I have to start with telling you about the drive down to Kearney. Dan the Man had to stay home to take care of the chickens and the cattle so I went to Kearney by myself. If Dan the Man would have been with me and especially if he had been driving, this would have never happened.
For those of you who do not know about Nebraska... it is a long ways from Western Nebraska to the other end of the state. Our ranch is located about 4 miles from the Wyoming state line and Kearney is about 292 miles from the ranch according to Google Maps. It takes about 5 hours to get there. The drive can be monotonous at times, but also quite beautiful.
I left a little after noon and was in a hurry to get to Kearney. We, the boys and Katy, had planned on going out to dinner for Chris's birthday and I didn't want to be too late getting there especially since I would be losing an hour due to the different time zone. So, there I was, in the the middle of Nebraska, just a mile or two from the middle of no where, radio blaring, me signing along to every song, when out of no where a sheriff car comes over the hill towards me. Ooops! My eyes drop to see what my speedometer is saying, although I didn't need to look, I had set the darn cruise control thing to 74 mph. Never-mind that the speed limit was 65 mph. So, I turned off the cursed speed control thingy and slowed down to the proper speed limit. Need less to say, that did not appease the sheriff, he turned around and come promptly after me with his pretty lights flashing.
I pulled my car over onto the shoulder, turned off the radio, got my registration, insurance card and driver's license out for him and patiently awaited his presence at my window.
The following is an actual conversation between the overly excited women driving to her first 5K race and the officer who pulled her over for speeding. The name of the officer has not been divulged for the officer's privacy:
Officer: Ma'am, I am Officer Such-A-Nice-Guy with the Middle-of-No-Where Sheriff's Department. The reason I am pulling you over is because you were speeding. Can I see your registration, insurance card and driver's license.
(I had them conveniently in my hand and handed them over.)
Officer: Thank you ma'am, I will be right back.
County Chicken Girl: Ok (what else was I going to say? "See you later sucker!" and drive off like a bat out of hell!)
After a few minutes he returned with my documents in hand.
Officer: I am only going to give you a warning today ma'am. I am sure your car is fast, but you need to keep it under the speed limit. (Did I mention my little car is a 2012 beautiful Black Mustang?)
Country Chicken Girl: Thank you! I really appreciate it! I am on my way to Kearney to race in the Komen Race for the Cure tomorrow!! It is my first 5K EVER and I am so excited!! I am also collecting pledges for the cure. Right now I am in 2nd place for the top individual fundraiser and I have a goal of $1000. Would you like to make a donation??? Huh, huh, would ya, could ya? (actually I did not say that last sentence!)
Officer, laughing politely: Well, you have fun and good luck!
I took the polite laughter as a "no" to the donation and thought I'd better not press my luck so said nothing more except for "Thank you, I will!"
I was on my way again, this time within the speed limit. Chris called to let me know that dinner plans had changed and Katy was making us dinner, chicken tetrazzini (which btw, was delcious!) so I didn't have to "hurry" to get there.
After dinner, it was bedtime for me. I was exhausted and knew I might have a hard time sleeping since I was so excited for the race. And, I did. I kept waking up in the middle of the night to check and see what time it was. I did not want to over sleep and miss the race.
The race was to start at 7:15 so we left the house at 6:45. Kearney is not that big of a town, so we had plenty of time to get to UNK's campus (where the race was held), find a parking place and get to the starting line. We walked around a little before the race and looked at some of the vendor booths. I was surprised that there were not very many vendor booths. My mother-in-law has done the Race for the Cure in Denver and she told me that there were tons of booths. This is the second year that Kearney has had a Race for the Cure, so I am sure it will grow in the years to come.
Katy and me before the race. It's still dark out!
When it was time to gather at the start, I became extremely nervous, excited and cold! I wasn't really worried about anything, the race course was pretty simple, so I didn't think I could possibly get lost. Chris and Katy gave me words of encouragement as I went to go stand in the starting line. A CANNON was fired to begin the race. I think it startled at least 99% of the crowd. BOOOOM, and just like that, I was running my first 5K race.
It was kind of crazy. I felt like I was running in a herd of cattle being let out to pasture in the Spring. Everyone was so excited and full of energy! I can't really describe it. I had to keep myself from sprinting, I knew I would be in trouble if I did not calm down and get into my rhythm and run at MY pace. With a few prayers to God, I was able to calm down and let my legs set my pace.
