Bourbon Chase 2012

Another successful year for team Jim Beam Me Up.  Another unsuccessful year for the Spock ears I always want to put on the vans.

This year we had a runner drop out, but it turned out to be OK because JEN GOT TO RUN WITH US!

She was so excited.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Bourbon Chase, it’s a 12-person, 200-mile running relay along the Bourbon Trail across Kentucky that goes through all of the major distilleries.

Runners are broken up into 2 vans of 6, with each runner running 3 legs over the course of the trail.

The morning started out with a little rain, a 9:30am meeting, followed by a bourbon tasting at Jim Beam.

The only way to start an endurance event.

This year we were in Van 2, so had a few hours to kill before Van 1 finished off the first 6 legs.  So we checked out the distillery…

…then we hit the road, where there was a lot of this.

Lunch options were limited, and we had 2 people in the van with dietary restrictions.  We settled on a Mexican place in Central Kentucky.

I know.  We almost changed our team name to Team Gringo Diarrhea mid-race.

From there is was off to Makers Mark for the first Van 1/Van 2 handoff.

The sun kept fighting to break through the rain, and we checked out the mash.

Ryan was the lucky first runner from our van.  He took off around 5pm.

We ticked off the legs one by one…

…and ran off into the sunset.

Then it got dark.

And during leg #9, the rain came back with a vengeance.

Poor J. The rest of us spent a good 10 minutes in the van debating how important it was that we all be out on the course to cheer her into transition.

Traditional evening wear looked something like this.

coal miner? runner?

Plus a few blinking lights.

We wound our way through the dark Commonwealth.

harrodsburg, kentucky’s oldest town, 4am

Until, after a lot of running and minimal “sleeping” in the van, I ran the final night leg into the sunrise…and the Four Roses distillery which, along with coffee, bagels, and hot chocolate, has the most delicious bourbon of all.

Then, while van #1 ran the next six legs, we crossed some bridges…

…past Wild Turkey and into Versailles for a deeelicious country breakfast.

People also took the rest time to start rolling out our stupidly stiff legs and familiarize themselves with the beauty that is Biofreeze.

After that, it was over to Woodford Reserve for the final exchange from Van #1.

As Ryan made his way up the massive hill that comes out of Woodford, the sun came out.

And it got hot.  But beautiful.

The remaining runs were through horse country.

Jen ran the final leg into Lexington.  The way it works is both vans go to the finish line and the whole team waits for the final runner, then everyone runs across together, cheering, while the announcer announces the team name, and it’s very festive and a very big deal.

Well.  Jen ran so fast that our team wasn’t even at the finish line yet.  Apparently the announcer was like, “TEAM 507!  HERE COMES YOUR RUNNERRRRrrrrr.”  And she ran across the finish line.  Alone.

Fortunately, there was free bourbon to comfort everyone after the team fail.

And all was well.

finish line photo op

Thanks goes out to Jen for making the flight all the way out here, J & Ryan for inviting us on the team, the peeps in Van #2 for only being mildly stinky and making 30+ hours stuck in a van a non-negative experience, and George for organizing another glorious weekend in bourbon country.

More pics here.

Oh HECK yeah

A group of friends needed anther person to complete their team for the 2011 Bourbon Chase in October, and guess who they invited to join?

That’s right!  The Bourbon Chase is a relay race across Kentucky through all of the major bourbon distilleries, starting at Jim Beam and ending in Lexington with a bourbon celebration.  Score.  It’s almost like an urban hike…but running and in rural Kentucky.  Right?

Time to fire up the running shoes again…

Update: Our team name is Jim Beam Me Up.


Because I turned 30 about 2 weeks ago, and because when I told people I was moving to Kentucky the first thing everybody said was, “OH MY GOD I’m coming out to visit you for the Kentucky Derby!” my sister (above) decided to throw a big derby party for me.  Because she is great.

People started arriving Wednesday night (Derby is on Saturday) and I dropped the last guest off at the airport Monday morning at 4:15am before I went to coach practice, and we basically didn’t stop at all in between.

First up: trip to the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery:

It was here we learned that bourbon only has 5 ingredients, and that it does not, in fact, have to be made in Bourbon county (but it does have to be made in the US).

At the end of the tour we had a free tasting and got to hang out on the back porch of the farm.

That night we went to a favorite local hangout, and then out to another bar, where things got a little dicey.

The next morning, after getting home around 3am, I had to get up at 4:45 to coach practice.  Deciding to coach that Friday morning and not have someone cover for me may have been the worst idea I’ve ever had.  Ever.

The rest of the group was a little slow to get rolling.   Throughout the day more friends arrived, people got hats, and those that were already here went shopping for supplies and food…

…which they then cooked up into an AMAZING Friday night BBQ.  Best friends ever.

Saturday morning the big blue school bus arrived to take us to Louisville.

It was supposed to rain, hence the galoshes.

An hour and a half later we arrived…

…and walked under the tunnel…

…into the infield.

Everyone wore hats…

…and buttons…

…and drank mint juleps…

…and bet on the race…

view from the infield

…and lost (except for Molly, who wasn’t even sure which horse she bet on.)

The next day about half the group had to leave early, the other half took a trip out to Glencrest Farms (where Andrea lives)…

…to get a little tour and see the baby thoroughbreds…

…and then I slept 12 hours straight.

No tornados, no injuries or hospital visits.  Success!  SO great to see old friends, thank you to everyone who made the trip out here, to Molly and Andrea for organizing, to Paul’s parents for giving up their home for our visitors, to everyone who fronted money on food or tickets and may or may not have been fully refunded, and to my parents for financing our transportation.  It was a really wonderful weekend.

Update: I was wrong, Kristin also won $7.