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Monday, October 19, 2009

Bourbon Chase Relay, Race Recap #1

Part 1 of a multi-part race recap for The Bourbon Chase Relay (multi-parts, because as you all well know, I am one chatty bitch).

200 miles, through Kentucky's country roads, hitting up some of Kentucky's finest bourbon distilleries along the way? What could be a better first relay experience for an alcoholic running addict like myself? Nothing, obvs.

My van was the first van and we met up at 9:30 on Friday morning and made the drive to the starting point of the race, Jim Beam. Now, this was particularly exciting for me. For those of you who don't know... ol' Jim and I were pretty hot and heavy a few years back. So, I was excited to be reacquainted with my old flame...

I think we all ended up doing at least one of the two tastings offered at Jim Beam, except, our first runner... she opted out, as it was only about 30 minutes before her leg started and our driver opted out as well.

Me? I tasted both offerings: Jim Beam Black and Bookers. Yum. After the tasting, it was basically time to get our first runner ready for her leg. The weather was shitty. Cool and rainy, but despite that, we were pretty jazzed to get this thing started. We lined up at the start line to cheer for our first runner's start.

Adrienne (in the red top) was our first runner...
Once the gun went off and she took off, it was time for us to take off, too. We hopped in the van and headed to the first exchange. At this point, we had only been living in the van for 4 hours and this is what it looked like:

Packed. Completely and utterly packed.

Adrienne took off like a rocket and outran the other teams that started at the same time as us. We would never see those runners on the course again (we saw them at some exchanges waiting for their runners, but we never encountered them on the course again).

VandyMontana was runner #2 and he did some light jogging around before his leg started. Adrienne came in ahead of schedule, handed off to VandyMontana and he was off on his leg.

One of the most interesting things to me about the relay was driving the route that the runner was running. It was like... once we passed VandyMontana on the road to get to the next exchange... all we could talk about was how shitty his leg was. It was along a 4 lane highway with construction and no shoulder. And it was raining and the roads were wet and Semi-trucks were spraying water all over him. Despite this, he also came in ahead of schedule and handed off to Mary, our 3rd runner.

It was about this time, that I started getting nervous. My first leg was short, but it was to be my hardest leg of the entire relay. It was rated a D for difficult and I knew that it was mostly up and down hills.

As we waited through the next exchange, of Mary handing off to Jonathan, we witnessed a runner on another team, running his ass off, barreling to the exchange, only to find his teammate MIA. Seriously... the guy ran his heart out and ended up having to wait in the exchange for like 2 minutes while his teammate finished up in the Heaven Hills Gift Shop or whatev. Needless to say, the runner was PISSED.

After Jonathan got the wristband, it was time to drive to the next exchange where I would be starting my leg. The rain picked up while I was standing around waiting and thankfully, Mary ran back to our van to grab my hat for me, just in time. I had wanted to warm up a bit, but the nazi lady at the exchange told me I had to stand between the two cones. None of the other exchange volunteers were so picky.

Jonathan sped in and slapped the wristband on my wrist and I was off. And immediately, I said... OH Shit. A steep downhill. Downhills are not my thing, folks. Not at all. It's like... they mess my stomach up, I can't run them fast cause all my fat is flopping around all over the place, and the pounding always causes my shoelaces to come untied. Not a good mix for a relay.

The route was rolling hills, nothing too crazy, but the downhills seriously bothered me more than the uphills. I stopped 3 times to tie my shoelaces. No joke. I saw no other runners on my route, which I kind of enjoyed. It was quiet, it was all Kentucky countryside and the rain had stopped. I ran as fast as I could up and down the hills.

Finally, I came upon a guy standing at the base of another hill and an intersection in the road. I ask him which way.... he replies "straight up" and I laugh and ask if he's sure I have to run up another hill? He tells me it's the last one and that the exchange is just past it. I run harder and faster and as I crest the hill I see some vans in the distance. Sweet Jesus, Thank you.

As I approached Jeff, the last runner in our van, all I could think about was the PBR tallboy I'd be cracking in one minute after I handed the wristband off to him.

I handed off and slowed down and started to walk and immediately my legs felt like jello. I climbed into the van and cracked open that tallboy and we headed off to Maker's Mark for the final exchange of our first legs.

It's at this time, that we finally met up with the other van and with the rain finally subsiding, the other girls in the van started decorating our van. I headed out to meet up with the other van and hand off the timesheet, etc.

After Jeff handed off to Matt, I turned around and saw this coming towards me....

I turned to Jonathan, who was standing next to me and I said... "is that our van?" to which he replied... "who else's would it be?"
Our kick ass van. Decorated like a Maker's Mark Bottle. Can you say awesome? People were taking pictures of it, it was so sweet.

We were done with our first legs! Time to go into Maker's Mark for a tasting... VandyMontana also bought a bottle and dipped it in the wax. We all took enjoyment out of watching that, but it was finally time to head out into the night and find somewhere for dinner and get some relaxing in before our next legs started around midnight...

The boys... posing with the van.
And... us girls...

Part 2 to come...


StangLuvr said...

I want in next year!!!!

Spike said...

yeah, I've never done a relay like that, I am so jealous.

also, this line rocks " ol' Jim and I were pretty hot and heavy a few years back." what I want to know is how things between you two ended?!?

Vandy-Montana said...

That was one ugly reflective vest....shit