Race report: R(un) for One 5K

R(un) for One 5K

5K #43

August 19, 2017

Place: 3/38

Time: 24:50

Let’s call this one… Ill-advised. I had heard of this race a few weeks ago and didn’t think much of it. I was reminded of it again the day before and again didn’t think much of it. After all, I’m running a marathon in a week.

But when I got a few miles into my Saturday run and my legs were still feeling okay, I thought: Why not take the opportunity to force myself to run on tired legs.

So I wrapped up my scheduled 8-10 mile run at 8.6 miles and headed home to change shirts, grab Kami and head to Lake Shawnee, about a mile and a half away, and signed up for this little 5K about 20 minutes before it started.

logo

Running for a good cause.

The proceeds from this race went to sponsor unadopted children — a good cause, I thought. That made me feel a little better about signing up last minute for a 5K — something I normally wouldn’t do. In fact, I’ve done it only once before, on a 2012 road trip in St. Louis.

While affixing my bib before the race, we ran into a familiar face. Mindy Chapin, who I’m pretty sure I’d only met a time or two previously, while in Hutchinson, was super friendly to Kami and I. We chatted about mutual friends and races we’d done, etc. Maybe we’ll grab some miles again sometime.

Kami and I both worked with/for Mindy’s husband Brad in Hutchinson, what often seems like a lifetime ago. To be fair, we’ve moved three times since then. Whoa.

trio

Always good to run into someone in Topeka who has been where we’ve been.

Anyway… Back to the race. If you know me at all, you know I started too fast. But you also know that if it’s a small race and I thought I might have a shot at winning. No such luck this time, folks.

start

Here I am, looking like I’m going to run really fast and win the day.

start group

Zoom, zoom, mother effers.

I led the eventual winner (guy on left in above pic) for about half the race — but only by about a millimeter (seriously, get off my bumper, bro). When he zoomed by, I suddenly remembered that at this point, I was 10+ miles in on my day. It was getting hot fast, too.

It wasn’t long after that until the next guy (dude in red in above pic) passed me, too. Knew I wasn’t sticking with him either. Regardless of how much slower I would get, no one else was passing me, so I basically coasted. Walked a few steps on a couple hills, waved at a puppy, waved at some boaters. Wonder if they sensed my jealousy from all the way out there?

My splits were hilariously regressive. But, hey, 11.81 miles on the day and a comfortable, albeit low-key third place finish. So, whatever.

6:33 | 7:37 | 8:48

nerd

I try to not take myself too seriously.

Came out of the event with a fun morning, a cool shirt that doesn’t fit, but hopefully will after a little more conscious healthy living, and a good test for my legs with a week to go until a marathon that I’m otherwise drastically unprepared for.

medal

Hung my medal for a quick shot at Lake Shawnee. I’ve gotten a lot of miles in at that place in my year+ in Topeka.

All in all, a good day. And I’m glad to say my race entry fee went to sponsor Ribka, a 9-year-old Pakistani girl. Ribka enjoys studying and learning. Her teachers say she is both intelligent and confident. She hopes to join the Army someday. Go, Ribka!

shirt

Sweet shirt, medal (with handmade lanyard), and my bib.

Race report: Run for Your Momma Half Marathon

Run for Your Momma Half Marathon

Half Marathon #16

August 12, 2017

Place: 11/46

Time: 1:59:35

I went into this race just hoping to maintain a steady pace to show myself I was ready for my marathon two weeks later (ah, 9.5 days from now) in Nebraska — even though I know I’m really not.

I do enjoy the half marathon distance, regardless of my fitness, however. It’s a long enough run to challenge me and provide a good workout, but short enough that it doesn’t hurt for more than a day after. The marathon is a different animal — not to mention ultras.

Kami was out of town, so I was by myself for the weekend. So I hopped in the car and hit the road to Marion — at 4:20 a.m.

lake office.jpg

Kami wasn’t there, so you get pictures like this. What do you want from me?

I arrived at the race at a few minutes before 6, with the race starting at 6:30. I felt uneasy about the course, unsure of how hilly it would be. I’m also never sure what people mean when they say “dirt/gravel roads.” Sometimes, it means flat dirt. Sometimes it means you’re going to run on boulders.

This was somewhere in between, but not my favorite terrain, if I’m being honest. The views were good, though.

shirt and bib.jpg

My shirt — which doesn’t fit — and my bib, pre-race.

The view before the race — and during the last couple miles — wasn’t too shabby around the lake. The rest was nice, too, being secluded out in the country and even in town within the Marion city limits. But, man, I’m a sucker for a good sunrise.

lake.jpg

Marion County Lake

My goal was to stick between the 8:20 and 8:40 time per mile and just stay steady. I started out a few seconds fast, but my steadiness held up for 6-plus miles. The rocks and hills started to really kick my butt around the midway point. I hit a wall and my pace goals went out the window.

The second half of the race was really just about trying to beat the two-hour mark. If my fitness was where it needed to be, that would be a super easy goal, but it wasn’t on this day. I barely made it in under the two-hour mark.

