On Saturday morning, I ran 10.25 miles with friends Sarah and Angela. They are both training for the Kentucky Derby Festival half-marathon in Louisville next month. This will be Sarah's second half-marathon, and Angela's first. They are doing AWESOME in their training, and I know they will be strong on race day. Our 10.25 mile run on Saturday was strong and steady, and I hope it was a confidence booster for them. They have logged a lot of miles over the past three months, and they are now entering into the taper phase. I wish I could be there to cheer them on in Louisville, but the race is the same day as the Country Music Marathon! I'll definitely be thinking of them during my race.
Saturday afternoon was absolutely beautiful - sunny and in the 60's. After picking up my half-marathon packet in Lexington, I sat outside in the sunshine and read for a few hours while Emma frolicked around in the backyard. This is our Saturday afternoon routine in the spring and summer and I love it! We had an early dinner of linguine with a spinach/marinara sauce and bread, and then headed into Wilmore to hang out with friends for a little bit. We got home early, and I was in bed at 8:45 pm.
On Sunday morning I was up at 4:15 making coffee and oatmeal. This has become my standard pre-long run/pre-race meal, and it has worked really well for me. I always have regular instant oatmeal with 1 tbsp. of peanut butter and a sliced banana. This is also a meal that will be easy to recreate in Nashville on race day. As I was eating breakfast, it was raining cats and dogs outside - not a good sign! I was hopeful that the storm would move through the area, though.
The race site was only 30 minutes away, and we arrived at 7:00am. It was cold and rainy, so we ventured out to the starting line at 7:15 in search of port-a-potties and shelter. Luckily we found both right at the starting line! An article in the Lexington Herald-Leader this morning stated that there were 2,400 people registered for the half-marathon, with 2,250 finishers, so it was a fairly small race. Pretty big for this area though! And especially since this was the first half-marathon in Lexington. The race was held at Fasig-Tipton, North America’s oldest Thoroughbred auction company. Some big name horses have come through Fasig-Tipton, including Seattle Slew, 2008 Derby winner Big Brown, and the 2009 Derby winner Mine That Bird. Needless to say, the grounds were beautiful!
The gun went off at 8:10, and off we went. The pack was pretty congested for the first few miles, but it was not too bad. It started raining again at mile 3 and gradually increased to hard, pelting sideways rain. Everyone was immediatley soaked to the bone! It wasn't all that bad though - it was kind of uncomfortable but not miserable. It was definitley motivation to run faster, though!
The course was a pretty simple out and back. We started at Fasig-Tipton, then followed Newtown Pike to Iron Works Pike, then looped through the Kentucky Horse Park, then returned to Fasig-Tipton via Iron Works and Newtown. It was really neat getting to run right in the heart of Lexington's horse farms. Race horses are a HUGE industry in central Kentucky, and Lexington is actually the "horse capital of the world." This was the race logo:
I felt pretty good during the race - my legs felt really good, despite having 10 miles on them from the day before. The only thing that give me issues was my lower back and shoulders. I know that I need to do more core work, and I think swimming more will also help with this as well.
Kelly set off on her own pace - she was seeking a PR and was really moving. We lost sight of her after the first few miles! Chris and I ran together - we both wanted to keep a nice, steady pace and would be happy with a sub-2:00 finish, but we figured we would finished sub-2:10. I didn't want to go all out for this race, so I wasn't seeking a PR. We did keep a nice steady pace, and I realized at about mile 8 that we were on track to finish right at 2:00.
Chris and I finished in 2:00 on the nose, a PR for me by 2 minutes! It felt great to be done. After getting my chip clipped off, I got some water and some wheat bread with honey - it was so good! Kelly smashed her previous half-marathon PR by 6 minutes, and Lindsay finished in 1:59. I think 2:00 was a PR for Chris as well. Overall, a GREAT day at the races!
After finishing, I immediatley began to freeze. I had a change of clothes in my car, so I booked it back to my car and quickly and discreetly changed from sopping wet clothes to nice warm dry clothes. It was a beautiful thing. After the race, I went to Calistoga Cafe with Kelly and her husband Tony. Tony was our one cheerleader out on the course - we saw him around mile 4 I think, standing in the rain and cheering runners on. What a sport! I really wish Chad could have been at the race, but he had commitments at church that he couldn't miss. I am so excited that he will be there with me in Nashville!
At Calistoga I got chicken noodle soup, half of a chipotle chicken panini, some hot tea and a huge cookie. It was all so good, and it pretty much included everything that I was craving at the moment. Once I got home, I took a shower and then a 20 minute nap. The skies had cleared, so I decided to take Emma for a walk to stretch out a bit. Once we got we got about 4 blocks away it started pouring! So we had to book it back to the house because Emma hates the rain. I just couldn't escape the rain yesterday!
Overall, the Lexington Half-Marathon was a great experience. Since it was the inaugural race, I expected there to be some kinks. There were a few minor ones (i.e. parking and post-race traffic were a little crazy) but overall it was very well organized. It is a small race in a fairly small town, so I didn't expect all of the hoopla of a big city race. It was actually nice to have a more low key setting!
This is a pretty long post so I'll wrap it up. Here are some pictures from the race, followed by some cute pictures of Emma. She's been cuddling with Chad a lot lately and it is just so precious that I had to capture it on film!
Chris, me, Kelly, and Lindsay (with daughter Annabella) in our spring colors