You can't really tell, but it was a drawing of the Lexington skyline and the Nashville skyline. It was cool, trust me.
We took a picture of all of us next to the van and then got started on the important things:
No, silly! Not running! D-R-I-N-K-I-N-G.
It was here that I was teased briefly. I've always been a one bourbon kinda of woman. But, when Red Stag walked in, I caught myself lingering over the sips. Savoring every last drop. That's some good shit, man. I felt pretty guilty cheating on Woody (particularly on our 1 year anniversary). So, I tried to put Red Stag out of my mind and think about how I had to run 7 miles in about an hour.
Have you ever done a bourbon tasting an hour before a 7 mile race? No? You're the smart one in this blogger/reader relationship, then.
The first leg I was to run was the longest leg for me. 7.1 miles. I was glad to get my longest run out of the way early. If I was going to have fresh legs... it'd be now. I lined up at the start line and started chatting with some of the other people starting at the same time.
One lady, was saying how she had ran the route last week to check it out. (WTF? Who does recon on their relay routes? Seriously????) And that not only was it 7 miles with 4 miles being straight up... but, it was also longer than 7.1 according to her garmin. She mentioned that it was closer to 8 miles. Ugh.
There was a countdown and then the gun went off and so did the other runners. Like seriously.. you'd think we were running a 5k or something. Everyone but me and another chick bolted out of the starting gate. I realize... there's a crowd there cheering you on... and its a downhill to start. But give me a break folks! It's a RELAY and this leg is 7 miles (at least). Chillax.
I settled into a 9:00-9:15 pace to start and chatted with the other girl who hung back.
I didn't feel well to start. I'm not used to running after eating (or doing bourbon shots, surprisingly), so I felt like every ounce of fat on me was flopping around. My legs felt stiff and tight. I felt like I was going to be tasting that bourbon again VERY soon and not in a pleasant way. And overall, I just felt like shit. Eventually, the other girl pulled ahead and I let her go. She was about 100 pounds smaller than me and had just ran a half ironman a month previous. (PET PEEVE ALERT: She didn't tell me it was a HALF ironman. She only told me... "yeah, I did the Augusta Ironman a month ago and haven't ran since." I was impressed! An ironman! And then I asked my friend and teammate who had completed the Louisville Ironman this year, if the Augusta was a full ironman and he said no. UGH. If you did the half, say the half! The half is awesome!!! No shame in that... but don't leave that word out!).
After about a mile, I started to pick up the pace a little. I passed a couple of ladies and eventually caught up to HALF-y. She was having some knee/ITB/Calf/No idea issues and was stopping some to stretch random parts out. We continued to run some together. She was really sweet, but I wasn't running a pace that I felt comfortable bullshitting and chit-chatting in, so I was looking for any opportunity to drop her, so that I didn't have to grunt out "yeahs" and "oh really?s" for the next 4 miles. So, on one good uphill, I started to push my pace to drop her. I told her that I'd see her again and I laid the hammer down and never did see her again.
This must have been where the 4 mile hill started. Surprisingly, as I kept climbing, I started feeling better and warmed up. By mile 3.5 I was cruising. I turned off the main road and around mile 4 I saw the other girl that started at the same time as us and I knew... I could pass her.
We were still climbing up, but I could tell that my pace was faster than hers. I kept chugging. Finally I came up on her and made some comment about one of the offices of the Distillery we were passing and she grunted back. I pulled ahead and never saw her again.
At this point, I was feeling great and pushing the pace hard. The hills were tough, but I was tougher (at least thats what I kept saying to myself). By the time I saw the 1 mile to go sign, I was feeling dead, but kept pushing harder and harder. More hills. Dammit.
Finally, I saw the exchange and I saw April standing in it waiting for the hand-off.
There was a pretty big crowd waiting around for their runners and I took pride in being the first girl done out of our starting group! And then the sense of pride was quickly replaced with a sense of oh my god, I'm going to vomit in front of all these people.