Even though it was several weeks ago, I want to make sure I capture Easter weekend. It was big for us!
I signed up for the Oak Barrel Half Marathon at the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg a while back, and was pretty excited to take on this very STEEP and hilly race. It would be my 3rd half marathon in 6 months. We’ve had awful weather and treadmills aren’t for me, so I had not been training like I should have.
The kids were out of school Friday, and I was running the race Saturday, so we loaded up the family and hit the road! We had a nice drive and saw lots of Tennessee Walking Horse Farms and beautiful green pastures. We arrived in Lynchburg and our first stop was at the Lynchburg Cake and Candy Company. Best stop! We picked up some whiskey cake, chocolate and pecans. He signed the cake for us!
Then we went to the Jack Daniels visitor center. Brian is a Tennessee Squire, so we checked out the squire room and walked around the area. We walked into the square and checked it out, too.
Since it was Good Friday and we needed a meat free meal, we grabbed cheese pizza. We headed to our hotel in Fayetteville, about 15 miles from Lynchburg. Margo was NOT into the hotel and was up most of the night. Another reason I didn’t think I’d have a good race! Preston, however, slept just fine…
Bright and early and ready to go! Representing Memphis runners in my 901 shirt from Breakaway. 🙂
We got up in the morning early and headed down for breakfast. The room was FULL of runners fueling up for the race. Meanwhile, I was the only crazy person running all over trying to get my kids breakfast. ha! Brian and I were quite the show down there. We loaded up the car and headed into Lynchburg for the race! Brian had to keep the kids entertained for 2 hours while I ran. There was no way to really spectate because of the steep course and rural area, so they hung out at a breakfast place and then a candy store before heading to the finish line to watch the runners come in.
This race is known for its difficult course and its “medals” – they are actually made from the whiskey oak barrels. By far the coolest medal I have from running.
The race was every bit as challenging as all the reviews say. I surprised myself by finishing in 2 hours and 4 minutes, roughly a 9 and half minute mile pace. I finished 30th out of 114 in my age group. Not a PR for me, but I expected to run this course slower due to the challenge. We were blessed with a beautiful day for running, and I had a lot of fun out on the course. I am still a bit amazed at myself that I can run for 2 hours straight without stopping – I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to do it, and now I’ve conquered it 3 times. Because this race was so hilly, it worked out parts of my body I’m not used to, so I did experience soreness in weird places that lasted about a week.
When I ran past the Visitors Center and knew I had a quick turn and the finish line, it was an awesome feeling! Really precious story: Brian and the kids were in the town square when an announcement was made that the winner would be coming in shortly. Preston excitedly asked “Is it Mommy?!?!” Ha! Brian explained that races are not always about finishing first, and doing your best is what matters the most. When I finished, the first words from him were “Mommy, I’m sorry you didn’t win, but you did the best you could!” He is just the sweetest.
We headed home that day and got to celebrate Easter with both of our families. I haven’t had a chance to edit any of these pics, but I’m already a month late so who cares! Margo wore a dress my mother hand smocked for me when I was little and Preston wore one of Brian’s childhood sportscoats.
Such a fun weekend!