Category Archives: Running

A Long Run

A really fucking hard long run…

We have been under a wind advisory all day here in Kansas so obviously the wind was no joke! It seriously felt like I was running straight into a headwind during a majority of my 8 miles today. Extra resistance training anyone? ๐Ÿ˜‚

Seriously though the wind was a major factor today, but I just didnโ€™t feel great in general. My body is just so tired. I know Iโ€™m not recovering very well but itโ€™s really hard to rest and recover when your job is relatively physical. And just stressful in general. Helping you care for people, even in the very small ways that I do, can be so so so draining. But it is also kinda rewarding and Iโ€™ve definitely developed relationships with people that I really do cherish. So thereโ€™s that side of it as well.

Anyway though, I walked A LOT during this run. And at only 3 miles in I stopped back at my house, sat on my porch, and threw myself a pity party because I felt like shit and I didnโ€™t think I was got to make it any further. Obviously I did, but just barely. There were a few minutes there that I really was going to quit.

I made it 8 miles! More than I thought I would but less than my training plan called for. Although I do kinda feel like the extra resistance from the wind basically counts as 2 extra miles anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‚ And boy do I have the windburn on my face to prove it!!

I am happy that I was actually able to do a longer run this week though, especially after last week, but honestly Iโ€™m still not sure about how Iโ€™m going to do this virtual half in November. But no matter how that ends up going Iโ€™m swearing off longer distances for a currently undetermined amount of time.

I honestly just canโ€™t keep doing this. I really wish I was one of those people that running just naturally comes easy to but Iโ€™m not. Although Iโ€™m not ready to swearing off of it completely. Just the longer stuff. And maybe one day Iโ€™ll be in a place that I can come back to it. Hopefully anyway. I wanted to be that 80 year old lady still doing half marathons but at this point Iโ€™m not even 30 and Iโ€™m hardcore struggling to get through any run thatโ€™s longer that 3 or 4 miles.

Sorry this post turned into a pity part but this is where I am right now. Anyway, I hope you have a good Saturday! Iโ€™m getting wine drunk tonight so I know Iโ€™m in for a good night!

Until next time,

~Ashley

How Iโ€™m Juggling Work, Half Marathon Training, and Everything Else In Life

The short answer; not well. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Up until last week I was doing really well with my training but Iโ€™m hoping to jump back into the wagon this week! But anyway, this is basically a look into what my life looks like right now.

My house is always a mess, I definitely have to sacrifice time with my husband and pets, and I donโ€™t always get enough sleep. But weโ€™re all fed and taken care of. The bills are getting paid, my race is getting trained for, and my household is still functioning. So things definitely arenโ€™t falling apart by any means!

So hereโ€™s a typical day in my life on a work day. Obviously there are going to be some variables depending on certain situations, but this is the gist;

Wake up at 5:30 am. Make coffee, eat breakfast, get all of my stuff ready for work. Check my email and social media while I do all of that.

Be at work by 6 am. Get shit done. Keep up with social media on my breaks (because Iโ€™m still. โ€œContent creatorโ€, โ€œbloggerโ€, influencerโ€, whatever you want to call it. Leave at 2 pm. Although a lot of times I finish early and leave around 1-1:30. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Come home. Eat a snack. Feed/care for all of the animals. Usually Iโ€™ll start laundry and unload, load, and start the dishwasher. During the summer I would nap for an hour or two at this point of the day. Because it would be too hot to run until later in the evening. But now that fall is here Iโ€™ve been able to skip the nap and just head out for my runs!

Get changed, attempt to warm up. Get whatever run I have planned for that day done. Get back home from running. Chug water. Clean something/do some small chore that doesnโ€™t take too long. Shower. Write instagram and blog posts while sitting in a wet towel/drying off/getting dressed.

Make dinner for my husband and myself, make breakfast and lunch for myself for the next day, lay out my work clothes and other things, get the coffee make ready so all I have to do is push a button in the morning. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚

Watch a little tv while keeping up with instagram, the blog, and emails. Doing all of that content creator shit. Sometimes I eat a snack or drink some tea, then I brush my teeth and start getting ready for bed around 8 pm. Right before I actually go to sleep though I like to do a little bit of restorative yoga while in my bed. Itโ€™s a nice way to end the day. Set my alarm for 5:30 the next morning and actually get to sleep around 9-9:30 pm.

Rinse and repeat.

Sometimes it all gets a bit overwhelming. And quite often I end up doing literally nothing on my days off because Iโ€™m too tired/burnt out to function. But Iโ€™m making it work. Kind of. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I had a really tough moment yesterday. I was literally at the point where I was questioning why I even keep trying. Why I bothered signing up for and attempting to train for another half marathon. Why I donโ€™t just pick an easier, less physically taxing hobby.

Actually if Iโ€™m being honest all week felt that way to a degree. But I thought I just needed to back off a little bit. But it all cumulated together with the physical and emotional demands of work, trying to keep up with my responsibilities in regards to our house, pets, and everything else.

I got my flu shot on Friday which did make me feel a little bit more tired, achy, and my arm was pretty sore for a few days. Then yesterday my husband sprayed bug spray in our house (in asthmatic and donโ€™t do well with ANY kind of aerosols) so that was just the icing on the cake. On top of everything else my lungs were very unhappy.

So I didnโ€™t think I was going to accomplish the 10 mile long run I had planned for Saturday, but I was hoping Iโ€™d at least make it 7 or 8. But nope. I barely made it 1 mile. Which lead me to my whole existential crisis.

I decided to not even attempt to run today and just took the rest day that my training plan called for. Not like itโ€™s actually a rest day though because I did have to work. So that brings my mileage for the week to a whopping 4.5 miles…Thatโ€™s kinda disheartening because last week I hit 17.5 miles for the week and up until this week I actually felt like my half training was going really well.

