Running with the Cows Half Marathon: Race Recap

Continuing on from my last post, here is “the rest of the story” about my trip to Kansas. (I went there to run a half, after all).

After a glorious night of sweet slumber we woke up on the call of our first alarm the next morning.  I’m a morning shower kinda gal so while I got all cleaned up, Kelsey fixed her morning breakfast.  That shower gave me a lot of time to think about the race I had ahead of me, but unbelievably I had no nerves.  Shocker!  We hit the road as soon as we got ready and cruised down the highway singing some country jams with a side of PitBull.  Unfortunately for us traffic was super backed up!  Small roads and lots of people don’t mesh super well, but thank goodness the race directors took this into account and delayed the race.

sad that we are missing pre-race festivities.

After a quick trip to the port-a-potty, K1 and I hopped in line near the 2:20 pacers and wished each other luck.  Since I hadn’t exactly “trained” going into this I repeatedly told her to go on without me as soon as she was able.  Not soon after we crossed the start, K1 took off and I was left to chat it up with the pace group.  It was my first time running with a group like this but listening to the conversations sure did help time go by a lot faster.  Since the course was an out and back, I was super surprised at how much camaraderie there was among the front of the packers.  Typically those close to the front are quiet and don’t say anything–but this time they were clapping, high fiving, and yelling words of encouragement at those of us near the back.  Seeing that was a proud moment for me as a runner.

Going into this race, I thought Kansas was nothing but wide open fields and flat farmland.  Boy was I wrong.  Kansas gave Knoxville a run for her money with all the hills we “ran” into.  I made it to the four mile mark with the pace group then decided that I could not hold that pace for the rest of the race and the hills so I quietly backed off and let them pass.  There were multiple aid stations on the course–some even offering chocolate!  My kinda race!  The sun beating down on me seemingly made my thirst levels rise so I took way too many waters and Gatorades.  Around mile 9 my “pace chart” that I had Sharpied to my forearm had been sweated off and I was feeling the pain that comes with any long distance race event.  After the 2:35 pace group passed me I knew that this race wouldn’t even come close to my PR that I had just set one month ago.

schaweeeeet medal. not stopping until i get it!

Promptly passing the ten mile marker my stomach got the past of me and I stopped to throw up.  Luckily it was just pure liquid and nothing to make me feel even more sick.  That was the point I decided to just walk the 3 miles back to the finish line.  I walk three miles with my Momma all the time back home so I knew I had it in me.  Seeing the finish line and hearing my sweet new friend Kelsey proudly ringing her cowbell and screaming “GO GIRL” at me made the finish so entirely worth it.

straight up after finishing.

Every finisher got a great medal and a cowbell!  Mine was Tennessee orange–coincidence, obviously.   The post race part was to die for.  They had so many different things to drink (I opted for chocolate milk) in addition to fares like hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, and LOTS of baked goods made by local moms.  Did I eat any of it?  Heck no, my stomach would have murdered me.  We did however collect our free t-shirts since we had painted our nails with cows on them.  K1 was also able to cash in on a sweet medal she got for completing the Heartland Series 39.3- a three half marathon race series.  Way to go, Kelsey!

showing some Kelsey love.

Mooooove over Manicures

After a relaxing drive home and some MUCH needed showers, we were off to get some frozen yogurt and enjoy shopping.  The locals didn’t much approve of my Norts combined with compression sleeves.  Shortly following my comment that I was craving pizza, Kelsey’s parents called to invite us to a pizza buffet for her little brother’s birthday.  They must have ESPN or something…but we caved.  I gladly piled my plate full of every pizza offered including macaroni/cheese pizza (perfect carbo load, right?) and Kelsey ate her weight in salad.

post run fro-yo. an obvious given.

see anything wrong with this photo?

Overall the Running with the Cows Half Marathon was a fantastic race!  The shirts and medals were flawlessly designed, the packet pick up was a breeze, the course support and aid stations were well stocked and had ridiculously awesome volunteers, and the post race food was something to be rivaled.  Not to mention they realized the traffic incident and delayed the race to accommodate everyone.  Everyone was so nice and really made a Southern girl feel welcome.  Although this wasn’t my best race, the race itself was phenomenal and hopefully I can return sometime and do it again!  Huge thanks to my girl/twin/sister Kelsey for hosting me and showing me a great time!  Definitely a weekend to remember!

