Run the Bluegrass was truly an EXPERIENCE! It was held March 28, 2015 in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky. My HB signed us both up for this race–more so of a surprise to me. I’ll admit…I smiled when I received the confirmation in my inbox. The HB is a “Bling Chaser” (i.e., he runs for the shine, not the time–yes, that’s his mantra). When he saw the finishers’ medal then found out that Run the Bluegrass was part of the Kentucky Half Classic (Challenge), he was all in! Finishers of both Run the Bluegrass and the Kentucky Derby miniMarathon would receive the challenge medal. Recap coming soon. I was still somewhat on my hiatus after the Walt Disney World Marathon, but I decided to go for it. Little did I know, I was in for a BIG surprise.
I always look forward to the Expo to purchase items I really don’t need. Our first stop was the Woodford Reserve Bourbon vendor. While he checked out the cool drinking glasses and such…I went to look for the hoodies they had at the expo from their online store. But guess what? SOLD OUT! I was happy to find out we were getting hoodies as part of our race packet (swag).
I made my way around the Expo then stopped at the Navy 10 Nautical Miler booth. I was pretty impressed with the medal! They also help support the Fisher House Foundation by raising funds and awareness to help military families through Team Fisher House, the charity I will be running for in October. You can still donate here! Definitely adding this race to my list.
We were ready to go, but boy oh boy–the moment we stepped outside, we hauled tail to put on an extra layer. It was unseasonably cold for Run the Bluegrass. Past participants said the weather is usually perfect on race day, but it was in the low 20’s and I was not ready. I forgot to mention, the day before the race we saw snow flurries on the way to the hotel.
We headed on over to the group photo area for Half Fanatics. Excited that I ran into a few Half Fanatics (Heather and Dana) who were staying in our hotel. They are truly FANATIC! Not sure if I’ll make it to the Sun, but maybe one day. I also ran into a few ladies from Black Girls RUN! and fellow blogger and Team Turkey Stir Fry teammate, Karen of RunKnitTravel. We were on the same team for the Cigna Blogger Cook-off during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!
And we’re off…
The wind was piercing! The HB was smart to wear a face “mask”. I’m definitely investing in a neck gaiter before next winter. We had to stop and soak in the beautiful scenery!
….and there were more hills. Dear God, those endless rolling HILLS! They were ALIVE and THRIVING!
RTB Meg’s Mile (9-10) was in honor of Meg Cross Menzies. It was chosen because mile 9 was the unforgettable mile. I didn’t know Meg personally, but you can’t hear about a story like hers and not be affected. All of the shoes seen below were donated to the less fortunate. You can read more about Meg’s Miles here.
Mile 9 was truly unforgettable! Meg, may your memory live on!
I really can’t explain these hills. It’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. I knew when my HB stopped to walk that it was getting serious. Being a faithful Galloway follower–my run-walk-run went all the way out the door (for most of the race). I became a walker and I’m not ashamed to walk during a race either. There was no “racing” this day. It was pure survival mode and determination to make it to the end. And people say Birmingham is hilly. Whether you run the hills in Mercedes (Half) Marathon and/or Atlanta hills…they are a piece of cake compared to RTB. I couldn’t take pictures of all of them because I was too busy calling on Jesus! I heard there were 28-ish rolling hills. They were endless! These photos make them look “easy” to tackle, but I’m here to tell ya…they were brutal! So brutal…even Humpty felt the pain!
*cue Destiny’s Child* —“I’m a Survivor!”
I was looking a HOT MESS. Like…an epic level of hotmessedness–so there’s only a pic of the HB after we finished! *chuckle* And for those who were wondering why my HB still has on his “mask”…he calls himself “Ghost Runner” and he likes to keep his face covered while running. *shrug*
RTB took great care of us at the finish! This was truly the best post-race snack pack ever. It was filled with lots of goodies and that was in addition to the free pizza and beer! We also made our way to the VIP Experience tent and stayed for a little while, but we were spent and ready to get to our warm hotel, soak, and get in our jammies. #TEAMEPSOMSALT
I do have my own thoughts on those
mega mountains hills…but Run the Bluegrass was truly a great experience (even though I wanted to quit a few times)! It is probably one of the most beautiful half marathons (if not THE most beautiful) that I’ve ever ran to date. Although it was the absolute hardest half I’ve ever ran (and walked)…I thank GOD that I finished! It was so pretty and I loved seeing the horses–and because it is named America’s Prettiest Half Marathon, you must run/walk/crawl this race at least once–just please train on hills! It is such a beautiful course. This became #8 of my 10 half marathons completed (with more to come before the end of 2015).
You can sign up for Run the Bluegrass 2016 here! I will not be running, but I plan to be there to cheer everyone on! Also, I had a lot of inquiries about my chevron Bondi Band–which I love! You can shop chevron products here! I am an ambassador for Bondi Band, but all opinions are my own.
Have you ever participated in Run the Bluegrass? If so, will you return again?