2017 Blue Grass 5k – Race Review
The 2017 event was held as part of the Blue Grass Days weekend. The 5k and one mile race was on Friday, June 2,. The 1 mile started at 6pm and the 5k at 7pm. It was sunny, hot and around 84 degrees.I have run this race before – oh I know you are shocked to learn this information! However, I hadn’t run in 3 years, it’s the same weekend as Hospital Hill in Kansas City. With no race on the schedule this year, I was in need of something, and then I remembered this race, plus I could hang with my sister, Amber and niece, Ella.
I was in contact with my sister during the day. I was curious if Ella was going to run the kids race. At the time, I wasn’t sure what distance it was or what time it started. Ha, yeah…. I just knew when I needed to leave to get to the 5k, and still have enough time to register.
At 4:50 pm, Amber texted and said, Ella was going to run the mile, WAIT, WUT? Ok….. I was at work…and still needed to wrap things up, and get my running gear on – then drive the 40 minutes to the race.
It was the quick change performance of a lifetime, and I was in Blue Grass in a flash. My biggest issue was parking. It’s a super small town, but at the same time, I didn’t want to take a parking spot for a resident, or be in a towing zone. I finally just parked my car, and hustled to the Community Center.
It was 5:49 pm, plenty of time, and Amber and Ella weren’t even there yet. I was registering for the 5k, a whopping $10 – yes, let’s take a minute here, $10 an hour before race start – with chip timing. I could spend $10 more and get the short sleeve, unisex tech shirt if I wanted too. Amber rolled in and paid $5 for Ella to run the mile. In seconds, she had a bib and a timing chip attached, and was at the starting line.
6:00 pm. Ella had never run this far, EVER. I was going to run it with her, just to make sure nothing weird happened. I am not sure what the deal was, but the one mile race was only kids, all younger than 12? There were also not very many of them. I wondered if anyone could run the mile?
After a short delay and some direction from the RD about which way to go, the race started. Ella shot off, I jumped in beside her, and we were on our way.
The course was an out and back, all on paved surface, but many spots to be aware of, and not trip. The course was closed to traffic.
There was one other girl running, the rest were boys. The other girl had a guardian with her too, otherwise all the kids were out there by themselves. Ok, so there was a water stop…. but it was strange.
Ella and I moved along, it was hot and I was worried she would feel sick or something. However, that was far from the truth. Before the turnaround, she was skipping and even said “This is fun!” We turned around and she saw some of her friends on the course. I encouraged her to thank all the police officers at the intersections. We passed the water stop, which she insisted she did not need, and we kept moving.
It was time to make the sprint to the finish line. I ditched her, I had a timing chip on my shoe that couldn’t cross the finish mat… but mostly so she could finish on her own. She crossed the finish line in 10:38 – DAMN GIRL!! She ran the entire race, I was and still am so proud!!
There was now a lot of time to waste until the 5k. Ella had her post race popsicle and really wanted to go check out the carnival and festivities that were happening in town. We managed to keep her distracted until the start of the 5k, by running into my friend Dan, and his dog Phil. They were going to do the 5k too.
Just before 7pm, the RD made some announcements, making sure to thank everyone, and I mean everyone. Then there was a nice live singing of the National Anthem.
I lined up, and took off… weee – Amber even snapped a picture of me – HEY!
As I said, I have run this before, but I should mention it was a much simpler race. There was no chip timing, you finished and grabbed a popsicle stick to determine your placement. The course, while the same also went the opposite direction the previous time. I overhead someone talking about this, so I inquired why the route was run in the opposite direction. I learned that the runners wanted the hill towards the beginning versus the end of the race. I rolled my eyes… this course is relatively flat with a small hill… looking at my Garmin / Strava stats… there was a total of 46 feet of climbing – sigh… and that hill was 20 feet…so yeah…people need to stop whining about hills, and just run them.
I was actually gonna try and race this…yes it was hot, yes I haven’t really done any speed work, but what the heck, why not? Just before the first water stop – which was full 16 oz plastic bottles (that I took a sip and handed to Ella) – I saw one of my sister’s friends…it was my goal to beat her. So just after the first mile, it was on!!
It was all I could do to catch her… I did pound out an 8:37 first mile though – go me! I caught up with her just before mile 2, which I ran at 8:50 – and for me that’s still speedy – Also it was 84 degrees on pavement or asphalt, – HOT! Soo now what… ugh cotton mouth – I need to stop spitting – I’m gross. The second water stop had plastic cups and a hose spraying water, I tried not to slow down, so the person wouldn’t pass me, but I took a much needed drink.
I think every member of the area fire department or law enforcement was on the course, blocking every intersection. The entire course is closed to traffic, shutting down the easiest way around. I would like to thank all the volunteers who put up with the small minded people who couldn’t wait 5 minutes to cross the road. I saw 2 incidents of pissy people throwing a fit because the road was closed and they couldn’t wait or go around.
Whew, now time to push that last mile… there was one more water stop with paper cups, I stopped. Yep, a 5k with 3 water stops – THANK YOU! I also didn’t take much time here…and I had also gained on my competition, even though I was slowing down…my third mile was 8:56…however still sub 9 – wahoo!
I made that last turn, and saw Amber and Ella cheering me in. I crossed the finish line with a time of 27:3? which was good enough for 4th in my AG…always 4th…I was a convincing 4th place though, it wasn’t close. The 35-39 AG is very competitive – I would have won the 30-34 .
I hung around for a while, chatted with others ate my post race popsicle. Ella finally got to go to the carnival area. We reconvened and waited for the awards ceremony, indulging on our free “beers.” Ella and I got a wooden nickel with our registration to redeem for a free drink. I don’t care for the beer selection they offered so I took a soda, and Amber used Ella’s for a Coors Light.
We cheered as the awards were presented. Ella’s name was announced as the female winner of the mile – WAHOOOOO!!!!! She all the sudden was very shy and grabbed my hand and pulled me along to the stage to collect her trophy. The kid got a trophy! It was pretty cool.
It was getting late, and I had to stop back at work and gather my things, and eventually get home. We ended the evening with a celebratory ice cream from Casey’s.
As far as the race goes, I can not recommend it enough. $10 on race day, with chip timing, free beer, flat course, accurate 3.1 miles…what more could you ask for? Ok, small town Iowa, but I have paid more and gotten less, so do this race!
I also hope Ella will continue to think running is fun. I may have to order us matching unicorn / rainbow running skirts.