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.
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!