Well, the moment you have all been waiting for…or not. Either way, your gonna hear a recap of my half marathon last weekend. I mean, if you keep reading this post…
Let’s start at the beginning. I spent all last week at home, on the couch, sick with a nasty cold that knocked me out. I just prayed the 3 sick days I took (Tuesday through Thursday, I already had Friday off) would pay off and I would wake up Saturday morning feeling 100% myself again. I am happy to report that that is exactly what happened. Praises to the heavens.
We left Friday afternoon and headed straight to the expo at Keeneland racetrack. I’m ok talking about it now, but there were actually s!#$ flakes on our drive there! IN KENTUCKY!!! THREE HOURS SOUTH OF COLUMBUS!! The nerve of the weather. But I wasn’t gonna let it get me down. Not with the scenery we had.
Got my race packet, talked with Kris from Finish Line Engravers, then we headed to our hotel. P.S. Last year, for the Cleveland half marathon, the hotel I picked was g-h-e-t-t-o. So everyone was a little bit worried about what I had up my sleeve for them this time. And I am happy to report, I did much better. It was in a decent part of town, and the room was really nice – we actually had hardwood floors instead of carpet and that made me happy. I hate carpet.
But enough about the hotel room.
Also, since whenever I try to plan things in advance and have things/addresses ready, ends up epically failing, I decided I wasn’t planning ANYTHING for this trip and we would just find restaurants once there. So we looked through Urbanspoon for some pizza joints that had good reviews, and lo and behold, we ended up at THE best pizza place in Lexington. I mean, I’m speculating that it was the best…
Before we had left the hotel for dinner, I was skimming through the race book, and realized that the race didn’t start until 9:00. 9:00!!!!!!!!!! Guys. You can’t even begin to know how excited I was about that. Since I’m not an early morning runner to begin with, I was ECSTATIC that we were gonna be able to sleep in on Saturday! Until 6:00!! No 3:00 am wake up calls for US! So we took our time going to dinner and getting back to the hotel. It was nice.
But as soon as all 6 alarms went off at 5:55, 5:57, 6:00, 6:03, 6:05, and 6:07 (I’m always afraid i’m going to sleep through the alarm…or that my phone will die in the middle of the night.), we noticed there was a Starbucks right smack dab in front of the hotel, so my mom and I made a coffee run. It’s like God was totally looking out for us all weekend with all the little details.
It felt good to sleep in until 6:00. We left the hotel about 7:30 because they said to get there by 8. But before we left, we spent the whole morning listening to the news guy talk about “how it’s record breaking cold this time of year” and “there is a race going on today and we are so sorry all you runners, but you better layer!” Blah blah blah. Thanks dude. Regardless, It. Was. Gorgeous! These pictures don’t even do it justice.
I have to say, this race was very well organized. The traffic going IN and parking, was organized. The start was well organized and fun and upbeat. The finish line was smooth. Mile 9 was for Meg, and since her husband, Scott was at this race, and ran it, and lots of Megs supporters were there, they had her “tennis shoes statue” at mile 9. It was definitely a sight that left you with a lump in your throat. (If you don’t know about Meg, she was hit and killed last year by a drunk driver while she was running with her husband, and training for Boston. She was less than a mile from home. She left 3 kids and her husband behind, and people all over the world have rallied around her family to support them, dedicate miles to Meg, and give to them financially.) Always remember to appreciate the miles you are able to go! Not everyone CAN!
I started the run with no music. I wanted to enjoy the scenery and really listen to my body since I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy between my knee pain and all the hills. I didn’t even turn my music on until mile 11. I have to say, having the hills start at mile .04, it really makes ya pace yourself early on. Around mile 2, I heard a guy behind me tell another guy to enjoy the flat road we were running on, because that was the ONLY flat part of the race. Pretty sure as soon as he finished that statement, we started heading up a hill.
Honestly though, I think that was my easiest half marathon. No clue why. Maybe because the hills FORCED me to slow down right out of the gate, and by doing so, I had a little somethin’-somethin’ for the end. Either way, I really felt great. And I rarely looked at my watch. I think between all the scenery, and focusing on my form and the hills, my mind wasn’t running free and I was just enjoying every single step. I still had the KT tape on and I could feel my knee the whole time, but it wasn’t unbearable. And I made sure to really focus on how I landed, and especially going downhills because that is when it usually hurts the most. It wasn’t really until mile 9, when the mega-hill-curve approached, that I had to walk up the hill, and THAT is when my knee starting hurting a little. But for the most part, I only needed a couple short walk breaks uphill after that.
Mile 13 was super fun too. It was completely uphill. Gradually uphill. Good times. I followed a runner with her dog for the last couple of miles and kept thinking, “if this dog can run 13 miles, by golly, I can too!” There were actually quite a few dogs that ran it! AND kids! Most kids did the 7 miler, but I did see 1 or 2 kids who did the half.
Overall, I was super happy with this race. And happy with my time considering the hilly course and my knee pain. I will definitely do this race again! This was the 5th year they had it, and they had 4,000 runners. Register by this Friday for $60 and you can run it with me next year! It seriously IS “America’s prettiest half marathon”!
At the finish line, I got to hear all about how my mom and Hus got to take a tour of the racetrack and grandstands. I thought that was really cool that they had tours for people waiting for their runners and they really enjoyed it too.
We all had a really good weekend, and after the race, we found a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that was voted best burgers in town – Meadowthorpe Cafe. I was bummed they weren’t serving breakfast anymore, but after those burgers and endless fries, I’m GLAD I didn’t get to have pancakes!
Oh! A couple more things!
1. They didn’t have Gatorade at the water stops! I was so happy about that. Not that I stop and get a drink at the water stops, but even if I wanted to, I would never drink Gatorade. They had a drink called ‘Sword‘, and I DID get some at the end and it was really good! And didn’t upset my stomach!
2. I saw a shirt that said: “if you see me pass out, pause my Garmin”. Love.
3. The race actually provided a “wintertime treadmill incline training plan” specifically for this hilly race. Wish I paid attention to these kinds of things and used it over the winter! haha
Ok. I think that’s it! I just can’t say enough great things about this race and I already can’t wait for next year! Again, if you wanna do it too, you can register here.
And here is a little video that a runner put together that REALLY gives a great view of the race!