When I had to turn down 2 relays this Fall, I was pretty bummed. I was told in August there was no way I was running a relay this year. I didn’t expect my running to come back so easily and when the call came from Casey, I had to say yes. Bourbon Chase was everything and more. The trip to KY was quite eventful. I drove Thursday night after a work event in Nashville and managed to hit an animal (assuming coyote) in my rental car. Not an ideal way to start the trip, but catching up with my NUUN running buddies till 2am totally made up for it. Friday Slept in, coffee run, returned damaged rental car and decorated the vans. Our start wasn’t until 4:30, so we didn’t have to leave until 2pm to drive from Lexington to Jim Beam. I was in a van with Holly, Casey, Batch, Molly and Corey (in running order). We sent Holly on her way and my nerves continued to build until my run. I was given the second easiest leg (easiest in my van) to make sure that I didn’t over do it. Even though I had covered the mileage in the past few weeks, I was still anxious. All but two or three of my runs had been on soft, flat surfaces. No hills, no pavement.
Runner 3/First Run/Easy
I started to tear up a bit at while I waited for Casey. So much anticipation and hard work and patience waiting for my hip to heal all for this. I think I was just as nervous as my first marathon. My run was scheduled to start around 5:30 which originally meant no need for a reflection vest (per BC rules) but at the last minute the lady volunteering the exchange said we needed a vest. Thank goodness Corey hauled A to the van and met me as I started running with my reflective gear.
I was trying to run with caution but couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Adrenaline was definitely on high and I was trying to be aware of my body. The run itself was pretty lonely….later starts mean less kills and teams at the beginning. It was all downhill till the end of the leg. I look up and saw hell, I mean, a hill. Holly could see me walking up the hill…it honestly was my asthma that was harder to deal with, not my hips. I started running with her help and motivation and finished strong. You can quote me with a “That hill was a mother-**cker.” Funny enough, another runner had just finished and overheard me and totally agreed.
3.75 miles in 32:42
Splits: 8:34, 8:32, 8:37, 9:20 Our van finished our first runs at Makers Mark where we traded off with Van 2. They were an even more speedy van with 3 runners at sub 6 pace, Mason, Kaitlin, and Kevin. Along with Sarahoual and relay rookies Dan and Mel (Read their version here). We had time to taste some Bourbon (yes, clear out of the barrel alcohol), see my friend Lisa, and then grab dinner and some shut eye (1.5 awesome hours). We met up with Van 2 around 1am and it was time to head out again. Holly was off, then Casey and then me.
Runner 3/2nd run/Easy
After I was scolded (in a good way) for running a bit too fast on my last legs, my teammates told me to take it easy. I told myself to try and not race and just enjoy it. I couldn’t even see my garmin, so it wasn’t an option. I started off in downtown Danville, which was quite cute! My leg ran out of town onto a highway.
I have no real clue, as it was pitch black. Kinda had me freaking out, but luckily we had caught up with some teams and I was able to run with a guy for a while. He passed me, but was still in my sight for the entire run. I did end up having 2 kills on my run so I was very proud of that.
4.39 in 38:57
splits: 9:10, 8:26, 8:53, 9:07, 8:38 I honestly felt GOOD. My body was sore, but not hurting. I ended on a high to learn that Casey had sprained his ankle on his leg. WTF. How in the hell he ran on it I have no idea. Not only ran on it, but at an amazing pace. So I iced my hip, Casey iced his ankle.
We continued on with Batch, Molly, and Corey stopping for coffee at some point along the way at a super cute restaurant that stayed open all night for the runners. SO COOL. The next exchange was back in downtown Danville. We were told we had to get doughnuts from a specific bakery (already forgot the name?), so that was our breakfast before we slept again. Doughnuts and off to sleep in the van at Five Roses Distillery and waited for Van 2 (another 1.5 hours). The sun was coming up and we waited on Sarah to exchange before our final leg. It was a pretty chilly morning and my body was sore, but deep down I wanted to finish all 3 of my legs. Holly was off and Casey decided to run his third leg. If he was powering through and not giving up, neither was I. I had told myself in the beginning to just listen to my body (even if my last relay ended without me finishing the third leg) and that’s what I did. I felt GOOD. Sore, but good. No real pain, it just felt like I had run my first half marathon.
