Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Half: Backside Trail Marathon & Half Marathon
Date: Sunday, April 30th, 2017
Finish Time: 1:55
Pace/Mile: 8:45 – 2nd female finisher
Who’d I travel with? Mom, Kristen, and Carrie
Pre-run meal? Pasta!!
Wait…It’s A Trail Run??????
TIP: ALWAYS CHECK THE RACE DESCRIPTION BEFORE YOU SIGN UP… Or at least earlier than the night before the race. State #9: Kentucky, only 2 months after I conquered California. I was determined to knock out another state before summer came and I figured that training should be easy since I was already in shape from running 13 miles in March, right? Yeah, perhaps, except for the fact that this was my first real “trail run” without the luxury of paved paths, and I hadn’t prepared for Kentucky to be challenging in the least bit (which it most definitely was).
One of my favorite pieces of this trip was who I traveled with & the fact that not one, but BOTH, of my sisters drove all the way from Green Bay, Wisconsin to be there. Actually, not only did they drive from Wisconsin to Kentucky, first they had to stop in Columbus to meet up with my mom and I. So, let me break this down. They drove all through the night on Friday after work (approximately 8 hours) to arrive in Columbus sometime around 6 a.m. then they woke up around 10 a.m. to drive another four hours to Kentucky with my mom and I, all to watch me run. To support me. To be a part of my adventure.
First stop: hotel. I selected the hotel again for this race… and I’m not sure why my travel companions keep allowing me this honor, because it is always an absolute disaster. But hey, at least we didn’t have to pay to use the fridge at this one, score! Next stop: packet pick-up. I got my t-shirt, my race bib, and was ready to run. Final stop: PRE-RACE DINNER (my favorite!).
We ate at a family-style Italian restaurant, it was the perfect place to be together before a big event, which is why everyone in town was ALSO there to eat before their school’s prom. Anyways, there was about an hour and a half wait to get a table, so my mom, sisters, and I decided to explore the little strip mall next door. We went into the re-use book store and took a look around for a while until we accidentally stumbled upon the perfect thing to occupy ourselves with as we waited for our table: Scrabble.
So, picture this beautiful Italian restaurant overflowing with high school students dressed in their absolute best for the night of their lives: beautiful gowns, perfected hair and make-up, photos being taken from a thousand angles to capture the anticipation…. And there we were, sitting on the restaurant’s sidewalk, in our “just rode in the car for four hours” clothes, playing scrabble. It was absolutely perfect. We were completely in the way as the students continued to show up and gather around the restaurant doors, but we didn’t care. We played our scrabble and waited for our table. Let me tell you: COMPLETELY WORTH THE WAIT. The food was unbelievable, we shared two huge pasta dishes, some (lots) of bread, some vegetables, and had a littleeeeeee bit of Sangria (just a tad).
After stuffing ourselves full of Italian, we finally made our way back to the hotel. As we were laying there I decided to take a glance at the previous year’s results. I was completely confused, how in the world were the times so terrible? What kind of race was this? A trail race. Evidently during trail runs one usually adds about 30% of their “normal” finish time. WHO EVEN KNEW THIS WAS A TRAIL RUN?! Evidently everybody. When I arrived in the morning everyone was prancing about, preparing their bodies with strapped-on water bottles, ankle supports, all kinds of gear that I didn’t realize I needed/don’t own. However, on a positive note, I did remember to poop before arriving (score!). I asked a lady standing near me whether it truly was going to be as difficult as the race page said, she said yes, I chose not to believe her.
I ran my race. Focused on my pace. Put one foot in front of the other. It was a “one-person trail,” so every time you needed to pass someone you basically just shouted at them to move over so that you didn’t run them over. The race was actually really beautiful; it went through the woods, in and out of parks, across bridges, all kinds of things to see which distracted me from the pain in my legs as I tried to watch my step while somewhat maintaining my normal pace. I fell approximately 4 times, and when I say I fell, I mean that I completely bit it. Like taking a huge turn at an unusually high speed in a jeep and overturning, rolling across the ground: that was me. My knees were bleeding, my teeth had some dirt in them, and I lost my headphones at some point. But I kept going. Until, of course, I got lost.
“MOM I’M LOST AND I DON’T THINK I’M ON THE RIGHT TRAIL ANYMORE AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE ANYBODY IS OR HOW TO GET BACK.” Yep, mile 12, and I get lost. I CAN BASICALLY TASTE THE VICTORY AT THE END OF THIS TREACHEROUS UNPAVED TRAIL, and I get lost. The trail was marked remarkably well throughout the entire race, except in this spot. I took a wrong turn at a “V” in the road, and continued about .4 miles down the wrong path. Until I saw a lady walking her dog, looking at me with confusion. I took out my headphones, “have you seen any runners here?” She continued her look of, “where the hell did you come from?” and responded with, “No…but there’s someone running,” and pointed back in the direction of where I had just come from, we watched together as the runner took the other path, back into the woods. I thanked her and sprinted back towards the path, with all kinds of anxious energy flowing through my bones now.
It started sprinkling as I ran the last .1 miles of the race. Everyone cheered as I ran across the finish line, collapsing into the grass two seconds later. My family picked me back up, both hugging and laughing at me as they congratulated me on my race. I actually did surprisingly well, I finished as the second female and was able to pick out a free Northface backpack as my prize. It was one of those races that gives you the “I’m on top of the world” feeling when you finish it. It was the hardest race I’d ever finished, challenging me both physically and mentally, and emotionally (which I admittedly did to myself by getting completely lost). But I did it, I conquered state #9.
After the race we got some post-race pizza (my favorite celebratory meal), some beer, some ice cream, and then decided to get tattoos. Nope, no typo there. We literally decided during pizza that we were going to get tattoos that day. I had already been googling options for us four if we were to ever get a tattoo together, and we had agreed upon the four suites of cards: heart, diamond, spade, and club. We voted on who should get what, all unanimously making the same choices for the others based on our personalities. So, we held each other’s hands, lifted our shirts, and got ourselves a permanent souvenir from state #9.