Horse Capital Half Marathon Race Recap!

Horse Capital Marathon and Half Marathon Race Recap

{Lexington, Kentucky}

By now you should not be surprised by a race recap that begins (and ends) at Starbucks – it’s like we have a traveling clubhouse in hundreds of cities across the country.  Maybe someday we’ll take this show overseas to check out our clubhouses around the world!  Adding that to my bucket list …

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But this past weekend we happened upon a “clubhouse” in Georgetown, KY that was serving up a Blueberry Pie frappe.  Those two purplish ones in front – the one on the right is the NEW mini size! – tasted as good as it sounds, even if the actual blueberries in my frappe kept getting stuck in my straw :)

It was a beautiful day to drive and we arrived at our hotel in Lexington around 5pm – just in time to witness the ceremonial beginning to an Indian wedding.  According to one of the guests, the bride’s mother was preparing the groom to be married then escorting him to the wedding location.

Photo May 15, 5 07 13 PM

Their dresses and wedding attire were beautiful, as were the decorations in the lobby.

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Next stop: Packet Pick Up in the beautiful Fasig Tipton building, the oldest thoroughbred horse auction company in North America.

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Since this was the HCM Inaugural Race, the expo was smaller than I’m used to for a half or full, but very well organized.  Which meant we were in and out quickly and on our way to dinner…  Bonus!

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Sneaking pictures with the post-race props a day early!

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And dinner meant a little time to catch up with my one of my favorite people, my sweet friend Brook, and introduce her to these crazy RG’s :)

HCM dinner

Then Brook informed us that Graeter’s was just around the corner … even though it is against everything I have ever learned or taught in regards to nutriton the night before a race, we savored this delicious regional {made in Cincinnati} treat.  You’ve not truly enjoyed ice cream until you’ve tried Graeter’s.  The Black Raspberry Chip is definitely my favorite!!

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After a good night’s sleep (and trying to get that ice cream to settle), we left the hotel around 6:15 am.  The race was scheduled to start at 7:10 am and was less than 10 minutes away from our hotel.  Plus, the forecast was still unpredictable and we surely didn’t want to get over there too early then stand in the rain … I mean, what could be worse than standing around in the rain? {Spoiler alert: it’s going to get worse than just standing in the rain.}

Unfortunately, our 10 minute trip ended up taking about 30 minutes due to traffic being so congested by eager race participants.   The race director ended up postponing the start to 7:30 am to allow runners and walkers more time to arrive.  Even amongst the delays, HCM staff did a great job updating their Facebook page with race and traffic information.

We arrive at Fasig-Tipton and it’s decision time:  what gear do we need and what stays in the car.  Sun glasses? Nope.  If we leave them in the car, surely it will be sunny!  {Yes, we said this out loud.}  Rain jackets? Nope, don’t need those because we’re leaving our sunglasses in car to ensure sunshine!  

I wish it had actually worked out this way!
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In reality, somewhere along mile 2 the sky opened up and dumped buckets of rain on us … buckets and buckets of rain … for about 45 minutes.  Major props to our waterproof mascaras for withstanding the conditions, and for not making any of us look like a raccoon!

Photo May 16, 8 19 50 AM

It finally let up during mile 6 and stayed away just long enough for us to *almost* dry out before it started up again.  In hindsight, the rain jackets wouldn’t have done anyone any good but the sunglasses probably would have come in handy to keep the water out of my eyes.  Better yet, I probably should have picked up that hat that I packed but chose to leave in the hotel room.

Despite the rain, we all agreed that was hands-down the most beautiful course any of us have ever run.  The entire course was along country roads with scenery like this.  While “gentle” rolling hills may have been a bit of an understatement, none of the hills were super steep and every uphill was followed by a downhill which was nice!  {In talking with a local couple at the expo, I understand that the marathon course had some less “gentle” hills, though.)

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Around mile 6, the buckets of rain were back for another 35 minutes or so before we got to dry out again.

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Love a gorgeous country home :)

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Nearing the finish line… the rain has let up for the moment and the horses are back out again!

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Summer tries to make friends with this horse …

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And Melissa wisely thinks twice about kissing this giant snapping turtle!

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We found the finish line … and our post-race treats!  In addition to the regulars (chocolate milk, bananas, water, and granola bars) Chick-fil-a was handing out their signature chicken sandwich and Kentucky Ale gifted everyone with a beverage!

I don’t even like beer, but the blueberry Blue Ale is delicious!!

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We will most definitely be back next year – in four years of scouting out new races to run, I have never once chosen a race based on the race director but that’s about to change.  Bob Baney and the entire 3 Way Racing Team did such an amazing job on this inaugural race that I had already planned to seek out their races in the future.

But then something unexpected and inspiring … almost surreal … happened.  Back in Indianapolis Sunday morning, I was responding to a Facebook message when Bob posted this picture on the HCM page caught my attention.

meganbob

And the post that accompanied it:

MEGAN WILLIAMS IS A SURVIVOR OF OF THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBINGS … Some of you may have met her at our Friday expo. In 2013 after the Boston Marathon she was standing near the finish line when those horrific bombs went off. She was hit by the shrapnel and since that time has had 7 surgeries and still has one to go. She hadn’t run a marathon since and her doctor gave her clearance to run one the spring. She selected the Horse Capital because of her love of horses.  Yesterday she had difficulty getting to Fasig Tipton for our inaugural race so she never started. She hung around and I visited her after the race. I told her I wasn’t sending her home until she completed what she came to do……so on this beautiful Sunday morning she set off from our starting line at 7:37am with her own personal hydration volunteer (me)……She’s at mile 3 and we’ve already seen 34 horses. She is an inspiration.  More photos and updates to come…..I just wish for all of you we had this weather yesterday.
GO MEGAN GO!!!”

I tear up every time I read that post.  So many warm and fuzzy feelings.  First, that Megan survived those tragic bombings.  That she was cleared to run again less than two years later despite multiple surgeries and that wanted to travel from Boston to Lexington for her 8th {and first post-surgery} marathon.  And that this race director was so dedicated to her cause that he set out Sunday morning with her.

But as I watched the subsequent posts throughout the day … before and after church, on our way to lunch with my parents, waiting for my son’s Pre-K graduation to start and off and on during our dear neighbors’ impromptu going-away party … I couldn’t get enough.  You can watch Megan’s entire journey unfold for yourself here and here.

mgeanHCMfinish

If you are reading this, you probably know the running community is second to none when it comes to loving, supporting and encouraging one another.  On Friday and Saturday, we had an amazing time relaxing, running and enjoying our girl time in Lexington.  On Sunday, our hearts were bursting with pride as we “watched” a fellow Runner Girl complete her 26.2 miles with 75+ fans cheering her on all along the way and at the finish line.

*** Favorite race you’ve ever run?!?  

*** Who inspires you? 

 

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