Race: Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon
Place: Louisville, Kentucky
Date: April 28, 2018
Three weeks ago (and I hope to put up a blog about this, but time has been short and I haven’t had much time to get online while home (and I’m not home much these days) so it hasn’t happened yet), I was out on a training run. Nothing big. It was supposed to rain and storm that morning, so I got up early and headed out in the dark to get in whatever I could, if not the entire run, before the weather moved in. I didn’t go too far from my apartment, again, just in case the weather rolled in, but I was running on a bit of the sidewalk that I normally didn’t run. It’s near a cemetery, which is fine, but the sidewalk can sometimes be a path of treachery. That morning…it was. It was Mile 3.4 of my run and…
I fell hard.
It was one of those moments that seem to happen in slow motion…but it probably played out hilariously fast and painfully. But it was early. No cars were on the road at that point and no one was hanging out at the cemetery gates or at the apartments across the street. My ankle twisted on…something. I don’t even know what…if it was a rock, a branch, the side of the sidewalk. I felt my ankle twist…I tried to compensate…but down I went…while heading down a hill.
Gravity…is a bitch.
I shook it off. Actually, I didn’t even pause my Garmin. I think it automatically paused. At that point, I could have cared less. I was a few weeks out from the half marathon I wanted to race (KDF was my warmup) so I needed to make sure I wasn’t broken. I popped up…looked at my feet (thanks headlamp), looked at my hands and arms…I was bloodied…but when I did this jog in place thing, nothing on my foot or ankle bothered me…so I kept going. And I finished the run, noting the scrapes on my knees, the road rash on my leg, and the gash on my hand from playing Slip-N-Slide with the sidewalk.
I took a shower…and went out for brunch (gluten free pancake FTW) that morning at North End Cafe and…after sitting, really started to feel my foot getting sore. But…I pressed on. Until I could no longer press on. Sitting for long periods of time or stopping my forward momentum became painful. At one point, I bought a bag of frozen edamame from Whole Foods (I already had frozen peas in my fridge, so I didn’t need more!) to put on my foot/ankle while Cathy (the roomie) finished up grocery shopping. By the time we got home, I was in tears and putting any weight on my foot was excruciating. Ice happened in 20 minute spurts the rest of the evening. I also had to bow out of the Louisville City soccer match that night because there was no way I was getting down the stairs at the apartment, let alone the stadium.
I told the roomie to go. And she almost did. But, in the end, she stayed with me. And ate popcorn and watched movies. For those who are curious…we watched Apollo 13 and then Coco (the new Pixar movie)!
All that being said, I woke up on Sunday and was able to walk. YAY!! I took through Wednesday off from running completely. I realized just as I was heading out that I was supposed to run Thursday, but it was early and I was suited up and it was a 30 minute run. And it all went well. Until my other foot started bothering me. I took more time off and called my podiatrist.
I was trying to make a long story short…so let me wrap this up. On the Thursday before the Kentucky Derby miniMarathon (it ran that Saturday) my podiatrist took X-rays of my feet and saw no fractures (but I have an extra bone in each foot!)…but I had some swelling in a muscle on the side of my foot I twisted…and my left foot (the one that now bothered me) had some stress reactions in the 2nd and 5th metatarsals. So…he taped me and told me to have some fun.
Good thing I wasn’t all-out racing this one.
That Friday, I did a short test run and, while a little sore, found everything manageable…and my friend Leah was aiming for a 2 hour marathon, which would keep my pace in check, I figured I had a game plan and one that wouldn’t destroy me. That night, my roomie and I met up with our local BFFs…Melissa & Paul Nolan…for dinner. Our fuel of choice…Dragon King’s Daughter. I’ve been finding that the rice, avocado, tamari combination has been working well for my body…so my dinner was two Vegan Sushi Rolls…the Spicy Tofu and the Green Acres.
They came back to the apartment so that Cathy could tape up Melissa (who had been dealing with an achy Achilles since the blast of cold at the New York City Half Marathon). They left after that to check out the Balloon Glow and I got busy baking Lemon Blossoms for the finish line and to stretch and foam roll.
