This past weekend was the Run The Bluegrass Half Marathon in Lexington. Originally the race was going to be in March. However, with Covid-19 it got pushed back first to June and then to October. I had no idea what the October race day was going to be like or how we would find lodging in Lexington with the virus and social distancing mandates, so I decided the smartest thing would be to switch to a virtual race and run in Lancaster.
It turns out they did have an in-person race. One of my Instagram runner friends uploaded pictures and I’m somewhat kicking myself that I didn’t run down there. Granted, there’s a global pandemic and the hills would have killed me, but the pastures and horses were beautiful. Honest to God they brought a tear to my eye.
I think the sentence above is proof I’ve been in my apartment way too long. Anyway, on with the post.
I drove southeast to Lancaster, toward the Ohio University Lancaster campus to park at the trail head of the Lancaster Fairfield Bike Path. The path is about 9.5 miles each way, and I figured I’d run up 6.5 miles and then run back to reach 13.1.
The drive itself was beautiful, but I had no idea Coonpath Road was so hilly. There were a few times when I wondered if my Focus was actually going to make it up the hill and around the curves. I told my boyfriend later on I wouldn’t mind moving to the Lancaster area one day, and that if that day ever came I’d finally agree to him getting my car snow tires for the winter.
I got parked and slipped my puffer vest on. Once I was situated with all the gear I carry, I started my run.
The first two miles running along the trail were peaceful. I ran under covered bridges and through an adorable neighborhood, making my way up to the butterfly park. At the park I got turned around, since the trail is intersected by sidewalks and I couldn’t figure out which direction to go. I decided just to start running until I got to High Street and made a right at Walgreens, following the sign to Downtown Historic Lancaster.
High Street is a ginormous hill that creeps up on you until you realize it’s too late and the road is indeed an incline. I was huffing and puffing while the clouds overhead started to clear up, and I finally reached the top of High Street. Looking down I recognized where I was.
My grandfather has a 50th anniversary edition Corvette, in canary yellow with the license plate that includes “Shiny” on it. The weekend after Labor Day is the All Corvette Show, and for the longest time Grandpa would drive in, pick me up at my place and then we’d head down to Lancaster to spend the day at the show. I recognized High Street coming down as the spot where we would all park the ‘Vettes in a row and walk around.
Running downhill was exhilarating and I really noticed how beautiful historic Lancaster is in the early fall. The trees are turning, and downtown is having a scarecrow contest, so I was enjoying zipping along the main and residential streets to see all the changes.
I also discovered Donut World, a smallish donut shop on Broad Street. The sign says they’re open 24 hours and serve the best coffee and donuts in Lancaster. Based off the line of cars that only grew longer as I ran down Broad Street to turn around at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, I’m going to go ahead and state Donut World being the best must be the truth.
I ran back down High Street to the Walgreens and eventually found were the trail picked back up behind some businesses and Kroger. I ran the trail towards the park and over a railroad track, and decided shortly after the tracks it would be a good idea to turn back. Granted, I don’t think the wooded areas in Lancaster are more dangerous than wooded areas near downtown Columbus – where I used to run alone every weekend before the pandemic – but I had a gut feeling that said I should turn back before going any further under the railroad bridge and into the woods. So I did.
Turns out I can’t judge mileage for crap, so at mile 11.5 I had to turn back from the trail’s end at OU – Lancaster and run a big ol’ circle in order to get to 13.1 miles. After Mile 10 I was ready to be done, so the circle was irritating and I kept counting down the Garmin watch. As well as keeping a lookout for any dog that might want to come up and get pets.
So the Run The Bluegrass virtual half marathon was finished – 2:26:03. It was a good day and a good run, even if it wasn’t Lexington and seeing all those beautiful horses in the pastures.
However, I know one day I’ll get down to Kentucky and huff and puff my way up those hills. I’ll take in the beauty of the morning. I’ll feel one with the universe at a time when it’s hopefully not spinning off its axis. And I might take my boyfriend with me and try some bourbon.
I hope you all have a good week and enjoy the changing of the seasons.
Hills and Horsies,