Race report: Heartland 50

Heartland 50

50 mile #7

April 27, 2019

Place: 34/37

Time: 13:59:28

Heartland logo

Two weeks after completing my sixth 50-miler at Flint Hills 50, I went for number seven at Heartland — the site of my first 50.

Being so drastically undertrained in 2019, I’m in “just happy to finish” mode and I’ve found myself more capable of simply enjoying the miles lately. Don’t get it twisted — I definitely need to get in better shape and plan to do so. But I’m happy, so that’s what matters at the moment.

I got into Cassoday Friday evening to collect my shirt and bib. I considered skipping the drop bags this year and almost certainly will next time around. I’ve found them to be a waste of time at this point. I stress about what to get out of them and piddle around while I try to make a decision, until I ultimately don’t utilize them much, if at all.

I did send one drop bag to the turnaround at Teeterville, but that was it.

I hung out and chatted with Jason Dinkel a little bit, along with other runners who stopped by to collect their race stuff.

bib table

I grabbed a chair. People thought I knew stuff. Ha.

I then made my way to my hotel in El Dorado. That’s the one really unfortunate thing about this race — the 25 minute communte to the race. Maybe I’ll take up camping in the future. But the night before a race? I dunno, man.

At the hotel, I laid out flat Derrick and got as mentally prepared as I could for the miles to come. I had a new hat that Bryant helped me pick out. Had to rock it for this one with the buffalo on it.

I watched some playoff basketball, some Simpsons, did some work and had a pretty tough time getting to sleep. Probably close to midnight with the alarm set for 4:30. Woof.

But I made it to the race in plenty of time to see a few folks and chat a bit.

I overheard a guy named Dan talking with Jason in a panic about not having his shoes. He forgot his main pair, I believe — and had already sent his backups with his drop bag. Something like that anyway.

I asked what size he wore. Lucky enough, size 12 — same, brother. I offered him my second pair and he took me up on it. I was pretty excited to help out another runner and about the obvious joke that my shoes would run 100 miles that day.

I didn’t find out until the aid station at Battle Creek when he caught up to me that his shoes showed up just a few seconds before the race had begun. So he didn’t need mine after all. Ran a mile or two with him and chatted some. He’s from Wichita. He wound up beating me by quite a bit — just like most others.

But that’s okay by me.

My favorite shot of the day is actually a selfie I took as I meandered through the winding roads approaching Battle Creek.

selfie hills

Whoa.

I had the pleasure of sharing the course with lots of other cool folks throughout the day. But I found myself thinking of Chris Wilson this year, as I ran some miles with him last year and he later passed away in September at another ultra race.

Loved seeing Brent Larson out there for yet another year. He and a friend were running the 50K and I got to snap a selfie with Brent after they flew by me, but before they turned around and headed for their finish.

me and Brent

Me and Brent Larson at the Lapland aid station.

Anyway, I enjoyed the course more this year than ever. I took lots of pictures and took it all in more than ever before. Not sure why. I just noticed more about the course and simply enjoyed it.

Enjoy a bunch of random shots of the course — then I’ll get back to the talky part of the race report.

There was even some water along the course. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I ever noticed a drop of water at Heartland before — except for the year we ran through a monsoon (2017 DNF).

water 1

This course is something, you guys.

This was the fourth 50 I’ve run solo. Crazy to think more than half of them have been alone now. But that’s okay. As much as I love having Kami out there — Bryant hasn’t been to one yet — it’s nice to not feel like I have to hurry because someone is waiting on me.

I did feel bummed that I forgot to pin a pic of me and the kid to my pack like last race, but I FaceTimed them at one point during the race and even took this next pic for them.

It was kind of like they were with me, without being with me.

selfie love

SHADE, too?! What? Nice.

As always, there was a good photographer out there — and for the second year in a row, he gave me a ride back to my car after I finished. Talk about working overtime.

Here are a few of his shots — including when he caught my hat falling off. I caught it.

