gave me a VIP bracelet to make up for the temporarily missing shirt. That got me a pass into the tent with the heaters and a nicer bathroom. Score.

bib 299

Only third time with my name on my bib — one was a DNF.

When the race started, I took off slowly by design. Wasn’t sure how I’d hold up running farther than I’d run in quite some time. I kept pace just ahead of the 2:10 pace group for the first two-plus miles.

That’s when we hit “the hill.” Excluding a couple of trail races I’ve done, this was likely the steepest paved hill I’ve ever run in a race. Brutal. But I counted runners going the other direction to keep my mind off the hill — 275. I was in 276th place by the time I reached the top. Yeah, this was a big race.

KC Running Co bus

KC Running Co. does a good job.

Right at the top of the hill — maybe around mile 2.75 or so — I caught up with the 2:05 pace group. Figured I’d hang with them for a mile or two until I felt the need to drop back again. Instantly got to chatting with a couple guys, Sean and Andy. Sean was one of the pacers, while Andy was a guy in his 40s (I think) running the race a few minutes behind his teenage son.

Cool guys. Good conversation. I never like running with groups, but this was a good time. Maybe it was because I forced myself to settle in and not race. Maybe I’ve lightened up since I entered fatherhood. Who knows.

Anyway, off and on during the race, Sean, Andy and myself were joined by a couple of girls — Kelsey and Stephanie. They either knew each other previously or had become fast friends in the early miles of this one. Not sure of their ages, but Stephanie has a baseball playing son and Kelsey was going to do another half marathon the next day. Crazy person.

Hearing other people’s stories gave me an excuse to talk about my own son — Bryant. He’s a stud, you guys.

Back to the race…

me full length

Cold, windy, hilly, fun.

Each mile that ticked by, I thought “Maybe I’ll hang with this group another mile… Okay, maybe two more.” I surprised myself greatly with how steady this race was. I owe a lot of that to Sean’s pacing skills and the good chats with the runners mentioned above.

I stuck within a few steps of the group, especially Sean, until about the 11.6 mark. I decided I could push it a bit and tried to pick it up a notch. After my slowest mile of the day (9:44) in mile 11, I sped up by one second in mile twelve, then turned in my fastest mile of the day (8:44) in mile 13.

LOL. Yeah, I’ve definitely never done that in a race before. I even had a little bit left for a sprint through the finish.

9:34 | 9:29 | 9:41 | 9:06 | 9:20 | 9:27 | 9:23 | 9:29 | 9:30 | 9:40 | 9:44 | 9:43 | 8:44 | 6:52 (final 0.16)

me finishing

Chip time 2:03:59

I don’t like being slower than two hours in a half marathon, but all things considered, I was very happy with this race. I met some cool people, maintained a steady pace and had a fun time. I would definitely consider doing this race again.

hoodie, bib, medal

Borrowed a guy’s hoodie to snap a pic since mine has to be mailed to me — no idea when that will come.

While the weather was cold, especially when the wind hit the lake just right, I chose a pretty perfect wardrobe for the conditions — especially given that I wasn’t really racing this one. I actually got warm a time or two, but never so much so that I felt inclined to ditch layers.

me close up

Somewhere around mile 11.

Before taking off for home to be with the wife and boy, I meandered around a bit and took in the scenery while stretching out the legs in the process.

I even got someone to snap a pic for me…

post race pose

My 18th half marathon.

I may do a free Thanksgiving 5K if they’re still having it this year, back in Hutchinson. Otherwise, my next race is the Hangover Half Marathon in Overland Park on January 1, 2018.

Until then…

Race report: Kansas City Marathon

Oct 19, 2013 — Kansas City, MO

Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon

Place: 1,409/1,791

Time: 4:57:02

Embarrassing. Painful. Depressing. Did I mention embarrassing? I am only posting this to remind myself just how bad it can get during a race, and maybe even learn from it.

Started slow, like everyone always tells me to. Kept a steady, albeit too slow pace through 10-12 miles. It didn’t take long for the race to beat me up, physically, but even more so mentally/emotionally.

By mile 13, I knew I had no chance at my sub-4 goal. By mile 14, my dreaded hiccups hit (just like every marathon I’ve done around the same point) and I knew I had no chance at my weak 4:12 PR. By mile 15, I knew I couldn’t even come close to a PR. That’s when I quit mentally. I was crushed. It was an emotional weekend for various reasons. I have a looooong list of excuses I could make, and have (unprepared for hills, horrendous training, mental blocks, complete lack of focus, outside stress, etc). But I won’t elaborate further. At least not again, and not here.

Fact: I’m better than this. I am not a quitter. But I almost quit several times in this one. Only reasons to continue: Big medal + finisher’s shirt (only to find out you had to pay extra for a finisher’s shirt — no, thanks). Mentally, I quit. My state of mind has improved slightly since the race, but not by a ton. I am taking a break from marathons. I stink at the marathon, plain and simple.

“At least you finished.” Screw that. That’s not the goal. Especially by now. I will be back. Probably as soon as April (+ as long as it takes to figure out my hiccup past mile 14 issue). But for the time being, I’m taking a mental break from 26.2. I’m running a local 5K race for Halloween with my girlfriend this weekend — I’ll be dressed as Wolverine. Then, a local 10K on November 9… Strongly considering a 12-hour Ultra on November 16 with a goal of running 50 miles (my longest ever is 38) to earn a special belt buckle award. Even that would feel less like a race, though. Long story, short: I just want to make running fun again.

The 26.2 is no fun for me at this point. And that’s okay.