At this point Iโ€™m not entirely sure what Iโ€™m going to do. I think Iโ€™m going to continue to attempt to stick to my training plan, Iโ€™m a little over half way through with it anyway, and then Iโ€™ll still attempt this virtual half. But after all of that is said and done I think Iโ€™m going to have to be done with longer races for a while. Which is incredibly frustrating because really half marathons arenโ€™t even that long (obviously thatโ€™s all relative but to this seasoned half marathoner it really isnโ€™t that long), but I think Iโ€™m just at a point in my life where my body canโ€™t physically handle the demands of work, keeping up with every day life, and half marathon training. I really just feel broken down and exhausted all of the time…

So, maybe itโ€™s just best to stick with 5kโ€™s and 10kโ€™s after this half marathon. Iโ€™m already signed up for a couple of virtual 5kโ€™s anyway! ๐Ÿ˜Š I do miss IRL racing though, but I do talk a little bit about why Iโ€™m not doing any in person races anytime soon in this post.

Anyway, I donโ€™t know what else to say except that life is hard and this year has sucked horribly. And it seems like everyone has had a really rough go at things this year. But weโ€™ll keep moving forward. Itโ€™s really all we can do.

Happy Sunday everyone! Hereโ€™s to a new week and a new start!

~Ashley

Half Marathon Training Round 7

Wow! Racing sure looks different this year, am I right?!?

People are definitely taking advantage of virtual racing which is kinda cool, although Iโ€™ve never been a huge virtual race person. I would absolutely prefer to be standing in a starting corral surrounded by other runners, get cheered on by spectators, and get handed chocolate milk by wonderful race volunteers. But those are all things that are a little tricky in our new social distancing situation. So the obvious solution is virtual racing!

And Iโ€™m trying to embrace it. Iโ€™m currently registered for two virtual 5kโ€™s, the virtual half marathon that Iโ€™m currently training for, and Iโ€™m thinking I need to find a fun Christmas themed 5k to register for as well, since the other two 5kโ€™s are pumpkin and thanksgiving themed! ๐Ÿ˜‚ And on top of that the half marathon my dad and I were registered for in May was turned into a virtual race. But thatโ€™s another story for another day. We are also registered for another local 5k that was supposed to be done in March but has been postponed twice and Iโ€™m kinda thinking that itโ€™s going to end up being canceled.

That all being said a local running company has been putting on IRL races but Iโ€™m not sure Iโ€™ll be participating in one anytime soon. I work in a nursing home now and we had COVID-19 in our facility for 6 weeks. It was hell. And I donโ€™t want to be the person who brings it back into the facility (and we are expecting a round two this cold and flu season).

So all of that is a very round about way of saying that Iโ€™m signed up for a virtual half marathon on November 7th! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Nuun is doing an online group half marathon training thing for their ambassadors so I figured I might as well too! They capped the actual half marathon registration to 2,500 people but I was able to get in and do it officially. ๐Ÿ˜

So this will be my second half marathon this year! Although Iโ€™ve attempted it a few times Iโ€™ve never actually run multiple half marathons in a year so Iโ€™m pretty stoked!

The training plan that Nuun has provided is a big change from what it used to though! The plan is only 8 weeks, which is really short for me! Not to mention that I was very out of shape when I started…..

But today is the first day of week four and right now Iโ€™m feeling really good! It took me about three weeks to actually feel good though. Iโ€™m pretty sure I spent the first three weeks of this plan constantly sore, tired, and out of shape feeling. Iโ€™ve definitely made progress though and I totally overcame all of the hardships that came with the first three weeks!

At this point Iโ€™m looking forward to see what the next four weeks bring and Iโ€™m excited to get this half done!! I definitely donโ€™t think any PRโ€™s are going to happen, not this time around considering the shape Iโ€™m in, but the goal is to finish it and to enjoy it! Two very doable goals!! ๐Ÿ˜„

Who else is training for a fall race? Are you doing virtual races or in person races?

Gobbler Grind 10k 11/10/19

Yes you read that correctly. 10k. Not half marathon. Hahaha I’ll get there, but first let’s start where we left off yesterday. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So after we finished the Longview half (which you can read all about here), Luke drove us to Garry Gribble’s so we could get our race packets since that running store is relatively close to the start/finish area of the Longview half. Well, it’s closer to there than it is to our house anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‚ So we went there, got our stuff, and then went to 5 Guys to eat because that’s our post-race tradition now!

After that we went back home, hung out at my house for a little bit, went to bed, and then got up at 5:30 am to do it all over again.

Except when we got up and started getting ready I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to do it all again. My hamstrings were tight and hurting but I do think of I would have paced myself properly I could have done it! But my dad is a less experienced runner and isn’t a good pacer. ๐Ÿ˜‚. But he said he was hurting 3 steps into the Longview half and the last 3 ish miles were a struggle for him. So I started thinking we needed to drop down to the 10k. Which I told him. But as we were getting ready he was adamant that we signed up for two half marathons so we were going to do two half marathons.

On the drive to the starting line (which Luke so graciously did again so we wouldn’t have to worry about it) I was still trying to convince him that this was a bad idea, but he wasn’t having it. So, we arrived at the starting area, parked, and walked (well my dad limped) to the port-o-potties.

Now, I absolutely love everything about this race, but my only real issue with it is that there are no where near enough port-o-potties for the amount of people who participate. We got there over and hour early so there was no line yet, but we knew from our experience last year that the line would get RIDICULOUSLY long and span most of the parking lot. So we used the facilities early and while we still could.

The starting line before everyone showed up.

Anyway, once we were done I put my foot down and told my dad we were dropping to the 10k. I thought that one or even both of us would end up getting hurt if we attempted another 13.1 miles. So I walked to the packet pick up area and switched distances, so he kinda had to as well. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I think it was for the best though.

After getting our new bibs we walked back to the truck and hung out in there for a while since it was a chilly morning and we had arrived so early. By then the line for the port-o-potties was already super long and getting worse by the minute. There was no way we’d be able to use them again and actually start the race on time. And yet we continued to drink water and coffee. ๐Ÿ˜‚

With about 10 minutes until the race started we walked out to the starting corral but I had to pee REALLY bad. I decided I couldn’t wait so I walked into the woods, found a big tree off of the trail a ways, and peed there. I used to run on this particular trail EVERYDAY when I lived in an apartment near by, and I still go there to run every once in an while, so this definitely wasn’t the first time I’ve peed in that woods. ๐Ÿ˜‚ A few minutes later my dad did the same thing and THEN we went to line up in the starting corral.

