Sunday, November 21, 2010

Louisville Half

I lived in Louisville for 1.5 years prior to moving to Nashville- part of my heart remains there still.  I absolutely LOVE the city and the people that I left behind. It just so happens that Louisville sits halfway between Nashville and my hometown, Dayton Ohio, so it makes the perfect stop whenever I travel home and can catch up with my friends in the process... bonus!!  Naturally I was thrilled when I found out there was a half marathon being held there  in the fall, much sooner than the infamous Kentucky Derby Half marathon (which I still may run is Spring just for kicks.) I asked Becca if she wanted to join the 2.5 hr road trip North to my beloved 'derby city' to try out their "Louisville Marathon and Half"- my selling point- course is FLAT ~ completely unheard of in Tennessee.
The race was actually being held on Sunday, which worked perfect for my schedule since I was working a half day on Saturday. Get off work, pick up Becca, and then make our way toward Louisville. Embarrassing to admit, but prior to this trip, I had never been to a pumpkin patch (or at least no memory of one) After some rigorous searching online, we found a farm in Bowling Green, Ky which fit nicely along our route so we could make a pit stop.
Jackson's Orchard! 
We walk around to see what all is available before deciding to get in line to take a hayride to the pumpkin patch! I'm such a nerd when it comes to pictures, that I absolutely LOVE taking pictures with random inanimate objects (or people in costumes  / mascots) Saw this little gem while we were waiting in line- wanted really bad to stick my head in his nose, but at risk that I might get stuck, I decided against it.
Since I've been anxiously awaiting to go to a pumpkin patch for so many years I've built it up in my had that its going to be awesome. Once I see the patch, it was kind of pitiful looking and picked over- bummer
Where are all the pumpkins??
After a lot of searching  B and I finally pick out our prized orange guys, or should i say women. She named hers Sheila, and mine Joy.
The perfect roundess!

Afterward we decide to be super goofy and do a photo shoot with our pumpkins- yes we're 26 and 27 and we like to play around like little kids every so often- Here are some of the results...
Running away with my pumpkin 

This is the classic 'hs senor pic' pose with both pumpkins

Becca rockin the shades and the pumpkins 

Peekaboo I see you! 

I really like how the pumpkin brings out your eyes....

Sheila wanted to see what it was like to be higher off the ground

Re-enacting Mufasa / Simba scene in Lion King--- only w/ my pumpkin

After our photo fun we got some sweet tea and ice cream and hit the road. Decided to do our pre-race dinner before reaching Louisville so we agree on Cracker Barrel. Both get salad w/ chicken and ranch, and I add on the hasbrown casserole- mmmmmmmmm. We finally arrive at our destination- Jenna's house- my friend and past roommate. Due to a long time spent at the pumpkin patch, cracker barrel, and losing an hour since Louisville is on eastern standard time- its already 10pm. We chat for a bit and lights out a little after midnight.

Race Day 
After a very tossing and turning night of little sleep, we get up at 5:30 am to gear up for the race. I decide to opt for something small to eat before race vs. the last one- LARA bar cherry pie flavor (tart but delicious). I knew starting  out it would be cold, but later in day high 60s, so I opt for capris, tank, and a zip up jacket that I can put around my waist if need be.
We arrive at the building we need to go for race day packet pickup- which is right next to start line,  convenient. At 630 its still pitch black out and extremely cold- 30s-40s... ugh. Absolutely LOVE our tech tees since the fleur de lis is my favorite symbol!

 Hammer gels were helping to sponsor the event so had a few of those in goodie bag- first time try those out. Also a first for me was they handed out chips to wear around your ankle that you would then return once you crossed the finish line. Once we got everything taken care of it was only 6:45 and the race didn't start till 8am, so we venture back to my car, 200 yrds from start / finish, and crank up the heat and turn on some upbeat tunes to get us pumped up. 
As more people start to pull in the parking lot we're starting to get antsy. This is a smaller race, only 1,000 people, so our whole goal is to basically take it easy and just figure out how to run it pain free- if thats even possible. No goal times (although I'm determined to do better than the race 3 weeks prior), no expectations, just running! Do some stretching out and then head to start line.
Before race start
My mini game plan is to go out slower in hopes that I'll naturally speed up as my body becomes acclimated to my pace. The reason I normally don't wear a watch for pacing is that the one I do have stops after 30 minutes- sure I could buy a new one, but since I don't know what I'm looking for, I'll wait. Way I figure is I can get in 3 miles under 30, pace appropriate there and then just use that pace for rest of race- lucky for me that is pretty much what happened.

Once the gun went off it was kind of a giant cluster- I tried my best to fight the urge to sprint out there to get in good position, so instead I just slowly bobbed and weaved through runners when I saw the opportunity. Surprisingly I felt good. My legs felt light, breathing was steady- getting good vibes on this race so far. First mile marker hits and no clock- was informed by another runner that there are no clocks throughout the whole race, wow. Thank goodness I have my watch for at least 30 min- 1st mile was 9:30. I told myself that was a good pace and since the crowd had thinned out a bit, I need to start utilizing the other runners and pace off them. There was a couple running about 50 ft in front of me the whole time, the man was probably 6'5 and wearing bright blue, so easy to spot. I decide that as long as the gap between me and him does not get farther away, I'm good. 2nd mile comes- 16:47- faster than anticipated, but thats expected since I was trotting for a few hundred yards after the start- no worries. First water break at 2.5 miles and they are handing out actual water bottles- hilarious but also frustrating because hard to drink, I manage to somehow not spill it all over myself. Forgot to look at my watch at mile 3, so that was a wash, and once I remembered to look down it had already been past 30 minutes, darn. At least I'm still pacing off blue guy. 

