Sunday, March 22, 2015

2015 LBL Race Report

     Last year, the LBL trail races proved interesting with snow and ice still on the ground and turning the singletrack into its own little river. This year promised to be similar, and after last year's damage to the trail with multiple volunteer days to repair the trail, I know some of us despaired as to what this year might hold. 
     Thankfully I live close to LBL, but I'm sure many out of town runners feared race cancellation.  Our forward thinking race director had other ideas!  Instead of canceling or damaging the beautiful Canal Loop, an alternate course was decided upon!  I was nervous about the change because the majority would now be on pavement, with a good amount of gravel thrown in.  Quad pounding pavement aside, this was still a beautiful course and with the multiple loop layout, you still had the feeling of the original course.  One of the perks of being a slower runner is getting lapped by more elite runners and having them give you a thumbs up and encourage you to "keep it up"!!!  
     This year started with me and my race crew (aka mom) at our usual Kentucky Dam Village overnight stay.  Parking is pretty tight race morning, so my "crew" dropped me off up the road from the start.  It was a good warm up!  
     "Western KY Moms Run This Town" was in full force for this race.  Here is our pre-race selfie. 
     Thanks Melissa, for our fun pic!!  You girls rocked the run!!  
     I also chatted with two gentlemen as we were getting ready to start, one from St. Louis and the other from Idaho.  It's always fun to meet new running folks. 
     Here is a pic from the start. 
     The first 1.7 miles was the traditional up the hill, past Litside Bakery, across Canal Loop bridge, onto Kentucky Lake Scenic Drive.  Instead of hitting the trailhead, we continued on the one-way loop, back to the Trace and proceeding to the North Visitor Center.  It still felt like trail running once we hit the bike path in sections, with plenty of roots, rocks, etc, to keep us focused on our footing.  
     The next few miles were on gravel with plenty of hills.  The hill up to Moss Creek day use area was stee-eep!  
The mist and fog shrouded the view of Kentucky Lake that morning, but it was eerily beautiful!  
The turn around was simple, without fanfare and manned by a photographer!  
     Shout out here to all the volunteers!  They always do a wonderful job, but only in west kentucky can you be one of 700 runners and a volunteer still say, "hey, you've ran this race before!"  This was my third LBL 23k, but each race is between 700-800 runners!!  Amazing volunteer!!!!  
     I knew i still had several miles to go and just needed to get the job done.  I put music in my ears for the first time of this race.  I've been learning to not rely on music but it still helps when I need motivation or distraction.  The scenery continued to be amazing. 
     Mom was waiting for me as I passed back through the North Visitor Center aid station.  I ate a piece of banana as my legs were trying to cramp anytime I sped up from shuffle to jog.  There were still a few hills and the rain had picked up some.  I gave my hat to mom since I was steaming up, but that was a mistake because then I had trouble keeping my glasses clear!  At some point, you just tell yourself, "get this job finished".  According to my Garmin watch, I actually improved my pace for the next couple of miles!  I think I was hallucinating on Kentucky Lake Scenic Drive on the way back because I smelled barbecue!!  Haha! 
     My left knee/IT band also acted up again this year, very similar to my first LBL 23k.  I'm going to blame it on all my treadmill sessions this snowy winter, but I really think I need to do my IT band exercises every week!  
     So to finish my longer winded than usual blog post, I truly enjoyed this year's LBL "trail" race!  I have some very specific running goals for the rest of this year AND 2016.  Stay tuned!