My splits:

8:16 | 8:16 | 8:17 | 8:15 | 8:14 | 8:17 | 8:38 | 9:20 | 9:35 |11:00 | 10:10 | 10:30 | 9:42

With my pace goals long gone, I really just tried to avoid letting people pass me. I was in eighth place overall until the 9-mile mark, when one guy passed me. I held onto ninth until about 10.5 miles in and was 10th for another mile.
I suppose I’ll take 11th place out of 46, even with the disappointing time. However, with the hills and rocks being tougher than expected, I can’t be too upset about anything, really.
map.JPG

Course map. About 7 miles of gravel roads with the rest in pavement.

After the race, I enjoyed some biscuits and gravy and a cinnamon roll. Yum. The event organizers hosted a breakfast after the race, during the awards announcements.

Since the only other guy in my age group (he was 39) finished second overall, I did not earn an award. But don’t tell that to my cinnamon roll.

13.1 sign

No food pics, but here’s the sign entering the building.

Not sure if I would do this race again or not. I don’t love the gravel/rocks and hills, but the views were good, the price was reasonable and I like the low-key events. Who knows. Maybe someday.

shirt w medal

Finisher medal added to the shirt & bib.

After the drive home, a shower, lunch and some lounging, I indulged in my favorite post-race food of all: Burritoooooo.

Now to focus on my marathon in 9 days, 10 hours and 35 minutes. Woof.

Race report: Ele-fun Run 5K

Ele-fun Run 5K

5K #40

August 5, 2017

Place: 1/82

Time: 21:31

This whole marathon attempt in a few weeks may very well not go as hoped. I haven’t lost the weight I wanted to lose, I haven’t done the speed work I should’ve done and the weather, as always, is unpredictable.

But my summer of small, mostly low-key, fun races has allowed me to keep my sanity through it all and have kept me from “over-training,” as I’ve done in the past. My legs have stayed fresh.

I swapped my 22-mile run from Saturday to Thursday to make room for this fun little inaugural 5K at the Topeka Zoo.

logo

Race logo.

With all-morning rain in the forecast and it being a first-year event, I didn’t expect much of a turnout. It was better than expected. The guy running the thing said 93 registered and 82 showed up to run or walk.

bib

Bib ready to go. That turquoise dot (indicating 19+ age category) would be completely washed away by the end of the race.

Sure enough, it rained throughout the race. Nothing torrential, but enough to form several puddles to run through. The course was four loops around the zoo, so I was able to get some cheers all along the way, which was nice.

start

Blurry, rainy start line shot, courtesy of Kami.

I jumped out to an early lead and unlike most races, when I start super fast and can’t hold it, I was able to maintain a mostly steady pace and led throughout the race.

By early on in the third loop, the guys in second and third were out of sight when I turned around to look behind me. I figured as long as I kept it steady-ish, I could hold on for the win — and I did.

win

Overall winner with a time of 21:31.

I crossed the finish line in 21:31 — a good 2 minutes and 59 seconds slower than my PR. Buuuuut, it was good enough for the win and faster than I expected to be — especially two days after running 22-plus miles. So I was happy with it.

award

Fun little awards ceremony after the race.

This was my 11th overall victory (2 10K, 7 5K, 1 4K, 1 1-mile) and my 40th 5K. I don’t run many of those any more these days and never truly try to race them, but when I have a chance to compete, I take it.

Update: I’ve recently added the virtual races I’ve done to the count of my race totals, making this actually my 42nd 5K. 

This race came with an entrance to the zoo, but in the rain, we didn’t get to see much — specifically, no elephants. Bummer. But we did get to see the giraffes (indoors) and walked around the rainforest exhibit for a bit.

I love the zoo and had a lot of fun with this event — and not just because I happened to win the race. But, yeah, that wasn’t a bad bonus.

swag

Bib, medal, drawstring bag, water bottle and medal.

The consensus was that they planned to do this event again next year. I hope so. I would return to do it again.

Race report: Freedom Run 15K

Freedom Run 15K

15K #3

July 4, 2017 —Lyons/Sterling, KS

Place: 8/24

Time: 1:14:27

Made my way back to the Freedom Run for the first time in a few years. I had run the 15K in 2013, then the 5K in 2014 with Kami. Hadn’t been back since. This run is an incredibly monotonous course, starting at Lyons High School and finishing in Sterling. Basically, 8.7 miles of the 9.32 mile course is one straight shot along the highway with no turns.

It’s a small-ish race (the 5K had a good turnout of 131, although quite a bit smaller than the 255 in 2014) with only 24 finishers in the 15K. The shirts in year’s past were not exciting at all, as I wore each probably twice each.

This year, however, was different.

shirt

One of my favorite race shirts so far. I don’t even like red, but combined with the blue, the faded look and the boot design, I’m a fan. Doesn’t hurt that it fits pretty well.

Kami dropped me at the start at Lyons High School. We chatted with some running friends before she took off toward the finish.

flag

Here’s a picture Kami thought I would like. I present to you: A wall. And a flag. And some flowery things. Enjoy.

