Thanks so much, Amber!
Wednesday I woke up at 5:45, well to be honest the alarm went off at 5:45 and I actually got up at 6:00. I did my normal pre-run routine, coffee and oatmeal with fresh fruit, half a banana, and let Lola (the dog of the house) outside. I was walking from home to the race start so I knew I would have the walk to wake up. I met my brother outside and we leisurely walked toward the race start. I arrived at Thoroughbred Park at approximately 7:00 a.m. which I thought was a touch early but everyone was already geared up and ready to go. The LexRunLadies group was congregated and the excitement and nervousness was palpable! The weather was great, clear sky and in the mid-70s, a beautiful morning.
The starting line was crowded and steamy, as expected. There were over 3015 finishers for the race this year, which was the 36th running of the Bluegrass 10,000. I do not race very often, so I when I do I try to pick well organized and coordinated events with some significance for me. The Bluegrass 10,000 has quite a reputation in Lexington and it seems all the natives hold it in a special place. I was so impressed by the community involvement along the entire course. There were neighborhoods out cheering and spraying us with water hoses (welcomed cool zones on a hot morning). Aside from the wonderful crowds and cheering the race itself was precisely coordinated and ran (pun intended) smoothly. The organizers did an impeccable job. The course was well marked with signs every mile and plenty of volunteers at every turn. There were adequate water stations along the course which is so important on a hot morning like yesterday. The firefighters, volunteers, and kind spectators had water hoses and “cool mist zones” set up along the course. Initially I found myself avoiding the water but during the second half of the race I ran through every sprinkler I could, like a kid in the backyard.
I guess this brings me to the part of the review about the course. After the start signal there was an agonizing 4 minute time gap before I got to cross the start gates then we took off toward downtown. We saw the finish line and got a glimpse of all the festivities awaiting us after 6 short (?) miles. I started slow, I have a nasty little habit of starting out too fast then running out of energy, so the plan was to start out slower than I wanted then “kick it in” in the second half of the race. The first 2 miles were flawless, mostly flat and downtown. I saw Krissie and Ann on Vine Street with an awesome silver hand sign and was feeling good. Then, we started out Richmond Rd toward Shriner’s hospital and were met with a long gradual climb toward Clay Street. This was not a bad hill, especially if you have been running out at Legacy, but nonetheless takes a bit of energy out of your legs. As we ran past the Henry Clay estate the hill let up and I started noticing all the spectators and signs. The crowd was great, both sides of Richmond Rd and the median were full of people watching and cheering. We saw the elite pack running to our left, having already made the turn-around, on their way to the finish.
As we approached the turn-around we heard live music from the median and my pace quickened. I was ready for the turn-around, it was starting to really heat up and get steamy, and I needed the mental boost of knowing I was on my way back. My original “plan” told me I should be quickening the pace here…ah plans. I did as much as I could to get my pace up but I had not factored in just how much the heat was going to zap my energy. Mile 4 was tough, tired, and grimy. I think my pace was a touch quicker on the way back and we got to run downhill heading back to downtown. It provided a boost mentally and physically. The last mile was the best of the race for me; I could see the finish line for about a mile before we reached it. I mustered up some energy and just kept going (I like to sing the Dory song: “just keep swimming” when I get tired, somehow it always helps). I saw Krissie and the awesome silver hand again just before the finish and pushed hard to get a few seconds on my time. I crossed the finish line, almost ran into some people in the shoot, and grabbed and chugged a blue Gatorade. I finished!
As a wrap-up I loved this race. Even with the heat and humidity, even though I didn’t PR, and even though I didn’t run a time I was shooting for. I would sign up again, tomorrow. I was lucky enough to have my Dad and brother both there to support me. I felt like this was the most representative Lexington race I have seen so far. I loved knowing that the other LexRunLadies were there, some doing their first 10K, others running one of many. Congratulations to everyone who finished. It was a great experience!