Kentucky Derby Marathon – 2016

I headed to Louisville last weekend to run my 2nd Kentucky Derby Marathon.  I love this race and it wasn’t difficult to talk me into a repeat visit.  I’m a huge fan of races in small towns where we can park the car at the hotel, then walk to packet pickup, dinner & the race itself. Its good for the runners AND spectators. 

MarathonMini Logo SPONSOR COLOR no year.eps

The expo is a nice size.  Not huge but a decent size compared to some of the smaller ones we have been to as of late.  Quite a few vendors to cover whatever you may have forgotten or to grab something special to remember your trip.  Packet pickup was quick and painless.  The full marathoners walked away with a gender specific tee & a hat for race swag. 

IMG_0132  IMG_0133

Race day was just as painless.  The race started on Main Street about a block or two  from our hotel.  No gear check for us, so we just made our way to the corral and got in line.  Race started at 7:30a and we left the hotel at 7:00a.  Rain was on the forecast so we grabbed a selfie before we got wet.  Smile  Me, Katie & Julie M.  We tried  about 4 selfies.  I look equally as goofy in each one.  Yes, this is the best one.  No, I have no idea what’s going on with my hair.

IMG_0038

There are so many things I love about this race and I talked about a lot of them when I ran in 2014.  See that post HERE.  Race starts on Main Street and you run past all the local businesses, bars, restaurants, the huge YUM Stadium, the Louisville Slugger Museum and so much more.  The first miles of the race really showcase a lot of what Louisville has to offer, including the University of Louisville.  It weaves in and out of downtown.  Constant crowd support.  Neighborhood children out to cheer on the runners.  Good community support. 

image

But honestly, everyone is just waiting for mile 8 and to enter Churchill Downs.  This was definitely a highlight for me last time and I was anxiously awaiting it once again.  By the time we got to this point, it was steadily raining on us and had been for a while.  So no pics from this round but I have some from 2014!

Churchill Downs

We run into the entrance of Churchill Downs, thru the area where all the tents are located and I envision various vendors for race weekend, then thru the tunnels, under the track and into the back lots.  Pic below from 2014.

churchill-downs_inner-track

Even though it was raining, there were still several horses out practicing when we ran thru.  It’s very cool.  I’ve always wanted to go to the Derby and this renewed my interest to make that happen.  Cool venue and I love running it.

Once we are out of the Downs, around mile 9, the half and full marathons split.  Although, I always enjoy the company of the half runners, and find it way easier to keep a slow steady pace when all of them are around, I was ready for a bit of solitude and for the road to open up.  The Derby Festival Marathon weekend is best known for it’s “mini” marathon (half marathon to anyone how doesn’t live in Indianapolis IN or Louisville KY).  There were 10,434 half marathoners and a mere 1,811 full runners.  So the road did in fact open up quite a bit as we said goodbye to the “mini” runners.  But we weren’t alone.  There were always people around and still a good number of spectators out, even for a rainy day. 

Now we were headed for Iroquois Park.  This is the hardest part of the race with lots of up & downhill sections but the scenery is spectacular.  I must say, I found this section particularly hard last time (2014) but it really wasn’t that bad this year, thanks to all the ridiculously hilly races I’ve managed to run over the last couple years.  There were some tough ups but I walked them.  And I found a surprising number of downhill sections which I don’t remember from last time!  The gentle rain made everything that much more beautiful and the road was wide open so that we could easily run the tangents up and down the hills and around the winding roads.  Very nice. 

After Iroquois Park, it was all downhill.  Like seriously.  I think we may have had 1 or 2 inclines after that but it was otherwise flat terrain.  We ran past so many amazing churches and historical homes, back thru the University of Louisville campus and we were headed back to the downtown area. 

IMG_0035

The aid stations were fully stocked and staffed, even with the rain.  They offered water, Gatorade & Cliff Shots in several spots.  Lots of potties and medical stations, if you needed them.  Plus spectators who came out even with the weather.  By the time we hit mile 23, it was a full on downpour.  I was happy to have a visor and just kept my head down and ran.  It was then that the rain finally penetrated my shoes as we could no longer see dips in the pavement but rather just splashed thru.  It didn’t dampen anyone spirits but there did seem to be a lot of people cramping and hurting in those last miles and I think it was a lot about the weather and the cool rain on their warm muscles.  Julie & I stopped 2-3 times to dig Biofreeze out of our bags for people who needed some assistance.  But alas the finish became visible and we put another marathon in the DONE column.  We even saw our friend Erica at the finish.  She killed her race and beat us by a few minutes (or more).  Smile  Julie, Random Dude, Erica & me.

