Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon

Eight months ago, I would have laughed in your face if you said that I would ever run more than a half mile at one time.

On Saturday, I’ll be toeing the line to run 13.1 miles – well, attempt to run it all! I’m sure there will be some walking. (I’ll also be starting somewhere in the back of the pack, but I’m fine with that!)

I started the Couch to 5K program in August of 2011 at 90 pounds over my healthy weight. I learned how to run using an app on my smartphone and buoyed up by the encouragement of my Twitter friends. I ran my first 5K at the end of October. A month later, I was signing up for the Run the Bluegrass half marathon. Needless to say, I was hooked.

Run the Bluegrass bills itself as “one of the prettiest half marathons in America.” I can verify the truth of that claim.
Another view from today's run.
Starting near the main entrance of Keeneland, the race course flows out the back gate – near all the horse barns – and through the rolling bluegrass hills of Central Kentucky. Horse farms feature prominently along the course. There is even one pasture full of miniature horses who will run up to the fence and cheer you along. The final mile of the course runs alongside the famed white fences of Calumet Farm. The most beautiful thoroughbreds you’ll ever see will race you down the length of that fence. Undoubtedly, they will win!

The course is challenging. There are LOTS of hills! One portion of the course runs on Old Frankfort Pike past the Headley-Whitney museum. It’s one of my favorite backcountry drives in the world – both for the beauty and the roller-coaster feel of those hills. I’m not so sure my feet will feel the same joy on Saturday!
jesus H. I'm about to run up this hill.
The race, hosted by Lexenomics, has a decidedly Bluegrass and thoroughbred feel. Mrs. Penny Chenery, the owner of the legendary Secretariat, is this year’s honorary starter. The race expo offers the option for participants to buy a bottle of Maker’s Mark and have their caricature drawn on the label. Kentucky companies like Swim Bike Run of Kentucky, WellFed Meals, Ale8One, Flav-O-Rich and more are all well represented. The organizers are as local as you can get and have worked hard to follow through on their mission of “invest[ing] energies & resources into the capabilities Lexington already has.”

With over 2000 racers in only its second year, the event is growing by leaps and bounds. You’ve got plenty of time to train for next year! If I survive Saturday, I’ll see you in 2013!