A few minutes later we were off!! Not gonna lie, I was super stoked that we were only going 6 miles that day instead of 13. Plus I was very excited to be at another race! Especially since I don’t race very often. I mean, look at that smile! I was loving it!!

After the initial excitement of starting wore off we slowed down quite a bit. We were both feeling that half marathon from the day before. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Several spectators and race volunteers recognized us from the day before though so that was pretty cool!!

So the first few miles of this 10k were on the roads around Corporate Woods Park. So obviously there are big corporate buildings, some side walks and parking lots, and we were on the road and not the trail (yet) but it was still very pretty. Especially because of all of the fall colors!

After about 2.5 miles we turned onto the trail though. And this is the section of trail that I really did run or walk on every single day for 3 years and still often one back to. It’s not like being out in the woods somewhere secluded or anything like that, but it’s about as close as you can get in Overland Park, which is a huge city, so I’ve always been very fond of this trail and I very much enjoyed getting to do a race on it!

Anyway, for the second half of this 10k we finally settled into a good rhythm and what felt like a very consistent pace. We cheered on the other runners going the opposite direction and at this point and until the very end we never passed anyone but we were also never overtaken by anyone else. So that was just interesting.

At about mile 4.5 we turned around and started heading back the way we came, making our way closer and closer to the finish line! I think at that point my dad was very ready to be done, but I was in super high spirits and enjoying myself very much!

Finally the finish line was in sight! We sped up a little bit and finished with smiles on our faces! We got our medals and some post race cinnamon rolls and then wandered around a little bit to see what goodies they had to offer at all of the booths set up out there.

We got free bananas, chocolate milk, a mini ice pack, among a few other things. We also met the social media manager of the race which was super cool! She saw us out on the 10k course and cheered for us which of course we returned, but we didn’t know who she was. I thought it sounded like she recognized us and of course it turns out that she did! We interact quite often on instagram! I just didn’t know what she looked like because she runs the race’s Instagram page. But anyway we talked for a little bit and that was pretty cool!

Hahaha and one of the race photographers at the finish area also got several photos of of which I thought was neat! They even got Luke in one of them! ๐Ÿ˜„

And that was pretty much it! A little less exciting than the half marathon I guess, but I thought it was a lot more fun.

After we were done hanging out at the race we went to 5 Guys of course! It’s our post-race tradition after all!!

Then we headed back home. Luke headed out to go golfing but I stayed behind this time because my dad wanted to leave after he showered. So he did that, we packed up his truck, and he headed off to Illinois where he was going to meet my brother who had left in their camper that morning before we went of to our race. Our busy and fun filled weekend was officially over. Not gonna lie, after my dad left I spend a lot of time laying on my couch like this before I finally got up to shower and collect myself. ๐Ÿ˜‚

And thus ends the adventure of two races in two days. They weren’t both half marathons, but I think we made the right decision switching to the 10k. Plus back to back races are impressive no matter what the distances are!

Well, that’s that on that!

I’ve got a 5k coming up on Thanksgiving that in doing by myself and I think that’s gonna wrap up my racing for this year. It was a good one as far as race experiences go, I think!

But anyway. That’s all for now!

Until next time!

~Ashley

Running With The Cows 5k, 2019 Race Recap

Woohoo! The Sloth Running Team was back at it again!!

Hahaha except my dad forgot his shirt, so we didnโ€™t wear them for this race. ๐Ÿ˜‰

On Friday my dad drove here to Kansas from Colorado so that we could tackle the Running With The Cows 5k on Saturday! Yay!

Also Luke took me golfing for the first time ever (for me anyway๐Ÿ˜‰). Obviously the thing you wanna do the day before your race is pick up a brand new sport and then spend something like 3 hours doing it. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Surprisingly I wasn’t as terrible at golf as I thought I would be! Plus I didn’t end up hurting myself (world’s biggest klutz right here) so that was good! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Honestly though I wasn’t too worried about it. I’m still suffering from/getting over a cold, so all of the plans I had for this race kinda went out the window. That was kind of a bummer, but there are always other races. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Plus Running With The Cows is a super duper fun race no matter what! ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ˜Š

We didnโ€™t keep score, but my first round of golf wasnโ€™t too terrible! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Other than my dad getting here and a rousing round of golf, Friday was relatively uneventful. Saturday was obviously when all of the real fun happened! ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ„

My dad and I were up at 6:00 Saturday morning! We didn’t have to get up super duper early because Running With The Cows is only 20 minutes from my house, which is super nice! We are our breakfasts, got dressed, then we headed out to the starting line!

The half marathon was originally supposed to start at 7:30 am and the 5k was supposed to start at 8, but it was raining a little bit and people were still pulling into the parking area (that was kinda slow going because of the rain as well. The parking area was really just a field and it was pretty muddy). That wasn’t a big deal though. That just gave us a little extra time to find packet pick up and to use the port-o-potties. Both of which we accomplished with relative ease! We got our packets and walked back to my dads van to put on our bibs and timing chips, then it was off to the port-o-potties! At that point the half marathoners were lined up and getting ready to take off, so there was no line! Sweet!!

The most crooked race bib youโ€™ll ever see! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I did in fact race with it like this. ๐Ÿ˜‚

After we had taken care of we got in line to have our picture taken with a baby cow! This race always has farm animals at the starting line. This year they had two sheep, a miniature pony, and the baby cow of course. This was the first time that they actually had a little photo op with it though (at least out of the 3 times that I’ve done it now ๐Ÿ˜‰) so I thought that was super neat!

He was such a cute little guy!!

After that my dad has to make another pit stop at the port-o-potties and then it was time to line up in the starting corral! It was pretty crowded! This race is pretty darn popular so that’s unsurprising, nor is it a bad thing. Although we were lined up a little too far back. We ended up getting stuck behind some slower people, which would have been more annoying if we were actually trying for a specific time. We weren’t though. The only goal for this race was to have a bunch of fun since I was still getting over being sick.

