Race: Bluegrass 10,000
Place: Lexington, Kentucky
Date: July 4, 2017
OMG, you guys!! I was finally able to participate in a 4th of July race. I have been wanting to do this for ages, but usually my schedule (events) or injury have prevented this from happening. And while I’m still not to my 100%, nor where I would like to be in my running, I was excited to be participating in this race.
Well, my friends talked me into it.
Seriously. I blame the likes of Melissa, Paul and Linda. Because while there are races closer to home, this one was one I had heard so much about. So…I pulled the trigger on it about a week or so before the actual race…and registered.
No backing out now.
I decided this would be the perfect race to bring back my Wonder Woman running outfit. As I was nicknamed Wonder Woman with my running group ages ago…the outfit always makes me feel confident and strong. And, let’s face it, it’s the perfect 4th of July outfit.
Cathy and I made arrangements with Melissa and Paul to carpool from the Louisville area down to Lexington together. My running coach, Linda, had picked up my packet for me (there is NO race day pickup…which I didn’t know until I read an e-mail closer), so I had to meet her around 6:30 AM…meaning…pickup at the apartment was happening at 5 am.
Melissa was cool with this (she was driving)…so plans were set.
I was up before 2 am on the 4th of July to do my PT exercises and stretches…both inside and out. It was pretty damn humid out. And there was a reason. Rain was coming. But I managed to get all my stuff done before any sort of rain came in. I think it might have sprinkled a little while I was inside finishing up the stretching, but it was done by the time Cathy woke up, ate a light breakfast, and we headed down to wait for our ride.
And they arrived right on time. In the dark of night. Well…I suppose it was the dark of pre-ass-crack-of-dawn, honestly. Cathy sat up front with Melissa (as she tends to get carsick at times), and Paul and I sat in the back. I had it in my head to take my power nap…but we were chatting for the entire ride to Lexington, and that’s fine. I would much rather have the social time than the nap.
When we arrived in Lexington, it was raining. MEH. I was prepared for this and wore my old rain shoes, which I didn’t want to do, but I just had a feeling…that’s what I was going to need that day. We parked across from Rupp Arena and I messaged Linda to find out where she was so I could meet up with her and get my packet. She was under the bridges behind Rupp Arena and with a little bit of cell phone-fu…we managed to get directions around the building and park where the rest of her people were parking. This actually worked in our favor as it made for an easy exit after the race.
We didn’t have a lot of time to sit and chat, but I FINALLY got to introduce Linda to Melissa…which Linda has been wanting to have happen for awhile now. Since April, actually. SO…YAY!! Cathy pinned me up and managed to stab me in the stomach with the safety pin. I like to joke that I was bleeding out after that. HA! She also pinned up Melissa and then we helped Melissa with rain shoe choices. Trust me…this is SUPER IMPORTANT when you’re running in the rain.
Once we were all pinned up, we all (meaning the four of us and Linda’s crew as well) began to make the walk to the start line. Linda had an idea of where flushing toilets might be along the way…via the convention center. The door happened to be unlocked, so we moseyed on in. We had only gotten halfway toward the bathrooms when a security guard came rushing at us in a panic, inquiring as to how we got in. Linda explained that the door was unlocked and he was all, “Well, it’s not supposed to be!” She asked if we could at least use the bathrooms, and he said they were locked. BUT…feeling sorry for our pathetic face falls at that, he did tell us to take the elevator up to the hotel lobby and use the bathroom there.
That’s what we did.
And once we all cycled through the line, we headed out to get to the start line. The race was getting close to starting. Like…really close. We went through the revolving door, where Linda and I did some high knees. I think I started that. I’m weird. I told her that counted as my warmup.
As we were making the hike to the start line, we passed under the finish line. She had said that she was going to tell me to make a kick to the finish when I saw the start line…but it was still a good ways up the road from the finish. So she pointed to a drug store and told me that I should kick it in when I saw the drug store instead. I told her I would try.
As we were nearing the start line, the wheelchair racers were sent off. YIKES!! I got a quick good luck hug from Cathy and we all hurried to get a spot at the start. I slid in sort of close to the front…but not RIGHT up there where I don’t belong. And no sooner had I gotten in there and got my Garmin turned on and ready for the race…that we were sent off.
No time to stress. Just run.
And that was the orders that Linda had given me. Just go out there and run. Enjoy it. Have some fun. The rain had stopped at this point, but the humidity was at 94% at start time. It was just swampy. Humid…damp…and that was not a good recipe for a good race.
Not that this was a bad race. It wasn’t. I actually had a rather decent race. Mostly. You see, I have yet to power through a race this year without needing to stop. Every race (including the ones in Florida) have been just…HUMID and HOT. I guess that comes with racing in the late spring/summer. Which, I really haven’t done for a few years, between training and injuries. So…I have pretty much died during the races. And it mentally frustrates me and physically defeats me.