I think I was pretty much smiling the whole race. Well, if not on the outside, I WAS on the inside! There was a water station at the half way mark. I really wasn't thirsty, but figured the water station was part of the race experience and thirsty or not, I was going to partake! I did not want to miss out on any aspect of my first race. I found out that it is impossible to drink out of a little plastic cup while jogging. The water kept sloshing up in my face and going up my nose instead of down my throat. I tossed the cup, still half full of water in the garbage can. As I continued the run, I was contemplating if I had done the water thing correctly or not. Maybe you are just suppose to swish it around on your mouth or something? I really had no idea what I was doing?!?! Perhaps I should have done a little more reading about how to run one of these crazy things!
The one thing that I did know was that I was having fun and reaching one of my goals that I had set for myself and even if I ended up in last place, I still will have placed in the race!
There were lots of race volunteers manning the course so you knew right where you should be going and even cheerleaders along the way. I felt like a real runner as they cheered me on! Chris and Katy kept showing up at various corners and were taking my picture! Awww, such sweet kids.
As I neared the finish line, I could hear the upbeat music they had cranked up loud at the finish. I suddenly felt a burst of energy and was able to pick up my pace and as I rounded the last corner and had the finish line in sight I actually started sprinting! I felt like I was running a million miles per hour. I felt like an Olympian!
This is what I felt like as I ran the last bit. I love this song!! Without God's grace, I would have never crossed that finish line. You might want to click on the link that takes you to YouTube so you can read the lyrics to the song.
I ended up running the race in 30:35. Not bad for an old lady who is pretending to be a runner! I realized after looking at the results of the race, I have a lot of room for improvement. The fastest time in my age group (40-49) was 20:47, Stephani Olson who is 49! Second fastest was 21:02, Deena Sughroue age 48. I placed towards the bottom, but not at the bottom, and if I had placed at the bottom, at least I placed! I was 19 out of 23 for my age group and 85 out of 112 (females only) and 123 out of 157 (total number or runners, including men).
I also participated in the bottled water and banana after the race. Another vital race experience I did not want to miss out on. Actually, it was the best tasting banana I had had in a long time.
By the time the race was over, Kara, Katy's friend (and now Skyler's friend, wink, wink), had joined up with Chris and Katy. Kara was going to walk with Katy in the fun walk/run which wasn't going to start for a little while so we once again went around and looked at all the vendors. It felt good to walk around after the race and by the time it was time for the walk, I had decided that I would do that with Katy and Kara. What was another 3 miles?
There were quite a few people who were doing the walk and when that cannon went off to start the walk, the whole crowd collectively gasped because it startled them. Wish I had a recording of it, it was pretty funny! It took us 51 minutes to walk.
I'm having a hard time putting the emotions I felt during the race and walk down on "paper." I will admit that I was pretty proud of myself for running the race and I also felt so incredibly blessed by the support of my friends and family in raising over $1000! My heart aches for the millions of women stricken with the disease, especially those women I know personally. I couldn't help but get a little choked-up during the race as I passed a participant, much younger than me wearing a pink race shirt. The pink race shirt denoted that she is a survivor. I looked down at the pink bracelet I was wearing for a dear friend of mine who is undergoing chemo. I thought, next year it will be an honor to run this race with her! I hope we do it! I just can't even imagine the pain and suffering that must come with the battle. What strength and courage these women must have. What an awful, awful, awful disease! Cancer just sucks, that is all there is to it.
I also thought about how far cancer treatment and the ways of detecting it has come over the last 20 years. WOW! Thank God for the continuing strides being made in beating this devastating disease. Thank God for sparing me from this disease. I know I am just a statistic away from being stricken. I will run again in this race...
As I was driving home, I had crazy thoughts of organizing a Western Nebraska TEAM to make a presence at the Central Nebraska Race for the Cure next year! I was thinking we could charter a bus, which hopefully I could get donated, stay the night Friday night, race Saturday and come home Saturday late afternoon or so'ish. I was thinking that if we (I don't know who this "we" is yet, but I'll need help organizing this thing) could get 20 people to go and we each raised $1000, that would be $20,000 for the cure! Or if we each just rasied $500, that would be $10,000! So who wants to go next year?!?!?
The goal for the Race for the Cure was $40,000. According to their webpage, they raised $25,669.25. If Western Nebraska took part, we could most certainly help meet that goal, in my opinion.
Click here for race information and the race results.
That's me, the one in the BRIGHT pink!
Around the 2 mile mark.
My hair looks like wings!
On the home stretch now!
Kara, Kathi and Katy before the fun run/walk.
During the walk!
The end finish line!
One of the fraternities formed a tunnel for us to walk through.
Nice touch men!
Our time for the walk.
Special Mustang that was on display.
There was a all pink response vehicle that we could all sign.