Sunday, April 20, 2014

Derby Marathon - Part 1: The Race

So... a day has passed and I'm still pretty disappointed. Still sore as hell too and really mad at my legs for leaving the party early. So this is how it went down...

The weather was good. All of my clothing worked out perfectly and nothing chafed. I was well rested. No GI issues at all. All of my nutrition was good. I got plenty of hydration and I didn't really feel like I ran out of gas - but I might have.

I found my pace group right away at the start. The start was really more crowded than I expected - partly because the half and the full started together. Estimated 16,000 people which was way more than I expected. The first several miles were really congested with everyone just constantly jostling together and getting the soles of your shoes kicked. I think this is why I normally start too fast - to get away from this mess. Anyway, I stuck with the pace group and spent most of the first 5 miles keeping the pacers in sight and watching where I was going relative to the other runners. We were running through downtown Louisville but I really didn't look around too much because it was too hard to do that and try to stay with my group at the same time. I still love running with the pacers because I don't have to look at my watch.

Mile 1 - 8:52
Mile 2 - 8:43
Mile 3 - 8:28
Mile 4 - 8:40
Mile 5 - 8:37
Mile 6 - 8:30
Mile 7 - 8:30
Mile 8 - 8:35

At Mile 8, we entered Churchill Downs. As we were going in, I felt a little burn in my left quad start up. Not too bad but just a little straining feeling that was just enough to worry me. My quads have not really bothered me at all this training cycle. Otherwise I felt great. I was still breathing very easily and running at what felt like a conversational pace. In fact, the pacers were telling jokes and we were all talking.

After we exited Churchill Downs, the half runners split off to run back downtown and the full runners continued on to Iroquois Park. The next few miles were wonderful. We ran down tree lined shady streets with beautiful Victorian houses. We finally had enough room to run without worrying about falling over someone. All the trees were flowering in shades of white and pink and there was a light breeze that would shower us with white petals from time to time. I think this was my favorite part of the run.

Mile 9 - 8:48
Mile 10 - 8:42
Mile 11 - 8:41

We entered Iroquois Park at Mile 11.5. I vowed to stay with the group. We all powered up the first 2 hills together. I needed to eat a gel at Mile 13 which just so happened to be halfway up the second long hill. There was a water stop there but the volunteers couldn't keep up with handing out the water. I kept holding my hand out and yelling "water" through the whole station but no one could produce a cup. Finally, I ended up stopping for a couple seconds and waiting for the water at the end of the water station as I didn't want to run another 1.5 miles without water after just eating a gel. I had to work to catch up to my group again but caught them going up the third hill and ran down with the group. We had another smaller hill after that but I stayed with them until we got out of the park (around Mile 15) and just felt relief that I was still with the group. We lost about half our group in the park.

Mile 12 - 8:46
Mile 13 - 8:27
Mile 14 - 8:34
Mile 15 - 8:30

I tried to settle back in to an easy run after the park but I could tell the hills had taken a lot out of my legs.

Mile 16 - 8:36  Just 10 more miles! Stay with the group!
Mile 17 - 8:57  I can tell I'm slipping a little but I'm still just a couple feet behind the pacers
Mile 18 - 9:22  I'm clearly not with the group anymore but just slightly behind.
                         Don't panic! Don't panic! Just keep them in sight. You can still make close to 3:50
                         even if you don't finish with them.

Mile 19 - 10:11  Still trying to hang on
Mile 20 - 10:47  I can't see the pacers anymore and I swear I heard one of the spectators on the
                           sidewalk say "I think she's dying" as I ran by...

By now I've figured out there's no way I'm running 3:50. I was still under 3:00 at 20 miles (2:57). If I ran 9 minute miles for the next 6 miles, I might still make it under 3:55. However, I also knew that to have any chance of actually getting into Boston, I'd have to run about 2 minutes under the qualifying time (the cut off this year was 1:38), so realistically, this race was not going to get me into Boston.

The other fact was that my legs just decided to leave the party at this point. I was beyond frustrated. Aerobically I was just fine. I wasn't even breathing hard. My left leg just didn't seem to want to work anymore. My quad was one big cramp and I don't even know what my hamstring was doing. I was using my hip to cycle my leg. My right heel started hurting too. Same kind of pain I had in both heels last training cycle - like someone was driving a nail in my heel with every step. Yeah, there was no way I was going to maintain a 9 minute pace.

I kept moving forward though. OK, so no BQ today. Let's see if I can run under 4:00.

Mile 21 - 11:20
Mile 22 - 10:32  There is a slight rise in the road at this point and the 4:00 pace group passes me.
                            I'm never running another f*cking marathon again! I hate marathons!
                            Oh crap! I'm already signed up for another marathon! Grrr....

Mile 23 - 11:50  I'm walk/jogging at this point and I just can't seem to control my left leg.

Mile 24 - 12:11  Just plain ugly
Mile 25 - 11:35  My right calf starts cramping too
Mile 26 - 10:27  Ran the whole last 1.2 cause I just wanted to be done!

Last 0.2 - 5:26  My Garmin says it was for 0.56

Unofficial time. Longest marathon ever!

Anyhoos... Final Official Time - 4:10:29

Pace - 9:33/mile
815/2030  Overall
212/807  Female
23/81   45-49 Age Group

Big thanks to all my FB Sole Sisters and other friends that tracked me during the race. After I got done, I wanted to know what my official time was but there was no official time table. I was told to look up my own results online. You had to sign up for runner tracking to do this as results would not be posted on the website until after the race was over and I had not signed up to track myself because, well, why would I track myself? My husband met me in the finish area and luckily, he had my phone with him. I knew one of my Sole Sisters had probably posted my finish time online by then and I found Mandi's post with my official finish time.

I wanted to get my time engraved on my medal before I left the finish area so I wouldn't have to worry about it later. My husband went to turn in my medal and I tried to stretch. The problem was that I wanted to stretch my left quad by pulling it up behind me. In order to do that, I had to stand on my right leg but I couldn't put any weight on my right foot because my heel hurt too bad. I tried sitting down. As soon as I sat, I got muscle spasms under my ribs and back. I husband had to pull me back up. Finally I just laid down and tried to stretch.

After about half an hour, my husband came back with my medal. It had my name and a finish time of 4:00:15 engraved in it. ????? I hobbled back to the medal table and asked where they came up with that time. They said that that was my official chip time from the timer's website. I told them it didn't sound right. They told me if it was a couple minutes fast, it was right. Ummmm... it's 10 minutes too fast. They double checked their info, then concurred that I was right. 4:10:29 was my correct official time. Thanks Mandi!

So, no BQ at the Derby. I did set a new PR. More thoughts to follow...


  1. WOW! That is amazing. I think you are too hard on yourself! That is completely badass! Way to go! :)

  2. Most definitely BAD ASS!!! I agree. You ran non-stop for over 4 hours lady!! I think it's piña colada time...where we meetin'?