I ran somewhat consistently, though I hit a few obvious walls, as to be expected. What wasn’t expected was what happened after Battle Creek on the way back in. Sitting at mile 42.95, I was struggling. Duh. Struggling to breathe, to stay cool, to stay hydrated, to move, you name it.

The biggest issue was my legs just deciding they were done. I knew my brain would carry me the rest of the way, but the miles from two weeks prior were hitting hard at this point.

selfie sitting

Had to sit a time or two.

My legs had nothing left — until they did.

I sat for a bit, chatted with my buddy Jeff Grabbe and another girl at the aid station whose name I can’t recall — and ate bacon. Three amazing strips of bacon. A couple cups of Coke and I was off and running.

No, really — running. Not walking, not shuffling. I actually did some real running that next few miles. I’ve never been able to run like that that late in an ultra.

My 47th mile was my fastest since mile 14. How insane is that?

Not only was I not going to have my worst time ever, but I had a chance to actually pass a few folks in those last few miles. I was tied for last place at Battle Creek, but passed three runners in the final stretches. That was a new, yet welcome feeling.

I ran almost the whole stretch of pavement to the finish and was feeling good. Well, as good as possible and as good as I ever have at that point, anyway.

Very happy to have crossed another finish line — and did so running, no less.

My seventh 50-mile finish. Kinda weird to have finished just two 50K races (2 of 4), but seven 50-milers (7 of 8). I dunno, man. I like the distance, I guess.

Still not quite ready to shoot for another hundo, but hopefully I’ll conquer that one eventually.

Next up:

  • Tonganoxie Library Run 10K — Tonganoxie, KS — June 8
  • Father’s Day 4-mile — Kansas City, MO — June 15

 

Race report: Christmas Corral Half Marathon

Christmas Corral Half Marathon

Half marathon #23

December 22, 2018

Place: 18/63

Time: 2:01:36

mug logo

In addition to the annual Rodeo Run that I direct every year in my hometown of Pretty Prairie, I added this first-time event as a cold weather course preview to the new half marathon I’m going to add to the Rodeo Run in 2019.

I expected a really low turnout, as I didn’t put half the effort into marketing that I do for Rodeo Run. I was hopeful we’d get 20 runners in the half marathon, plus another 30 or so in the 4 Mile, giving us 50 or so total.

under tree

My personal race prep the night before.

Boy howdy, was I off.

We wound up with 63 finishers in the half marathon and 44 in the 4 Mile. What a turnout!

I ordered some finisher mugs, made some signs for the turns, set out some water and snacks, offered hot chocolate and Christmas cookies and music at the finish. Not a ton of work, to be honest.

Water and hay

Aid station 2.

I’m thrilled with the turnout we got and that everyone seemed to really enjoy the event.

bib on shorts

And of course, I had to run, too. Peep the bib number, Holmes.

As for running, I just missed out on a sub-two, but I had zero expectations and ran more consistently and steadily than I imagined I would. Much of that is thanks to running and chatting the whole way with my friend Sheila Meggers and another runner I just met during the race.

I also listened to Christmas music the entire race, so that was fun. I really love Christmas, you guys.

Main Street

Some of my friends shortly after the start — and shortly before they zoomed by me.

early race

Early race shot by PPUMC Pastor, Christopher Eshelman.

More consistent splits than I expected:

8:29, 8:50, 9:08, 9:12, 9:12, 9:10, 9:20, 9:15, 9:46, 9:35, 9:38, 9:24, 9:04, 7:43 (0.19)

I expected to do a good amount of walking, but didn’t. I stopped to get a quick drink of water twice and Gatorade with a cookie at the aid station — which just happened to be at the end of my childhood driveway. How awesome is that?

I had a shot to break two hours and contemplated going for it, but after the strong headwinds hit around mile 10, it wasn’t going to happen. I was the first finisher after the two-hour mark, so there’s that.

I finished 18th overall out of 63. Not mad about it in the least.

At the end of the day, it was a good event that left many feeling like they’d earned their holiday treats.

Bryant

Bryant was tuckered out.

