Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We Did It Again: Bourbon Chase 2012

This past Friday and Saturday, team This One and One More took on the 200 mile journey that is the Bourbon Chase - for the second time!

At the end of the BC last year I was miserable - I was sore, cranky, and I said I would probably never do it again.  Less than 24 hours later I was biting my tongue!  Within a week of the race we were all saying we'd be back for 2012.  This year we ended up replacing four runners for various reasons, but the majority of us were back and ready to rock.

Going into this year, I promised myself that I would train harder and train faster so I could A. help my team more and B. not be miserable!  With the addition of kettle bells into my routine this year, I am stronger than I was last year.  I also incorporated a few doubles into my training and did more tempo runs.  The result?  My times were really good and my soreness was minimal!

Our first runner took off from Jim Beam around 11:30 Friday morning.

The official start at Jim Beam
Unfortunately it was rainy, but the temperature was ideal.  Last year it was really hot throughout the entire race so I preferred this year's weather.

Kevin (Runner #1) handing off to Todd (Runner #2)

I was Runner #3 so Todd handed off to me.  Because I ran the same legs as last year, I knew what was coming and I was anxious to get my first leg out of the way.  Fortunately the rain quit as I started my run around 1:30.  With just 3.9 miles to run, I knew that if I felt good for the first half then I would be able to finish strong.  I ran into Bardstown, KY, through its downtown, past some friends who live there that came to support me (thanks Audrey and Muncie!), and towards the hill of death on Gilkey Run Road.  We are talking about a 6% incline in less than a 1/2 mile distance.  Last year, I couldn't run up the whole thing.  I can still remember it now: I ran a bit, walked a bit, skipped, side stepped, whatever I could do to get up the thing without jumping into a car.  This year, I ran the entire hill!  In fact, I completed my leg over two minutes faster than was projected - 8:59 pace as opposed to 9:30.  Unfortunately I was dubbed "sandbagger" for the rest of the race for that very reason, but hey...sometimes it's good to underpromise and overdeliver!
Another photo from our first legs when the rain finally cleared away and the sun came out:

Jeremy taking off (Runner #5) with PJ hidden behind him (Runner #4)
 After all six of us in Van #1 finished our legs, we handed off the slap bracelet to Van #2 at Maker's Mark and then set off to find some food and go to our hotel for showers and naps.  I closed my eyes for about 10 minutes total, but I was too anxious to get any sleep knowing that the night run would be next.  Last year I was very pleased with how I did in the night run as it was relatively flat and I ran a 9:03 mile.  This year I surprised myself and ran my 4.5 miles at an 8:48 pace!  One trick was that I told myself that I had more miles to go than I actually did - e.g. at the three mile mark saying that I had two miles left when I actually had 1.5.

We exchanged with Van #2 again in Danville and returned to the hotel for another round of showers and naps.  I slept almost two hours (approx. 3 am to 4:45 am) and got up to shower and get ready for the final leg.  This time last year my quads were killing me and I was afraid I was going to have major difficulties running again.  In addition to better training, here are some other things I did to stay on top of my game:

1. Foam rolling. 
2. Chocolate milk. I don't know what it is about chocolate milk, but runners rave about it for post-run recovery and it's true!
3. Better hydration.  I drank a lot of water and Gatorade.
4. More food.  After every run I ate a banana and a Clif Bar, and I made sure that I was eating other foods regularly so I could stay fueled. 

My final leg left Wild Turkey Distillery, crossed the Kentucky River, and then went up several very large hills.  My Garmin said the distance was 4.05 miles and I ran 9:11 miles.  It was too bad that I couldn't continue my sub-nine minute miles, but I was still happy with that time!  I passed one girl who said she "loved my running form."

Our final exchange with Van #2 was at Woodford Reserve.  Because our van was finished, we had some beers and drank some bourbon of course!  Unfortunately, everyone but Todd and I had to get back to Louisville, so we tracked down Van #2 and joined forces with them for the remainder of the race.

Before we split up, we took a van pic:

From left: Jeremy (seated), Kevin, PJ, Beth (seated - PJ's wife and our driver), Kathy, me, Todd
Here's a pic of Proc handing off to Captain Tim to run the very final leg!

Tim in response to running shirtless: "You're welcome, Lexington."
The rest of us headed to downtown Lexington for the finish.  As Tim approached us, we joined him and ran through the finish line together!
Final stats:

Finish time: 28 hours, 59 minutes, 10 seconds
Division rank: 58/179
Overall rank: 112/287

We beat our time from last year by over an hour!  We were all ready to celebrate.

Emily, me, Brittney, Sara (all at the finish with our medals)

Sara, Proc, Z, me, Brittney, Todd, Tim, Emily

After a beer and some walking around, we decided to head home.  It was a quiet ride as we were all tired and we got back to Louisville around 7.  I drove home in a daze, took a shower, and went straight to bed without any supper.  I slept for 13 hours, got up for a while, then slept for another two. 

And now I'm sitting here in a post-Bourbon Chase depression, longing for the race, the camaraderie, and everything that goes with it.  It was once again an amazing experience and I wish we could do it more than once a year.

If you haven't jumped on the Bourbon Chase train it's about time you did.  You won't regret it!

Go team This One and One More! Until 2013!

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