Sunday, November 9, 2014

Urban Bourbon Race Recap

Better late than never, right?

It's hard to believe it's been two weeks since the race but the calendar says it's true.

Thursday night we had manicotti from our local Italian store (yum yum!) and then Friday we went out for Sushi. The pre-race Sushi dinner has become a tradition for us. I think it started before a half marathon awhile back but I can't remember which one. I think the night before the race I need something light and complex and sushi seems to do that for me. It was de-lish.

Saturday morning the weather was warm. While it had gotten cold earlier in the week, the ridiculous Kentucky temperature swings went into full effect. The high for race day was in the mid-70s. I went a little conservative since it had been so cool earlier in the week and went with a tech short sleeve under layer, lighter long-sleeved top layer and capris.

We went to bed really early Friday night and I actually woke up on my own Saturday morning. I drank about 24 ounces of Poweraid and had a slice of toast with peanut butter. This ended up being the perfect pre-race meal. I felt nice and energized without being too full. Though, I did have to use the restroom a few more times than I would've liked thanks to the extra hydration. Worth it in the end, I guess.

We got to the start in plenty of time and took a second to stretch out and stay warm. When they whistled us up to the start it was pretty seamless for everyone to line up. We fell in with the 2:30 pace group since this was my goal. Really, my primary goal was to finish around 2:30, under 2:30 my stretch goal and my A goal was 2:25. My friends ended up finding us right before the gun went off. Then, we were off! Sidenote: our pace group started running about 50 yards before the start line. Wtf? This was super annoying as they took a pretty aggressive pace at it too. I wasn't too thrilled.

The race itself was kind of a blur. We ran the race last year - then the LSC Half Marathon - and had a lot of complaints about the course (namely the 1.5 mile turnaround right before the finish line). Luckily, they changed the course this year and cut out most of what I didn't like. We were aggressive the first few miles and kept what I thought was a tight pace. (Note: My garmin won't load the data from this race, so I have no splits. Ugh. Two weeks later and I'm still angry about that!). When the 2:30 group stopped to walk through the water stop we kept on. For the first few miles they were right behind us but as we made our way into the park they got farther and farther behind. It was awhile before we realized they just weren't there.

The morning couldn't have been more beautiful. The middle 4 miles of the race were primarily through Cherokee park, one of our favorite running spots. It has a special meaning to me since that's where we got engaged. The hills there are tough and I knew that this would be the most challenging segment. The first major hill around mile 4 was a monster and it left me wondering whether I had the guts for the rest of the race. After that hill, though, I felt really good. I breathed a sigh of relief when we got out of the park because I knew the hardest part was behind us. There was a slight hill after mile 5-ish that was more annoying than anything. My mind kept saying, "I thought we were done with this".

Up until mile 10 it was really a perfect race. Around then my legs started getting tired. I think my brain got tired and the voices that always creep in at the end of the race started to pop up. "I can't do this," "I'm not going to make it," "I don't have anything left." I finally turned off my music and reminded myself: you ARE doing this. Even if you walk the rest of the way, you'll finish. I also knew that we were way ahead of the 2:30 group so even if we slowed to a crawl I'd make my overall goal.

We made the last 2 miles and turned towards the finish. The closer we got to main street and the finish line the more I wanted to just break into a sprint. I was able to finish strongly and feeling really powerful. As we neared the chute I took of my headphones and let everything just soak in. It was the most powerful, emotional finish to a race I've had in a long time. It felt really good.
Urban Bourbon Half Marathon Finisher!

Hubby and I finished together in 2:25:38. Not a PR, but the fastest half I've run in a long time! We beat last year by 7 minutes, which is impressive. My girlfriends finished in 2:22 and made huge improvements from last year too. It was cause for celebration so we all grabbed a huge breakfast at one of our favorite spots. Then we spent pretty much the rest of the day just being lazy.

Half #7 in the books! If you'd' asked me 6 years ago when I started this crazy journey if I would run more than one half, I'd think it crazy that I finish even one. Here I am. It's a good place to be.

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