Loved getting to see so many friends, but wish I would’ve gotten pictures with more of them.

I just love hosting events, especially in my hometown. Always grateful to see how many people are willing to support not only a good cause — but me as well. I have great friends, you guys.

I’m not sure I could be any happier with how this event turned out.

mug and bib

My mug and bib, post-race.

Rodeo selfie

Always good to be back here.

Start, finish

See you in July, folks.

Finally: I wrote up a little article for the local Ninnescah Valley News on the race. Read it below, if you like:

White wins inaugural Christmas Corral Half Marathon

If you were dreaming of a White Christmas, you got your wish at the inaugural Christmas Corral Half Marathon + 4 Mile race in Pretty Prairie on December 22.

No, there was no snow. In fact, the weather conditions were quite favorable for a run save for a bit of wind in the later miles.

But Josh White, 41, of Pretty Prairie, ran a speedy 1:28:14 to win the half marathon race by nearly seven minutes over second place finisher, Elmer Schlaback of Goshen, Indiana.

Sheryl Collins of Wichita was the overall female winner, finishing with a time of 1:42:11.

The course went over well with participants.

“For my first open half marathon, I thought the course was great,” White said after his win. “There was just enough dirt running versus pavement and gradual hills to keep you moving! The course was marked well and there were plenty of hydration stations throughout the race.”

White wasn’t the only Pretty Prairie native to have success in the inaugural event. Tristan England, 16, was the official winner in the four-mile distance with a time of 31:37 after a runner ahead of him all the way from Billings, Montana unfortunately missed a turn and cut the course, resulting in disqualification.

Claire Theis of Hays was just a few seconds behind England, finishing in 31:41 as the overall female winner.

The event was billed a low-key, low-cost holiday affair with a finisher mug, hot chocolate, Christmas cookies and music inside the PPHS cafeteria following the race. The participant count ballooned up higher than expected and feedback was positive.

The half marathon saw 63 finishers, while the four-mile distance had 44 participants cross the finish line. All in all, participants from 10 states took part. In addition to Kansas, other states represented included Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Indiana, Montana and Alaska.

“It’s awesome to have an event like this in our small hometown to bring people together and to give back,” White added. “Derrick did an excellent job coordinating the event. Many thanks to him and all the volunteers that made it happen!”

In addition to his win, White stuck around until the very last participant crossed the finish line and even used his connections to ensure that Santa Claus made an appearance.

The new winter event was used as a preview to the new distance being offered at the 2019 Rodeo Run, which is now open for online registration. The event will also feature a bike option for the first time ever.

Profits from Christmas Corral will go to improve the quality of the annual Rodeo Run, while any excess from both events will go to the PPHS cross country and track programs.

For any questions about the Christmas Corral or Rodeo Run events, contact Derrick Mead at derkfor3@gmail.com.

Race report: Hangover 5K*

Hangover 5K*

5K #46

January 7, 2018

Place: 37/135

Time: 26:29

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

Logo

Hangover Half Marathon Leawood/Overland Park, KS

Until Mother Nature had other plans.

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

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

Bib

Bib on shorts, per uzh

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

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

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

Course

Running up a hill, and a slick one at that

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

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

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

Finish

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

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

Swag

Post race swag.

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

bib

Pre-race, Heartland 100.

See?

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

Peace.

Race report: Fierce-ish 10K

Fierce-ish 10K

10K #22

October 14, 2017

Place: 7/14

Time: 1:00:47

Let’s get this out of the way early: I will not do this race again. I would advise others to avoid it as well. I’ve never wanted my money back after a race until this one. I was offered half my money back, but scoffed at that. Not worth it, really.

FWIW: Yes, I know this was a fun run. I’m totally not “that guy” to throw a fit at a race. But I kind of was today. Not proud of it, but it was bad, you guys.

When an event is so poorly organized as this was, there is no excuse. Don’t organize a race if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t volunteer to help at a race without asking what you’re supposed to do. Don’t send volunteers out onto a course without (correctly) telling them what to do.

