Race Recap: Run the Bluegrass 2014 & PEACE OUT LEXINGTON!

Posted: 04/02/2014 in Photos, Race Recaps, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Subtitle: The View from the Sidelines

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Run the Bluegrass weekend is over.

I’m back at home, with a cup of coffee and buried in photos to go through. My suitcase still isn’t unpacked, there is laundry that needs doing, and the dogs are acting a little squirrelly after 4-days at boarding.  *sigh*

This one is hard. The weekend was AMAZING. But also hard.

It’s hard to watch most of your running buddies cross a start line that you can’t cross. It’s hard to pick up your bib and know you’re not pinning it on. It’s hard to answer ‘you’re not running?’ a few dozen times wishing your answer was different. Nope. I’m not running. I think my heart actually groaned out loud when I saw everyone I know getting finisher medals – knowing mine was supposed to be one of the really big ones – and I wasn’t going to have one. Friends, those medals are GORGEOUS! I may be regretting not getting one of those for awhile. As I was hiking up and down the front slopes of Keeneland with my camera, my knee confirmed I made the right decision not to run. Pain and the specter of making the injury worse made that decision easy – I can’t tell people to respect their bodies in my classes if I won’t walk that same walk. It was a GREAT weekend, but still hard.

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It’s hard to be in the bleachers when your heart is on the field, in the game.

Or that’s the pity party on my mental sidelines that I was throwing for myself before I learned a little bit about what HARD really means.

Rachel was the first person I saw when I arrived at the expo on Thursday. Not as in, the first person I knew that I saw, but  THE. FIRST. PERSON. She was tucked into a table right inside the door, an earpiece for expo communications in one ear and a bluetooth in the other. At 3pm, she was still grabbing bites of lunch between tasks – a last minute parking change, and ironing out even more last minute changes in the farm tours – but she still made time to smile at me, give me a hug and chat for a moment. Rachel was also the last person I saw on Sunday morning. Despite being exhausted – and probably having been awake for 4 days straight – she still made time to come to my 9am yoga class – to be there to support me.

After my second class, she was out in the hotel lobby, saying goodbye to some runners leaving just past checkout time.  As we’re walking out to the cars, it’s hard to imagine that I didn’t know her at all before my random suggestion to offer yoga at the run via twitter last Summer. It seems like I’ve known her forever. You know what’s hard? – still caring about a friend’s yoga class after days of exhausting effort, on the first morning that you might get to sleep in a little.

Marr (Eric) was right on her heels on Thursday. I saw him first about 10 minutes after I got to the expo, and then I saw him again and again and again. With the exception of the 8am Keeneland tour, I swear he appeared at every single event – tour – dinner that I was at, making sure the details were right and people were having a good time. The Keeneland tour – he probably only missed because he was busy setting up buses for the Distillery & Farm tours. The cold and sideways rain could not have been any more miserable on race morning, but as my own Eric pointed out, “I think [Marr] high-fived every single runner as they came up on the finish line!”.

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Marr was the last person I saw at the close of the post-race party at the hotel – he had no voice left at all from cheering people on but was still inviting everyone to his room since the hotel shut the party down early. You know what’s hard? – taking care of everyone. Really – Everyone. Still giving as much of a damn on day 4 as you do on day 1.  That’s hard.

When I said last year that this race was personal, I felt that through the media and the tours and the run. When I tell you this year that this race is intensely personal, it’s from watching on the sidelines how much of themselves that Marr & Rachel invest in this race. If it feels personal to me, it’s because they’ve made it PERSONAL to them. Of course there are the Ambassador friends I’ve made, the  300 volunteers and coordinators and expo vendors – and to them/us, it’s important too – but the heart, the soul of it – the personal of it – comes shining through Eric Marr & Rachel Crabtree. They both make HARD look so damn easy.

My own hard got drowned out in the Keeneland Behind-the-Scenes Tour, mainly by the gravy on the biscuits in the Track Kitchen (That was some good breakfast!), and the bourbon balls on the way to tour Buffalo Trace Distillery and Lane’s End Farm.  I couldn’t hear my self pity over the fun I was having meeting another couple from Iowa at the Farm-to-Table Dinner hosted by Wild Thyme on Friday night – the husband telling me that all the social media made him feel like he & Marr are good friends. I know that feeling! I think they may have talked us into doing a run in “Quad cities”. (Need to Google that.)

While my eyes teared up for a minute watching the last corral pull out, I can not replace the experience of volunteering at putting medals on runners necks until my fingers were too cold to move. Doing that with Laura, a fellow ambassador who designed the medal. Seeing her eyes tear up as she got to put *her* medal around the neck of the first finishers. Or my getting to put the medal around Nash’s neck. Or getting some of the volunteers to sing Happy Birthday to Maine as I put her medal around her neck and give her a big hug. Despite the cold and the wet, I can’t hear my own hard over the race stories of my friends who braved that awful weather to cross the finish line and who are already talking about registering for 2015. Yes, my knee was hurting as I was dancing at the after-party, but sometimes when there’s good music and your friends are shaking it on the floor, you just have to dance anyway. Making that couple from Iowa get up there with you.

Laura (left) & I getting in our bicep curls.

Laura (left) & I getting in our bicep curls.

Then there was my yoga class. That – not so hard. Deliberately not hard. Easy to smile at the yogis who got up early to spend an hour on the mat – honored that I got to lead them. Ecstatic to have 2 classes of them! Seeing my suggestion come into being. I will never forget hearing the laughter of our group as we shouted ‘PEACE OUT LEXINGTON!’ to close our practice instead of ‘Namaste’.

When you’re having a really good time at a run that you didn’t even get to run, it’s hard to wallow. Especially once you know what hard really looks like.

PEACE OUT LEXINGTON!

 

Comments
  1. Andrea says:

    Wonderful recap of the weekend! It was a great race and event and thank you for participating as a volunteer and spectator. I’m still amazed by all of the people who braved the weather when they didn’t have to. You deserve a medal for that! 🙂

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