Oh my gosh you guys! This race is just so much fun!! I think I might have to do it for a 3rd time next year because I had an absolute blast on Saturday! Haha I told Luke that, and he told me that he’s going to sign me up for the half instead of the 5k without telling me, just to force me to do the half marathon. And while I do love half marathons, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t like to run one in the weather conditions we had on Saturday.
The half marathon was supposed to start at 7:30 am on May 12th, but there were a scattered showers in the area and some of those little pockets of rain were producing lightning. They actually had someone there from one of the local news stations who had to check in with their meteorologist to make sure it was safe enough for the runners to go out. According to the news station’s meteorologist it was though, and just a few minutes past 7:30 am the half marathoners took off. It was raining a little bit, but oh boy was it humid! And the temperatures were in the 70’s and it was only supposed to go up from there. Gross. I really feel for those runners doing the half. I feel like running 13.1 miles in that kinda sticky, heavy feeling, heat would have been terrible.
Half Marathoners lining up at the starting line.
Which is exactly why I’m so hesitant to do this particular half marathon! The weather around this time of year in the Midwest can be unpredictable. Back in 2016 when I did this 5k for the first time it was cold enough for me to comfortable run in a hoodie. This year I would have absolutely baked in anything heavier than a light tank top haha. I think I’m just gonna stick with my fall half marathons, thank you very much. 😉
Anyway that’s enough talk about the gross weather and why I’ve only run half marathons in the fall, and lets back track a little bit!
So, on Friday night I had laid out all of my gear, made sure my bib was pinned to my tank top, and my timing chip was secured to my shoe. I had my coffee maker ready to go and knew exactly what I was going to eat for breakfast the following morning. Haha I like to be prepared and have to do as little thinking as possible in the morning. 😉
Coach Bubbles helping me assemble my running gear.
When my alarm went off at 6 am on Saturday I was ready to roll! I got up, let the dogs out, started my coffee maker, ate, drank some water and my coffee, got dressed, applied a little bit of sunscreen, drank some more water, woke Luke up, and by 6:40 am we were ready to leave! At the last second Luke decided to take Dean with us. We always see other spectators at races with dogs so he figured why not? Plus Dean is the most calm out of all 3 dogs we have and is the only one that wouldn’t obsess over the livestock that they have at the starting area of this race. So the three of us loaded up into the truck and we were on our way.
Normally it would take us about 20 minutes for us to get to Bucyrus. Kansas, where the race is held, but since we had to drive on part of the half marathon race course to get there it took a little bit longer because there were police officers already out directing traffic and getting ready to shut down the road. That wasn’t a big deal though, we had left early for that very reason. Well, that and I wanted to pet the cows and goats before the 5k started haha. But anyway, we got there and got parked quickly and without any trouble. The volunteers who were directing traffic were very efficient! Then Luke, Dean, and I started walking towards all of the fun stuff they have set up near the start/finish line.
Honestly at first we were a little nervous. We weren’t exactly sure if dogs were aloud to be there. Especially since they had livestock set up in pins there. But we saw several other people with dogs so we figured it was ok. And as it turns out, Dean was probably one of the most well behaved dogs there. Luke and I were both very proud of him. All of the people kind of made him nervous, but for the most part he took it really well. He wasn’t in the least bit interested in the cows and goats that were there (ha, some border collie he is 😉 ), but they were very interested in him! We brought him up near the goat pin so I could pet them, and he didn’t care one way or the other about them. They were very curious about him though! One came right up to the fence to investigate the whole situation. They didn’t seem too afraid of him though. I bet they’ve been around dogs before.
The cow, on the other hand, wasn’t a fan of Dean. You could tell he was making her nervous. Probably because she had a calf. So Luke backed off with Dean so I could pet them haha. One of the little kids who were manning the cow pin (I guess they belonged to their parents) even gave me a treat to give her. She was still keeping an eye on Dean though and wouldn’t take it. Her calf did come up to the fence and let me pet it though, so that was neat!!
Once a bunch of people started crowding around the pens we left and stared meandering around near the starting area while the half marathoners started to line up. Once most of them were the race directer said a prayer, they played the national anthem, aaaand then the half marathoners had to wait for the weather update before they could take off. But like I said, that only took a few minutes. So Luke and I watched them start and cheered them on along with the other 5kers and spectators. After they took off we still had half an hour to kill, so we wandered around a little more, Luke took a picture of me and Dean in front of a giant cow, and then I got in line to use a port-o-potty. That was probably one of the worst port-o-potty experiences in my life! The urinal was literally almost over flowing with urine. It was absolutely disgusting sitting mere inches away from that disaster. Luckily I was quick and didn’t have to be in there with that mess for too long.
Me, Dean, and a giant cow.
After I had finished up in the nasty port-o-potty we started making our way to the corral. Before I actually lined up Luke and I ended up talking to another lady about border collies haha. Dean really liked her (I guess he knew she had a border collie at home 😉 ) and kept walking over to sniff her. So she started petting him and told us about her border collie. She was worried that she wouldn’t do well with all of the people so the lady had to leave her at home. After we had talked to her for a little bit I bid Luke and Dean farewell and started making my way into the corral and lined up near the back, since I’m a slow runner and all. 😉 Plus with the heat and humidity and the lack of speed work I’ve been doing, I wasn’t sure how this race was going to end up going. But as the countdown on the timer got closer and closer to “0” I started getting kinda nervous and realized I still wanted to go for my time goal of 38 minutes.