Let’s rewind. I was having a blast pre-race. It was, after all, it was a costumed run — and it was Luigi time.

Luigi pre-race

Inside Norsemen Brewing Company before heading out into the street.

Luigi pole

You know the flagpoles at the end of each level? No? Whatever, it’s funny.

Okay, enough goofing around. It’s time to run…

Luigi selfie

Okay, one more. That mustache only lasted a few miles, FYI.

With a really low turnout, I thought I’d have a shot to win. I knew right away I’d win this thing, so I just went out and figured I’d enjoy some miles. I’d won 11 races before and figured a 12th would be fun. I don’t run to win — until I have a shot to win. Because, well, why not?

Luigi start

I would’ve led this thing pretty easily start to finish if not for… Well, keep reading…

So, back to the organization.

The Facebook page event that synced to my iCal indicated the race would start at 8:30. I assumed that was the actual start time — which it was. However, the race registration page showed 5:30 p.m. on Friday night.

Two separate emails went out to participants. One on Thursday. One at 11:22 p.m. Friday night — the night before the race. I saw this one at 1:30 a.m. when Kami woke up, which woke me up (baby day coming soon, you guys).

Neither email — I repeat, neither email stated what time the race would start. How can that be? The emails reminded us what time packet pickup started and what time the costume contest would start. Race time? Anyone? Bueller? Nope, nothing.

Anyway… the race wound up starting at 8:35, so close enough to what the event had listed, I suppose.

The start/finish line was … a gutter. Okay then.

Not like there was a super cool painted stretch less than 20 yards from that gutter or anything…

Rainbow Road

This would’ve been perfect for a start/finish line. But nobody asked me.

Seriously…

Rainbow Road zoom in

Rainbow Road, anyone? Luigi? Sweet, right? Sigh…

I jumped out to a pretty healthy lead early and despite my tendency of starting too fast, I actually stretched the lead a little bit. I was ahead by nearly half a mile when I approached a volunteer. With two dead ends and only two options available, I asked which way I was supposed to turn. She shrugged and said “I don’t know.”

No explanation. No effort to take a guess. Just “I don’t know.”

Most of the runners ran 7-plus miles. Because I was in first and went quite a bit further out of the way than most, I wound up at 7.6 miles. An easy win turned into an annoying seventh place. The girl who won (and actually ran the 6.2 miles) felt guilty. My time at the 10K mark was 3:02 faster than her “winning” time.

Oh well. I chatted with some other runners — including one guy named Ed who I’ve seen at a couple other races. He’s probably about my age and won third place for his dynamite Super Troopers costume.

I was cooling down and ready to move on. Until I got the following excuse…

“That’s why we put the route map online.”

Are you kidding me? The co-RD legit tried to blame runners for the lack of information they gave to their volunteers? No. Not okay. I was steaming once again.

He pulled me aside like he was upset with me — eventually offered me half my money back. Whatever, dude. Not even worth it.

Fierce Life Fitness

Race benefactor. Non-profit or not, I don’t know how they can feel comfortable taking people’s money after a debacle like this…

I received a wooden medal — that was pretty cool. It says “10K finisher” (lol), but we received them for overall placements, apparently. I was told I was the second place male, but I know there were a few guys ahead of me by the time I finished my lengthy venture around the streets of north Topeka.

race swag

Bib, shirt and handmade wooden “medal.”

Anyway… at least I got a few good miles in before the storms hit. Last race pre-baby. I’ll have to just enjoy the casual solo runs for a little while — which is fine, because I’d been enjoying them lately anyway.

Until next time…

Race report: Cauldron Run 10K

Cauldron Run 10K

July 9, 2016 — Topeka, KS

10K #16

Place: 20/83

Time: 55:17

This was my first race in Topeka since moving here on May 31. I wasn’t remotely ready for a 10K with all my long distance training. The nasty humidity didn’t help matters either. But it was nice to feel a race environment again, even if I wasn’t “racing” myself.

