Marathons: Paul #65, Leah #55, State #45 : Horse Capital Marathon 2015
16th May 2015, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Finish Time = 3:53:31
Leah: 3rd Place Age Group
In the lead up to the event we had been constantly checking the weather, sometimes several times a day. It kept changing and at its worst predicted heavy thunderstorms along with a 90% chance of rain. We were concerned as to whether the event would go ahead at all, as it was stated on the website that in case of thunderstorms it may be cancelled. We flew out the day before and the forecast still suggested rain and that the thunderstorms would hold off until the 2nd half of the race.
It was the first year the marathon was being run and the course description read “The marathon will be a quasi-double loop course on rolling, scenic country roads, passing some 40-plus horse farms. In fact, runners are never out of view of a horse farm for the duration of the race“. We picked up our packets from the expo the day before, and did some horsing around ourselves.
In the morning we arrived at the race start to find out it had been delayed 30 minutes to allow people time to get in on the roads. There had been an accident on one of the main highways which was delaying a number of runners. This gave us some extra time to warm up which is always good. It was warm and humid but the rain was holding off.
We got going at 7:30am and as soon as we started I realised how heavy my legs felt from the previous weeks of marathons. It was a bit of a blow to not even be out of the starting stretch and to already feel that it was going to be more of a mental and physical struggle than I was expecting. It was also very humid for running and I was getting flashbacks from the previous weekend in Delaware, it makes it so much harder running in humidity.
A Natural Distraction
We got 3 miles into the race when something distracted us from the mental battle.. it started to rain. It got stronger and stronger and then just when you thought it was at it’s max, even stronger. It was coming down like a monsoon. In fact the only time I think I’ve seen more rain was during monsoon season when I was living and working in Singapore.
We were absolutely drenched, it got to the point where I don’t think we could have actually been any more wet even if we’d climbed into a lake. It was so crazy it was kind of fun, all you could do was laugh and it also completely distracted me from thinking about my tired legs. An additional bonus was that it also broke up the humidity. It was a strange sensation running in a downpour of rain along with some wind, while still being warm and a perfect temperature to still be wearing a vest. We actually sped up our miles, I think subconsciously thinking that if the rest of the race is going to be like this we would want to get through it as quickly as possible.
After a while the rain eased up, but with the humidity still relatively high we knew we wouldn’t dry out for the rest of the run.
Leah was counting horses as we ran by the horse farms, it was very peaceful and quite interesting to see the farm buildings as well as the names of some of the farms.
We got to half way in 1:51, pretty much the same as the last few weeks too, we are nothing if not consistent. As we started the second loop the downpour came back to remind us it was still up there. This time it didn’t start off small and get worse, it just came out of nowhere and totally soaked us all again. The only thing to do was just laugh. If you smile during a marathon you’ll always have a much better time, that’s definitely one of the things I’ve learned over the years.
The second half was quieter as the half-marathoners had finished but there was an out and back section where we saw some fellow maniacs along with a familar face pacing the 3:55 group, our friend Brian. The second half was tough, the uphills pulled on our tired calf muscles and the downhills wore away at our quads. We knew we had some time in hand for the sub 4 though which was a relief.
Towards the end we came across another Maniac who was also a 50<4 club member, he was on his 45th Sub-4 State. We talked while walking through an aid station and then pushed on. After a while we rounded the corner to the finish and saw the line ahead of us where we had been doing our jumping the day before. There would be no jumping on our legs today though!
We ran through with 10 fingers held high signifying our 10th marathon in 10 weeks and claimed another sub 4 State with our finishing time of 3:53.
Coincidentally it was exactly 1 minute (down to the second) faster than last week’s finish. After crossing the line we only had to wait 2 more minutes for our friend Brian to come through pretty much dead on his pacing time target of 3:55. We talked for a bit before heading over to get some post-race food. Chick-fil-a were there giving out a free chicken sandwich (UK people: chicken burger), which will probably go down as one of the best post-race food items I’ve ever tasted. It was SO good.
We went back to the hotel to shower, change and get into some dry clothes. We were about to head off to the airport when Leah checked the results online and found she had come in 3rd place in her age group! We drove back to the race finish as the event was still going on, found the person in charge and Leah was given her award. It was a shame we didn’t think to check when we finished and stayed around for the award ceremony, but at least we didn’t go home without her collecting it.
With limited options in Kentucky for marathons it’s great that this new event has been created and considering it was the first year the organization and execution was great. I can only see it getting better as small improvements are made. The rolling hills weren’t that bad, see the elevation graph below, and I’m actually glad the rain came to break up the humidity. It was a peaceful run surrounded by nature which I always prefer to being in the middle of a city with buildings all around. The aid stations were great and they also used Sword as their sports drink. I hadn’t heard of it before but it’s actually really good, one of the few sports drinks these days that actually has the ingredients in it you need without the chemicals and colours found in many others. My one tip would be to allow some extra time to get there and park, there’s only one way into the starting area and a lot of cars trying to get in there to park. Once you’re in though, there’s no worries about spaces as there are plenty of spots to park in.
State 45 complete and we can start submitting our paperwork to the 50 States Marathon Club for verification ahead of the remaining 5!
Elevation graph from my running watch:
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