I’m sorry I haven’t posted this sooner. The race really took a lot out of me. I’m just now starting to recover, and hopefully my legs will soon as well. So here’s the story.
This year was inaugural 200 mile relay race on the bourbon trail through Kentucky. The race started on Friday, Oct 9th, and ended Saturday Oct 10th at 8:30. They had a staggered start based on the projected running times of the teams. My team, The Healthaholics, started at 9:30 on Friday. We had two vans, each carrying 6 runners. Here is a breakdown of the two vans:
Runner 1 – Jim
Runner 2 – Stephanie
Runner 3 – Renee
Runner 4 – Devin
Runner 5 – Melanie
Runner 6 – Holly
Runner 7 – me
Runner 8 – JC
Runner 9 – Logan (Ironman)
Runner 10 – Suzy
Runner 11 – Timothy (Timbo Slice)
Runner 12 – Jennifer
The day started off really horrible weather wise. It was cold and rainy, and at some times, really rainy! I felt for the first van’s crew out there running in all of it. Van 2 met up at 11:30, and headed to Leg 7 exchange point. This was located at Maker’s Mark Distillery. When we got there, the rain lighted up, and stopped for a bit. I was praying that it’d stay that way for the rest of the race. I started my warm up, about 30 minutes before I projected Holly would be at the exchange to hand off the baton (slap bracelet – how cool) to me. Once I was done with my warm up, Van 1 showed up to meet us. Before my race, we took this photo:
We made our way to the small bridge that would serve as the hand off, and it of course started to lightly rain again. Stephanie called out that she saw Holly running in, so I got in position to start my run. The handoff occurred (despite Holly not noticing me at all) and off I went. I ran out toward the exit of the distillery, and onto a lonely country road. Rain was beating on me, but I didn’t care. I could see two runners ahead who had done the exchanges a short time before me. I wanted to catch them. Well, that thought was short lived, once I noticed the first couple of hills. It seemed up an down for the first 5 min, which didn’t fair well with a good start. I did catch one of the runners, who apologized to me for some reason (did she fart while I was behind her or something?). I felt good once I passed her, but then I saw it. It was a hill. A very tall, and steep hill. I never thought I was going to make it to the top, but once I did, I couldn’t catch my breath and my legs were jello. Luckily, I had about a half mile to the next hill. I recovered a bit, but never fully through the rest of the leg. I ran my best making it to the end, and it was awesome to have the team there ready for you and cheering. That’s when I handed off to JC.
Leg 7 – 5.6 miles in 54 minutes
We then made our way to each exchange, to meet up with our runner on the road, and sending off our next runner. Each locale we were getting out and cheering each other on as a team. It slowly got darker, and we got some impressive times by everyone after myself and JC (had to stop and relieve himself, and also got pooped on by a bird, hehe). Logan was great on his run, as we had expected since he was a competitor in the year’s Ironman Louisville. Suzy had a great run as well, but she’s a seasoned marathoner. Tim had the first really dark run, and he did splendid. When Tim handed off to Jennifer and got in the van, we realized he forgot to give her the baton/slap bracelet. So we had to meet her on course and make sure she had it. Jennifer’s run brought us to the next big exchange where van 1 would then take over, and we’d become inactive (rest). This was in Danville, and it was a hospitable little town. More picture poses
Van 1 left to run through the night, while we ate/slept/drove to the next major exchange. Once we parked for the night (really only a couple of hours), I woke up to prepare myself for my next run (on 3 hours sleep). It was cold, and my foot was killing me. I kept getting text message updates to keep me in the loop so I could know when they’d be getting close. The others started waking up, as more vans showed up for the exchange. It was about 4:30ish when Holly made her way to the handoff, and away I went on my second run (Leg 19). This was just a straight shot. Not too hilly, and actually downhill on the start. I felt very strong, despite the lack of sleep, and already running earlier. It was very dark, but I could see all the caution red light blinking ahead of me. Now, I can catch these people. I pushed, and I caught one (who asked me for my pace, so she wouldn’t feel bad if I listed a faster pace than she did), then I caught another. Then another. The last one was gonna be tricky, as he was just ahead of me at the mile marker. I kicked it in, and passed him. I didn’t let up, because I didn’t know if he’d want to pass me back up before the exchange. I heard someone approaching, and a different person, one I had not seen, passed me easily. Oh well, I got four, so who cares if one passes me 🙂
Leg 19 – 5.8 miles in 51 minutes
Leg 20 was another straight shot for JC, who enjoyed his run. Leg 21 for Logan wasn’t so good. We unfortunately missed the turn to go to his exchange point, and went directly to the next one. Oops. Not only that, we didn’t notice for 40 minutes. As we made our way back to meet him, we all felt really bad. It was cold, and we had no way to communicate. Once we got there and Suzy started her run, we found out that Logan had also had a mishap, and ran 3 miles more than he was supposed to. We then headed to Wild Turkey, for the exchange to Tim, who, even though had a short distance, probably had one of the nicest views for a run, with a very high (very narrow) bridge to cross. His handoff to Jennifer was a little different, because Logan wanted to run more too. So he joined her for her second leg of the race to Woodland Distillery, and the last major exchange. This is where we met up again with Van 1, and you could tell we were getting a little goofy by this point…
Once we made our way to the next major exchange for some R&R, we (I) decided to get some food. I unfortunately made the unwise decision to have Waffle House. Right after I ordered, I got a call with some bad news. We were cutting it too close to the 8:30 cut off for the finish. Van 1 had decided to start ending the Legs early so we could finish. Well, I finished eating and then discussed this with our van. I decided since we all wanted to complete the race, that we’d not wait for Van 1 to run through their legs, but we’d start our legs and run them simultaneously. Van 1 liked the idea. Then we could really say we ran the full 200 miles… One problem with that, I had the first leg, and just ate the All Star Special!!! Thankfully, Logan stepped up, and switched me legs. He took 31, and I took 33. Logan took off, and this was really beautiful country. I was a little jealous that I didn’t run it, but there isn’t any way I’d been able to do it well. Logan passed off to JC, who had an awesome run. He showed up at the exchange, and I wasn’t even ready. I had decided to do this run in under 35 minutes, but not a half mile into it, I wasn’t doing so hot. I put my ipod earbuds in my ears, and just kept moving. I got to one hill, and didn’t think I could make it to the top without throwing up, so I walked to the top. Once to the top, I just told myself “this is your last run, make it count”, so I started again. I wasn’t stopping anymore. I kept going, didn’t look at my time, until I handed off to Suzy… I had beat my goal
Leg 33 – 3.9 miles in 34:10
Suzy did a good run, to hand off to Tim. While Tim was running, we made our way to the last exchange before the finish. A race official came to the van to explain a change in the course. That’s when Jennifer found out that Tim’s leg was shortened by a mile, and her’s lengthened. Whoops. So, obviously Tim showed up sooner than expected to handoff for our last leg of the race. Van 1 had already made their way to downtown Lexington to get cleaned up, so we drove down too, to find parking and meet at the finish line.
The finish was so neat. All the teams waiting for their last runner to come so they could all cross the finish together. And that’s what we did. We were a team. We got through the finish, got our medals, and our picture taken. Got some bourbon, and enjoyed each others stories of the past 34 hours. I can not wait for next years race!