How much more Nebraska can you get for a race title, right? I got suckered into running this race by too many Facebook ads about how quickly it would sell out. I figured a) if it sells out, it must be fun and b) having a race on the schedule in June would keep me running at least a little bit. I totally forgot about the fact that at 7:30 on the last Saturday in June, it would be hot, especially during this hotter than usual period we’re having here in Nebraska.
With the heat in mind, I had no goals for this race other than finishing without overdoing it in the heat. I wasn’t too worried about finishing last because this race was put on by the same group that did the Leprechaun Chase 10K I ran last spring, which attracted lots of costumed runners who were there for beer and a good time. As this race also had a costume contest and beer at the finish on a Saturday morning, I was fairly confident it would be a similar event with a nice mix of speedy and not-so-speedy types. This group does a good job with their race coordination. We got great information in the week before the race about when to arrive, parking, managing the heat and the details of the costume contest. They’d planned for 4 water stops, plus bottles of water and snacks at the finish but also advised you to consider bringing your own water as well. I appreciate a race group that acknowledges the risks of summer running!
There were 1750 runners and I settled into my place toward the back for an easy run. The first mile was HORRIBLE! The first mile is always horrible isn’t it? 🙂 My knees hurt, I had a weird pain in my hip and the way the first mile was laid out, we ran in a little spiral of ever widening loops around the baseball field that served as our start and finish. That meant that I could easy drop out and get back to my car without anyone noticing. Not that I considered that too much . . . .
Mile 1 always lies. By mile 2, all of those aches and pains had fallen away and I was left with the “joys” of a sunny, hilly, hot Nebraska run. There was a breeze occasionally, which was nice, but the sun was brutal. I didn’t have my Garmin on and just did a little run/walk mix of however I liked it. I had a lot of fun chatting with people at the back of the pack, cheering each other on and cheering for the faster runners we could see occasionally looping near us thanks to the layout of the course.
There was definitely at least one corn field and DEFINITELY cows somewhere nearby, if the manure smell was any indication (although I suppose that could be used as fertilizer too). There were people in costumes occasionally, too.
There was also a much appreciated sprinkler at mile 4!
At this point in my running life, I know how these “easy” races go. I get passed by lots of people in the first mile, settle into my little rhythm of running each mile a little quicker than the last, and slowly find myself passing all of those people who passed me. There was one hill where I stopped to walk and someone said “Keep running! You can do it!” I won’t lie to you guys – I passed her at the end and enjoyed it. I’m sure she meant well but that always grates my nerves in a race. You do you, I’ll do me.
The race finished with a loop inside the baseball field, which was sort of cool, except they didn’t tell us that ahead of time and it was confusing to get to the 6 mile marker and not see the finish line at all. One person next to me asked me if we were just finished, so something pointing to the finish line would have helped I think! Water was plentiful and cold at the finish, thankfully, but I skipped the watermelon and corn and beer because waiting in line held zero appeal. I will definitely be following up on social media, however, to see who won the costume contest. I hope it was the farmer girl because I am seriously impressed that she ran in that!
My finish time was around 1:26, but since it was over 80 degrees the whole time and I very wisely treated this as a good time rather than a race, I’ll take it. I got my miles in, had fun chatting with people (strangely, races are the only time I feel like I can easily talk to strangers!) and learned about the Chicken Show in Wayne NE (can’t promise I won’t be going to that!). All in all, a good time, a comfy shirt and I got 6.2 miles in. Definitely a win – but I think in the future I’ll stick to cooler months for races over 5K!
If you don’t mind the heat, this would be a fun race. Not crowded, well supported and organized and a lovely little hilly course around a local lake. If they ran this in OCTOBER instead of June, I’d register every year. 🙂
Have you ever considered dropping out of a race in the first mile? I was proud of myself for resisting the urge, but between the heat and the aches and pains I was seriously tempted! Mile 1 lies!