I tagged on this marathon after a week of work travel through Tennessee. So on Friday I made my way to Lexington after meetings in Nashville. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve made the journey to Kentucky and it’s such a picturesque state! The weather was beautiful all week, but I could start to see a front rolling through and knew that the next couple of days were going to be hit or miss with rain. That can put a damper on things!
This was the first Horse Capital Marathon, so I knew there might be some growing pains going into it. I always feel the inaugural race is that way. I’m sure you learn a lot the first year. Packet pick up was easy and uneventful. It was at a big horse stable/farm/etc? I’m not familiar with what the exact name of what the place was, but it was a huge property with large fences, green pastures, barns, and rolling hills. Very pretty! Afterwards, I made a beeline for dinner and just sat and waited for sleep!
The race start was set for 7 am (I just love an early race start!). My hotel was about a mile from the starting point. I woke up, per usual, a few minutes before I had to make the drive over. I did my pre-race ritual (a banana, some light stretches, and a check of all the gear – Gu, race bib, favorite socks) and headed out. When I pulled out of the hotel the traffic was at a stand still. What?! I had given myself 30 min to get to the race and park. What I thought was plenty of time, given I was only a mile away. After sitting for about 7 minutes, I followed the lead of the lead of the car in front of me and made a U-turn on the median to try a different route. Thank goodness for GPS! I detoured about 8 miles to the back entrance of the horse farm we were starting at. Here is what I saw when I came in that direction:
Yikes! I finally found a parking spot and rolled up to the start line at 6:52. I thought I was doing well, but figured the hundreds of folks still in traffic weren’t doing so hot! Turns out that there was a wreck near the interstate and it was causing a delay. Result – 30 min start hold. Boo! That meant we had to wait around until 7:30 am to start. That was starting to eat into my late check-out/hotel shower time (I had to drive to St. Louis after the race).
So, at 7:25 we had the National Anthem and then we were off to the races! I joined the 4:25 pace group. There were a grand total of 2 of us in it! I hung with those two folks for about 10 miles. From mile 2-5 or so it poured rain! It was sprinkling at the start, so this downpour didn’t surprise me. It did make for really heavy shoes, wet clothes, and ‘fun’ chaffing! I never dried out after that rain.
At mile 10 or so I began to pick up the pace a bit. The 4:25 group seemed to be running the miles in varying speeds and, even thought I knew I’d end up finishing somewhere in that time, I was having a hard time with the pace changes. So, I took off a bit and picked it up to a more consistent 9:45/min mile or so. I held this pace through 20-ish without any issues. Miles 10-20 were run solo. I steadily passed folks and after the half-marathoners split off, it did get a little lonely.
Right before mile 18, there was a little out and back add that was not too much fun. It was super rolling hills and you could see folks looping back and I noticed the 3:20 pace group, the 3:55 pace group, etc. It’s never fun to know how far you’ve got to go before you turn around! On top of that, the rain started drizzling again. Though it didn’t last for long and it wasn’t soaking, it still is annoying!
I finished the last 6 or so miles around a 10:15 pace. Not to shabby for LOTS of rolling hills and rain. I chatted with a person here and there, but mostly solo running. It was a pretty lonely marathon in that respect, but the green scenery made up for it. The route also consisted of two big loops, which are one of my favorite types of races. For some reason I just really like loop marathons instead of out and backs or point to points!
I crossed the finish line in 4:22:00 (chip time) and was very happy with that. My foot didn’t give me much pain at all. It did get super tight on my way to St. Louis. Getting out of the car after a 5+ hour drive after a marathon is a little hard. I felt like a 90-year-old lady getting out of bed! But that’s what compression socks are for! And the Birkenstocks are totally a fashion statement! Overall it was a good race. Not sure if I’d put it on my recommend list, but I’m glad I did it and checked KY off the 50 states list!