Bluegrass Half Marathon Race Report
The Bluegrass Half Marathon has been on my calendar since October. I was coerced into running the race by a coworker. This race appealed to me because I was tempted by a "shorter" race and the ambition of speed. Just throwing it down on the road and seeing what your body can do is what I feel like the essence of road running is all about.
Well, that was the thought anyway. After the Rough Trail 50K, I really just haven't felt like running. On top of that, conditions in Kentucky have really stunk for running the first bit of this year, with temperatures in the 30's-50's and a cold rain and wind on most of those days. I made an effort to do some runs, but really didn't put too much time into training.
Leading up to the race I still had the mindset that I was in great shape. I thought I could break 1:30 no problem with a little pushing. But, as the last couple of runs finished and I calculated split times, my goal was to break 1:40 with a stretch goal of possibly going under 1:35 if I was feeling well.
My parents were down for the race and to celebrate my birthday, so I think that helped to motivate me on race day. After a little bit of a delay the gun finally went off and we were running. I kept contact with the leaders through the first mile (By maintaining contact, I mean I could see them). Ut-oh. This can't be good. I clocked a first mile of 6:16 on my watch. That was fast. I was feeling good, but knew I had to slow it down. The second mile, I'm still cruising and end up running a 6:20. Still in the danger zone. After three miles I was in around 18:50.
We turned a corner and started up a long gradual hill. I thought I loved hills. I thought I knew what was coming. I couldn't have been more wrong. There were so many hills on this course. It was constant rollers for pretty much the whole course. (Check out the elevation profile below.) When I passed the turn off for the 7 milers I really regretted signing up for the whole half. I regretted not training more. I was beating myself up in my head.
I think the thing that helped me change my mindset was self-compassion. I thought, sure, you're hurting, this sucks, you could have trained more, but in reality, you're doing pretty good. We can take this mile by mile and get through it. So that's what I did. I focused on the mile at hand. Soon enough we were halfway. then around mile 8 I started to get my stride. I was starting to feel good and most importantly happy. It was a great time to get in the rhythm, because the worst hill on the course was in mile 9. I crushed it up the hill.
A guy passed me on mile 10 and said, "I've been chasing you for miles! You really push it on the hills!" I just responded, "Well someone has to!"
I was elated. I couldn't catch him on the flats, but on the next hill I caught him again before he took off in the final two miles.
Down the home stretch I pushed with what I had left. I smiled when I saw my parents cheering and managed to finish in 1:34:54! This was good enough for 7th in my age group. I was really happy with the result, all the food they gave me afterwards and seeing my parents.
I highly recommend the race. They had great support, it was a fun course and overall everything was very organized. Plus they have great swag! I would definitely do this course again.
Here are my splits from Strava. As always, feel free to follow me on there!
*Photos Courtesy of J.A. Laub Photography and Run The Bluegrass