We drove down to Louisville on Friday morning early. It was a beautiful day and the kids were totally whiny so getting there was a tad testy but we survived. We have driven BY Louisville and we have been to outskirts of Louisville but never have we spent time downtown despite it being less then two hours from our house. What an amazing lovely little city! I would highly recommend a visit if you have never been!
We drove the race the course right away because I just wanted to get that part out of the way! The antsy kids became down right rowdy. We drove right up to Churchill Downs and I might have had to swipe at my eyes to brush away tears of pure excitement to see this place where I many childhood dreams lived! We stopped at Iroquois Park which is lovely. The kids played on an amazing playground and we had a picnic lunch there. Then we headed to the Marriott downtown. We hit the Race Expo to get my race stuff. The kids liked that well enough because they got tons of freebies. Back at the hotel we hit the pool. That was the point when I discovered I remembered to pack all of my race stuff and clothing for after the race but not pjs or bathing suit! Ha. I was so focused on running I actually forgot clothing!
After the pool, I discovered 'oh hey no pins to actually attach my bib to my shirt.' So I left the kids watching shows and K reading the paper to get some. I quickly discovered one of a few annoying things about the Derby Marathon. They failed to order enough pins for the 18,000 participants. Seems like simple enough math but apparently not to the race organizers. I accosted some poor girl in the lobby of our hotel and she kindly gave me three, I think she meant to give me four. I did not notice until I was heading up on the elevator. Thankfully Melissa and Jason being race junkies did have some extra pins in their car (14 was it?! :) Deep breathing ensued! We headed to dinner back in Indiana with the M's. A very loud and perfect spot for our wild children with lots of pasta and bread!
Back at the hotel, I finished organizing everything and decided what to wear. I had a pretty good night's sleep for me. Probably close to eight hours which is 2-3 hours more than usual! The wake-up call came around 5:45 am and I was up and ready to go quickly... and so was the WHOLE family. GAW. I dressed and realized I could not find my hair ties. I freaked out but K and Melissa came to the rescue. K found one in Missy's bag and Melissa brought me two in the lobby.
I met Melissa in the lobby at 6:30a. We hit the bathroom and stood around before making the 10 minute walk to the run. So I might have been a little in the dark about the corrals and realized as we walked up that my bib told me that I was corral D. HA. Total dork. Any who, we decided to hit the bathroom after we got stuck in the masses. Good thing we did the bathroom because by the time we got to them I really did have to go!
We literally came out of the bathrooms at 7:29 and the race started at 7:30. We jumped into a corral but it was so slow moving that decided to run up closer to our pace group of 4:00 hours. We were glad we did this as we got going much quicker than if we had just stayed back. The first five miles or so we went easy. It actually felt slow but good. It was cool and cloudy. The first half of the run was a loop downtown. At around mile 4 or was it 5, we had a small rain shower. We were getting water and fuel in pretty well. It is funny because everything is a blur for me the first half of this race. I mean I can tell you parts but not exactly when they happened. We saw a girl leaving the course on a stretcher at some point and I felt terrible for her. I know I had tears in my eyes at Churchill Downs. We got to see the horses warming up and it was just super cool. Just after the track, we saw our families and we split off from the 1/2 marathon people which was great. There were only 2080 running the full marathon so we left the large crowds for a smaller group and emptier roads. It was kind of nice. The families were at the bottom of the hilly park, Iroquois so we saw them on the way up and down. At first, I was like we have this these hills are not so bad but then the hills just kept coming and they kind of got me down. I had some fuel right before the hills and that just seemed to send my tummy into over drive so that by time we got back down to the bottom I was feeling pretty icky. It was very pretty running through the park. Shady and green and the birds were going mad.
The run from 16-20 was okay. I got my tummy back into control and switched from fuel to gummy bears. Running a marathon is a bit like child birth. Water and gummy bears... heh. Anyway, I actually had a lot of fun through this part of the race. I was slapping hands with little kids and sort of chatty. We ran back into the half marathon people which consisted of mostly walkers. Then we headed off on our own again and it really thinned out. I think for me it was more that I knew we had more hills but I guess we missed the really BIG hills on this part when we drove the run the day before because I was not really aware of how big they would be until we started in on them and Melissa said so. Also, the sun came out in full force and it just got hot. I felt like the water stations really thinned out through this part of the race and by this time I was over gummy substances and water. I was drinking water as often as I could but anything fuel wise went out the door. My stomach was doing flippy flops again and my legs, hip, feet and ankles were throbbing at varying times and some times all together they would throb! I kept hoping against hope that we might be able to pull out a four hour run but I knew that was nearly impossible unless we sprinted the whole way from 20 miles on and that was not going to happened.
