After getting to bed at a decent time on Friday night, my alarm went off at 5 am. My plan was to leave my hotel by 5:45 am so that way I could be in the parking lot by 6:30 am. As I mentioned on Tuesday, I had to stay about 15 miles away from Lynchburg, since there were no hotels in the town. I had read online through other blogs that there was limited parking… especially since there is only one way in and one way out for the town.
I got to the parking lot around 6:20 and it was already getting crowded! They had plenty of volunteers directing people where to go and I just parked the car and started reading the newspaper I had brought and ate my breakfast. The race didn’t start until 8 am…. so most people were doing exactly what I was doing. They had packet pickup that day and port-o-potties near the parking lot (along with real bathrooms), so after staying in the car until about 7:30, I finally got out and went to the bathroom. About 7:50, I started to make my way to the start line. I was able to drop off my car keys at the car key drop and lined up between the 10 and 11 minute pacers.
I mentioned last week that I really didn’t have a goal for this race at all. I was hoping to run well but I had heard about “Whiskey Hill” so I was nervous about that and I knew I would be doing a lot of walking up that! A little after 8 am, I was past the start line and off! In the beginning the race felt very crowded… it was hard for me to do my walk breaks, but I pushed thru. Eventually the crowding feeling started to thin out. Around mile 2.5 we passed by a cow pasture and man it smelled horrible!! Thank God it was only around .5 miles because it was so overpowering! It was also around this time that I saw a trampoline and a few runners running off the course to jump on it. It was very funny!
There were a handful of country houses on the course with the country folk standing in their driveways to cheer us on. Finally around mile 4 came “Whiskey Hill”. I was really happy when I found out the big hill was early in the race. I had watched a video of the hill the day before and I was nervous. While it did suck, it wasn’t as long as I thought it would be! I did walk up whiskey hill, but my time was not awful (it was a little over 12 minutes for that mile). After Whiskey Hill, there was another crazy hill around mile 6. They call it Son of Whiskey—which I thought was awful too… I didn’t know about it beforehand and just made the decision to walk again. Besides those two crazy hills, the rest of the race was pretty tame. I figured out pretty early that I could still break 2:20 in this race, which I was pretty excited about! I really had no expectations going into this race (I just thought of it as another state to check off) but I was thrilled when I crossed the finish line in 2:18:47! I know it’s not as good as Shamrock…but I didn’t expect it to be at all and I wasn’t running as hard as I did at Shamrock either. When you compare the elevation—63 ft gained at Shamrock and 1,136 ft gained at Oak Barrel, I’ll take the Oak Barrel results 🙂
After I crossed the finish line, I was given my medal, a bottle of water, a bottle of Gatorade and a can of Diet Coke. I could have had a bottle of chocolate milk too, but I didn’t take that. In addition, there was SO MUCH FOOD. There were bagels, oranges, stew, hoe cakes (I think they were pancakes), and much more. I knew that we got either a hat or visor and socks for finishing, so I quickly made my way to that booth because I wanted the visor more than the hat. After I got my stuff, I grabbed my keys and headed out. I didn’t eat any food because I didn’t have a bag to put all my stuff in and I knew that if I didn’t try and leave then I would get stuck in Lynchburg and not be able to make it back to my hotel.
I made it back to my hotel around 11:25 (my check out was scheduled for 11:30.. thank god they let me have 15 extra minutes, so I could take a shower!). Afterwards, I headed straight to Nashville. My boss had told me about a fun bar to check out, so I headed there and got a burger and listened to some country music! Sadly, I couldn’t stay too long as I had to get to the airport to catch my flight to head back home for Easter. I told my best friend that I need to return soon for a fun girls weekend!
This race was really top notch! I had heard about it awhile ago and when I couldn’t do the Bluegrass, I decided to do Shamrock and this race instead. I’m glad I made this decision! The southern charm was great, people were very nice, bling and free stuff (quarter zip, visor and socks) amazing, and the cost was very reasonable ($55 for the half—it sold out within a day…not as quick as Disney, but you still had to plan!). If I lived closer, I’d be signing up for this race every year! 13 states + DC down… 38 to go!