I made a point to get to bed at a decent time and got up with enough time to do my stretching routine, eat breakfast, wake up the roommate (because she turned off her alarm and her door remained closed), get her coffee, get into my race clothes (I have some new black running shoes, so I thought I would emulate Des Linden at Boston and wear all black…NEVER AGAIN!), put my hair up, got my number pinned on, and waited for Melissa & Paul to come pick us up. She had VIP parking and we had nowhere to be until that evening (Louisville City soccer…and they were coming with us anyway), so it worked out.
We got down to Slugger Field to park, with the aid of Melissa’s barrier pass and VIP parking pass. YAY!! We got parked and I headed toward the statue outside Slugger Field to meet up with my running coach, Linda (who was running this race ONLY because she wanted to keep my pace slower than I would run it on my own) and Leah, who we were hoping to pace to a half marathon PR at the 2 hour mark (her current PR is 2:15).
There were a lot of photo ops happening…and I thought I missed the nuun Ambassador one, but Leah is one of the ambassadors and the other one, Jay, happened by, so we went ahead and snapped a photo. YAY!! Linda wanted to get into the corrals, so I missed the KDF Ambassador Alumni photo…but…it’s okay.
We worked our way into the corrals, where Linda got us positioned about the back of Corral B. She thought we were up in A…but she was wrong (and I was right, HA!). We stayed there though…but we realize in hindsight we should have probably dropped back further for Leah’s sake.
The National Anthem was beautifully sung and they prepped the wheelchair race to go off with a cannon. That misfired. So we got a “Ready? GO!” situation there.
Oh my my!
The elites were to be sent off next. With a cannon blast. Which also misfired. So…no boom…but the “GO” shout-out happened. So exciting.
And then…it was time for the rest of us. AND…the cannon still misfired so no big boom for us either. And…we made our way to the starting line…the three of us together…and we were off.
Too fast, honestly, to start. Both Linda and I noticed immediately that Leah’s breathing was too hard and fast so we reigned it in after the first mile. We attempted to do that, but the crowd was carrying us along and while I felt we were slowing down, the reality of the Gamin shows that we weren’t…but we weren’t too far ahead of the pace. But heading into Mile 4, Leah started walk breaks. This was fine, we now had an unintentional bank to work with. When she was ready, we started up again. She looked defeated…but we did our best to lift her spirits…and when she needed to walk again, she said her stomach was starting to act up. YIKES!
In fact, somewhere near Mile 7-ish, we found some port-a-potties just beyond the water stop so she could make a stop. Linda and I ducked off to the side to wait, and this was where we met up with Tonya, another of my friends who was an ambassador least year. She said she was having tummy troubles as well and this was her third stop. I’ll discover that this was a common theme among people that day. Maybe it was the change from winter to mid-50s weather. Who knows? I felt good though…and when Leah emerged, we started to run again.
And then Linda and I lost her as we neared my favorite part of the race: Churchill Downs. We hopped up on a curb and finally found her again, making the dash to take a photo in front of the famous horse track.
This is my absolute favorite part of the race. Every time I have run it. And, true to form, I did yell, “RUN LIKE PRETTY PONIES!” as we were entering it. The run down the hill through the tunnel and up into the infield was easy-peasy for me. And I don’t like hills. I got to the top with Linda and we realized we had lost our third again. We pulled off to the side…no horses out training yet…and waited a moment. She got to us…but she was walking. I knew that the race photographer was around the corner, and I really wanted some good photos this year inside Churchill Downs…so we got her running again through there. My photos, for the record, were crap again. MEH! I just am not a pretty runner.
We were heading out of Churchill Downs after walking and I spotted the next downhill out through the tunnel and back up toward the road. I said, “Linda, it’s a downhill. I HAVE to run the downhill.” She told me to go on and I got to the top, stepped off to the side, had Linda catch me and we waited for Leah. We could tell Leah was upset and frustrated, and while we helped get her to the split…where she was looking for another stop, Linda asked her what she wanted us to do.
And with that…we were off. Linda and I picked up the pace. Linda had originally wanted me to negative split this race (as I am horrible at finishing fast). So, we picked it up and ran a bit faster through Mile 10…then I held it steady through Mile 12. She told me to go on as she was going to slow herself down (she has the Flying Pig Full Marathon this weekend). And I made every attempt I could to pick it up and just FLY to that finish line. The 2 hour mark had just passed and I started weaving through the crowd, heading downtown via S 2nd Street before making the turn onto Main Street and heading the few blocks down it before the final turn and the finish line. I held on strong, just plugging away as much as I could. It’s hard for me to run slow and kick it in the end. My legs and body just don’t like to pick it up. So, this was a mental and physical struggle…but I was, honestly, ready to be done and off the course. I was also getting hungry because I was out there longer than I normally am. Is that weird?
