Kicking it for Kids 10K

10K #29

April 6, 2019

Place: 4/7

Time: 53:10

Ran this one while pushing Bryant in the stroller. Course was short, but don’t care. Just needed some movement before this Saturday’s 50.

This one will be mostly all pics just to document the occasion.

Tiny little run that took place in Mayetta, KS at the Prairie People’s Park — two small loops, an out-and-back, then repeat.

bib on shorts

Just ready to get in a few miles.

Bryant was grouchy before the start — you know, during the talking. He just likes to move. Eventually, we got started…

He did great all throughout the run. We stopped a few times for a snack and once to get some music playing. Sung along to Disney station on Pandora fairly loudly. Some people probably thought I was a bit loony, but we had a good time.

mid race

Peep his wind-blown hair.

We even got in a pretty good selfie near the turnaround.

selfie with Bryant

One of my favorite pics of us so far.

Near the finish, I got him out of the stroller, so we could walk across the finish together.

Always a blast with that kid.

finish best

We did it, buddy. Now let’s go eat some cinnamon rolls.

And of course, we got to play a bit afterward…

Great day with the fam at this little event.

That’s all from this one.

Next up: Flint Hills 50 — Saturday, April 13 — Manhattan, KS

Race report: Heartland 50

Heartland 50

50-mile #5

May 5, 2018

Place: 37/42

Time: 14:23:09

logo

Heartland 50 logo

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

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

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

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

shirt and bib

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

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

Pizza Hut

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

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

race outfit prep

Race gear ready.

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

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, mismatched laces. Go time.

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

No, it’s probably the first thing.

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

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

Anyway…

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

Adele's shot

Courtesy photo: Adele. Thanks, friend!

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

peace sign

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

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

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

I had to show those off at each aid station.

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

hills

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

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

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

black + white

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

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

finish

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

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

Award + sticker

Another buffalo/horse shoe award and sticker.

3x Heartland

2015 | 2016 | 2018

5x 50

50 x 5

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

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

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

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

Race report: Eisenhower Marathon

Eisenhower Marathon

Marathon #8

April 7, 2018

Place: 67/87

Time: 4:58:53

logo

Race logo

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

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

Time to bundle up and go run.

hoodie + bib

2002 PPHS Bulldog basketball hoodie

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

pre-race start line

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

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

bib + shirt

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

bib on shorts

Bib on shorts, as customary.

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

Start (winner post)

Dude in orange won the marathon. He was fast.

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

early in race

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

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

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

turnaround 2

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

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

don't touch the medals

Ain’t gonna touch ’em, though!

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

The intentionally slow, easy pace was paying off.

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

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

finish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funny note:

2014 — 26.48 miles in 4:56:15

2018 — 26.72 miles in 4:58:53

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

2014 — 4:53:20

2018 — 4:53:17

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

breakfast

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

2018 + 2014 swag

And swag like this.

Tale of the tape:

Medal — 2018 > 2014

Bib — 2018 > 2014

Shirt — 2014 > 2018

Experience — 2018 > 2014

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

Race report: Heartland 50 (DNF)

Heartland 50

April 29, 2017 — Cassoday, KS

Place: x / 17

Time: DNF

Well, this one was… Interesting. I’ll get it out there from the get-go, in case you missed the title or stats from above — I did not finish this race. Spoiler alert: There will be no tale of triumph here.

But with it being my third crack at the Heartland 50 and fifth time on the course on the flint hills outside of Cassoday, KS, it wound up being an experience worth a write-up anyway.

shirt + bib.png

Shirt and bib for this year’s race.

Unlike in 2016, when it rained all day/night before the race, the weather was actually fairly calm this year (lol) — until race day. The rains came in around 4 a.m. and didn’t stop until, well… I’m not sure if it’s stopped yet, to be quite honest. I knew going in it would be a challenge, to say the least.

In a word: Layers.

pre race shot

Pre-race shot indoors. Ah, the great indoors.

I love this event. The course is challenging and often a struggle, but I always see a few people I know or am at least familiar with. The same was true this year. A handful of people I’d met previously or seen at other races gathered in the building before heading to the start line.

But as always, my favorite person remained the one next to me…

w Kami at Heartland

Me and my favorite friend before I embarked on the day.

I was more bundled up than usual due to the conditions. I had on a dri-fit short sleeve shirt with a long sleeve cotton shirt over it. And on top of that, a thin, hooded Under Armor shirt/jacket thing. That hood saved my world for the short time I lasted out there.