Anyway, after a quick countdown we were off! To a pretty slow start. ๐Ÿ˜‚

You can kinda see both me and my dad directly under the Running With The Cows banner. Both with huge smiles on our faces, of course! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Like I said, we did get stuck behind some slower people. Plus there are just so many people that it’s kinda hard to get into a good groove until everyone spreads out a bit. Which eventually they did of course, but it took until about half was through the race for that to really happen. Not a big deal though. ๐Ÿ˜Š

This race is put on by a Catholic Church/school so close to a mile in I think (they don’t put up mile markers for the 5k course. Probably because it’s an out and back so it is pretty straightforward. You go out about 1.5 miles then you come back about 1.5 miles. ๐Ÿ˜‰) the school band is out on the course playing for everyone. I think that’s super cool! Hahaha I cheered extra loud for them because I didn’t think enough people were. ๐Ÿ˜‚ This is also the only intersection you come across on this course (it’s super rural ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ˜) so I also made sure to thank the police officers who were out there blocking traffic and keeping everyone safe.

So at this point we’re trucking along and still weaving around slower runners. Honestly doing things like that really motivates me to go faster! I’m not typically a competitive person, but there is just something super fun about reeling groups of people in and then weaving past them. Hahaha we also went off roading a few times to get around people. We’d jump off of the road into the dirt and then hop back on after we passed someone. That was a lot of fun! I was actually pretty impressed with how well I was running and how good I felt considering I was sick all week leading up to this race and I still wasn’t feeling 100% on Saturday.

At around 1.5 miles we came upon the only aid station and the turnaround point! My dad and I both grabbed a cup of Gatorade, cheered when the race volunteers said we were half way there, and pretty much just got out of there as quickly as we could. Since so many people do this race the aid station was a bit hectic, but the volunteers were totally on top of it! Huge kudos to them! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜Š They were also handing out orange slices, which I thought was kinda funny since this was only a 5k, but hey, whatever floats your boat! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Š

Anyway, after the turnaround point things get lots and lots of fun because you get to run down the hill you had to run up to get there! The hill doesn’t make it all the way to the finish, but it is all a net downhill back the way you came. I wouldn’t say we were flying at that point, I was feeling good, but still not good enough to be at that point, but we were definitely going strong! Honestly the whole way felt like it took no time at all! Probably thanks to the downhill. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So right before you turn back into the church parking lot that the race starts in there is a grain silo with another Running With The Cows banner hung up on it. And since I’ve done this race twice before I knew they have a photographer at that point. So we were able to kinda pose for our photo. Hahaha I had to crop some people out, but I think it’s a good one!

Iโ€™m pretty sure we both were smiling like that throughout the whole race. ๐Ÿ˜

After that we made our final turn an crossed the finish line in 39:21! Except at that point I didn’t really have a good guess as to what our official time was because they had the clock running for the half, not the 5k. Once I did find out our official tune though I was pretty stoked! We did much better than I had though we would! Especially considering the fact that I was still getting over a horrible cold. ๐Ÿคง๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Š

I swear we were the happiest people there that day! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚

After crossing the finish line we went through all of the usual post race stuff. We got our medals which was actually a first for this particular 5k. Before they only gave the half marathon finishers medals, but they were celebrating they’re 10th anniversary of this race so I guess they wanted it all to be special. ๐Ÿ˜Š This was also the first time I actually had a medal hung around my neck. Every other time I’ve received a medal the race volunteer has just handed it to me, but this lady hung it around my neck and I just thought that was so cool! I know it’s such a small gesture, but honestly it really made me feel like I had accomplished something. I don’t know if that’s weird or not, but hey, it’s true. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

After having our timing chips cut off of our shoes we got in line for a second picture with the baby cow. But I mean, how could you pass it up! He was just too cute!! Plus this photo turned out better which is cool. ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’œ

After getting more baby cow hugs we headed inside the school for the post race buffet! They always have an awesome spread for the race finishers which is super awesome! And for that reason alone this could easily have been one of my favorite races ever! Hahaha but really I just adore the cow theme and the whole atmosphere. ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ˜

After enjoying our post race meal we headed on out and just kinda messed around for a while. We stopped back at my house, went to Scheels just for fun, and then we got burgers at 5 Guys. Going to 5 Guys is officially our new post race tradition, as we also went there after we did the Gobbler Grind Half last year! Hahaha I gotta say though, there burgers taste better after running a half. ๐Ÿ˜‰ They’re still pretty good though. ๐Ÿ˜‹

After our post race burger my dad took a nap and then had to leave to start driving back to Colorado around 6:30 pm that night. He had to work on Monday, so he couldn’t stay any longer. It’s all good though! If everything works out well Luke and I just might head out to Colorado for a few days this summer! And then of course my dad is going to be coming back here in November for Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days: Take Two, which he’ll be doing with me. ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜

Oh man, for real though. We both had an absolutely amazing time at this race! If you ever find yourself in the Kansas City area on the second Saturday in May you NEED to do this race! 5k or half, doesn’t matter. It’s a FANTASTIC event! ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ‚

Alrighty my friends! That is all! I hope you have a fantastic week!!

~Ashley

Desert Rats 10k Race Recap

Better a little late than never right?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve been trying to sort through all of my thoughts on this race, but I still haven’t been able to pull them all together. I’m gonna try though! But this post might end up being s jumbled mess. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I’ve also been waiting for the professional race photos to be posted onto Gemini Adventures’ website. Mission accomplished on that front! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜‰

That being said, I still have a ridiculous amount of photos thanks to my dad. He’s become quite the shutterbug and we definitely stopped more than once just so he could take pictures. But I mean, I can blame him when the views from the course looked like this…

Anyway, let’s recap this thing!

