Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon Recap

How do I put this...

Yesterday was awful. I'm sorry. I could try and be positive and say, "Well at least I finished" or "I'll get em next year" or something like that, but this is my blog damnit and I want to rant.

There are so many variables when it comes to running and races: weather, timing, hydration, food, your body, your mind, other people, etc. I ran with my friend Lizzie and we decided to take the shuttle to the race, and we had to wait in an extremely long line, in the rain, for 15 minutes. Once we got to the race, we were running around frantically to find a restroom that didn't have a line of 5827349 people. By the time we both found a restroom, the race had started so we quickly ran to the race and ran across the start line 5 minutes into it.

Mile 1: I'm feeling ok. I'm not having to dodge many people, but something just doesn't feel right. I feel kind of tired yet anxious.

The next 3 or so miles took us through the hilly part of the course and I get through it ok.

Once we were on flat roads again, I decide to eat my Gu between mile 5 and mile 6. I know that I'm losing energy and Gu is my only hope. I tell Lizzie that I need some encouragement. The hat I was wearing is soaked with rainwater and is preventing heat from escaping my head, so I take it off and I run with it in my hand. I see my parents somewhere between mile 7 and 8 and I throw my hat at my dad and yell, "DAD, TAKE THIS!" We run through the infield at Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby) and back to the roads towards downtown.

This is where it gets bad. I'm exhausted and I'm frustrated, and I start to wheeze. Eventually I take some deep breaths and calm down, and I make an executive decision. I decide to walk. Quite frankly, to me, walking is giving up. Walking is quitting. I didn't want to walk, but my mind AND my body were screaming at me to walk. So I did. I told Lizzie to keep going, and I walked along the side of the road, tears streaming down my face because I am so mad at myself.

This is where my guardian angel intervened. A man came up beside me and asked if I was ok. He said he would walk and run with me until I was ok. This nice man was named Johnny, from Fort Knox, he's 56, and yesterday was his 36th half marathon. He told me that everyone has their bad races and their bad running days, and it was all going to be ok. This man has never met a stranger, I guarantee it. We walked and ran together for 2 miles, and I started to get a second wind. Johnny told me to keep going, and that he was proud of me no matter what. Wherever you are Johnny, thank you.

For the final 2 miles I alternated running and walking, and was able to run the final 1/4 mile with a sprint to the finish.

My time? 2:16:05. My goal? 2:05:00. For races, that's quite a difference. My average pace was about 10:22/mi.

The upside? When I ran the mini in 2008 my time was 2:14:55. I ran the whole thing that year without stopping. The fact that I walked probably a mile of the mini this year and only finished a minute and 10 seconds slower shows that I was hauling ass those first 9 miles. So I can be proud of that.

So we have a chicken or the egg situation. Did I burn out because I told myself at the start that I wasn't feeling it? Or was I truly not having a good running day and I just knew it from the get go? The shuttle/bathroom anxiety could have been avoided. I could have eaten more. I could have worn a visor instead of a hat. Perhaps I was so focused on just RUNNING that I forgot about the logistics. Next year, I promise you, I'm going to pay someone to drive me to the start line. Next year I will be more cognizant of all the variables.

Race recovery is a whole 'nother entry and I'll write that later.

Overall, I'm glad it's over. Time for a short break!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I was at this one too! It wasn't my best day either and I actually ended up finishing much later than I wanted to but I was still glad I did. The rain didn't help and I've done this race twice before so the changes in the course at the end were awful. And like you said, next year you will be aware of what to expect and be able to plan better. I plan to do this race again too so perhaps I'll see ya there! :)