This race takes us to Williamstown, Kentucky. For the last 12 or 13 years in early August we have been going to my friend Jauf's cottage on Williamstown lake, usually for a long weekend. Last year a few of us were getting back into running and we mapped out a 2 mile course and did it mid-day, which started the annual Kentucky Hill Run. This year me and my brother Mike (for those of you who are thinking I do not have a brother named Mike, it is an inside joke..sorry) mapped out a 5K to make the race more official. There are three elements to this run that make it one of the hardest races in the country. First of all, like I mentioned before, we always do it close to mid day so it is extreme heat, you may think this is dumb, but we like to add that challenge. The second element that makes this run hard is the hills. The roads around the Lake have some serious hills which add to the difficulty factor that we love..?? The last element is that we are usually feeling like crap and dehydrated from "hanging out" the night before. Drinking Tequila from a water ski...well, I won't go any further, you guys get the point. This is a pic of what can lead you to dehydration:
So at high noon six of us crazy fools gathered at the top of the hill. I was going to run in my huarache sandals, but decided to go with my trusty Vibram's Five Fingers. Our friend Jackie was the official time keeper of the race and when the clock started away we went. The first quarter of a mile is up a steep incline. A rough way to start, but that's what makes it fun. So Mike and Andy jumped out to an early lead. Jauf and I were in second and Jessica and Eric were behind us. After the initial incline the course flattens out a bit and then goes down a large hill and then right after that we go up another large hill. I was not trying to push myself to hard because honestly I was dying from the heat. After the two large hills we got out to the main road and took a right. At this point in the course it is a bit flat for about a half mile. As I looked up ahead at the leaders I seen Andy running backwards and hanging with the leader Mike. Not long after that Andy went off to the side of the road in distress. Then he continued on before me and Jauf could catch up to him. Then the course took us into an undeveloped sub division which begins a long steep decent down to a cul-de-sac. The cool think about that point in the race is the overhead view of the lake and the rolling hills of Kentucky. Here is a pic of the view from the turn around:
As soon as we entered the undeveloped sub division Jauf took off to go and catch the leaders, I did not have it in me to hang with him. I was still at a 9 minute per mile pace which was good for me considering the heat. As I was going down the incline towards the cul-de-sac Mike flew by me going back up the incline and was in the lead by himself. Then as I was still decending down the incline I went by Jauf as he was on his way back up after the turn around, which is roughly the half way point. He was still a good distance from Mike but slowly gaining on him. I caught up with Andy at the bottom of the turn around and I found out why he had gone off the side of the road. He had been stung by a bee on his ankle. He was hurting from that and the heat was also getting to him. He hung with me for a little while on the way back up the incline. I told him we could drive back to pick him up if he wanted to wait but he was passionate about finishing the run so he kept pushing on. I pulled away from him after making sure he was OK. When I got out of the sub division and turned left on the main road to go back I seen Jess and Eric coming up on the right on the main road. They were unsure where to turn into the subdivision and had gone a ways past it! Here is a pic of the Kentucky Hill Run 5K race course, click on it to enlarge:
I was glad to see them behind me on the main road because they could run with Andy and make sure they all made it back safely. I was curious as to what was happening with Mike and Jauf as I could not see them after they turned left off the main road to head back to the lake. Like I said Jauf was slowly closing in on Mike as they left the subdivision and I knew it would be a good finish. I pushed on through the two large hills and veered right onto a different road that was part of our 5K course which was a gradual decline back to the Lake. Then right near the finish is an extreme incline for about a tenth of mile....what a way to finish! I made it back and was drenched with sweat, and then did the ceremonious jump off the upper deck of the boat dock into the Lake...ahhhh!
I then got the scoop on Jauf and Mike. Jauf had closed in on him through the gradual decline back to the Lake and caught him right before the incline to the finish line. Mike had seen him coming and slowed down to rest until Jauf caught him and then Mike gave it everything he had right at the end to finish as the winner. Jauf finished right behind him in second place. Then I finished third. Jessica came in fourth place followed by Andy (who toughed it out despite his bee sting and heat exhaustion), and Eric. Everyone finished this tough event so we are all winners. I hope that more people get excited about this event as I would like to see it get bigger next year for the third annual. It is challenging and really fun, that is....if you enjoy running up and down hills at high-noon in the dog days of summer feeling like crap from having fun the night before. In the end shotski had it's way with us:
My next race is going to be the Run Woodstock Trail Half Marathon in Hell, MI. I feel best when running in my huarache sandals so I may be wearing them for the half, but I have not decided yet. A couple of people told me they have trouble posting comments on my blog. I think you have to sign up for an account on google and then you can use that login to leave comments. I also think you can start an account on www.blogger.com and use that login to leave comments. If neither of those work then I am out of ideas :) Well, until my next running adventure I bid you farewell!