Running 203 miles … the Bourbon Chase
Apparently, my idea of fun is quite different than many people’s idea of fun….I mean, running 203 miles with a group of people, staying up all night, and laughing a lot is fun, right? It’s like a girls’ weekend away, except instead of being at a beach and nice restaurants, we are packed into a van and sleeping at a cheap hotel. And did I say anything about laughing a lot? Yea so in October I ran in the Bourbon Chase, a 203-mile relay running race from just outside Louisville, KY to Lexington, KY. We had 11 women split into two vans, and we each took turns running, one after another, non-stop, 203 miles until we finished. We went up and down lots of hills, past beautiful horse farms, up more hills, down small country roads, by many bourbon distilleries, and we ran in the bright sun and pitch black of night. And it was fun. Really it was.
This was the fourth relay I have done, and just may have been the most fun. We laughed a lot. We met new people. We toured a Bourbon Distillery. We dipped our own bottles of Maker’s Mark bourbon in the red wax top. We showered (and kind of rested) at a cheap Super 8 motel. We ate all organic, including sweet potatoes, grilled chicken, blueberries & guacamole all brought from home. We drank lots of water, coconut water and a little bit of coffee. We each ran 3-4 times, we ran for 31 hours total and really didn’t sleep. Personally, I ran a total of 19.2 miles though there were several people who ran more than 22 miles. And we were super happy when we crossed the finish line, celebrated for a little bit, then checked into the nice Hyatt hotel in downtown Lexington, took showers, and got a solid 11-12 hours of sleep.
This was the kind of race that you just buckle down and do what you have to do in order to make it work. One of the women in my van got injured and never made the trip, so instead of having 6 people to divide up the running legs, we only had 5. So, we had to “make do” as they say, and just had to get it done. We all ran more than we initially planned to. Some ran four times, while two of us ran just three times. And while it was just a race and we could have stopped or skipped portions at any time, that would not have been within the rules. There’s no sense in doing something if you aren’t going to do it right, so we plugged along.
While the race was fun, there were also challenging times. Like the part when I was running at 9:30pm in the pitch black, with no other runner in sight. I tried not to think of anything bad, and to focus on running as fast as I could (which really isn’t “fast” these days) and tried to enjoy the peacefulness of the dark skies. And then there was the 7.4 mile run that I did at 6:30am, when it still was dark, and I really hadn’t slept. I was so sleepy tired. I was bummed to be running in the dark again, but I knew I’d see the sunrise as I ran, so that kept me going. Just knowing that there was daylight was like a reward coming, I kept on going. You set your mind to do something, and you just do it. It’s like stepping outside your comfort zone, and doing something you either thought was not possible, or something you really didn’t want to do. And it feels good to get it done.
I am so lucky to have been able to be teamed up with some great friends and runners. We had five in our van, and the second van consisted of 6 runners from Birmingham. The only problem with this kind of race is that you really don’t get to hang out with the other van (after all, you are always running), so I didn’t really get to know them much, but they seemed super fun and were fast! As for our van of 5, in addition to me, there was my friend Holly, who I’ve known 16 years or so, and it was a blast to hang out with her. And Claire, the engineer turned clinical nutritionist who teaches me about nutrition and who always inspires me to be healthier than I am. And my fellow chiropractors Shannon & Rachel, who both interned with me and are successfully working on their careers. I love these ladies. The theme of this years’ race was “superheroes and villains” and I’ll tell ya, these four other ladies are my own super heroes. I’m blessed to be able to hang out with them like we did.
So, what’s next? Running for me these days is really about just having fun and experiencing new things. My personal best and fastest running days are behind me, I have nothing left to prove, so am going to focus on traveling and experiencing new things. In January there is a running trip to Costa Rica; in March a half marathon where I’ll be pushing a wheelchair; and then two triathlons next summer and next fall…. well maybe another Ragnar Relay. We’ll see….. for now I’m taking a bit of a rest, letting my body heal up a bit, and getting some other things done. And I’m so thankful I can run and can have these wonderful experiences. I know that regular chiropractic care is helping me stay healthy and injury free, and that I am thankful for.