So, the day before this race my dad and I drove about 5 hours from Longmont to Grand Junction, which was super close to Fruita, where the race was being held. We made a few stops along the way, including one stop to take around 3 hours to hike to and from Hanging Lake. I won’t go into all of that again since I’ve already written about that here. But I will say that whole adventure was super hard, fun, and beautiful. Not exactly something I’d recommend doing the day before a race, but I don’t regret it. ๐Ÿ˜‚

After that adventure we made a stop for some burgers and then made our way to one of my dad’s drivers houses (my dad basically runs several FedEx terminals). He invited us to stay the night with him and his family so that we didn’t have to stay at a motel. That was super nice of him and he and his whole family were super welcoming and incredibly nice. ๐Ÿ˜Š

I ended up getting to bed around 11 that night and I’m not sure when my dad finally made his way to bed. But we were up before the sun at 5 am Sunday morning. The guy we stayed with laid out breakfast for us the night before; a couple of water bottles, some instant oatmeal, bread, candy bars, and an invitation to anything in the fridge or pantry that we wanted. I definitely like oatmeal before a run though, so that’s what I stuck with. ๐Ÿ˜„ So we ate, got dressed, and loaded up our stuff into my dad’s van and then made our way to the staring line in Fruita.

It only took us about a half an hour to get there. So we actually got there super duper early at around 6:30 am. The race didn’t even start until 8:30 am. ๐Ÿ˜‚ So we drove up this pretty gnarly Jeep trail. That was a bit iffy in my dad’s van. But it was fun.

This was AFTER we made it back down the super iffy section of road we went up. ๐Ÿ˜‚

We didn’t go too far though. There wasn’t a lot of parking for this race so we made our way back to the starting/finish area and snagged us an awesome parking spot.

We sat in the van for a while. Talking, people watching, and sipping at water and nibbling on a few snacks. Packet pick up started at 7 am, so we got out our stuff right as they open up. Being some of the first people there definitely had its benefits! Along with our bibs and participation shirts, we also got buffs. They had a limited supply of them that were donated to them so not everyone got one. Hahaha I was pretty stoked though! Mine sure came in handy during the race. I wiped my nose on it more times than I can count. ๐Ÿ˜‚

After we collected our things we stopped at the port-o-potties. There weren’t many of them but at this point it was still pretty early so no one was in line. Score!! ๐Ÿ˜ Hahaha after our business with the port-o-potties was taken care of we went back to the van to warm up because it was pretty chilly out that morning. And of course while we were there we pinned on our bibs and got the rest of our gear ready.

Before we picked up our bibs we obviously needed to get a selfie with the starting line. ๐Ÿ˜„

At about 15 minutes to the start time we shed our outer layers (and oh boy was that hard! It was still pretty chilly out! ๐Ÿ˜‚), strapped on our hydration packs, and made our way to the starting area. We also marveled at the line for the port-o-potties and we’re grateful that 1. We went when we did and 2. Didn’t have to go again. ๐Ÿ˜‚

There was very little organization going on. Half marathoners were mixed in with the 10k-ers and as far as I could tell no one was really lined up according to pace. It wasn’t really a super big deal though because this was a really small race. Just several hundred people really. Those aren’t negatives though! Just facts. ๐Ÿ˜

A race official counted us down but honestly we couldn’t hear him all that well, but it was kind of easy to tell when we were supposed to take off because everyone cheered and started moving forward. ๐Ÿ˜‚ So we took off down the trail, starting with a slight down hill that I definitely didn’t feel and sure didn’t notice until we had to climb up it on our way back to the finish line. ๐Ÿคฃ

That downhill was short lived though! We began one of the bigger climbs of the race (and there were several) in the first few minutes. Those climbs KILLED me. My legs were actually pretty prepared for them thanks to the hill work I had done on my treadmill, but my legs were also sore sand tired from our hike the day before. And unfortunately that never went away… That wasn’t what actually killed me though. It was the elevation. Here in Kansas I’m just about 1,000 feet above sea level. I. Fruita Colorado we were at 5,000 feet and we gained around 600 feet getting up some of those hills. I’m sure that’s not a lot for you mountain runners out there, but for this flatlander who also happens to be exclusively a road runner it was TOUGH.

Anyway, the first 1.5 miles were the hardest. I think. Hahaha honestly from this point on everything is a blur. The aide stations were each about a mile and 1/2 apart and that’s what I’m kinda basing everything on. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So by the time we made it to the first aid station we were DFL (Dead Fucking Last). At least as far as the 10k-ers went. But considering how small the race was and all of the other circumstances that was pretty unsurprising. And honestly, not at all upsetting. I went into this thing just wanting to survive it and to have some fun. I knew it was going to slow going and I had put any kind of ego aside for this one.

Anyway, the volunteers at the aide were all super awesome. We got many complaints on our Sloth Running Team t-shirts, and I got several laughs and sympathetic looks every time my dad told people I was from Kansas.

Ps. Next time I do a trail race in Colorado I’m wearing a shirt that says “I’m from Kansas”. Just so everyone understands why I look and sound like I’m dying. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Anyway, the next 1.5 miles were much more rugged. There were loose rocks and the rail definitely got more technical. Honestly though I had so much fun on the harder (but more flat/downhill!) sections of the course. Having to chose you’re footing and trying not to trip over rocks was a lot of fun! And I was actually pretty good at it!

You can definitely see the rocks in this photo, but there were more fun sections of the trail than this!๐Ÿ˜

Now, if I remember correctly (and I probably don’t ๐Ÿ˜‚) pretty close to the next aide station and the half way point there was part we had to kinda scramble up! Oh man, that was hard! My poor lungs were just not doing well this less oxen than they’re used to. But we both made it up it. With lots of huffing and puffing on my part. ๐Ÿคฃ

At the next aide station I took a little cup of tailwind to drink and a couple of Honey Stinger gels (score!!). I don typically like gels for fuel while running because they upset my stomach but I took some just incase. But at this point I was doing pretty well on just water and a Gatorade that I had stashed in my hydration pack.

This side station was located on Pizza Overlook. Sadly they didnโ€™t have any pizza. ๐Ÿ˜‚

After we left the second aide station is when we ended up running around the rim of the canyon (at least I’m pretty sure. Hahaha like I said. Everything is a blur. ๐Ÿ˜‚). Pictures will never do justice to how beautiful it actually was.