Runner 3/third leg/Moderate
My last leg said it was moderate…and driving into the exchange I could already see my first hill. I told my vanmates I would take it easy-and most likely walk up the hills if I needed to. This would be one leg that they wouldn’t be able to drive by me the entire time, but I assured them I would be fine. Casey looked strong coming in and I was just excited to run my last leg.
More adrenaline, smiles and finally an opportunity to wear my Nuun singlet (now realizing I was the van photog and have no pics of myself running?). I oddly enough felt good. Mentally strong. I started passing people. I ran the hills. In and out of rain. But, it was still GORGEOUS. A little scary running on roads with winding curves and traffic but it kept me focused. I had 7 kills. YES. Passed 7 other runners and was SO HAPPY. As I approached the exchange I didn’t hear our cowbell. We were really good about cheering at every stop, but I tried not to worry. I was so thrilled to have finished and was focused on those last few steps. BUT, I got to the exchange and I saw no one. All of the sudden I see Batch hauling A to the exchange…no one expected me to finish early so I had to wait in the exchange chute.
I jokingly yelled at him “yall underestimated me!” and most of the crowd laughed. The rest of my teammates were shocked that I finished so quickly (they drove some of my leg and saw the hills). I may or may not have gotten in trouble for running fast/hard again. But again, I listened to my body and felt GOOD!!
3.89 miles in 35:34
splits: 8:58, 9:35, 9:02, 9:01 Batch, Molly and Corey kicked some major runners ass in the rain and we finished up at Woodford Reserve. We had a bourbon tasting and then headed back to Lexington to grab lunch and shower before meeting Van 2 at the finish. Sarah was the last runner and we all came in and crossed the finish together. Our team was pretty amazing. We ended up finishing with 3rd place in our division, 15th overall, with a time of 24:15 (7:17 average). BOOM. Mason said he had never been on a relay where everyone came in as predicted or right under. It really was such a fun, inspiring experience. We drank more bourbon (and Kentucky Barrel Ale-my new fav beer) and had dinner before partying it up in the hotel bar. It was pretty entertaining…I learned that Molly can cupid shuffle like nobody’s business and old people love to dance. I really can’t put it into words. Pretty sure lights were out by 10:30 and we were up early to all head home.
Overall: This reignited my love for running. I couldn’t ask for a better comeback than a renuunion with some of my favorite people and favorite hydration company. There was so much actual teamwork and genuine love for each other and happiness. No egos, no judgement. Just downright fun.
The Race: Bourbon Chase seemed to be really organized. They even kept up with toilet paper in most of the port-o-potties. That was key for me (didn’t mention it much but my stomach was a mess between my legs-luckily no issues while running). I’m pretty sure they base the legs easy/hard/moderate based on the hardest run and then guaging the rest off of that. My legs said “easy” but they were just easier than the other legs. And that’s for sure. Kentucky is hills, hills, and more hills. I had the second easiest leg of the race.
The post race party was really fun too-it was just way to cold to stand outside and drink bourbon. We all preferred beer anyway.
The Bling: Not that I even cared about the bling for this race…I still have to give you my opinion. It kinda sucked. Of all the things they could do, they do a race theme each year and the shirt and medal are based on the theme. Not the bourbon. Odd. It could’ve been a bourbon bottle. Or part of a bourbon barrel. Or even the race logo. Anything but a peace sign. So, you can maybe guess the race theme: Peace, love, and Bourbon. Which explains the tie-dye lanyard and peace sign medal (I don’t mind the shirt).
Do this relay. I still haven’t done a Ragnar and I’ve only done Hood to Coast, but this relay should be on your list. Who doesn’t love bourbon, horses, and pretty country side?
Thank you again, Nuun. You always show us a good time. When’s the next one?