IMG_0043  IMG_0044  IMG_0134

The Kentucky Derby Marathon is an awesome race.  Great spectator support.  Great community support.  Great course.  Great police/safety.  Great aid stations.  And its fun without too many crazy hills.  Put this one on your list if you haven’t already, it’s worth the trip to Louisville to run the Derby. 

The Derby Marathon was the first marathon of the weekend.  Yes, the second double marathon weekend of 2016.  We finished, showered, and drove to Cincinnati OH for the Flying Pig Marathon.  Come back tomorrow for that recap. 

** Run the Derby Marathon ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Advertisements

Kentucky Derby Marathon Recap … 3rd Marathon in 14 days

image

Saturday was the ever popular Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and “mini-marathon” (AKA – Half Marathon).    I chose this race for the 3rd in my “4 For 40” series because it was a mere 5 hour drive from Chicago and I was somewhat familiar with the area.  I had also heard positive things about this race from other “serial racers”.  Plus, I was hoping spring had sprung and I’d get some much needed sunshine!  I was not disappointed in any aspect.  It was warm, upper 70s, and the area was beautiful.  Louisville was clean, charming and small enough to leave my car parked and walk everywhere safely with my kids in tow.  

We rolled into town Friday afternoon to get the race packet and hit the expo.  The expo was a decent size with good vendors but certainly not what I’m used to as far as the big city race expos that Chitown offers.  Smile   We zipped thru pretty quickly, then walked around Louisville getting our bearings and finding our way to the race finish area.  I’d like to add that as we were walking toward the finish, a race official in a golf cart saw us and asked if we needed help.  He was kind enough to take a minute to not only tell us where to go but to also tell us which side of the street to walk on come race day.  Super nice!!  Great day and we turned in early to prep for the race! Just before we turned drifted off to sleep, we heard fireworks and looked out the window to see the display going off over the stadium.  Nice!

fireworks

The race started at 7:30 am eastern time and it was mid 50s at the start.  Perfect running weather with a promise of rising temps and lots of sunshine to come.  The start was on Main Street and it was flooded with runners and spectators alike making it hard to move very quickly and it “might” have been a bit of a cluster getting to bag check and funneling into the corrals.  The atmosphere was charged with nervous chatter and many around me were not necessarily excited but more so nervous about the impending start.   The majority of runners were planning to tackle the “mini” and it was apparent that many were also first time half marathoners.  The mini ended up with 11,599 finishers, while  2,030 people finished the full and an additional 68 teams completed the marathon relay.   Big race for Louisville, Kentucky!!

Once the gun went off, the corrals started moving slowly toward the start.  There didn’t appear to be any separation between corrals but rather a rolling start.  Once we started running it was definitely busy but not so busy that I felt confined, just enough that I had to pay attention.  Smile  The course started by passing all the  Main Street businesses, bars, restaurants, a large concert venue and several museums.  But I personally was just bidding my time, and chatting with Greg S who I had befriended in the start corral.  I was trying to be patient because that’s a necessity for me in the marathon.  I also reminded myself that this was my 3rd marathon in 14 days and I knew I would start feeling that sooner or later.  However, I was feeling good at the start and thankfully Greg was SUPER entertaining and kept me moving right along without time to think about the 26.2 miles in front of me.  I was grateful for his company.  And his stories.  He wasn’t concerned about pace so didn’t get upset or run off without me when I hit the brakes a couple times to slow our pace.  Then we were thru University of Louisville and on toward Churchill Downs.  The excitement grew as we reached the horse track and I was thrilled that we were able to run thru the tunnels to hit the infield.  We were even able to spot several horses running the track.  Yay!!  So exciting!!

churchill downs  churchill downs_inner track

Then we were soon out of Churchill Downs and ready for the half/full split, which I was not at all expecting.  I was still on the high from Churchill Downs and just followed the crowd {and my new buddy Greg}, the majority of which was running the half.  It took me a minute to process that  1)  I was on the wrong side of the split and 2)  My new buddy Greg was running the half.  BOOOO on both accounts!  I quickly corrected the situation and fortunately didn’t trip up too many people the race coordinators anticipated a “few” people messing up the split because they left open sections in the fence for those of us who ended up on the wrong side.  Thank you!!    Now onto the real challenge, Iroquois Park, which encompassed miles 11-15. 

image

I’d been previously warned that it was going to be bad so I thought I was mentally prepared.  But it was tough.  Super Tough.  Yet super beautiful at the same time.   I walked/jogged thru the park and just tried to enjoy the day.  I didn’t want to push on the hills too much and then trash myself for the remainder of the race.  After I was out of the park, I still needed to cover an additional 11 miles so I took it easy.