I kicked it as much as I physically could make myself kick at that point. The song “Danger Zone” from Top Gun was playing, so that was motivational at least. And I crossed the finish line, happy that it was over. Linda apparently decided she didn’t want to slow down because she kicked it into high gear and was just behind me. I don’t know how she does it. She immediately said, “That was stupid.” LOL!! We went to get our medals and suddenly, Cathy was at our side!! Holy Moses. She somehow got into the finisher’s chute and walked with us around to get our water, our treats, and into the runner recovery area. Here we met up with some friends of Linda’s and then Linda went to get stuff from her car and try to catch one of her clients doing her first full marathon on the course. I went to Melissa and Paul’s car to change while Cathy went to get coffee. I needed coffee…trust me.
After that, we went to meet up with Melissa and Paul, who were finished and waiting for us in the Chicken Garden near Waterfront Park. We ended up taking the long way around, but we got to them, and I immediately doled out Lemon Blossoms from my stash. I also delivered a container of them to the Moms Run This Town/She Runs This Town booth in the finisher’s area. WOOT! Mission: Accomplished. Melissa and Paul knew people who were out on the full course and waited to see them in. We, actually, ended up staying for the entire race…and didn’t leave until the last runner crossed.
Their friend, Britni, had almost an hour PR for her marathon time…which is amazing considering she almost died in a car accident the weekend before when driving home from Disney World (she did the Dark Side Challenge). And their other friend came in…and between all of us, we demolished the remainder of the Lemon Blossoms. Paul and Michelle Bolton found us too, and since Michelle is also a gluten-free runner…I passed on a few to her (as promised).
After sitting around and letting everyone relax…we decided it was time to head out and head home (because showers needed to happen for sure). We walked Britni to her car and she gifted Melissa and I with our BB-8 figures she picked up at Disney. I still owe Melissa money for that, now that I think of it. HA! And then we made the walk back to Slugger Field’s parking lot, stopping to take a few photos with the finish line, while it was still up. After that, we needed to make our way back to Southern Indiana. We got back to the Nolan’s house and we transferred everything to our car, told them we’d see them around 4:30 to grab Indian food before heading to the soccer match that night.
So, the official results of the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon are that I finished in 2:05:03 (my slowest KDF miniMarathon and one of my slower half marathons). I was 2517/8268 finishers overall. I was 965/4792 female finishers. And I was 195/748 finishers in my division. There was definitely no negative splits this time around. In fact…my first half of the race average a 9:13/mile and my last half was a 9:32/mile. Ah well…you win some; you lose some. It was definitely not the race I wanted or intended to run, nor did I hit any of the goals I had set out for this race, except not to blow myself up actually racing it. It does suck though…as this is the first year I won’t get a Top 100 Female Finisher award. Dang it.
And if that wasn’t enough excitement…the Indian food was amazing and something the four of us had all been craving…and Louisville City FC got the WIN that night. So…yeah…in the end…it was all good.
As for the foot/ankle situation…they can be little twingy at times, but seem to be on the mend. I also am still allergic to the tape adhesive, so I’ve had to remove it for the next few days and will tape it up again for the weekend. All-in-all…I’m on the mend and looking forward to my next race.
Maybe this time I can fly.
It all depends on these feet…the weather…and just, overall, needing those perfect conditions for the magic to happen. It will. Whether it’s the next race or another one. If anything the past few years has taught me…and this whole running slower thing as well…is patience.
OH!! I also learned that people look for me at races wearing bright colors or a super hero costume, so none of my friends who were out cheering saw me that day. And those in the race thought they saw me and then said, “But that person was in all black so it couldn’t have been you.” Guess what. It was. Go figure. I was trying to get my Desi Linden on and instead I got my race ninja on. Even Cathy told me I wasn’t ever allowed to wear all black to a race because I wasn’t easy to spot coming into the finish line. Live and learn, friends.