We got in around 3:00 in the afternoon on Friday, after leaving at around 4:45 in the morning. We stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and Arby's for lunch on the way which made it take a little longer than just driving. Oh, and we stopped for gas twice.
The expo was bigger than I expected, and had lots of great vendors. Of course, most of the races that were there were local, and I don't plan on running Kentucky again, so that was kind of unfortunate, but fun to see what they offered! As for official race merchandise, we got two leather coasters (Jim Beam and Blanton's), our special bottle of Blanton's bourbon, bourbon fudge, and two coffee mugs. They're super cute and I can't wait to use them! I also got a couple cute tanks from Gypsy Runner. There was so much more I wanted, but I was trying to be good! We also talked to a guy who was from a local running store about Newtons, and I'm definitely thinking about getting some as my next pair. We have a local store here that specializes in natural running, and Newtons are one of their main products. After that we headed over to Wild Thyme for the runners' dinner, made some friends, and had some absolutely delicious food. It was all buffet style, and you can see most of what was offered on the pictures of the plates. The alfredo was home made, and I think even the pasta was! Vegetarian lasagna and meat, delicious garlic bread, veggies, pork, and a few more things I can't remember. Then, for dessert was bourbon bread pudding! It was so good. All of it was accompanied by beer from a local brewery, and they're also one of the main sponsors of the race. If I'm ever back in Lexington, I'll for sure eat at Wild Thyme. It's a farm to table restaurant, the whole kitchen is open so you can see, and it's so yummy!
Saturday morning we woke up early, and I got ready for the race. Silly me managed to pull up Savannah's forecast instead of Lexington's, so I thought it was about 20-30 degrees warmer than it was, and therefore didn't wear tights. Whoops! The race was around 45 degrees, rained literally the entire time, and according to the weather channel felt like 32. It was misty at the start but not raining yet, but basically as soon as we actually started it rained. Oh, by the way, if you do this race, get there early! It said get there between 7-8, we planned on getting there about 8, and it took us probably 30 minutes to go half a mile as we were filing into Keeneland. Ray was getting quite angry at the line jumpers, and I was just trying not to freak out about the cold and it being my first half marathon.
I have a blurry picture of the start and a couple from along the course in the post, but my iPod was in a plastic Ziploc so it wouldn't die in the rain (my phone, on the other hand, was left out of a plastic bag and suffered no water damage despite being in a pocket that was literally dripping water). It truly was absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous and serene. Unfortunately, that was all marred by the weather on Saturday. Even so, pictures really don't do any of this area justice; it's something you truly have to experience. I want to give a more detailed recap, but I honestly just don't remember a lot of the race. I was cold. I was wet. There were hills. I felt like I was almost never on flat land, it was always uphill or downhill. My legs probably would have been screaming were they not numb. I counted three hills in the first mile, and stopped counting after that! There were times were all I could do was focus on putting one foot in front of the other, because I couldn't feel myself running. I was a few SparkleSisters who gave me thumbs ups, so that was nice, but otherwise I stayed in my own world with my music. My only goal going in was to finish, but about halfway through I decided I would finish under 3:15. I did! My official time was 3:10:55, with a 14:34 pace. I don't know how I managed to pull that out of my ass since most of my long runs average a 15-16 minute pace on completely flat land! I also was feeling some of the effects of running at around 1000 ft under sea level when I live literally at it. It was overall quite an experience, and I'm still processing it all. There were a lot of positives and negatives, but I'm pretty sure most of the negatives just came from the weather.
I literally went straight from the finish line to the car. I knew if I stopped moving I wouldn't start again, and all I wanted was to be warm again. I think I had the beginning stages of frost bite, because my thighs were completely red, as was my stomach, and it only just barely started to go away after around 30 minutes in a warm shower, and I've never stayed red from cold for more than 5 minutes or so. Once I was warmed up from the shower, and had dealt with my foot (I ended up getting two major blisters on my feet and killer bruising from where I got it taped for my planter fasciitis because the tape was too tight and it got wet), I decided I didn't want to move for a while and got snuggled up in bed with Ray. Around 3:00 we finally decided to go to "lunch" and ended up going to Big Boy. I'd never heard of it, but Ray had from movies and tv and was dying to go. I will admit that I've never ate a bowl of mac n cheese that fast before in my life! I also felt kind of "off" the rest of the day. I wasn't nauseous, but unexplainably weird feeling. I think my body was just in shock. We went over to the mall so I could go to LUSH Cosmetics, since we don't have one in Savannah, played in the Apple Store, and then went back to the hotel and crashed, then ordered pizza around 8:30. I felt a lot better than I thought I would, and a heck of a lot better than after my Tower of Terror 10 Miler, considering I could actually walk and all! Today, I'm hardly sore at all.
Sunday we woke up around 8:00, ate breakfast at the hotel, and then ended up getting on the road around 9:30. Around 11:00, we decided to fulfill every stoner's dream and go to White Castle! It was exciting, and much better than Krystal (which I still don't see the appeal of at all). Around 2:00 we got in to Asheville, drove along a little bit of the course I'll be running in June, and got lunch. It was this place called Farm Burger, who has all grassfed beef, local and fresh ingredients, etc. and you can basically build your burger however you choose. We also got parmesan garlic fries which were amazing! I don't have a picture of my burger, because it wouldn't have been pretty at all, and I devoured it as soon as I got it. We'll definitely be coming back here in June! We finally ended up getting home around 7:30 Sunday night, absolutely exhausted.
With getting the time that I did in this hilly and rainy of a race, I'm definitely aiming for under 3 hours at Nike at the end of this month!
Did you have any firsts this weekend?