Anyway…back to the race. At the start, I actually was feeling good. Even with the cotton Wonder Woman tank on (I had thought about wearing a bra top…and in hindsight, probably should have, but I’m not loving my body at the moment…so…there it is. Pure honesty). As I was setting out I even heard Tammy (from my Louisville running group) shout, “Hey, Karen Brady!” I’m kind of hard to miss in my pigtails and everything. HA!
My first mile was decent. It felt hard. I know there are a few things I need to do to get my running as strong and easy as it used to be…but for some reason, I’m having a difficult time implementing them. I’m working on it. But I have some mental blocks that are…holding me back.
Whoa. That got serious there. Let’s just say…I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be. Both are good and bad…depending on how you look at it.
We looped around a few corners before heading into the second mile. I was already soaked and not from rain. It was just that steamy out. And I was in my cotton Wonder Woman tank. Good planning there (*sarcasm*). Some of Mile 2 was actually on a downhill, but you quickly find out that from thereon in…it’s a lot of uphill. That being said, I made a conscious decision to slow down at a water stop in Mile 3 because I wanted to be smart. I started off this race more dehydrated than I should have been, so I needed water. I took a quick sip…then poured the rest over my head. That was just what I needed. I picked up my pace and headed into the turnaround point. I made the turn and headed back toward the finish line.
Just after Mile 4, I came to a walk and took another cup of water from the water stop there. Once again, I drank a sip of it and then the rest went over my head. I tossed the cup and started to run again. I told myself I wasn’t allowed to stop again. I had just under 2 miles to go…and I could get there without needing to stop.
THIS is the biggest struggle I have had these days. I just can’t seem to get used to steamy/hot running. I used to fly in this kind of weather. But being unable to really train in it for a few years due to injury seems to have changed that. Um…YAY?
So, my 5th mile was pretty fast. The walk break must have helped with that, so I made up a bit of that time. That wasn’t the intention, that’s just how it works. That Jeff Galoway…he was totally onto something. Run/Walk works…what?! I was into the last mile now and it started to really feel hard. I could feel myself just slowing down. The humidity was wearing me down…and the hills had really taken it out of my legs. But I could SEE the finish line, so I pressed on, trying to pick it up to kick it into gear. I still have no finishing kick…but I managed to finish as strong as I could manage.
The humidity is killing me. I used to be able to run in it like it was nothing. Turns out, when you have to take 2 summers off from running…you lose that ability. I felt horrible at the end. I went to snag some water and ended up running into Tammy, Dean, and Pete (who I used to run with a lot back before the hip things). We chatted for a moment…about how hot and humid it was. How none of us had a good race. That sort of stuff. I was also told by Dean, with all the Wonder Woman running outfits out that day, that I needed to find a new super hero. BUT…let’s face it. I did it first. HA! And…come on…I was given the nickname by my running store at the time.
I decide to grab one more cup of water before heading over to the bleachers where Cathy was sitting. She hadn’t moved because the finish area was pretty compact so they were asking people not to wade that way. But this meant that I had a good spot to sit while we waited on Melissa and Paul to come racing into the finish line. Cathy saw Linda come in…I never saw Linda at the finish line. I saw some superheroes run in…including a few more Wonder Woman impersonators (*EVIL EYES*) and the Power Rangers. And then it started raining…again. It was shortly after the Power Rangers passed by that Cathy spotted Melissa and Paul heading in. We cheered and screamed and waved and made a lot of noise. Cathy and I hopped off the bleachers and went to go find our friends.
They were easy to find as they were looking for us as well. With the rain coming down, we decided to head toward the car. But first…we ducked into Starbucks for coffee (because post-run coffee is the best!). With coffee in hand we continued back toward Rupp Arena to where we were parked. When we were about a minute away, Linda texted to say she was at her car and Cathy, who had my phone, replied with that we would literally be there in a minute.
We talked about the weather, humidity, race, and results. We took photos. And Linda and crew headed back to Frankfort. Melissa, Paul, Cathy and I were going to hit up Bella Notte in Lexington for lunch. But first we hit up Target to change out of our running clothing and grab some water. Bookstores, food, chocolate, and lots of laughs and SO MUCH FUN later…we eventually needed to head back to Louisville.
It was an imperfect race, but a perfect day.
So, the official results of the Bluegrass 10,000 are that I finished in 46:52…once again in humid conditions…once again with walk breaks. UGH! But…hey…that’s about 2 minutes off my PR…so I’m getting there. Slowly. But getting there. I was 238/2704 finishers overall. I was the 42/1321 female finishers. And I was 5/214 in my age division. I’ll take that. I think this might become my tradition on the 4th of July as long as I’m in town. SO much fun. And doing it with friends was even better.