Running with the Cows is different than most half marathons/races. It takes place in the small community of Bucyrys, Kansas (pop 2,000) just 30 miles outside of Kansas City. It starts and finishes at Queen of the Holy Rosary and is a major fundraiser for their Catholic School. The race directors invite priests and seminarians of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas to run the race for free and seminarians can use the race to help them pay their non-educational expenses.
The course is known for it’s rolling hills and out-and-back style. There were a good amount of water stops along the way that seemed to be well supported.
The weather has always been pretty good (at least the past 3 years that I’ve ran it) and this year was no different. In fact, of the three halves I did this spring, this weather was by far the best and you couldn’t ask for better running weather. It was sunny and cool (40’s maybe?). I ended up keeping my pull-over on for the whole race. There was a small portion before the turn around that was up hill and against the wind but I was just looking forward to the turn around!
My friend Tiffany and I stayed together for the first half. It was just before the turn around that she began to pull away. I tried to keep up, but I just couldn’t.
My times lately have been the worst so, my goal was to finish better than the other two in the series. Therefore, I was shooting for anything under 2:05 (Rock the Parkway).
At mile 10 my legs felt like I had bricks as feet and my stomach began to get upset. I was still ahead of the 2:00 pace group, so I pushed forward. By this time, Tiffany was out of sight. It was so awesome to see my parents again at this point. I was able to see them in a few different places along the route. They motivate me and make me smile with their cowbells and hilarious signs.
At mile 11 I heard a group coming up behind me chatting. My heart sunk a little. Without looking, I knew it had to be the 2 hour pace group. For a few strides they began to pass me but I just couldn’t let it happen. For the rest of the race I was focused on staying ahead of the group.
The last straight away of the course lasts FOR-EVER and EVER. I was ready to be done. There were some runners that had finished and come back to cheer on friends. They were awesome support towards the end of the race and it wasn’t long that I could hear the finish line announcer and the crowd. I pushed my legs as fast as they’d go, hoping I wouldn’t fall over. I felt like I was going super fast, but in reality, I wasn’t at all. My mom, dad and sister met me at the finish with hugs and water.
I finished in 1:59- a whole 6 minutes faster than Rock the Parkway this year and 8 minutes faster than the Garmin Marathon. Success! My runs have been slow, but I hope to continue to improve and get back to those 1:52 races!
Along with running in a rural area- “with the cows,” this race has the best post-race food of any race I’ve been a part of. Folks, this is a church potluck on steroids! You won’t go hungry with a selection of pizza, cinnamon rolls, breakfast burritos, lasagna, cheese & crackers, sub sandwiches, tortilla chips & cheese/salsa, veggies & hummus, cookies, pies and MORE. Every time I turned around, there was something else!
This was my third year completing the Heartland 39.3 Series, so I got a Nike track jacket! Woot!
I got a tummy full of crackers (I couldn’t stomach much else) and a massage and then we headed off for wedding invitation shopping and maid of honor dress shopping with my sis.
I enjoyed the Series this year and so appreciated my family coming to not one, but two of the races! Having support at a race makes it more enjoyable and I tend to run better when they are there. It was also awesome to run into so many friends I that I run with!
I don’t know what’s next on my race schedule but right now I’m enjoying group runs and some time running alone. I’ve started working out twice a week with co-workers doing a lot of plyometrics and body weight lifting, which has been good for my muscles and my soul. I can feel the soreness after each workout- a constant reminder of the hard work I put in the progress I have yet to make.