Race Recap: Run the Bluegrass 2013

Posted: 04/08/2013 in Other length, Photos, Race Recaps, Uncategorized
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Okay, okay – so I already posted this photo once, but I like it. So here it is again. There is something about indirect sunlight on hardwood and pavers that just makes me all dreamy. It is odd to me, or maybe it is just a disfunction of my nose, that such a place smells more like sawdust than horses. Though really, either is just fine with me.

After the run was over, I was laying on a massage table with some very nice man named Todd giving me a rubdown on my legs and glutes. (Appropriate, professional contact to you people who are still finding me through weird search terms. You know who you are.) This is the first time I have gotten a post-run rubdown while still at the race – not that they haven’t been offered at other finishes, just that the line has always been LONG LONG LONG by the time my little turtle-butt got done. This was the advantage of switching over to the 7-mile option as opposed to the 13.1 half-mar. I got done before most of the crowd and went straight into a rubdown. I wrote a little bit ago that I was considering downgrading to the 7, and I finally pulled the trigger on that decision after taking my training pulse and deciding I just wasn’t ready for a half marathon.

IT WAS A VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY GOOD DECISION. But I’ll get to that.

So, Todd & I are chit-chatting through the awkwardness of him stretching my legs out, and he’s a runner too – and he asks me “So was there a lot in the swag bag on this one?”. Something we all want to know when we register for a race – whaddathey gonna gimme at the expo? I tilted my head and said – “No. Not really. It was a really small expo – which I liked – I’m not much for the expos. I had one thing I wanted to buy there, which I got. Beyond that, I picked up my bottle of bourbon, got my bib and got out of there.”

Um, bottle of bourbon?

Yes. One of the perks on this race was a special label bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon. The run crew went and did a tasting and picked out a cask and had their own bottles made up for the run. You had to buy them in addition to your run fee, and only 144-180 people could get them, but I was fast with my little mouse-clicker and got on the list. I’m a bourbon girl – usually with the Maker’s Mark, but Knob Creek makes a damn fine glass too. Bourbon. It wasn’t in the swag bag – it came with it’s own little bag and certificate.

But I feel like I haven’t really told Todd the truth, so I go on. You see, they didn’t really do the thing with all the chip clips and pens and mini-powerbars. There were a few vendors about nutrition, but not a lot of stuff. Which I’m okay with – I have enough chip clips, and the mini-powerbars are very often found dead in the bottom of my gym bag about a month after the expo. I tell Todd – they did it…different.

They organized stuff for us to do. Other than run. Like some tours of horse farms and distilleries.

This isn’t something I’ve noticed with the Flying Pig or Country Music Half-Marathon (Nashville). Nashville does a concert, but I didn’t notice any group discounts to zoos or museums or local attractions. Things that say – come for the run, but stay for the city. 

In Lexington,  I didn’t just show up for a run, there were these other things to do set up. I got to know a bit about the Lexington community. I had the tour schedule for what I’d signed on for (again with the speedy-mouse-clicking) and was armed with a list of small LOCAL restaurants (no Applebees or Panera)  they provided – which included a great little Coffee Pub that we hit up twice – once being the first place we stopped when we got to town. THANK YOU COFFEE PUB!  And when I first signed on for the tours, I thought – ‘Oh great, we’ll see how a horse farm works.’ 

Um, in Lexington, they don’t just have horse farms. They have HORSE FARMS. Like farms that house MILLION DOLLAR+ RACEHORSES with names that I recognize like Supersaver and Colonel John and U.S. Ranger. Derby horses. Famous horses (that I may or may not have placed a few Derby bets on). Beautiful, beautiful animals.

Seriously people, I GOT TO PET TIZNOW. TIZNOW!! He feels like supersoft velvet.

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The jacket says Bodemeister, but the horse is Tiznow.

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Also, I learned that Tiznow sperm costs more than my house.

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And that horses wear boxing gloves when they mate. You wanted to know this.  I learned about horse sex. What’s more, I just wrote that on the internet. Oh, the possible search terms just keep on coming…

This was just on our first tour – which we did when we first got to Lexington. Before the expo. Before the distillery tour. Before the run. After the coffee.

