The Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon nearly went as well as I anticipated!
We stayed at my friend’s house in Lexington the night before. This was the same friend, James, who I ran with at the Derby Festival Marathon.
My wife and James came to the start of the event. James had to work that day so he wasn’t planning on running. But Dr. Scott from SWORD said they had an entry available if James wanted to run. He decided to do the half marathon. Luckily, I had my other SWORD jersey in the car. James was now running for SWORD for this race. How cool! And it was even cooler that SWORD was a sponsor for the event and there was SWORD all over the course! Maybe 15 minutes before the gun went off we waiting in the port-o-potty line… James and I both had to release the kraken… otherwise we’d be sprinting to the first aid station to poop. Luckily we both made it and when I exited the port-o-potty, we had about 7 minutes until the start. I was also about 5 lbs lighter, too. Woohoo!
The gun went off. James and I started running. My goal was to break 3:05:00 as that was the Boston Qualifying (BQ) time I needed to get on this course in order to receive a reimbursement for the 2017 Boston Marathon, if I am able to register if slots are available in September 2016. My legs felt pretty good at the beginning but I knew that it was going to be a challenge as it was a HILLY course. Up and down. Repeat.
James and I ran together for nearly 2 miles or so and then I decided that I needed to focus on the runners ahead. We were running around 6th and 7th place overall, which included the half marathon and full marathon participants. Around mile 5, I was in 5th overall.One marathon runner and three half marathon runners were in front of me. I could see the lead bike for the marathon leader. I kept the course. I was running around 6:35 to 6:40 pace and felt strong. I caught the lead guy and we hit one of the most challenging parts, in my opinion. We continued on and even had some casual discussion. His name was David and was from the same town as my former cycling coach from Lindsey Wilson College. Cool!
We pushed on and we continued pace until around mile 11 and he started to fade up a hill. I kept same pace and encouraged him to catch me and keep pace with me… “come on, man, you’ve got this.” He seemed to be having some cramping issues, so I kept on. I hit the second loop and kept the course, still holding steady around a 6:35 to 6:40 pace. It felt kind of neat to be in the lead of the marathon with a lead cyclist beside me.
Then I hit the really hilly back section that on the second loop had a rough out and back from around mile 17 to 19. Right after mile 17, I was passed by another marathon runner. I tried not to let it phase me, so I kept focusing on what I was doing, not what the guy that passed me was doing. My legs started to feel some aftermath from the hills. My average pace started to slowly creep up to 6:41, 6:42. I was passed by another marathon runner right around mile 19. I was sitting in third place. Not bad. I had just over 10k to go. I had to constantly remind myself that place didn’t matter so much. What mattered was the TIME. I needed to run faster than 3:05:00 in order to BQ.
From mile 20 to 24 my mile times were a little slower. I was really hurting and my average mile time had creeped up to 6:47 by mile 24. I knew that the end was near. I was still in third, the clock was ticking. It was going to be close as the average time for a 3:00:00 marathon is right around 6:51 per mile. I clawed back an extra second on my average time over those last 2.2 miles taking it back to a 6:46 per mile. I crossed the line, ELATED that I was able to BQ, set a new PR, and break 3:00:00 in a marathon on such a grueling course.
2:58:34 at the Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon!
I jumped over the finish line and was greeted by Dr. Scott from SWORD! Then I saw his wife, Lisa, and my wife! It was so exciting! I finished third in the Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon! I also ran my fastest marathon to date on a HILLY course! Awesome!
Since the Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon was sponsored by Kentucky Ale, runners over the age of 21 received a free Kentucky Ale. Of course I enjoyed mine! A little while later they did the award ceremony and I earned a pretty awesome plaque. See my excitement in the picture below? Yeah, I was SO pumped!
I definitely think the Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon was a great race. It was only the second year they’ve held the event so a few things could be made better for next year (showing volunteers the proper way to hand off a cup, making sure the cyclists who are with the lead runners don’t get in the way of the runners at aid stations, etc.), but still, all in all, great event. I’m thankful for SWORD, the volunteers who helped out at the race, the event crew, James and his wife for letting us crash at their place, and super thankful for my wife for letting me run races without questioning me. She thinks I am crazy, but meh, I love her anyway.
I’m unsure if I’ll be back to the Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon in 2017 as I’ll more than likely be running Boston 2017 on April 17th, then the Derby Festival Marathon 2017 on April 29th. We shall see. It’ll depend on budgeting, potential sponsorship entries, etc. If I can get a discounted or comped entry to the Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon for 2017, I’ll be back for sure!