The countdown hit 10 seconds. The announcer started counting us down. “3, 2, 1, 0, go!!!” Then we were off!! There was lots of cheering, cowbells, and the loudspeakers that were playing music were also playing cow sound effects too, which I though was pretty neat!
So I tried to go out conservatively for about the first mile. I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to do right? 😉 But I found that my legs wanted to go and apparently my brain wasn’t about to stop them I kept telling myself that I was going to end up regretting that, but weirdly enough that didn’t happen! And although I ended up going out a little faster that I had originally planned, I spent probably about the first mile just taking in the sights, sounds, and enjoying the excitement of race day that was going on around me. The course is an out and back, so you don’t really get to see a lot in just 3.1 miles, but it’s still really pretty. It’s basically just a bunch of cow pastures out in the middle of nowhere Kansas which I think is super awesome. 🙂
This course is also a little bit hilly. Nothing too crazy but still, those hills could be challenging if you aren’t careful or prepared for them. As I was getting closer to the water station which was also the turnaround point, I started noticing a very interesting pattern that quite a few of my fellow racers where doing. Some of them would fly on the downhills and then slow down a lot or even start to walk on the uphills. Now, I’m a big fan of running downhill with reckless abandon and I tend to do that around my neighborhood for shits and giggles. But in the almost 5 years that I’ve been a runner I’ve learned and am just now finally admitting to myself is that when I put my mind to it, running uphill can actually be a strong point for me! So once I noted that some people were wearing themselves out on the downhills (and probably trashing their quads in the process. Trust me, I’ve been there) and hardcore slowing down on the uphills I decided to take the opposite approach. I started to run the downhills a bit more conservatively. “Recover!” I’d tell myself in my head. And I starting to hit the uphills pretty hard!
Once I’d made it through the water station (I’ve yet to master the art of the aid station and have trouble drinking while on the move, so that whole process slowed me down a bit. If it wasn’t for all of that I probably could have negative split this whole race haha. But my last mile was my fastest, so at least there’s that. 😉 ), made it around the turn around point, and I went fishing! If you don’t know, “going fishing” is when you pick out a person in front of you “reel” them in, pick another person in front of you, and repeat. All while continuing my pattern of going easy on the downhills and harder on the uphills. So I ended up getting passed by people I had reeled in. I yo-yoed with a couple of people for a while, but going up the final hill, right before we turned back onto the road (well, I guess it’s actually the school’s driveway. This race is held at a Catholic school haha), that took us to the finish line, I had left most of the people I had “fished” for behind me and crossed the finish line with the timer reading 39 minutes and some change. So I knew I probably hadn’t hit my goal of 38 minutes but I probably semi close.
So I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch, got my timing chip clipped off, got a water bottle and a cowbell from very nice volunteers, spotted Luke and Dean in the crowed, and started making my way towards them, while checking my time on my Garmin. It read that I have covered 3.15 miles in 38:54, which is about a 12:22 pace. Not bad! considering the heat and humidity! I know I made it sound like I was feeling super strong, especially on the uphills, and at some points I was! But there were also times when I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, was suffocating because of the humidity, and just felt like general shit because of the heat. But still, I felt like I ran strong, I didn’t wimp out because of the weather, and man I felt like a badass running up those hills! All in all, I’m very happy with how this race went. Plus I kinda figured my chip time would a few less seconds. 😉
Once I had made it to Luke and knew what my time roughly was, I started excitedly recapping all of this to him, while we made our way to the buffet. On our way there we passed the Chick-fil-A tent that was set up just outside the school where the rest of the food was. They were handing out sandwiches so obviously I had to grab one of those! But it turned out to be a chicken/bacon/biscuit sandwich. I don’t like biscuit so I gave that to Luke and headed inside to get me something tasty! Haha but once I saw all of the food I realized just how not hungry I was. That was slightly disapointing because there was so much awesome looking food that I normally would have wanted to try, but running in the heat makes me kinda nauseous, so I just ended up grabbing a super cute cow cookie. It was slightly smashed, and to be honest with you I didn’t even want a cookie at that point, but it was adorable and I had to take it haha. I’m glad I did though, it was very tasty! I also got half a Panera bagel, a banana, and a turkey sub from subway. Haha I actually took my sandwich home and ended up eating it for lunch.
You cannot tell me that that kinda smashed cow cookie is not adorable!
After I had gotten my food all 3 of us were pretty much over the big crowed of people, so we made our way back to the truck and then headed home. On the way I told Luke that nothing in the world sounded better to me at that moment than a watermelon. So he stopped at a store and got me one. He is literally the best. 🙂 🙂 🙂
A very good race, an (almost) John Deer green cowbell, and a watermelon. Ashley was one very happy camper.
On the way home I also got my chip time: 38:51! I knew it had to of been just a few second faster than what my watch read. 😉 Either way though, I was very happy with how I did.
Once we got home we got the other 2 dogs and took the 3 of them to the dog park for a little bit. Haha I was getting kinda tired, but walking around a little bit was probably good for me. After we were done there I finally got to shower and then take a nice nap with Bubbles. That was a nice way to end this whole adventure. 🙂
Whew! That was kind of a long recap for just a 5k, but whatever haha. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of me running or crossing the finish line. I saw some photographers at the start and it looked like they were taking photos, but if there are photos of the 5k then they haven’t posted them online yet. Not like that’s a big deal or anything though. 🙂
So there you have it! Running With The Cows 5k, 2018. If you actually stuck around to the very end and read this whole post, then I thank you very much!
Have a wonderful week!!