The run, you say? Oh right, it is a race recap. Um, all of these gorgeous horses and farms and literally, THOUSANDS of acres of green pastures – you run through it. No big intersections or roaring crowds. It’s two lane country roads surrounded by oceans of green. In the early morning, when all the horses are out grazing and just getting their mojo on for the day.  They stare at you curiously with ears up and eyes wide as you run past. Some come right up to the fences – some with foals. These are picturesque moments straight out of postcards. You simply can’t believe how pretty it all is – and for me, at least, it reminded me how darn beautiful parts of this country are. I got a little misty patriotic. I live an hour from this! Having decided from the very beginning that I was doing this run for scenery, not for time – I took my sweet time to look around and take it all in. I encouraged other runners to look up – over there! how pretty! – and I pointed at horses right up by the fence curious about what we were doing. I even stopped to look behind me a few times. Took walk breaks.

My time wasn’t great – though I did a 7-miler in what it took me to do a 10k just a year-or-two ago. But really, who cares? If I had been all about the time, with my head down and my game face on, I would have missed so much. But…and there’s always a butt…all this scenery comes at a price. Being without question the MOST AMAZING RUN COURSE I have ever seen,

IT IS ALSO THE HILLIEST. This is not a course to be trifled with. Hills don’t bother me. I train in hills. I’m built for hills. I PREFER hilly courses. I am not afraid of even pretty serious hills. This course – even at 7-miles – was BRUTAL!!! and I’m a Flying Pig 13.1 veteran. This course makes the Pig look flatter than an airport runway. No joke.  Had I done the 13.1, I would not have been walking the rest of the weekend. If you’re considering this run next year, train hills, then more hills, then even more hills – and not gentle hills. Do not take flatland breaks between hill repeats. Train on brutal, nasty – so steep you don’t like to drive on it – hills. 

Dear self – if you do this next year – consider adding stadium step running into your training plan. Love, self.

The views – the scenery – the beauty – WORTH EVERY SINGLE HILL.

So no – there wasn’t a lot in the swag bag. I didn’t get another chip clip. Instead, I got to pet one of the most famous horses in the world. I got to see country I’ll never forget – and can’t wait to get back to. I got run-challenged – I know I’m doing this run again no matter how hard it was.  I got to pet a month-old foal that tried to bite my stomach. I got camera practice and a generous tasting of bourbon. I got to have an old-timer tell me all about the Blue Devils and educate me about Navy aircraft carriers.

Oh! – OH! – Oh! – and I got to feel – for the first time, like I had a personal link to the Race Director almost every single day. THAT’S RARE! I don’t think I can name even a single 5k I’ve done – or any other race I’ve done – where I’ve felt such a personal connection with the race organizer. But Eric at Lexonomics – DUDE! I feel like we’re buds. The social media campaign on this race was done PERFECTLY – not overwhelming on the emails – with a fine dose of humor and excitement on Facebook and Twitter.  PERSONAL emails about the tours we were registered for as opposed to spam waves of nonsense addressed to 30,000 people. This race billed itself as 100% World Class and 100% Local. They should have included 100% Personal also, because it was obvious that this race was run by people who really cared about making it lovely. People who took every detail personally.

They got it 100% right.

Some more photos of Winstar Farm. I’ll be putting up a few more from Donamire Farm, Woodford Reserve and the Aviation Museum (I’m not sure those took though.) as I get finished editing them.

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Gemologist. These horses make me feel like a munchkin.

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All horse farms have dogs. Fact. Still haven’t figured out how to photograph through glass. Unfortunately, the reflection shows pretty badly in this one. This pie-eyed border collie was napping when we came in, stood up just like that and then went and hid when some little boys began tapping on the glass. Dog looks like he’s hypnotized.

Comments
  1. Tom Little says:

    Wow! What a great report on RunTheBluegrass. I know everyone associated with the race – from Eric, to Board Members, to volunteers – appreciates your very kind words. I think you captured not only the race, but all of the atmosphere around it, including the beauty of the Lexington area. We all look forward to your return. Perhaps you’ll go the entire half marathon next year (but watch out for Mile #9!).

    You’re really a very effective and enjoyable writer. It was a pleasure to read this.

    Tom Little
    Chairman, LeXenomics Board of Directors

  2. […] picked a fall race yet, thought Indy is a contender, but fo sho I will be doing <a href=”https://somewhatlikeable.com/2013/04/08/race-recap-run-the-bluegrass-2013/”>Run the Bluegrass</a> again next year – which by the way, has a super cheap early […]

  3. […] I do – and I don’t – know how I ended up sitting at this table.  It started with my race recap from this past Spring, then there was a tweet, followed by an emailed idea, some more communications and then BOOM! […]

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