My Super Sweet 13(.1)

A 1st Half Marathon

39th Annual KY Derby miniMarathon… Completed!

on May 3, 2012

I did it! I did it! I ran my first half marathon!

Okay, I did that five days ago, but I just now have time to write about it. My excitement and sense of accomplishment are still present and accounted for, and I’ve barely run a mile since (I told myself I’d take a week off to heal before running again, and I also got a massage on Tuesday and got well acquainted with my new foam roller over the weekend; I needed rest). But everything went great and I had a really good time. I think I’d like to keep running. I think I’d like to train for a full marathon (one more mini first – 13.1 miles will take a lot out of you). I think I’ll stick with this running thing, and I’m very proud of myself, in moments, when I realize that I saw a goal like this, made a commitment to it, and did what I set out to do. That’s pretty cool.

The Recap

The packet pick-up

Going to pick up packets was a bit of a clusterfuck. Louisville around Derby time is   pretty crazy anyway, and the packet pick up was off of Fourth Street. There were people  everywhere and you couldn’t leave the bib and packet pick-up area without having to go  through the running expo folks. I am not sure that I want to sign up for the “Run a  Marathon in 50 States!” club while nervous about the mini, and I don’t like slogging  through crowds of people. Also, I don’t want to buy new gear the day before the race. I

The Blue Mile tent at the Expo

haven’t practiced in it – thanks, but no thanks. I did see the Blue Mile tent, but was so ready to get of there (plus my car was kinda illegally parked) that I just zoomed through. The new shirt design was pretty cool to see, and I like the olive green color – all I wanted was “not white and preferably not Kentucky Wildcat blue” because (a) white can be see-through and (b) I pay tuition to UofL, thus I am a Cards fan, thankyouverymuch. Seeing all the folks there for pick up made me realize how big this event is, and I sort of felt glad to be participating in a Derby Festival event. Last year I only checked out the hot air balloons:)

The Race

6:15 AM: I am awake and eating breakfast. I’d gone to a kirtan chanting session at the yoga studio the night before, eaten a good meal, and was relatively calm. I’m also really quiet in the morning to begin with, but I wasn’t as nervous as I was before the 10 miler. I’m in my outfit, I’d packed a little bag with my sweatshirt, water bottle, a banana, an energy bar, chap-stick, and… I think that’s it – the night before. I’d charged my iPod. Good to go.

7:05 AM: My boyfriend dropped me off near the finish line and I made my way through the hordes. I found a “10:52” mile pace setter and decided that she’d do. Music was playing and runners were stretching and talking, many wearing matching outfits or themed outfits – I ran a good ways of the race behind three women with Derby-related fascinators on their heads. It took me at least 10 minutes to go over the starting line after the gun went off.

Miles 1 – 5: After the first water stop (really early on) I find an man – probably mid-60s – with a good shuffle and keep pace with him for the first 5 miles of the race. He’s going slow, but I can still see the pace-setter and I’m trying really hard not to run hard because I’m trying really hard not to do math in my head regarding how many miles I have to go. It’s better not to think about it. I enjoyed taking in the city, and the weather was in mid-50s, sunny, breezy, and perfect for a long run. I enjoyed myself, as well as the folks cheering us on from the sidelines. I really liked the school bands who drummed us through the course. I stopped and walked through every water station, as I was feeling salt on my skin early in (I’d been glugging water all week, but can easily dehydrate). Everything was going well, and I was pleased.

Miles 6 -8: We hit mile 8 and go into Churchill Downs, and I’m feeling good but my body is starting to protest. Running through the tunnel was exciting, but my hips were not excited for me. Neither was my right calf. I stop, stretch, use the bathroom, and stroll through the Downs, marvelling at the horses out exercising. I am morally against animal sports – dog racing, horse racing, bull fighting – but you can’t deny how beautiful these horses are; I watched one running, and I could tell (four years of lessons, woo!) that the horse wanted to go faster (they are competitive animals, horses – believe me) and his trainer was holding him back. I suddenly felt lucky to be doing what I was doing, running this half-mini-marathon (what does it mean if you call it one thing or another?) and was really glad to know that at least half of the race was complete.

Miles 9 – 11: Walk. Run. Walk. Run. Trot trot. Stretch. Run run run run run trot. I am having to keep intervals until I find a good place on 3rd street to stop and give my hips a good stretch. I resent having to stop and do this, but my knees are starting to whine and I know if I can loosen my hips things will go better. I run for a while with a group of guys dressed as warriors – complete with Spartan helmets, capes, shields, and swords, and their good vibes boost my morale into the final stretch. Overall, the course is flat as a pancake, so I never had any hill issues, which was also a morale booster:)

Miles 12 – 13.1: As we ran under the Expo Center tunnel. I was running hard and really trying to pull it all out for the last mile, but I got over-excited and light-headed as we came out of the tunnel. I had to just go through at a slower pace, and my ego was upset but I didn’t want to faint and get the dreaded DNF. The final stretch was a blur of people, many with their hands stretched out to high-five you on your way in. It was a blur of noise and excitement, and I turned my iPod off as I ran the last 1/4 mile, realizing I’d almost completed what I’d set out to do last December. My goal was about to be met. My training was about to come to its head. I ran across the finish line feeling amazing. When the nice lady put the medal around my neck, I was barely paying attention. I knew my time would be different (I go by chip, not race clock) than it was as I crossed; my time for my first miniMarathon was 2:29:52. I’m actually kind of proud of that time. That means I ran most of the race, albeit slowly:)

I did it! I completed a half marathon! I ran 13.1 miles! I feel awesome!

So I’m going to keep running, I’ve got my eye on some races, and I’m very proud of myself. If I can do it, anyone can do it, so please – if you’re considering this challenge, I throw the gauntlet down for you. You can do it!

Thanks for keeping up with this blog; I promise I’ll write one if/when I start training for a 26.2. Until then, happy running everyone, and kudos to your own running successes and thank you for your support! Happy trails!


One response to “39th Annual KY Derby miniMarathon… Completed!

  1. Congrats on the finishing the first of many! My friend and I ran the Derby mini, as well. It was perfect weather for a race! Keep on running! Half marathons are a great race distance.

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