It doesn't take long before the intensity of the sun is growing and wearing a long sleeve black jacket seems like an awful idea. Since I'm all about mini goals I tell myself that at the next water stop, which should be a little after the 4 mile marker, I will take a quick stop to have my water and be able to take off my jacket and tie around my waist.  I do just that and what a difference it made- I felt 5lbs lighter INSTANTLY! Now that I have nothing to focus on beside mr. blue I realize how absolutely gorgeous the scenery is. The course is a down and back along River Road, and as the name suggests, we're running right alongside the Ohio River. Love the array of colors from the surrounding trees and landscape this time of year- makes you appreciative to be up this early enjoying nature. 5 miles in I decide to just give my body a mini break and I walk for 30 sec (timed via my watch which decided to work) and its amazing what a difference 30 sec of rest can make on your joints! Within a min or two I was right back to where I needed to be in relation to Mr. Blue. 
In between miles 5-6 was the only hill of the race, more like a quick winding hill that lasted literally 10 seconds, how awesome is that! Take my first gu, vanilla bean (my absolute favorite) at mile 6 and store the Hammer gel (raspberry) that they gave me in my pocket. I was always told to not try new things on race day, which I generally take to heart, so that includes new brands and flavors of gels. I reach the turnaround point and it feels good to know that as I'm making my way back toward the finish line, I'm beating all these people going the opposite direction as myself.
After awhile I start to wonder how come I haven't seen B yet- am I really going that fast?!!? A couple yards ahead of me I see a hand waving- there she is, chit chat as we're passing by and back to focus. I think I'm maybe 1 mile ahead of her, wow no doubt I will beat last months race time. Although my calves are treating me wonderfully, I stat to notice that my hips aren't so forgiving. At mile 8 I tried my run for 5-10min, walk 30-40sec combo to give my body a tiny break. After a few rounds of this, I found a new couple to pace myself off of. Basically I was ahead of them,  then toward the end of my 'walk' they would pass me up and when I started running again I would pass them by. If I can just continue this pattern I know that I'm not losing any ground by walking, and my body is going to thank me the next day. 

All was well until mile 11. I wouldn't say my body fell apart, because I still felt generally okay, I think I was more tired than anything. When I do my walk / run combo, my run is much faster than a normal race run because I know I'm going to be getting a mini break shortly, so I tire out more quickly. Aside from that my right hip was killing me. I set myself another mini goal- I will allow more walking from mile 11-12, but once mile 12 hits, NO WALKING. This may sound easy to some, but for me, that is just how I race so that is a huge deal for me if I can go that long without walking after I've been running for who knows how long -damn I really need a new watch. 
By the time I reached mile 12 I lost my pacing couple due to walking more. I kept true to my promise, and am proud to say I ran the whole way and even passed some people I didn't see the whole race. Unfortunately I got confused where I was at and thought I was much closer to the finish line than what I really was, so as a result I picked it up too soon. Finally get to the corner where its about 200 meters to finish line and start kicking it in. Once I get closer I can see the finish line clock- 2:03, are you kidding me?!?! My last race I finished 2:15 and I was able to knock off 12 minutes despite still walking and not having a watch? Official time 2:03:12 - wahoo! Quickly dropped off my chip, grabbed a bottle of water and a banana and headed to the car to put on flip flops. I decided to go to the corner to wait for B and cheer her on. While waiting I wanted to share my excitement about my improvement so I called my parents, to fill them in! Shortly I see Becca in the distance and start cheering her on.

 Decide to run the rest of race with her, minus crossing the finish line. Once completed we chow down on some peanut butter, bananas, and water.
Make our way back to Jennas so we can shower and get ready to have lunch with some of my ladies that still live in the city. If you're ever in the Louisville area and are looking for a unique, fun, and tasty place to eat, I HIGHLY recommend Lynn's Paradise Cafe.
Outside of Lynn's Paradise Cafe
Apparently on a sunday afternoon Lynn's Paradise Cafe is a happening place, so we had some time to kill before getting a table- photo time
Me and Jenna- Fork ran away with the spoon

Jess, Jenna, Nat, Me- all used to live together. 

Becca showing some love to a silver moose

After we stuffed our faces- Beth, Me, Becca, Nat, Jenna, Jess

Totally want these chairs in my house
After a successful race, meet up with old friends, and consuming just as many calories as I burned off-  Becca and I make our way back to Nashville. After this race I started thinking to myself how I would really like to run more half marathons to see what I was capable of---- and if were going to participate in more races, why not try one in each state? Thus my idea to do 50 halfs in 50 states was formed and the real race planning begins....

1 comment:

  1. Great recap and great time! Wow! I just remembered you might want to check out the Foot Traffic Flat Half on 4th of July (in Oregon). I haven't run it, but have heard good things.