Monday, April 7, 2014


A few months ago, one of the groups I follow posted a discount code for this race. I googled it and Lexington, Kentucky was only 5.5 hours away and the race was a Saturday. I was able to get a cheapish room and on a whim I signed up.

Not long after I signed up, the race director posted this on the Facebook page:

What did I get myself into? I don't even know what an incline of 9 looks like, I feel like I am going to fall off at 3!!! Based on this I made a real effort to train on an incline. Since the weather has been so horrible here, I have been spending a lot of time at the gym so at least I could do some practicing though I know it was nowhere close to enough.

All along my plan was to leave right after work and head down alone. About a month before the race, they opened more spots for the 7 miler opened up and my mom decided to come with me!! We were able to go down together.

I was really looking forward to this race. The race director is amazing. I was blown away time and time again by the race communication. I have done 10 half marathons and this was by far the most welcoming race ever! Since my mom was going to finish about an hour before me, I signed us both up for the VIP race experience so we had a place to be inside and so we could get something to eat before heading home.

The week leading up to the race, the weather was looking worse and worse. While we had some BEAUTIFUL days leading up to it, rain kept popping up in the forecast. As we drove down on Friday it was beautiful and mild. We hit construction/an accident/rush hour, in Cincinnati that really slowed us down but we made it to the expo with about an hour to spare.

I picked up the special edition bourbon I had ordered for Jeff and we got our race stuff. We checked into the Marriott Maingate. It was an OK hotel. Nothing special but it was clean and fine. We ordered hamburgers from room service (have to have my meat and potatoes) and it came quick. After we ate, it was off to bed. Since the race was not a super early start (9am) we did not have to get up too early which was nice.

The morning of the race, it was overcast and cloudy. Not raining and the forecast was saying it was going to start about 11am or 12pm. It was also about 49 in the morning. We drove the 10 minutes to the race and got parked smooth as can be. Tons of port a potties around the parking lot which was awesome. I got to see an awesome running friend and then we headed back to the car to wait since it was a little chilly.

As we headed to the start line, I ran into 2 more wonderful people I met through my running groups. It was so special to get hugs and pictures with them (though not on my phone so I don't have them).By the time we got to the start line it had started to "mist". Not really raining but not dry either. We did get to see 3 of our running friends as we started but there was no time to start because we were off!!

Halfway point
Now, I knew there were hills, I saw the elevation chart, I saw the treadmill training. Basically we started and as we came around the first turn, there was a hill, then another hill. It was hill after hill. I had set my watch to 1:1 but my plan was to start with 3:1 and see what happened through the first half. As you can see from behind me, that was just one of the hills.

Honestly the miles really just ticked by quickly with the hills. I really enjoyed it. The longer the race went on, the more it started to rain. By mile 8 it was pouring rain. Around mile 7 I switched to 2:1 intervals BUT I switched them up based on the hills. I tried to use a minute to walk up and run the rest and down and in between.

Mile 8.5
People on the course were amazing!! The volunteers, the other races, everyone. I always appreciate the volunteers at races but never more than this one. They had been out longer than we had and had more time to wait but they all had a smile, a cheer, a cup of water, a kind word. It was over the top.

Mile 11
Going in, I had registered for the Director's Challenge which meant I submitted my best time (Detroit Women's Half Marathon on flat old Belle Isle) of 2:26. If I beat that time, I would earn an extra award. Also remember, Detroit is rather flat. Belle Isle had an elevation change of 79 feet, (this one registered 840ft on my Garmin).  As the winter went on training was hard. I had only 1 outdoor training run between November and this race. I was just hoping for a sub 2:35.

At mile 12, I realized if I could pull off an 8 minute mile I could beat my time! Since that was not happening I settled for my 2nd best time! I have never been emotional when I run. Even finishing Detroit, I didn't cry. I wanted to cry when I finished this race. I was so proud of myself and I felt awesome. Frozen but awesome. My skirt was even dripping when I was done.

Because of the rain, the indoor area was opened to everyone (completely the right thing to do) but it made it hard to find and get to the VIP area. I was also freezing and dripping wet. I got in, met up with my mom and some other people from Michigan which was awesome. I went to get food and I was underwhelmed for the first time in this race. It was grapes, cold cuts, cookies and brownies. They did have a soup but I did not try it. Just a lot of money and not a lot of food choices but it was OK, my mom had a place to be while she waited and that was great.

We got out of parking, to the hotel, got showered and on the road before 2pm which was awesome. Even though we did not get to run together, I was so thankful to have my mom there with me. I am so proud of her and how far she has come. I can't wait until our next race together!!

I loved this race. It was the worst weather I have run in. It was 42 at the finish and pouring rain but I LOVED THIS RACE. I came home and registered for next year. I cannot wait to do it again. Hard or not, raining or not, it was so neat and I loved it. I will do better next year and maybe there will be sun and horses on the course!!!

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