Mercifully, the 2015 half marathon season has come to a close. With the completion of the Urban Bourbon in Louisville on Oct. 24, the longer runs are done and I can ease off the distance accelerator.
As with the KY History Half Marathon on Oct. 3, my mantra in the Urban Bourbon was, “there is beer in the car,” for once the torture was completed. But this time around there was bourbon available at the finish for those with the stomachs for it.
Sponsored by Evan Williams, among others, all the usual suspects were at the post race party including Makers Mark, Jim Beam, Four Roses and Woodford Reserve. Just tear a drink ticket from the race wristband and there were free shots. Falls City provided beer. There was burgoo and Bearno’s Pizza as well, all of which were represented on entrants’ wristbands.
This is a fine idea in theory – offering free whiskey on Whiskey Row at a race in Kentucky. It distinguishes the Urban Bourbon from other half marathons and raises its profile, but after 13-miles I must say bourbon is about the last thing I wanted, especially once more people finished the race and the lines grew.
The race itself was easier than the one in Frankfort – far less hilly. The weather was overcast, but the rain mostly held off. Temps were in the low 70s with heavy humidity. That meant we all sweated a lot. That’s not so good for hydration and cramping.
What made a big difference was having those extra couple weeks to train between Oct. 3 and Oct. 24. I did a hard 10-mile run that included the S-127 hill in Frankfort, which goes from the river valley by the Capital Plaza Hotel up past the National Guard and intersects topside with Hwy 60. Plus I did a 5-miler and a hard 8-miler. Those runs helped immensely during my running of the Urban Bourbon.
The first five miles of the race were flat, then after entering Cherokee Park there were three hills. I was expecting them to be worse, but compared to what I train on in Frankfort these were not such a problem.
I still didn’t have enough training under my belt overall and weighed too much, but this race was better. Once the Cherokee Park portion of the Urban Bourbon was done, the final five miles were relatively flat as well.
There is no getting around having to run 13 miles and that is painful. I had the conditioning to get it done, but it still required pain management.
Something that helped pass the last three most grueling miles was meeting a fellow Iowan on the course, which is the state where I attended college twice.
Laura and her friend had driven over from Iowa to run the Urban Bourbon. She and I had been running near the same pace for the back half of the race. She would get ahead of me and then have to stop and walk, at which point I would surge past her.
At about the 11-mile mark she said she wanted to try and stick with me and see if together we could get this race finished.
It definitely helped to stammer out conversation, even through hyperventilating phrases, to pass some time without thinking about the pain, where we were on the course and how much distance was left. The 13th mile always seems long, and the final .1 to the finish line looked forever away, but we got it done.
I ran the Urban Bourbon in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 18 seconds. That extra training and the flatter course shaved 14 minutes off my time from the KY History Half Marathon.
My training partner, Matt, finished below his goal of 2:10, but it was painful for him as well. If the temps had been a tad crisper he likely would have run closer to two hours flat.
As promised there was beer in the car. Michelob Ultra to be specific. I wanted out of my drenched clothes. We changed up and went back to the post race party, but it was thick with people by then. I did get some Maker’s 46. That stuff is like bourbon crack. I ended up pouring a couple shots of bourbon in my beer to make a combination boilermaker and that worked better for me than trying to sip straight bourbon.
As we exited the party with our Urban Bourbon race wristbands still full of drink and food tickets, a group of 20-something college guys asked if they could have our tickets. Matt and I looked at each other and were like absolutely, go have a good time!
I do remember that college mindset of no matter where you are drink as much as possible. Those boys were ready to get their drink on and chat up some of the many physically fit lovelies in attendance. Rumble young man rumble!
Matt and I rolled off to hit some music stores and replenish our lost strength with mountains of cheesy goodness from the folks at Skyline Chili. Now that did my body good.
As a post race follow-up, I ran the Black Cat 5K in Frankfort on Oct. 30. Due to rainy weather and a lot of work stuff going on, I hadn’t been able to get a run in since the Urban Bourbon. The Black Cat was more an excuse to force myself back out on the road.
This is an annual evening run that started at 7PM, so by the first mile it was seriously dark on the course. I quickly learned my legs were still dead from the half marathon.
I ran the first mile in 8:45, hit the second at 18:30 and finished in an oxygen deprived 28:38 for 3-miles.
I continue to have plenty of work yet to be done, but I’m gaining some form back. The plan is to do a Thanksgiving turkey trot and a Jingle Bells run in December. Then depending on the temp and snow, it may be time to renew my gym membership and head indoors till the weather improves.
Persistence, determination and a refusal to buy bigger clothes to accommodate weight gain are my motivators to keep me running in the right direction.
You’re a bloody hero Peter. I’m almost inspired to follow in your tracks …. Almost