Kansas/Kelsey Squared Trip

A while back when the blog was featured on SkinnyRunner I met a fellow blogger who was virtually the same exact person as me…right down to the same name/same spelling.  Kelsey is my long lost twin who just happens to live in Kansas! (To spare the confusion of people thinking I am referring to myself in third person, we will respectfully refer to sweet Kelsey as K1).  So when I found out about a half marathon she was doing in her little Kansas town I began researching.  The race was cheap and I would have a place to stay plus have some great company but the cost of travel was just too much.  When the end of the semester grades came out and I discovered that I had made the Dean’s List, my dad opted to buy me a plane ticket as a reward and just like that I was Kansas bound.  Look out, Dorothy.

early morning wake up call.

My dad and I took the three hour drive to Nashville and before I knew it I was in the air headed to knock off state number three on my fifty state quest.  After a long layover in Cincinnati, Kansas welcomed me with open arms.  This was my first time ever traveling like this to meet another blogger so I was a tad nervous but worry was quickly washed away when I saw a friendly face waiting for me at the arrival gate.

Que girl’s weekend.  K1 gave me the grand tour of Kansas including a life changing trip to Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ.  I love eating at local joints when visiting a new place and this restaurant definitely hit the spot.  The line just to order was about 40 people deep.  So incredibly worth it.

standing in line for Oklahoma Joe’s

We hit up packet pick up at the local Dick’s Sporting Goods.  This particular location was two stories.  I repeat, two stories.  Complete with an escalator.  My life is now complete.  The lady at registration told us if we displayed something cow related on race day then we would get a free t-shirt.  Good insider information.

packet pick up.

After eating our little hearts out it was an early bedtime (for me at least).  Sleeping in the next morning was heaven on a stick.  K1 wanted to know what my Tennessee dancing skills were all about so we went to her gym that morning for Zumba.  Great gym, great instructor, and great energy.  My dance moves?  Not so much.

the epitome of the zumba class. me trying to have swag while K1 looks like a pro.

Afterwards we went to Downtown KC to indulge in Yogurtini.  Puts anything in Knoxville to shame.  Their bowls even hold 32 ounces.  I was so drunk on the fro-yo, but K1’s “bucket” was beyond anything I could have concocted.

doesn’t even do it justice.

Downtown featured lots of shopping and people watching.  Monks even stand on the corner playing the accordion for tips.  I was able to purchase a few things from stores that we don’t have here locally.

shopping downtown.

I was able to experience a lot of “firsts” on this trip.  The first first being a trip to Trader Joe’s.  Is it shocking that I’m a blogger and have never been to TJ?   I think yes.

TJ, come to Knoxville!

Another first would be my very first time on a motorcycle.  Cruising down the highway going about 75 miles per hour on the back of  a two wheeler put the fear of God in me but it was a great new experience.

first time on a two wheeler.

On the way home we swung by Chick Fil A to redeem a free sandwich coupon we got in our race packets.  This was definitely the perfect pre race meal.  K1 rocked it and created the biggest salad I’ve ever seen in my life as her pre race.  Props to her for putting down so many greens.

pre race goodness.

Before we knew it…bedtime.  I’m a real granny when it comes to getting sleep.  I prefer at least nine hours a night so getting to bed early on race night was super imperative for me.  I was out like a light as soon as I laid down…just ask K1. But, we had a half marathon to run the next day…

Coming tomorrow: Race Recap!

NUUN Hood to Coast Application

Last August I stalked Facebook and Twitter the entire time the famous Hood to Coast Relay was going on.  Why?  Because my track club had an all boys team out there running it and NUUN had sponsored two teams that included some of my favorite female bloggers.  By the end of it, my track club had won 1st place overall (beating Nike) and the NUUN teams had some fabulous pictures to show.  Needless to say I was one jealous girl.

Fast forward to this year and I noticed that the application had been offered again.  After seeing my club win last year and seeing all the fun that my fellow bloggers had, I just knew I had to submit an application.  With some help from my roommate, we created a video application.  And it is pretty cool if I do say so myself.

Fingers crossed that NUUN will see how super rocking fantastic I am and see that bigger girls can represent too!  If you think I’m deserving of being on this team, then let me know here!   Or you can tweet to @nuunhydration and tell them @thegogirlblog needs to be on the team!  Leaving small east Tennessee and traveling across the country to run 197 miles with some phenomenal female bloggers would be the chance of a lifetime!  And who else is going to bring the y’all?