Normally three weeks before a marathon I’d be running my longest run. But this year, I switched things up because I wanted to participate in my absolute favorite half marathon – the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon!
As much as I like to prepare, I had no idea what to expect. The week leading up to the race is my busiest week at work all year, so I wasn’t sleeping much, was eating and drinking a ton, and hadn’t run or worked out at all. My friends kept asking what my goal was, and I told them it would go one of three ways:
- 2:00 or under – feeling great
- 2:05-2:10 – feeling ok
- 2:15 or more – not the best
Right after work on Friday, I headed to packet pickup at Louisville Slugger Field. While there, I was able to check something off my list – meet a fellow BibRave Pro in person! I joined the community during COVID so up to this point, the only other BRPs I know are the ones who live in Louisville (there’s four of us total). I knew a few others would be traveling to Louisville, and I couldn’t wait to put faces with Instagram photos! So I was thrilled to meet Juan from Texas at packet pickup!
He was there with his family, so we stood around chatting for a little while. Then my husband and I headed home so I could eat and get all my gear laid out for the next day.
I woke up on race day and felt good! My friend Olivia was also running the race, so her husband dropped us off at the start. We immediately found our friends from She Runs This Town, and then I met even more BibRave Pros! I was in such a good mood and so excited to see people I knew!
The race started at 8am and we were off! I skipped my intervals for the first mile to let the crowd thin out a little bit. I was running right along with the 2:10 pacers, which was fine. I had been hoping I would be a little faster, but I was ok with it. At some point, I lost sight of the pacers and I was a little shocked because I couldn’t imagine I had slowed down that much.
Around mile 5, I felt a blister on the bottom of my right foot. I had noticed it a couple days before the race and blamed the shoes I’d been wearing to work. But by race day, the blister had popped and I thought I was in the clear. Apparently not. I spent the next several miles agonizing whether this blister would be the death of me.
The course changed this year and I wasn’t a fan at all. While it was nice to run new-to-me parts of Louisville, there were sections of the Butchertown Greenway that were horrible. The path was in bad condition, and there were several sharp turns.
At one point there was a brief out and back, and that was when I realized I wasn’t behind the 2:10 pacers; I was actually smack in between 2:00 and 2:10! That got me excited, especially considering I only had about three miles to go.
The last water stop was at mile 11.5 and I was so excited because our running group was in charge of that one! It gave me such a boost to get high fives and hear my friends cheer for me!
Then half a mile from the finish, I realized we had to climb up this godawful hill. I actually cursed out loud as soon as I saw it. Luckily, as soon as I reached the top, I could see the finish line!
I finished right at 2:00, which made me so happy! I really hadn’t expected much out of this race so I was thrilled with my time. It’s actually my third fastest half marathon time and a PR for this race!
A couple minutes after I finished, I saw Olivia and three other women from my running group – Carman, Gina, and Ashley. Carman and I had played leapfrog the first half of the race, so it was great to see her and catch up with the others.
The best part of this race is the super fun after party! Every runner gets a wrist band with little tabs for four bourbon tastings, two beers, a slice of pizza, and burgoo. Mike and Olivia’s husband, Jeb, met us after we finished. We had bought them extra wristbands so they could join the party. Gina also gave me her wristband before she left, and then three random guys gave Mike their wristbands, too. Needless to say, we had a blast. We kept running into friends, so we spent the next couple of hours tasting bourbon, eating pizza, and laughing.
If you’re ever looking for a fun half marathon in a city with lots to do, I highly recommend the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon. As long as it’s in Louisville, I’ll be running it.