Sunday, April 26, 2015

Derby Festival miniMarathon 2015 Review

Wow! How is it Sunday night already!? I hope everyone's had a good weekend. I sure did. 
Yesterday, I ran my 8th half marathon. I can't believe I've done so many. It doesn't seem possible.
One thing I've learned over the last couple years and 8 half marathons is how important it is to train outside in all different weather conditions; rain, snow, freezing cold, extreme heat and humidity. You never know what type of weather you'll get on race day. It's good to be prepared for every situation.

Yesterday, I got rain, and lots of it. I ran in a poncho...the whole way. 

Running in the rain isn't too bad, but you've got to take some precautions. I like to wear a hat to keep the rain out of my eyes, and I also like to use Body Glide or Skin Glide to protect my feet from blisters. I did spray my shoes with a water proofer as well and that helped a lot! Oh, and anything made of cotton is a big "no, no". Cotton gets really heavy when it's wet and can also cause major chaffing. It's best to stick to technical, sweat wicking fabrics for running anyway.
These little guys were my best friends yesterday!

Anyway, enough with the This is the third year I have run the Derby Fedtival miniMarathon, in Louisville, KY. It's a large race, with both a half and full marathon that caps at 18,000 runners. I love this race as it was my first half in 2012. It is very well organized and they take care of their runners. 
Since I live about an hour away, I had a very early wake up call Saturday morning, 3:40 am. The race always starts at 7:30 am and I don't like to be late. I got all my gear organized and ready Friday night, so I could leave the house by 4:15, and be parked near the Start/Finish by 5:30. This  has worked very well for me each year I've done this race. I get there early enough to eat my breakfast and calm my nerves before getting into my corral with the other runners.

I was in corral D again this year. Runners are placed in their corral based upon their expected finish time; faster runners in corral A and slower runners in corral H. I didn't really have any expectations this year. I haven't done any speed training, so I knew I was not going to PR (faster than 2:25:25), but I was hoping I could beat my time last year (2:29:04).

The race started promptly at 7:30, but since there are so many runners, it took a few minutes for me to get to the start line. I was nervous, but mentally ready to work hard during this race. Once I crossed the Start line, it was game on. To beat my time from last year, I had to maintain a pace faster than 11:20 minutes per mile. 
It started raining almost as soon as the race began, and never stopped the entire way. Miles 1 through 4 flew by. Once I got to mile 5, I kind of wanted to stop at a porta potty, but since I had a time goal, I didn't want to wait in line and lose some precious time. Mile 8 is my absolute favorite, running through historic Churchill Downs, the site of the world famous Kentucky Derby!

The rain started to get really heavy at about mile 10 and I was suddenly very thankful for my poncho and the water proof spray I put on my shoes. I am not a fan of wet feet/socks. I did see some runners jumping in puddles...that is totally not for me. At this point I was struggling to keep my pace, but I really wanted to keep going, so I began "chasing" runners who were ahead of me. I found a girl in a neon yellow jacket and tried to keep up with her for the last 1.5 miles. It was tough, but I was able to keep up with her till the end! 
It felt so good to cross the Finish line! And...I finished in 2:27:36!

This is actually my 2nd fastest half marathon! Woo hoo!

This race is second part of the Kentucky Half Classic; the first part being Run the Bluegrass. So after collecting my medal and grabbing some food and drinks, I walked over to the KY Half Classic tent and collected my 3rd medal for completing the challenge.

Here's all 3 medals together.

Once I got back to my car and changed clothes, I headed home. I've been resting ever since. I had some really bad leg cramps yesterday and woke up quite sore this morning. 

This was such a great race! The crowd support was amazing, even in the rain. And I'd like to say thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who braved the elements to keep us hydrated and safe on the course! You are all amazing!

Well, it's past my bed time! Gotta go! Hope you have a wonderful week! Until next time!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Run the Bluegrass 2015 Review

Hey everybody! I hope you all had a great weekend! Today is the Boston Marathon! That got me thinking, I need to finish writing up my review! I'm a slacker! Actually, I have been sick for the last few weeks. I think my antibiotics are finally kicking in. So, now that I'm feeling better, I can get this done. Yay!

Anyway, it's hard to belive that Run the Bluegrass has come and gone. This is easily one of my favorite races. I'm so thankful that I've had the opportunity to participate as a Pace Team Leader for the past 2 years. It's been an honor to work with everyone involved. It had been such a busy week leading into race day. Tuesday night, I attended the volunteer meeting, Friday afternoon, I sat at the Pacer table answering questions, and work had been exhausting all week.

