The Great Buffalo Chase 5K – Frankfort, KY (July 4, 2012)
Race: The Great Buffalo Chase 5K
Place: Frankfort, KY
Date: July 4, 2012
Okay…I’m going to admit it. I’m more than a little ticked at the official results for The Great Buffalo Chase 5K race. Why? Because according to my Garmin, I finished at 24:59, as opposed to the 25:01 I’m listed under. But…what can you do? You have to go off the official, even though I started my Garmin when the air horn blew and stopped it after I crossed the finish. Whatever. It wasn’t going to be a new PR anyway, but I’m sort of protective of that sub-24 minute I set. I’ll let it slide this time as it was around 86 degrees out and extremely humid that morning.
Happy 4th of July!! Get out of bed early, despite dealing with neighbors setting off fireworks (during a ban) into the wee hours of the night, and get in the car to get to Frankfort, Kentucky. That was what happened. The full moon was still shining down on us as my roommate and I stepped out into the heavy, moist air that morning and packed up the car for our little sojourn to Frankfort (again). I was more than a little tired and was nowhere near awake as we drove to Buffalo Trace Distillery, the start and finish of the annual Great Buffalo Chase 5K.
I knew this race was going to be bigger than most in the Frankfort area, because cash prizes were being waved. BIG cash prizes. Like…come in first and win $3000. Yeah…like that. So it was no surprise to arrive to a line of traffic, some very fit runners, and the ‘Kenyan”-types (who basically won it all). Sure, I had dreams of winning that cash for myself, but…I’m not that fast of a runner. I was looking at the previous year times and the winner came in at 16 minutes and change. At 16 minutes, exactly, I was at Mile 2.
The other plan was to just run the hell out of this race. Just push myself as hard as I could possibly manage and find out just what I can do during a 5K race. I sometimes feel I just glide through and don’t really challenge myself at races until that last mile. If I did it more during the first part, I might actually see some progress. But the heat, humidity, and excessive heat index took away that option as well. The best thing to do was to just run a smart, good, fun race.
And that’s what I ended up doing in the end.
But…we’ll get there. First…upon arrival, I headed to the Visitor Center of the Buffalo Trace Distillery to get my packet. The line in there was rather crazy, but it didn’t move too slowly. It might have taken about 10 minutes total to get through the line and get my packet and t-shirt. I snagged a sip of water from the water cooler before heading out to get my number pinned on and head out to stretch out my limbs, not just from the morning car ride, but to prepare for the race.
There wasn’t too much time to do that though. No sooner had I started that the race director was on a bullhorn telling runners to head to the starting line as the race would be starting in 15 minutes. Wow. Okay. Minor stretching done…both Cathy and I started to trek toward where the start would be. We had a lot of people behind us too as well as in front of us. Big race…you betcha!
No time for niceties at the start line either. I got a good luck hug from my roommate and went to find a place in the mass of runners lining up. I went back a little way, then realized there was no timing chip on this race…so I moved up as close as I dared and stayed there through the announcements and the instructions on our start. I got my Garmin working on finding its satellites and then worried with my iPod. I got both prepped just in time, because we heard “Runners ready…” And then…an air horn blast sent us off for the race.
This was a relatively flat out-and-back 5K race. There were some very minor rolling hills, but no steep inclines to sap your energy. Instead, the heat would do that. So thank God we only had to deal with one and not both.
The first mile of the race is around the warehouses buildings located inside the distillery grounds. They took extra precautions to cover up tracks that run through there so no runners would trip or get their foot stuck. I appreciated that effort. After hit the the warehouse area, we head out onto the roads and begin to make our way around the beautiful ponds via the roads around Buffalo Trace Distllery. Mile 1 came and went and I was making better time than I anticipated.
As I made my way toward Mile 2, we ran over a rolling country hill and headed back in toward the warehouses. And this is where it gets evil, friends. The race actually rounds back around two warehouse buildings, which leads runners right past where the finish line is sitting and waiting. The crowd waiting there was awesome and shouted out support for everyone as they began to make their way back around and out of the parking lot to head back the way we all came and back toward the distillery one more time.
As I was making my way into Mile 3, I was nearing the end. And as I ran over a bridge, I passed a young boy who was wheezing heavily in the heat of the morning. I asked if he was okay and he said he’d be fine. At his wave to continue on I went. And I pushed it as much as I could toward the finish line. Like I said, it was hot and heat just saps me of any push at the end. I gave it what I could muster and crossed that finish line.
As I mentioned, there were no timing tags on this race, so we had to stay in line and hand over the bottom part of our race bibs in the order we came in. I stopped my Garmin watch as I crossed the finish and it read 24:59. But…official results had something to say about that. But after I handed over my number, I made my way over to where there was some ice cold water waiting, grabbed a bottle and downed it. I was dripping sweat from the heat and just needed to cool down. But I had places to be, unfortunately, so no time to really cool down and dry off. I grabbed my running bag and went into the bathroom to try to mop myself down and get changed. I managed.
More water was downed as I came back outside and then I posed with the buffalo statue. Racers were still coming in. An ambulance pulled up as we were preparing to leave. Apparently a female runner pushed too hard in the oppressive heat that morning and they were coming to check on her. Cathy and I bid adieu to the race and headed out for the rest of the day in Lexington, Kentucky…which involved gluten-free pasta for me for lunch at a local Italian place and a showing of The Amazing Spiderman at the movie theater there. It was a good day.
It took an entire day to get the official results, but they were finally posted. So, officially, my results for The Great Buffalo Chase 5K are that I finished in 25:01 (2 seconds off of my official Garmin time). I was 129/612 overall. And I was 6th in my division. Not too shabby given the heat that day and how tired I was at the start of the race. I was really hoping to just run a hard race and push myself, but with how hot it was, I had to run it smart and save that experiment for another time.
And already…I hope to go back next year and do it again. Fantastic race. I had a blast.