Let me start by saying this is one of my favorite races. Phil and Stacy Sheridan RD's and the Kansas Ultrarunners Society put on a great race and treat you like family. The run is in the Smoky Hills at Kanopolis State Park located south and west of Salina Kansas. This was my second year running Rockin K. Last year I dropped to the Marathon after completing the first lap. A decision I regretted for a whole year and was time to get some revenge. This is one of the toughest ultras if not the toughest ultra in Kansas. It's Kansas right how tough can it be. Well let me tell you Kansas is not all flat.
Me and my wife Darcie made the pre-race pasta dinner Friday night and had a good time seeing and chatting with friends and meeting new ones. After dinner we headed back to Lindsborg where we stayed the night at the Viking Motel. I did all my pre-race preparations getting my pack ready and all my gear and supplies. After that was done it was off to bed early to get a good nights sleep. Race morning was up and out the door by 5:45 to head to the start.
Race morning was a little cool but the forecast was for temps of 60-65 degrees. I had dressed a little on the warm side as the start was a cool 32. We did the usual chatting with all our friends and other runners before Phil gave us our final instructions and sent us on our way. I wanted to start out a little on the conservative side this year as last year I went out way to fast and burnt out in the first 26 miles. I settled into a comfortable pace running with Brad Bishop, Matt Becker and another guy who's name eludes me now. We all ran and chatted a little the first 6-8 miles in single file. At the first water crossing we seen Brad take a nice bath in the first water crossing, it was a little deeper than it looked, and the rest of us ran to a shallower crossing spot.
Feeling good after the first few miles my pace quickened a bit after I got separated from the group a bit. The miles to the first maned aid station at mile 13 clicked by and once there I had to shed my long sleeve shirt as the temps were rising rapidly. I left the aid station and headed out for the big bluff loop a 5 mile loop that goes down the bluff, up the bluff and back down about 5 or 6 times. I flew down the bluffs this lap and hiked up them as quick as I could. This is really a nice scenic trail and is full of challenges, hills, rocks, roots, tree sections, prairie sections with vast openness, watter crossings, rutted horse trail sections, and sand to run through. Back to the Gate 6 aid station I refilled my bladder and headed back out with a handful of food. And yes I had to have a couple of Stacy's famous cookies as I knew the next lap would be hard to choke them down in the heat. From here there were several miles of jeep roads then to trail through the open prairie. This part of the run went well and was still feeling relatively good when I was nearing the end of the first lap. Before the first lap was done you half to cross 2 creeks waist deep and at this point felt really good. Then the last mile or so back to the Coral shelter is sand, I found it really hard to run in the sand. And it took a lot of energy to run through it.