After a few twists and turns we stumbled upon the one and only race photography. Shout out to him for sitting there and waiting for our DFL asses. ๐Ÿ˜‚ of course I had to be a total dork for my photo. But at the very least I was being a total dork during a super hard 10k with some incredible views! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

On the way to the final aid station at about 4.3 miles were we’re blessed with some amazing downhills. The trail was still a little tricky but I picked it up quite a bit going down those hills (around 10 minutes per mile pace according to the one time I actually glanced at my Garmin ๐Ÿ˜‚). That was a ton of fun!! At this point we were starting to head back the way we came and the last aide station was also the very first aide station. We were also heading back up hill. Yuck. ๐Ÿคข๐ŸคฃBasically the whole last mile was uphill, with one super short down hill in the middle of it.

The finish line was just on the other side of that hill on the left side of this photo.

We crossed the finish line at the EXACT same time, cheering and holding hands! That was pretty cool! And according to the official results, we weren’t actually DFL. Hahaha neat! But also still, not a big deal. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Once we crossed the finish line we were handed our “medals” (really just a dog tag on a chain, but still super neat!), and made our way to the food tables were we got pancakes, fruit, coffee, and a few other things, although they did have quite a bit of other post race snacks as well. ๐Ÿ˜„ we found a nice place to sit and cheered on some of the first half marathoners to start running in.

After we ate we went back to the van, wiped ourselves down with wet wipes and I changed my shirt (and managed to get out of my wet sports bra without showing any boobies to the world. ๐Ÿ˜‚). And then we started our 17 hour drive back to Kansas.

So yeah. This was my first trail race ever. My first official 10k. The farthest I’ve ever run at 5,000 feet above sea level, and the slowest 10k/race I’ve ever done. It was hard. It was beautiful. And it was absolutely so much fun!!

Apparently we’re doing the half next year. Hahaha we’ll see about that. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

But for now, the next race on the schedule is the Running With The Cows 5k on May 11th here in Kansas! I’m very excited about that!!

Until next time,

~Ashley

Ward Parkway 5k Turkey Trot Race Recap

Oh man, I wanted to have this race recap up on Friday but Luke and I were quite busy! Lol a good majority of our day was spent installing a new dishwasher. That was a lot more difficult than it should have been thanks to the guy who lived in this house before us and his supposed handyman skills. ๐Ÿ™„ Hahaha buy we did eventually get it up and running and I couldn’t be happier! Our old dishwasher broke about two weeks ago and I’ve been having to do our dishes by had, which is my least favorite thing in the world to do. ๐Ÿ˜‚

After our dishwasher was installed we went out and did a little bit of Black Friday shopping. Usually we don’t like to go out on Black Friday but Like thought we both deserved presents after the dishwasher debacle. So I got a new Green Day T-shirt (because obviously I need more of those. ๐Ÿ˜‚ But hey, it was only $10 because Black Friday), a new necklace, and a new sorts bra that o desperately needed. Luke got Red Dead Redemption 2 and a new hard drive for his PS4. All on sale of course. ๐Ÿ˜‰ All though I’m not sure braving all of the crowds and craziness was worth it!

After all of that fun I needed a day to recover. So most of my Saturday was spent doing just that. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Anyway, enough about Black Friday. Let’s talk about my very first turkey trot!! ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿฆƒ

This particular race started at 9 am so I didn’t have to wake up crazy early for it, which was really nice. But Luke and I still got up around 7 am and left our house about a half hour later. I still needed to be there early because I still needed to pick up my race packet. Honestly I hate picking up my packet on race day. I’ve only ever had to to that once before and I hated it haha. But I wasn’t able to go to packet pick up up the day the day before. Anyway, on our way to the race Luke had to stop for gas and to get some snacks haha.

Once we got to the race site things got a little bit more stressful. The mall where the starting line was was jam packed with cars. A lot of them were from other runners, but there were also stores around the mall that were still open even though it was Thanksgiving, so finding a parking spot was a whole ordeal even though we got there about an hour early.

Eventually we did find a spot and we followed the rest of the crowd of runners and spectators into the mall. The mall was actually closed on Thanksgiving, but they had some security guards letting people walk through it to get to the other side of the mall parking lot, which was where the race started. Haha it was kinda confusing really. While we were doing that I was trying to figure out where exactly packet pick up was. The directions to where exactly they was were kinda vague in the participants guide and from the sounds of the conversations going on around us, I wasn’t the only one trying to figure out where we were supposed to go. Hahaha looking back now it’s kinda funny, but at the time I was kinda freaking out.

Anyway, we did eventually find it. It was inside the mall, kinda. But in some weird hallway area that looks like could only be accessed through one particular door from outside the mall. It was weird. But at least we’d made it with some time to spare. At this point it was about 30 minutes to the start time. The line for packet pick up was long, but luckily it moved pretty quickly. I’d didn’t take too long for me to get my bib, participant shirt, turkey hat, and a sweet temporary turkey tattoo. ๐Ÿฆƒ

So I pinned on my bib number and then started to fiddle with my turkey hat while we walked towards the port-o-potties. I’ve never experienced this at a race before but there was NO line for the port-o-potties! It was amazing haha! So I was able to get in and out of one quickly and the continued to mess with my turkey hat.

The problem was it was freaking huge! There was no way it was going to stay on my head without my beanie so I had to leave that on even though I’d actually planned on not wearing it during the race. Eventually I ended up pinning it to my beanie with an extra safety pin that I’d grabbed at packet pick up. I didn’t mean to take 5 safety pins, but it ended up working out for me. ๐Ÿ˜‚

After that was all taken care of and figured out Luke and I wandered around the starting area a little bit. They had some nifty photo op areas, so of course I had Luke take a couple of pictures for me. ๐Ÿ˜ I also took a couple of pictures for a group of ladies who needed some help. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Once we had about 10 minutes to go I made my way into the starting corral and lined up near the back-ish/middle area where I belong. As race time got closer more and more people started squeezing in and I finally realized just how many people were at this race! So far I think it might have been the biggest race I’ve ever done which was pretty cool!! The only problem was a lot of people didn’t line up correctly. People with strollers were supposed to line up BEHIND everyone else for safety reasons, but I saw a couple in front of where I was and even more that weren’t at the very back. And a lot of walkers lined up in front of the runners so that was kind of a problem for the first mile or so of the race. But I’ll get to that in a second.