Always good to see Wyatt and Kristina Clifton and Bev Exposito. Made a new friend in Delaine Wright, who wound up proving to be a challenge. I finally caught up to her around the 5 mile mark and only beat her by a minute and change.Saw some other old running friends at the finish — ones who had done the 5K — Mark Kauffman and Ron Blanton. I know my friend Courtney Wilkey did the 5K as well, but I didn’t get a chance to see her. I’m sure there were others I’m missing. Point being: It’s a good time to run some miles and see some friendly faces.

I planned on just trying to run a steady, goal marathon pace somewhere between 8:30 – 9:00 per mile. I had no interest in flying out of the gate and racing anyone or any particular time.

That plan didn’t really hold up too much. I threw down a 7:52 first mile and knew I had to slow down, so I did. But not for long. Ran an 8:12 mile two and figured I might as well see how long I could hold a pace around 8:00 or so. Turns out, a while.

7:52 | 8:12 | 7:55 | 7:53 | 7:57 | 8:02 | 7:57 | 8:07 | 8:02 || 7:34 = 7:59 / mile overall

I finished in eighth place overall, seventh male and first in my age group. I’ll never understand the age groups for this particular race, as my age group was 26-35.

I got edged out in the last mile by a guy who was 38 and would be in my age group in many races. But… I’ll take the age group win, all the same.

plaque

My collection of plaques is limited. I’ve got medals, trophies, even a few ribbons — but only one or two of these bad boys. I’ll take it.

Hung around a bit after to chat with friends and get results before changing and hitting the road. Had a good time.

w Cliftons

Me and the Cliftons. Good people.

w Bev + Delaine

Bev, Delaine & me: Age group winners.

It sure was good to be back near family over the weekend.

I played in the Sterling Tennis Tournament on Saturday, July 1 — yeah, you read that right. No, I don’t play tennis. I finished 8th place…

There were 8 people in the tournament. But, man, I had a blast. I even won a set. Yeah, I know, it’s not running stuff. But it was part of my holiday weekend — and the main reason I hadn’t shaken off the soreness until probably right before the 15K began.

Final results:

First match: 0-6, 0-6

Second match: 3-6, 6-2 (4-10)

Third match: 0-6, 0-6

tennis 1

I managed to hit a few good shots. For a guy who doesn’t play tennis, anyway.

tennis 2

Tennis Skill Level: Novice.

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: Arrowhead 5K

Arrowhead 5K

5K #39

June 16, 2017 — Kansas City, MO

Place: 97/1,871

Time: 22:35

While I don’t like 5Ks (running fast hurts, man) and have no intention of ever truly racing one again, occasionally one will pop up that I’ll decide to participate in just for kicks. This was one of those.

pre-race

Pre-race view of the finish area from up above.

Though I’m a Bears fan, I came across the Arrowhead 5K with the opportunity to finish on the 50-yard line of an NFL stadium and had to do it. I’ve done other sports-themed 5Ks before and enjoyed them. This was a good one to add to that list.

  • MLB All-Star 5K
  • MLS All-Star 5K
  • Big 12 5K
  • Arrowhead 5K
5k start

Start line area an hour or so before the race.

We killed a little time in the parking lot before the race. Probably the closest thing to tailgating I’ll ever do. Not usually my thing, but with the much smaller gathering than a football game, it made for a cool set-up.

shirt

My shirt and bib, along with the football I carried throughout the 3.1 miles.

Since I didn’t care about my time anyway, I decided I’d run the whole race carrying a football. That was a fun addition. Though my hands got pretty sweaty late in the race, I managed to finish without fumbling.

For this Bears fan, the best that could be asked of me for this one is my red shorts.

shorts

Bib pinned on and ready to go.

I had no intention of trying to race anyone; just wanted to have fun with the environment. Over 1,800 runners in total. We got to circle Kauffman Stadium as well, before circling the spiral ramps and finishing on the 50 at Arrowhead.

I did gather a little speed and passed 10 people or so heading down the ramp as we approached the field — which was good because I finished 97th overall, so that got me inside the top 100.

I finished in 22:35, which is a 7:17 per mile pace. Since I’ll never PR again (18:32 | 5:58 per mile), I never really have any 5K expectations anymore. So I’ll take that time, especially given my current fitness, the fact that I carried a football the whole way, dealt with some steep upward spirals and stopped for water at both stations.

The environment after the race was pretty cool.

end zone.jpg

Sitting in the corner of the end zone after the race.

And of course, I had the best company, as always.

post race

Kami and I on the field. Love that she’s repping the T-Birds at Arrowhead.

I had a good hot dog, attempted a field goal (don’t ask), played some catch and played a pretty epic 30-minute game of Giant Jenga. We even had a crowd gathered around after a while. Guess who won?

Jenga

Not her. #GiantJengaChamp

Had to pose for a couple of corny photos in the process, too.

50 yard line

On the 50.

on the logo

On the logo.

Not sure I feel the need to do this race again now that I’ve done it once. If it was Soldier Field, I could see it. #GoBears

Definitely love the atmosphere of the sports venue races, though. Even got a cool medal out of the day — despite the Chiefs logo, I guess.

bib and medal

Bib and finisher medal.

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.