Iriquois Park  Iriquois Park2

The majority of the runners turned off at the half and things were much more relaxed.   However, I was never alone.  Not even in the park where there were fewer spectators.   I was always surrounded by friendly runners who where happy to chat.  There were also aid stations & potties every 1.5-2 miles.  Medical stops every other aid station or so.  And there were spectators.  A lot of spectators who were cheering, playing music, clapping, holding signs, and handing out water or snacks from there own homes.  Great crowd support, Louisville!!  The course was also marked at each mile with a large mile marker sign and then again on the ground.  Couldn’t miss those mile markers!  Super cool!

mile markers 

I felt good thru the entire race and I was super thankful for all the work Dr. Alexis did last week to help speed my recovery and to help get rid of a few “niggles” that showed up at the Carmel Marathon the week previous.  I never hurt but my legs did start to get heavy around mile 18.  I didn’t do much walking, just kept moving forward slowily, inching my way to the finish.  About the time, that I really needed to be done, we hit 3rd street and all the beautiful dogwood trees started showering me with little pedals.  Very magical.  I absolutely loved it and was so thankful that I had picked the Derby Festival for #3 this month.  Great day.  Great race.  Great course that rained flowers when I needed a little extra energy!

flowering trees on 3rd St

And as always, the finish will eventually show up if we are persistent enough to keep moving forward.  It was a welcome site and it was also super cool that the kiddos were out to cheer me on at the end.  Special thanks to Miss Katie who was kind enough to hang out with the kiddos all day long and get them to the finish to see me.  Normally Katie would be running too but she is in taper mode to prepare for her 100 miler on April 26th!!  Go, Katie!!  You are an amazing friend and a strong runner.   Can’t wait to hear how you crush 100 miles next weekend!

Katie took  a few photos of me heading toward the finish  & then with the kiddos afterward.  Michael says it’s too sunny and he doesn’t like the sun in his eyes!  Temps were in the upper 70s by the time we finished running so it was warm and very sunny.  LOL!

me_running toward finish1  me_running toward finish  me & kids_finish

Swag:

swag  Medal

I really loved this race.  It had a lot of little ups and downs but was mostly flat except for Iroquois Park.   There was plenty to see to keep things interesting.  The race is well ran and well supported by both volunteers and locals.  I’d put this on my top 3 list for marathons.  As for the stats, this was marathon #13 for me and the 7th state in which I’ve ran a marathon.  Next up, the Illinois Marathon on Saturday (4/26/14).

** Keep Moving Toward the Finish, Regardless of Pace ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

4 For 40 …..

Well, I turned the big 4-0 last week.  No, it was not the end of the world but rather a celebration.  I’m super excited to be in a new age group decade.  I look forward to my 40s and plan to celebrate for the ENTIRE month of April.  I mean, really, everyone should celebrate the arrival of April and specifically SPRING.  So yes, it’s a bit of a rebirth for all of us but it’s pure celebration or maybe the “hour of power” for myself and my bitchy strong and determined Aries friends. 

image

I’ve been thinking about the big 4-0 for the last year.  I wanted to do something “big” but nothing that would cause any “big” problems for the family.  I could have taken the day off work and ran 40 miles but I didn’t.  Too boring.  So I’ve been tossing around the idea of 4 marathons, in the 4th month of the year, to celebrate my 40th birthday.  I’m a big numbers person and this seems right.  Adventurous but doable.  I’ve certainly weighed the pros verses cons a billion times and I think I can do it.  No, I know I can do it.  Safely.  Without injury.  With a smile on my face.  So here is the line up for the magical month of April.  I’ve officially registered for all of these races {and also have childcare, plus travel arrangements, in place}:

  1. 4/5/14 – Lakefront 50K (31 miles) – 5:39 finish – 4th in my new age group (see, the universe is working with my “4” theme)
  2. 4/12/14 – Carmel Marathon, Carmel, IN
  3. 4/19/14 – Kentucky Derby Marathon, Louisville, KY
  4. 4/26/14 – Illinois Marathon, Champaign, IL

If all goes well,  I’ll have 4 marathons in 21 days and that will qualify me as a 4 star Marathon Maniac.  Yes,  more 4s.  Open-mouthed smile  If it doesn’t go well, then I’ll toss my bibs in the garbage, stand on the sidelines and cheer my friends to the finish and be no worse off than if I didn’t try at all.  However, I’m confident that it will work.  I’m confident that I can do it.  I’m confident that I can stay in control enough to finish the races without pushing my body too far.  I’m honestly looking at the 4 marathons as a “box set”.  In my head, it’s one race with separate “stages”.   It’s going to work.

Impossible til its Done

So don’t look for me on the trail this month.  I’ll either be marathoning or sitting in the rocker with me feet up.  There really won’t be much in between.  Sounds like the perfect Birthday Month to me!   WhooooHooooo!

Don't Worry About Getting Old

** 4 for 40, In the 4th Month, Running for 4 Star Marathon Maniac Status **                      Amanda – TooTallFritz