In the starting corral waiting to get going!

The national anthem was sung, we were counted down, and then….nothing haha. The leaders and front of the pack took off, but it was really slow going for everyone else. I’m not entitled sure how long it took before I finally made it over the starting line, but it was definitely well over a minute. Honestly it could have been closer to two maybe even three. Hahaha Thank goodness for timing chips!! Honestly though I thought it was kinda fun though. This was my first ever super packed starting experience and I thought it was kinda neat watching everyone take off in all of their turkey gear. ๐Ÿ˜

So like I said, a lot of people didn’t line up correctly so a lot of runners, myself included, spend a lot of time trying to make their way around the walkers. That was kind of annoying. But it was also kinda fun. I ended up going out too fast because it was just so darn easy to pick people off. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I ended up doing that for about the first mile, but I eventually had to stop and slow down. My legs were feeling really good! Well, the still felt heavy from not running much after my races earlier this month, but they felt really good to be moving again! My lungs on the other hand weren’t exactly ready for that. Especially since we started up a gradual uphill that basically kept going and then got bigger through the rest of the course. I wasn’t quite ready for that either. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Anyway, mike Two was relatively uneventful. I’m not exactly used to being surrounded by other people like I was in this race, but I was really enjoying checking out everyone’s turkey and Thanksgiving themed gear! At the mile two marker they had a little aid station with cups of water, getting one was a little bit hectic because of all of the people, but it wasn’t too bad. Then I hi fived a person dressed as a turkey on my way out of the aid station. Haha that was fun.

Around mile 3 there was a girl in a driveway with a laptop and speaker, playing Christmas music, and cheering everyone on. That was neat! Actually there were quite a few people sitting in their driveways watching everyone run by. Also a first for me. ๐Ÿ˜Š The last half mile or so was definitely the biggest uphill portion of the course. That was kinda tough. My lungs weren’t ready for that just yet. ๐Ÿ˜‚ And my legs decided they weren’t having as much fun anymore. But I still finished pretty strong, all things considered. Hahah I was a little worried at first, because the time clock was reading something close to 43 or 44 minutes. But once I crossed to finish line and checked my watch it read that I actually finished in 41:21. Then I remembered how long it took me to cross the starting line. ๐Ÿ˜‚

After I finished I went to go get my pumpkin pie and I texted Luke to let him know I had finished and where I was. The pie line actually moved really quickly despite how many people were there! Those race volunteers were awesome!! So I got my pumpkin pie and Luke found me near the line for that. Then I went to the food “lines” to get my snacks. “Lines” being in quotes because there were no actual dedicated lines that I could see. People were just kinda shoving their way to the tables. After a few minutes of waiting and trying up figure out the whole line thing I said fuck it and did the same thing. I felt incredibly rude doing it, but that seemed like the only way to actually get a half a banana, a cup full of cookies, and coffee. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Haha I was lucky and managed to get some shortbread Christmas cookies before they ran out. It was that or vanilla wafers or ginger snaps. I love me some shortbread cookies though. So I was super excited to get some! ๐Ÿ˜

After I had my pie and snacks I was done being around that many people. So was Luke hahaha. So we made our way out of the staring area and then had to walk all the way around the mall because they weren’t letting people cut through the mall anymore. I didn’t really mind though. I had a pie, half a banana, a cup of cookies, and some coffee to keep me happy. ๐Ÿ˜‚

And that’s pretty much it! Once we got to the truck we left and went to the Indian Creek Trail (the part where the Gobbler Grind Half started and finished actually ๐Ÿ˜‰) and we played Pokรฉmon go for a little bit, then we when home, hung out for a while, then went to my brother-in-law’s girlfriend’s apartment for Thanksgiving dinner.

All in all it was a really fun race and a great day overall. Some parts were slightly stressful because of all of the people, but I’d definitely do this race again! ๐Ÿฆƒ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Š

Alrighty! That’s all for now! Still no weekly recap for this week because honestly I haven’t been doing much so that would be kinda boring. ๐Ÿ˜‚ But since I kicked off my Thanksgiving with a fun turkey trot I’ve decided that would be a fun way to start another holiday run streak, so until further notice, that’s currently what I’m planning on doing.

But ok, I’m done now!

Happy Sunday!

~Ashley

Longview Half Marathon – DNF, 2018

If you read my post from yesterdaypost from yesterday then you already know the result from the Longview Half on Saturday. In fact, if you read the title to this post then you probably know the outcome of this half marathon.

Did Not Finish

My very first DNF. And it was just about as fun as you’d probably imagine. But it was still a race that I showed up to the starting line for, so we’re gonna recap it!

So if you follow me on Instagram you probably already know about my pile. Hahaha so people like to create a “flat runner” with all of their gear laid out nice and neat a day or so before a race. I am not one of those people. Last week around Monday or Tuesday I started gathering up all of the gear that I needed and thought I might wear for both of my half marathons. But instead of being all nice and neat I just kinda threw it all on a stool in my bedroom. But hey, at least it was all in one place! ๐Ÿ˜‚

So my gear pretty much stayed like that until after packet pick up on Friday.

Luke and I were actually super busy on Friday (which you can read more about hereย ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). We had a lot of stuff we needed to get done, including packet pick up for Longview and my dad was driving to Kansas from Colorado that day so we had to be ready for him as well. Plus we had to go to 4 DIFFERENT STORES to find a box of freaking frozen whole grain waffles for my race day breakfasts. That was a whole thing haha. We did finally find me some waffles, got to and from packet pick up (which is usually an uneventful affair for a lot of the local races that I do) without any incidents, and my dad did eventually get to Kansas.

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We did end up getting everything done that we needed to of Friday, so that was great! So I ended up spending that afternoon/night resting, relaxing, and getting my gear ready, making a playlist, setting my coffee maker, you know, important stuff like that!! By the time Luke and I went to bed at 10:00 pm my pile was actually looking kinda civilized! But my dad didn’t make it to our neck of the woods until around 10:30 pm that night, so he went straight to his hotel instead of stopping at our house first.

