Our second time running this 200 mile relay in the 6-person Ultra format. With its relay format, the Bourbon Chase is one of my favorite events of the year. Digging deep and pushing hard are a lot easier when you've got a team of guys relying on you. We were missing a lot of firepower in Scott Breeden, Josh Heird and Troy Shellhamer. But, we had Ryan Sheehan step up (our driver last year and former Hanson Brooks elite), and got a great contributions from Chicago's Tim Faith and Matt Thor. Returning we had our Captain John King and Mike Meyer. And, huge kudos to our driver - Jen. She had the hardest job by far, and she rocked it.
It was a blast as always with ups and downs, miles of smooth sailing and patches of compounding screw ups. We battled at the front for a while, eventually got caught and passed by Troopers Bar and without even realizing what happened, got outrun by a team from the starting grid ahead of us - Omaha Omaha. That's their team name, not some hip new saying I came up with. As always, there were some great battles out on the road and some memorable moments in the van. It's a fantastic race allowing for hours of solo running down pitch black country roads, while at other moments racing shoulder to shoulder into screaming crowds late in the race. Without a doubt, this type of racing provides the opportunity to push yourself as hard as you want while creating a sense of companionship rarely seen in our largely solo sport. We wound up winning the Ultra division for the second year in a row and ran 3rd overall with an average of 6:26 per mile.
Below I posted the leg names, distances and ranks from the Bourbon Chase leg maps along with all of my Garmin data from the event. I don't normally bore folks with stuff like this and rarely ever post workout brags or snapshots of my watch. But, I trained really hard the past couple of months and plan to run faster yet. I was happy to meet my goal of running all of my miles at my marathon goal pace - 40 miles - 5:59 average. I'll take it.
|Glad to be done.|
|Thanks Country Boy brewing|
Leg 1 - 7.4 miles, rated difficult, Outskirts of Bardstown. 5:39 avg.
I live on this route, the school at which I teach is on this route and I get to train on this route. I knew the key to a good overall performance would be holding back a little on this one. Got the baton about thirty seconds back of a Runners Rye's guy. Wound up running a 17:26 5k, and a PR 34:59 10k en route and didn't catch my guy. Got right up with him on hwy 245, but considered the fact that I had five more legs to run compared to his two. 5:39's with 30 more miles on tap isn't exactly holding back, but it didn't feel too bad.
Leg 8 - 4.8 miles, rated difficult, Striding Toward Springfield. 5:54 avg.
Remembered this booger from last year because of how poorly I ran it. Held back on the climbs, of which there were many, and tried to just roll the rest of it. Didn't see another person. Felt pretty good about the average and how I handled the first bit of hilly terrain.
Leg 14 - 6.6 miles, rated difficult, Standing Fort. 5:48 avg.
This leg is another that I knew really well from previous years. It's a lot of long highway grinders, then a turn into Stanford for a bomber downhill finish. Felt very controlled and solid, again being conservative on the climbs.
Leg 20 - 5.7, rated medium, Harrodsburg to McAffee. 5:55 avg.
Literally straight down 127, and not nearly as difficult as the elevation profile makes is look (always look at the Y axis). Got a little tight in the middle of this one, concentrated on my breathing and being economical as I possibly could. Knew my next one was a beast, so I stayed safely far from that anaerobic threshold and just maintained.
Leg 26 - 7.7 miles, rated difficult, Welcome to Horse Country. 6:19 avg.
It was on this route last year that my wheels came off. Full of short steep rollers, this route comes just late enough and has just enough climbing that it had me worried. I again focused big picture and just survived all the climbing, got it back together for the downs and flats, and got it back down to something that looked like marathon pace.
Leg 33 - 7.8 miles, rated difficult, Romancing the Mill. 6:15 avg.
Losing a teammate to injury forced us to jostle things around a little. I was rather looking forward to my short 4.8 mile segment to wrap things up. Instead I volunteered to take this 7.8 miler full of hills. Mike got my 4.8 because he took on a whole extra leg at the end giving him 7 legs total. Matt T. got a segment much harder, and Sheehan somehow got off easier. It all worked out pretty well, and I pushed myself hard just to get through and not to let my pace come to a screeching halt. Was pretty excited to see that I was back down to 6:08 for that last 3/4 of what wound up being my 40th mile. I'll take it.