I also wore compression sleeves — mostly for warmth — and a newly-purchased pair of gaiters to keep rocks out of my shoes. In hindsight, I would’ve preferred rocks in my shoes. Those things chaffed badly. They probably won’t get worn again.

Anyway…

To call the conditions brutal would probably be a vast understatement. With “real feel” temps at 34 degrees, nonstop heavy rains only getting worse throughout the day and winds between 20-30 MPH and gusts of 40+, I was freezing cold and soaking wet — not a great combination.

After 1 hour — 5.61 miles

I was moving along well. Faster than my last race, which was in much better conditions and on a smoother course. Chatted a bit for a couple miles with another guy who lives in Topeka. His name was Jay and he was running the 50K.

I ran more steadily than planned, but at a comfortable pace while we talked through the rain and wind until I finally let him go as I took a walk break around mile 5.

Pre Battle Creek

Before the Battle Creek aid station; this was somewhere around mile 6 or 7.

I reached the Battle Creek aid station 8.45 miles into the race in 1 hour, 34 minutes. There, I saw my friends Elden Galano and Melissa Bruce.

Melissa, being the just-the-right-amount-of-bossy friend she is, demanded I eat something. Pretty sure I gave her a “Yeah, yeah, I know” as I grabbed a baggie of Cocoa Puffs and continued on my merry way.

I mentioned to Melissa that I was already considering dropping to the 50K — partially due to the super dumb conditions, but also because Kami had not been feeling well pre-race. You see, we are expecting our first child (Cue: “Aww…”) and she’s been feeling it lately.

Luckily, it turns out she was feeling better than she had been before the race. But the conditions were only getting worse.

After 2 hours — 10.2 miles

I’m not sure I was even to mile 10 when I decided I’d had enough. I was going to get to her at the aid station at mile 16 and call it a day. Though my pace slowed, I was still moving steadily through the crapfest of a storm.

After 3 hours — 14.7 miles

I had occasional moments of insanity where I considered continuing. But as someone who never gets cold, I was frozen. I was soaking wet. My clothes were heavy from the rain and everything was getting worse.

Sure, I could change clothes, dry off and continue, I thought. But then what? I’m soaked and still freezing half a mile later. Like I said, it was only getting worse.

focused at 16

See?

I just wasn’t having fun. So I called it a day. I had a difficult time justifying another 10 hours in the mess that I’d already spent three and a half hours in. Not worth it for me.

While I have zero regrets, I hate quitting. But I was not alone. From the Lapland aid station at mile 16, we gave a ride to Krystle Dalke and Bob Woods, who had also opted to drop. We later heard word that a couple others had dropped at 16 as well.

If I hadn’t just run a 50-mile PR two weeks prior, I may have felt the need to try to prove my toughness and continue. But, I opted to save myself for another day, go home to a hot shower and a big burrito.

reflecting at 16

Should I keep going? Lol, nah.

While 38 started the 50-mile race, just 17 finished. That’s less than half, folks. Power to those 17. They are more badass than I am — or at least more so than I was on this day. And I’m okay with that. Great job, folks — Adele Jordan, Will Sprouse, etc. Lots of really tough runners out there who battled the elements for a lot longer than I did.

Funny thing: While one of the things I struggle with most during an ultra is the ability to actually eat anything, it was here — at the aid station where I’d decided to drop from the race — when I ate the most at once that I’ve ever eaten during a race.

Well, I only ate one thing (cookies), but a lot of them. By my count, I scarfed down four Oreos and seven — yeah, seven — gingersnap cookies. Those were amazing. Thanks, Sherri Rider!

And of course, thanks to my friends Jason Dinkel and Barry Smith for putting on this event. I know it’s not easy — especially when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. You guys are appreciated.

DNF rain

It’s too bad I didn’t finish this race, because the crap conditions made for some pretty sweet race photos.

That damned Heartland course has gotten the best of me multiple times.

Despite two 50-mile finishes, I’ve now got a Heartland 100 DNF and a Heartland 50 DNF to my resume there. Taking into account my time as a pacer in a previous year’s 100, I have now put in 198.89 miles on that course.

I expect someday, there will be more. It won’t be this fall, as I do not plan to attempt a fall 100 with Baby Mead being due October 30.

But someday — I’ll be back. Until then, Heartland…