 

So I woke up at 6:30 am on Saturday morning feeling good, confident, and ready to go! I drank my coffee, at my pre-race breakfast, and got dressed all while texting my dad haha. I wasn’t sure if he wanted to just meet us at the race, if he wanted us to pick him up at the hotel, of he wanted to meet us at the house, or whatever so that’s mostly what we were trying to figure out. Eventually we decided that Luke and I were going to meet him at his hotel and he was going to follow us to the race. So after I was ready that’s where Luke and I headed.

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Before we move on we need to discus the weather a little bit. That was also a big topic between Luke, my dad, and I that morning, because it was crazy and unseasonably cold. The temperature just kinda dropped out of nowhere on Saturday and I don’t think a lot of people were really prepared for that drastic of a drop in temperature in the middle of November. I know I sure wasn’t…

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Anyway, Luke and I met up with my dad at his hotel and then were off to the starting line! The whole parking situation was a little bit weird (isn’t it always haha) and the guy who was directing traffic wasn’t really being specific about where and how people were supposed to park in this field, but I guess enough people had done this kinda thing enough times and we eventually figured it out. Usually we park in the field right next to the starting line, but this year we ended up in a different field about 1/2 a mile away. Eventually I ended up being really grateful for where we ended up parking hahaha. Luke complained the whole way walking to the starting line because it was COLD. But the views of the lake were beautiful!

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Once we got to the starting line we thought we had actually made it in time for me to stand in line to use a port-o-potty and not have to worry about missing the starting gun! It was a really close call last year! But yet again we were wrong and 20 minutes was not enough time…. I’m telling you, they need more port-o-potties at the start of this race! But anyway, I was still able to line up before the gun went off. They started the race about 10 minutes late again this year, probably because of all of the people in line to use the bathroom. I’m not sure if they actually played the national anthem this year. If they did Luke, my dad, and I sure didn’t hear it haha! But they counted us down and sent us on our way.

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So I made a bad decision with how I was dressed this year. It was crazy cold so I figured I should wear one of my heavier hoodies over one of my warmer running jackets. That turned out to be a bad idea because I was starting to get really warm before I had even hit a mile. Well, my torso was anyway. At that point my legs were cold and heavy and I couldn’t feel my toes haha. Running like that was kinda hard. Anyway, I had to fumble around with my bib a little bit, but I managed to get the extra hoodie off, toss it, and put my bib back onto my other jacket haha. I think I might have finished the first mile or so during that whole ordeal? Honestly I don’t remember the miles very well haha. I’ve done this race 3 times before this year, but they changed the course this year so it was all new to me. Plus I was having some trouble paying attention to things. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, I remember seeing the 2nd mile marker and thinking that I didn’t feel so great. But at that point I was hoping it was just because I was really cold and needed to warm up a little bit.ย  Somewhere around miles 2-3 ish I crossed over the damn for the first time. There were timing mats at the begging and end of the dam along with a finish line at the end because there was a little “race within the race” to see who could get over the dam the fastest. Obviously I wasn’t a contender for that, but it’s still pretty neat! That’s also why it looks like I’m crossing a finish line in the photos below. Because I kinda was haha.

 

Just looking at those I can tell I was already struggling at that point. I remember seeing the mile 3 marker and just thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to do this for 10 more miles. It was sill crazy cold for this time of year and that was really making my asthma act up. I felt like shit. The wind crossing back over the dam was making my situation worse, and I started texting Luke telling him that I was struggling. Apparently after I did that him and my dad went and bought me a powerade and a banana and started walking in my direction. Not on the course though. They walked along the median in the road.

At mile 4 I knew I wasn’t going to make it. There was just no way. I texted Luke telling him I think I needed to stop and asked him how far away the car was from mile 4. He didn’t answer (we didn’t have a very good signal out there), so I texted my dad as well and got nothing from him either. Honestly at that point that was ridiculously heartbreaking. Looking back it’s kinda funny, but in the moment it really wasn’t.

As I approaching mile 5 I finally heard back from Luke. He told me they were approaching mile 5 with some stuff for me and I let him know I was coming up on mile 5 as well. Right as I passed the mile marker I saw them walking at me. That was equal parts THE BEST THING EVER and THE WORST THING EVER, because I knew I had to quit, but I felt like I was letting them down at that point. Along with everyone else who’s been following along with my training this year.

Once we got to each other they offered me all of the goodies they brought for me, but I told them I was done. They said ok, we’re only a mile away from the car. Haha I think it was actually less than that though, so thank goodness for that! So we started heading that direction, I took off my bib, stopped my watch, and walked off the course. Officially earning my very first DNF. Honestly I think walking away would have been a lot harder if I didn’t have another race the day after. If I didn’t I think I just might have tried to keep going and I don’t think that would have been a good idea…

Once we got to the parking area Luke started the truck for me while I cut off my timing chip. Then I sat in the truck while Luke and my dad walked another 1/2 mile to the starting line to give them my timing chip and let them know I wasn’t finishing (I was worried that the race officials would see that I started but didn’t finish and freak out about that). While they were there they also got me a yogurt and chocolate milk and walked back another 1/2 mile to get back to me hahaha. Oh man, I’m forever grateful that they did that for me though.

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We ended up hanging out in the parking area for a little while, just talking and then figuring out what we were going to do for the rest of the day. Luke had to go to work and my dad and I had a packet pick up to go to, so Luke went home to get ready for work and my dad and I ended up going to Garry Gribble’s running store to pick up our stuff for our half on Sunday.

But I’ll talk about all of that in my Gobbler Grind recap. Spoiler alert; that one ends on a much better note. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So that’s all for now! It’s been snowing all day and it’s still coming down at 12:44 pm as I type this, so I need to go play in it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope you had a great weekend!

~Ashley

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Running With The Cows 5k, 2018

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.ย  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.

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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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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.

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), 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.

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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? ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), 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’tย  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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 theย 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 likeย 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.

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Either way though, I was very happy with how I did.

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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!!

~Ashley