Speaking of the Pacer table, this years special guest was an amazing man and athlete, Harvey Lewis! In 2014, he won the Badwater Ultramarathon! This is a 135 mile foot race that takes place in Death Valley, CA. Not only was he speaking at the pre-race dinner, he was also part of the pacing team! He would be pacing the 2:00:00 hour group. So, he was at the Pacer table with myself and a few other pacers Friday afternoon! Such a wonderful man! 

Every year, Run the Bluegrass has a different Thoroughbred Horse Racing related theme. Being that the race begins and ends at the world famous Keeneland Racecourse, this only makes sense. This year, the theme revolved around 2 champion racers from Stonestreet Farm, Curlin and Rachel Alexandra. The ribbon on the medal matches the Silks/colors of Stonetreet and the medal itself shows the 2 champions on the reverse side.

This marked my 3rd year running this race, and 2nd year pacing. The race begins at 9:00 am, however, I was to meet the other pacers at 8:20 to get our signs, meet with our partner, and get into our assigned wave. After last years fiasco, getting in to park, I got to Keeneland extra early, 7:20 am (you can read my review from 2014 here and here). I wasn't taking any chances for a repeat of that. For the first time, Run the Bluegrass had over 4000 runners! To keep runners a little more spread out, there is a Wave start. As a 2:45:00 Pacer meaning I finish the half-marathon in 2 hours and 45 minutes, with an average pace of 12:35/mile) I was to begin in Wave 6. I got into my Wave at 8:30 am and waited for the race to begin.

(Half of my race photos are me looking at my watch. Lol. I guess I was focused)

 Even though it was cold (22 degrees) it was a beautiful, sunny morning. 9:00 am came pretty quick and once Waves 1 through 5 began, it was our turn!
We began with a goal in mind to get to the 5 mile mark in 60 minutes, averaging a 12:00 min/mile pace so that we'd have extra time to walk up the steep hills in the second half of the course. This strategy worked really well last year, and again this year. Walking up some of those hills in the later miles, is basically a necessity for me! We were able to follow the plan almost exactly. It was so hard not to run faster though toward the end. I was feeling so strong, my legs wanted to go, but I had to reign it in, so we'd finish at the right time.

According to my watch, we finished in 2:45:02! Official time was 2:45:08. Couldn't get much closer, if you ask me. I would have liked to be a little under, rather than over though.

Once again this year, the Pacers received a genuine bourbon barrel head as a gift from the race director! It's really beautiful! Now I just have to find a place to hang it up!

All I can say, is that I have been really fortunate to be part of this awesome race! The people I have met along the way are incredible, and I can't wait to run it again next year!

I hope you all have a great week! I'll be resting up for the Derby Festival miniMarathon this coming Saturday! Woo hoo!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Railrunner 10 Miler Review

Hey guys! I hope you all had a good weekend.
Racing season has begun! I'm so excited!

On March 21st, I ran the Railrunner 10 Miler. I know that was a couple weeks ago and I'm just now reviewing it, but I've been busy. What else is new right!?

I won a free registration to this race, and it was originally scheduled to be on March 7th, but Mother Nature had some other ideas, and hence it ended up being rescheduled for one week before Run the Bluegrass. Since I now had back to back weekend races, I pretty quickly decided to use this race as an 'easy' training run.

Fortunately, we ended up with some beautiful weather on race day. It was a little chilly, but the sun was shining and I couldn't have asked for a nicer day.

The race took place on the RJ Corman property in Nicholasville, KY. It is a beautiful course that allows you to run on an airplane runway. I didn't have any real goals for this race other than to just enjoy the day and finish under 2 hours. 

The race started at 9 am and from the beginning, I took it slow and enjoyed the scenery. I ran this race 2 years ago, and one of the only things I remembered was how long the runway felt. And...just like 2 years ago, the runway took forever! It's well over a mile, and completely flat. Kind of boring, really.
 I kept a consistent pace throughout, and managed to squeak by just under 2 hours, 1:59:03. At the finish line, I received my medal and got some home made banana ice cream! So delicious!

After getting some food and water, I packed up and headed home, so I could rest and recover for Run the Bluegrass. 

Not a whole lot to report on this one, but I did enjoy it and it ended up being a useful training run. So, kudos for that!

I hope you all had a Happy Easter, and enjoy the coming week! Hopefully, I'll have my review of Run the Bluegrass done soon. Enjoy!