We walked maybe four or five times through the whole marathon but at one point I stopped to walk and thought oh dear gawd I am not going to be able to run again so I just kept going forward. I know Melissa was feeling not so good and she wanted to walk up the steepest hill. I told her I was going to run it just to get it over with. We made it and I actually felt better after that hill. It was just the change in pace and level and my legs hurt a little less. Just before mile 24 there were three police officers clapping and cheers and they said something about making it this far you can do it and for some reason I almost cried then. I was like yeah two point two more to go, I can do this. Except the water station that I was hoping to get some water at was out and it was very hot with no shade. Literally the signs for miles 24, 25, and 26 felt like I was under water and clawing my way up to the top for air. I just huffed and puffed and hoped I did not have an accident. At one point between 24 and 26, the whole world wavered a little bit and I thought I was going to faint so no shit I started to pray.
I just kept thinking 26 has got to be around here some where and it seemed to never come into sight. Of the whole course, this seemed the most isolated to me with fewer people cheering and I was getting more and more frustrated as seeing people walking past calming possibly heading to their cars with their medals around their necks! I just wanted it all to be done. I also developed this agonizing stitch in my left hip which just seemed weird and painful. I kept wiggling my toes because I felt like I was getting the mother of all blisters on the bottom of my right foot. The funny thing is now the blister never came nor does that hip hurt! I was just fixated on those two things though. We finally saw 26 and I think Melissa muttered thank god there it is or something like that. I was so excited I just started going. I was like get me off this damn course and get me home! I actually sprinted to the finish line. I was smiling like mad, or madly smiling. Who knows... I made it. The official time was 4:22.23. Not exactly where I had hoped in the back of my mind. I was thinking more like 4 hours or even faster.
However I do feel like the training paid off for the most part on the hills especially. I do not think I could have done anything differently. I might have tried to get to the pace group but then I think if I had tried to stay with that pace I would have been just dead much sooner. I did the right thing fuel wise and I was well hydrated. My stomach and gut hurt but I think that was more of heat/exertion thing. I managed to walk back to the hotel which was probably a good 15-20 minute hike and I was actually glad for that. M Bug chatted to me about the man that fell and bloodied his head as he rounded the turn to the finish line. The man got up and finished. We ran into the guys who were with him and they said he was okay but he did require some stitches. I was so glad to see our families on the course. I gave us something to think about other than running mile after mile. I will say it again without Melissa I would not have made it through the whole thing.
We saw plenty of people going off course or stopping during the whole race. I was glad to have someone to keep me going even when I was wishing I could just stop. Post race after the rushed shower I hit up Starbucks for a mocha then we headed off to the Louisville Slugger Museum. I am glad I did that too. I think for me walking was good. I just needed to keep going. We had McDonald's on the other side of the bridge on the way home and by the time we got out to eat there I could barely walk. I could tell my right ankle was a wreak in particular but my legs were already stiff and painful over all and really as the drive progressed I could feel new and exciting pains starting to come up.
Today one full day after that is the most painful part of my body. My quads ache and are sore and I am walking like a little old lady. My thighs and lower back are the next most painful part. I could not bend over very well all day and stairs were a bitch. I suspect as things go that tomorrow might actually be worse. I usually end up being more sore two days after running a big race. I need to ice and stretch tomorrow and I am thinking that I really will go for a swim or something on Tuesday just to get myself moving a little bit this week.
Overall, I am glad I did this. I am still smiling and I had fun despite the last couple of miles. The Derby Marathon was well run, it had its moments, but overall it was a great event. I will never run another marathon or at least that is how I feel right now but if I did, I would get a hotel for two nights. Rushing to the hotel to shower and driving even the two hours to our house was just harsh for me. I would have preferred to relax and enjoy the time we had after. Regardless, I am proud to have accomplished this goal!
My next steps are to get my body healthy. My ankles seem to be the issue right now. I am going to swim and cross train a bit until I think the issue with my ankles heals and than back to running. I am hoping to run a 5k in three weeks. We shall see...
Room 741, Our river view ;)
Us, before the park, mile 8 (ish?)
Mile 18 (ish?)
Finish line, so fast I am a blur (HA!)
Post race hwattness!
Gigantic baseball bat
Close up kiddos
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
Pre-race dinner, Rocky's in Indiana