WOW! What fun, in a how much abuse can a body tolerate kind of way. Delen picked me up Thursday afternoon and we drove to Lexington. Thursday evening there was a pre-race reception at Buster’s Billiards. Lot’s of food and a some free drinks. I had a Bourbon Barrel Ale which was pretty good. Met the Bourbon Babes at the reception. They were a wild bunch. Their team mascot kept poking me in the butt. The mascot was named Vana. She was quiet but I think she liked me, LOL. I never did see Vana again. It was a tough race and she did not make it to the finish.
Thursday night I only got about 2 hours of sleep. Not good. After breakfast Friday morning most of the team gathered at a FEDEX parking lot to pack up the vans and drive to the race start at the Jim Beam Visitor’s Center in Clermont. A couple teammates would meet us at Jim Beam and a couple of others were just arriving at the airport. Actually there was a SNAFU with the van rental. Budget didn’t have all the vans they needed and we wound up with only one 15 passenger van and one GMC Yukon which was a little cramped with seven people and all our gear.
Our start time was 12:15. That is when our first runner started along with the first runner from 8 or 9 other teams. The six runners in van 1 would each run a leg and then the six runners in the Yukon would each run a leg. The sequence would repeat until we each had run three legs. This would mean the first runner in the Yukon would not start until around 5pm. I was runner 10 (4th runner in the Yukon) so I didn’t run my first leg until after 7pm. Finally after nearly 12 hours on the go I was able to run. By now it was dark so I had to wear a headlamp, reflective vest, and a blinking light on my back. My first leg was 7.1 miles “Striding Through Springfield”. Early in the race the runners tend to be spread far apart so I only saw three other runners in this leg, one I passed and two who passed me.
At the final exchange of our first set there were two guys selling rib eye sandwiches and a bottle of water for $5. It was pretty good. We then found the local park where we were supposed to rest up until it was time for our next run. I laid in my sleeping bag on the hard ground for a couple of hours, but never slept. Too cold, too uncomfortable to sleep. Finally around 2am we started packing up to head out for our next run. My second leg was only 5.1 miles “Salvisa, KY, USA”. No turns it was a straight shot down US 127. It was around 4:30am so it was still dark. There was a full moon though so it wasn’t complete darkness which is good because the battery in my headlamp was beginning to fade. We finished up this section at the Four Roses Distillery. I didn’t sample any of the bourbon there, but I did sample the bourbon balls. They were delicious. Pretty sure I ate at least a dozen, probably more. Breakfast of a champ. I didn’t even pretend that I would sleep during this rest. We found a little hole in the wall for breakfast. Wilson’s Pool Hall. Mr. Wilson was working alone. He wasn’t expecting any big crowds on Saturday morning. The seven of us overwhelmed him, but he held up to the challenge. Eventually his daughter came to the rescue. This place would probably not fare well in a health department inspection, but the food was pretty good.
We then drove to the start of our last section which was at the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Our first runner started around 12:40. I felt sorry for Tina-Marie as we drove up one of the hills she would have to run. Wow! Long and steep. My last leg started in Midway, a neat little town of shops. I sat on the front porch of Darlin’ Jean’s restaurant listening to a bluegrass band while waiting for my turn to run. This leg was 8.2 miles “Romancing The Mill”, named so because of the romantic old mill I passed about half way into the leg. I started this leg at 3pm. I was not feeling very strong but I started out ok. About two miles in the Yukon passed me and gave me a bottle of water. Shortly after that my wheels fell off. Almost total bonk. I couldn’t run up even the slightest incline. I could barely jog the flats and down hills. Fortunately, all the other teams’ vans were passing by and just as I was about to flag one down to ask for water, one stopped and asked if I could use a bottle of water. I guess I must have looked as bad as I felt. I said yes definitely and asked if they had any Gatorade to spare. They handed me two 8 ounce bottles. What lifesavers! Team 148, Moonraker Madness from Elsmere Kentucky. I quickly downed both bottles and within minutes life was restored. I was suddenly able to run again. A short time later I was shocked and delighted to see the “1 mile to go” sign. I ran the entire last mile and was pleased with my 1:25 time. On a normal day I could easily finish 8.2 miles under an hour, but this was not a normal day and I was just happy to be finished. Without that Gatorade my time would have been much closer to 2 hours or worse.
This was my first relay race and it probably won’t be my last. I’m actually planning to send my reservation check for next year’s Bourbon Chase to Cap’n Mike this week. Mark your calendars it’s October 7th and 8th.