The race took place as part of the Sunflower State Games at Lake Shawnee, where I do probably two-thirds of my running. I like it over there.

I had a few walk breaks, which felt silly in a 10K, but like I said — I wasn’t prepared for fast running. Went out hard in Mile 1 (go figure) and the humidity hit hard.

Had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t there for a fast time.

Regardless, I still found a way to take second in my age group and get a sweet medal. It was a fun day all around, as Kami and I took off immediately after the race to coach a 6U soccer team we got roped into coaching since I couldn’t get a parent to volunteer at work.

We then spent our evening and ensuing afternoon participating in the mixed double tennis competition for the SSG. It was our first ever time playing tennis.

How did it go? We stunk. And it… was… awesome. We had a great time, despite the heat. I’m sure we’ll participate in another event or two next year, whether it’s tennis or not.

As for the Cauldron Run event, I can’t think of a reason why I wouldn’t do it again. It’s a location I enjoy for a good price with neat medals and a good atmosphere. Oh, and snacks.

Cauldron Run 10K

My cool medal and bib — and the shirt that I have two of but will never wear. Stop it with the white shirts, folks.

Race report: Prairie Fire Marathon

Prairie Fire Marathon

October 11, 2015

Marathon #7

Place: DNF

Time: N/A

Only posting to remind myself of this debacle in the future.

First DNF in a marathon, only second ever DNF — Gravel Grind 50K, summer 2015. Hiccups that normally don’t hit until mile 12-14 kicked in at mile 3. I struggled badly to just breathe and move forward after mile 5. Made it to the mile 9 aid station before calling it quits. Would have had to walk the rest, and it just wasn’t worth it.

This was highly disappointing, but with my new(ish) job as a newspaper editor, I’ve been working 60-70 hours per week and have struggled to find/make time to train consistently, if at all.

I pretty much knew going in this was going to be a disaster. Honestly should have switched to the half.

Hoping to get a grip on this hiccup thing, though I realize it’ll probably never go away completely. But some ideas have been kicked around by myself, some people I trust, and a runner doctor I met here in town.

In the meantime, my marathon struggles continue.

Onward…

PFM expo, 10/10/15.

PFM expo, 10/10/15.

Race report: Best Road Race by a Dam Site 10K

Best Road Race by a Dam Site 10K

July 4, 2015 — Alma, NE

10K #13

Place: 8/33

Time: 46:25

Nice little 10K in Alma, NE — officially my new favorite town in Nebraska. Population of just under 1,200, but lots of cool things in this town. Really enjoyable course, too.

I haven’t been able to run a 10K hard in ages, and knew I wouldn’t be able to here. I really just wanted to have fun with it, and maybe even manage semi-consistent splits. The 5K had probably 120 or so people, while the 10K had just 33. The top two 10Kers were both females. They were blazing. Not only did they beat everyone else, but they did it by quite a wide margin. They had to both be sub-40, for sure. My 10K PR is 39:57.

I went out with a 6:59 first mile. That was an accident. I was hoping to keep all my splits in the 7s. I knew it’d be tough in the last 2-3 miles as I have been running longer, sloooooow runs, and sub-8 feels really fast to me lately. Gotta fix that. But I was able to avoid the 8s on the day, so that was good.

My splits — 6:59, 7:05, 7:25, 7:31, 7:54, 7:56

Slower each mile, but all under 8-per, and a top 10 finish. Considering my lack of hard running the past year-plus, I’ll take it.

Kami finished 25th overall with a time of 58:54. It was her fourth 10K, and her second fastest. She was also a bit concerned with lack of “fastness” lately, and was unsure what to expect. But she did awesome, as I expected she would.

All in all, it was a fun, small-town race event. They also had a pretty cool parade. We had lunch in the park with, stopped at a local dessert shop and I even had a Dad’s Root Beer from a local grocery. It was definitely a nice, old-timey Independence Day for Team Mead.

Cheers,

Derrick

Team Mead, pre-race.

Team Mead, pre-race.

Shirt + Bib.

Shirt + Bib.