Running on vacation is always a treat. However, running a race on vacation is even better! A few weeks ago, my uncle mentioned he was running The Urban Bourbon Half Marathon the weekend we would be visiting in Louisville, KY. All that stood between me and signing up was a few long runs. I took a peek at my calendar, realized it would be no issue at all to get the distance in, and signed up!
Packet pickup was Friday afternoon downtown, but since we were staying about 35 minutes outside of the city, my uncle grabbed mine so we didn’t have to trek into town! Such a nice treat! Fast forward a few hours, and my alarm was going off for my pre-race ritual. Breakfast, coffee, pump, and use the restroom. I didn’t have to wake up until 6:15 since it was a nice late start of 8:30 – that was amazing! Most races in Florida don’t start past 6:30 or 7 because of the heat, so an 8:30 start gave me plenty of time to relax and take my time before heading out the door.
I met up with my uncle and headed down to the race start with him. Parking was a breeze and there was no issue with traffic or anything. We headed right over to the start line, said our goodbyes, and I grabbed a place in the corral right around the 1:50 pace group. I had zero expectations for the race since I’ve really just been running the bare minimum and getting back into the routine after having Davis. 1:50 to 2 hours seemed attainable enough, so I went with it. The weather was extremely nice, so I knew heat and humidity wasn’t going to be an issue.
Before the gun went off, they played My Old Kentucky Home, the national anthem, and of course, horse race trumpet call. Only in Kentucky! I found the race to be the perfect size. There were a couple of thousand people who toed the start line, so it was big enough to have great support, but small enough to not deal with big race headaches.
Once the race started, we all headed on our way. I had no clue where I was going since I was in an unfamiliar city, so that was pretty nice. Feeling somewhat lost during a race always makes a race fly by, and this race was no exception. The first few miles came and went, with rolling hills here and there. I’m sure the locals didn’t even notice it, but I sure did. I’ve run over some bridges in the past few months, but nothing at all to prepare me for a hilly course. Even though it was super chilly out, I grabbed a cup of water at each water station to be sure to stay hydrated. A few sips every few miles was just what I needed to keep feeling strong.
It wasn’t long until we made it into the park, which was the most beautiful part of the course. The fall leaves were so pretty and made for an amazing run. I was just looking around and taking everything in pretty much the whole time. It was just gorgeous! Apparently the leaves are changing a little later this year than normal since its been so warm up there, but I’ll take any color. We just don’t have a true fall in Tampa, so even a little yellow in the leaves makes me happy.
I made a very conscious effort to use the downhills to my advantage. The uphills in the park were really tough for me and I noticed my pace dropping a bit into the 9’s as I was trucking up, so really letting my legs carry my downhill kept my pace right in the low 8 mile range that I had settled into for the race. Before long, I was coming up on mile 10, which was where Marcus told me he and the rest of the family would be just a few minutes before. They were a bit turned around earlier on, so I only saw them one time on the course. That one time was the absolute best though! There is nothing like getting a hug from one of your biggest fans mid race!
As soon as I left them, I was honestly just ready to be done. I could tell my legs were starting to feel the faster than usual pace and I was ready to see a finish line. I just kept my focus on each mile, instead of the 3 I had left so that I didn’t get too ahead of myself. Each mile got tougher and tougher, and I really had to work to keep my pace in that low 8 minute range. Once we turned a corner into downtown, we all headed for the finish line. I tried my best to sprint it in, but I just had nothing left. I definitely left it all out on the course! I clocked a 1:46 finish, which really did surprise me. I haven’t ran a single 8 minute mile postpartum, so doing that for 13.1 miles was pretty amazing.
The medal was, without a doubt, amazing! It was hand dipped into white wax, which just gave it that much more of a unique flair.
I met up with my family at the finish and unfortunately, both kids were kind of done with the whole race experience, which meant I wasn’t able to check out the Urban Bourbon Bash on the Belvedere. This was the post race party with food, lots of samples of bourbon, and live music. It’s probably not a bad thing I had to skip it, as I don’t think my body would have done exceptionally well taking in liquor at 10:30am. I heard it was a lot of fun though!
I’m so glad I was able to fit the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon into our little fall getaway. It was a great race and I would love to figure out a way to run it again!