Run The Bluegrass Half Marathon
March 29, 2014
State: Kentucky (#15)
One of the best parts of this race was the start time - 9am. Since it wasn't crazy early and we didn't have to go far for the start, we got to "sleep in". It was so nice!
After getting in some breakfast, it turned to a lengthy debate about what to wear. The weather was calling for rain and it was only going to be in the low 40's. I think all of us brought multiple outfits to the start to see how it would turn out. Plus dry clothing to put on afterwards.
I ended up running in capri's, a long sleeve shirt and running vest. With gloves and a headband to cover my ears.
We got to the start about 8:15. They recommended everyone get there early since they had to close some of the roads. We could see the start from the car, so we waited in the car as long as possible. About 15 minutes before the start, we made our way over to it.
Even though we were so close to the car, I still checked a bag. I wanted my dry clothing easily accessible and since I would be done first in the group, I checked the car key in my bag (since it was a rental, the keys and chain were huge and not feasible to run with).
After that, we quickly lined up for the start. It hadn't started raining yet at this point, but there was heavy mist in the air and you could tell it would soon. The race started promptly at 9am (which was great because I didn't want to stand around any longer then necessary!) and off we went.
The entire course was on the Bluegrass Scenic driving trail and went past lots of horse farms. The course was hilly, but also incredibly beautiful. The sites kept my mind distracted. I was to run the first 7 easy and then pick it up for the last 6 if I was feeling up to it. I won't lie, those first 7 miles were HILLY and I wasn't sure if I would be able to pick it up. It was just continuous rolling hills. Up and down, up and down.
The water stations were well spaced out and I thought the volunteers working them were really great. Especially when it started to really rain around mile 8. Tough to run out there in the rain, but even tougher to stand around. Thank you volunteers!
The mile 7 marker was literally at the bottom of a big hill. I decided to push it slightly up the hill and hopefully make up the time on the downhill. I was going to just take each mile 1 at a time and focus on my pace for that mile. No need to go crazy thinking about all 6 miles at once. It was hard to hold the pace on the uphills, but the downhills balanced it out so the paces were all under where they should have been, so that was good!
It started lightly raining around mile 5, but really started to come down around mile 8. It was also incredibly windy, so the rain was almost going sideways. I was very happy to only be 5 miles from the finish. The last 5 miles are kind of a blur. I was so focused on not freezing to death and trying to take in the sites (keep my mind off the cold), I don't remember much. I do remember picking up the pace for the last mile because I really wanted to be done.
Crossing the finishing line felt great - until I stopped moving and realized how cold I was. I collected my medal, a water and gatorade as well as some post race food. They had a great selection and were handing out bags to put all the food in. So smart!
The medal is honestly one of the best ones I've gotten. It was a nice heavy weight and the design was so detailed and really beautiful. The race honors a different champion thoroughbred each year and they use their race colors for the shirt and ribbon. The horse is featured on the medal as well. This years horse was Zenyatta, so the colors were Tiffany blue and pink.
The race had organized a post race festival - band playing, lots of food vendors and beer (we got one included with our registration). Obviously the rain forced everything inside. It seemed like a lot of people hung out, but after getting my free beer and gear bag (and promptly changing into as much dry clothing as possible), I headed back to the car. Back at the car, I put the heat on full, finally warmed up and waited for the other girls to finish.
Weather not included, I thought this was a great race. It's unfortunately the weather was bad, but that is out of the organizers control. I thought they did a great job - we got a really nice shirt and medal, the branding was cute, the expo was well organized and getting to and from the start was easy. The race had worked out a great deal with the local Marriott (which was really nice hotel) and it was super affordable, which was appreciated by these out of towners. They communicated well throughout the months leading up to the race and dealt with the rain well. If you are looking for a Kentucky race, I highly recommend this one!
Official: 13.1 mi, 2:00:52, 9:14 pace
Garmin: 13.09 mi, 2:00:57, 9:15 pace
|Seriously beautiful medal!|