Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Oak Barrel Half Marathon

Half marathon, good friends, Jack Daniel visitor center, and my favorite race of the year are a recipe for a great weekend! Oak Barrel Half Marathon is still my favorite half marathon and this year was extra special because it's the first half Allan and I have run together from start to finish. It was also my friend Alyson's first half and we ran the last 6-7 miles alongside her. You can read her race recap here.

Somehow I managed to not take a picture of the shirt but the swag for this race is amazing: a tech shirt, Swiftwick socks, running hat, and a medal made from a whiskey barrel!

Quite easily my favorite spot on the course
There are a ton of pictures that I had to chose from for this race so I'll apologize now for the numerous pictures to follow.

Alyson and I

Brian and Allan

On race morning we drove up extra early to pick up our packets, stretch, and make a stop at the bathrooms. As soon we got in line my good friend Ryan came over to say hello. I knew he was running this race but I always have the worst luck finding people I know at races so I was afraid we would miss seeing him but we actually saw him before and after this race and had a few minutes to catch up.

Ryan and I post-race

When we rejoined the guys we did a little more stretching, took a picture, and got ready to run. As soon as the race started Alyson and Brian were off. That was the last we saw of Brian until the finish and we didn't see Alyson again until the halfway point.

The crew just before the start

Allan stuck with me and we ran a good bit only taking a few stops to walk or drink Gatorade before reaching Whiskey Hill. Now after running this race last year and walking the entire hill and ending the race with a PR I was sticking to what worked for me.

Allan and I during the first part of the course

Walking gave me a chance to take some pictures to try to capture how steep this hill truly is. We also had our picture taken by Gregg who takes pictures at so many of the local races and posts them on the We Run Huntsville Facebook group.

The beginning of Whiskey Hill where you can see the steep turn you make to the left

Looking back from the top (note: the shirt that the girl in the very front of this photo is wearing was the race shirt)

One of us was much more excited than the other to be trudging up the hill

Shortly after Whiskey Hill we ran across Alyson and ran the rest of the race with her. Allan kept us from taking walk breaks that were a little too long and three of us kept each other entertained.

Alyson and Allan running

One of the downhill sections

The rest of the race went by slower than I remember from last year and it seemed like there weren't as many downhills as I thought there were. Regardless we kept on going and pretty soon we were nearing the finish.

Allan looks super serious and ready to be done

Allan and I just before the turn to the finish line

Allan and I crossed the line at 2:41:02 but honestly I could have cared less about my time. Alyson had just finished her first half marathon and Allan and I were there to share it with her. Brian was waiting for us at the finish and we also saw Ryan cheering us on as we crossed. Those guys are super speedy and had been done for a long time.

We Run Huntsville tech shirt, Gap capris, Wrightsocks, and Mizuno Wave Inspires made up my race day outfit

Once we all cooled off and had something to eat and drink we decided to walk over to the Jack Daniels Visitor Center so Alyson and Brian could do some Christmas shopping. Meanwhile I stood in line with all of our medals to have the Master Distiller sign them. He and I had a lovely conversation about the race and cows.

Yes, hoe cakes do exist

Pretty excited that I got my medal signed this year

Finally we made the long walk to the car and headed back home for showers, Mexican food, and a nap! I'm already looking forward to running Oak Barrel again next year.

Have you run Oak Barrel?
What's the most interesting race medal you've received?


  1. OK, there's ANOTHER awesome race medal! You're giving me bling fever.
    I think the most interest is a slice of a tree branch that has the race insignia burned on it from Mud Battle last year... and I have another interesting one from a different small race that is a large hex nut engraved with the race name, hung on a chain... but my favorite is still my B2 Bomber AF marathon medal from last year (I've loved that plane since I was little and could watch it fly overhead every year during our town's air show).
    We've got a local half in October that promises to have a unique medal because it's a "one-and-done" on the new highway before it opens.
    Way to go on another fun finish!

  2. I have never ran Oak Barrel but wish I was local and I could! I think the most interesting medals I have are my Disney medals. They are just plain cute and fancy and I love them!

  3. Great job!!! That hill looks like it bites the big one!!! No thanks!!! Also very cool medal! Ummm what is a hoe cake?

  4. You look amazing Suz! I am so sad that Oak Barrel isn't closer, I would love to run it every year, it was probably one of my favorite races even though Whiskey Hill kicked my butt!

    Glad you mentioned the photographer that took the photos, I remembered there being someone on the hill taking photos last year but never figured out who it was. I looked back and sure enough, I found it! Thanks!

  5. Gosh, you had me at Jack Daniels! So glad you had such a great experience and enjoyed it so much. Always love your pictures. You look wonderful and not like you just ran 13.1 miles at all!

  6. You always inspire me Suz. Love the photos of you, but think that's a great shot of Allan close to the end.

  7. Cool medal!!! And what a killer hill!!! Great finishing time!!

  8. Awesome medal!! I like running races that I've done before so I know the course and what works and what doesn't.
    Great job Suz!

  9. Thank you so much for a fun race experience! Always great with friends :)

  10. this race is on my bucketlist. maybe I can swing it next year!!

  11. That's a great medal! I have received a wooden block, which is a little unwieldy but is very fun because it's different than normal!

  12. Yay for sharing your friend's first half marathon experience with her! Very exciting!

    And never apologize for too many photos, there is no such thing! :)

  13. You look wonderful!
    I loved this race and can't wait to do it again next year. :)

  14. LOOOOOOVE this race recap!!!!! One year I'll have to plan ahead to race it with you all -- it's always fun with a crowd, and I seriously love all your photos! What a special memory for everyone:) <3 you!

    PS: Had NO IDEA Alyson had a blog -- Headed there now!

  15. you know that is my FAVORITE race and it was so hard missing it (and you know why). I'm glad you got a good pic of whiskey hill-that actually does it justice!

  16. i've gotta do this one! great job to you both!


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