Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon

Sometimes you have to travel through some valley's before you reach the top of your mountain.  This spring running season was full of valleys for me.  Heck, my entire "Half Season" has been ups and downs.  The good thing is I learn best when tested.  

Last November when I did my first half I learned training is key and what you eat/drink the week of matters.  I worked hard after the half fixing things that needed fixing.  I did a 15K on Valentine's Day that was amazing.  My best run so far, but woke up a couple days later with a sore leg.  The next weekend I ran a half.  It was a great half, but my hip injury really slowed me down the last 2 miles, but I managed to beat my time by almost 24 minutes.

The next two half's I did were not so good at all.  My hip injury really messed me up.  The lack of training made my knees week.  It was just not good at all.  It makes it hard to enjoy running when injuries slow you down and make you feel like all the work you have done isn't showing.  

I had 2 weeks between Bridge Street and Kentucky Derby so I only ran 2 short runs.  What I did do was strength train and walk.  I needed to get my strength back so my knees could last 13.1 miles.  The days before the run I ate right, drank my water and prayed a lot.

I was up early and doing my pre run ritual--a toasted plain bagel with peanut butter, WATER and a banana.  I taped up my knees, got my gear on and was ready to tackle this half.

WOW!  That was all I could say when I saw the amount of people running.  This was my biggest race for sure.  I was so nervous about the crowds.  One thing I did different was run with music.  I usually listen to music on training runs, but never for a race.  I thought it would be a good way to take my mind off the hip/knee pain if it got bad.  

Despite the amount of people the race start was really smooth.  The rain had held off so far, too.  I got my first mile done in 11 minutes so I was happy.  Mile 2 went great and around mile 3 the knee pain started creeping in.  I prayed and asked God to take the pain away.  To just remove it from me until the run was over.  I asked Him to be with me and give me the good run I had been needing.  Thankful He heard me and the pain subsided and I just kept going.  My goal was too keep each mile as close to 11:30 as I could.  I wanted to break my previous best time of 2:34:42.  What I really wanted was to break 2:30, but I was just taking it a mile at a time.

Around mile 3 the drizzle started.  It didn't bother me at all.  I had already shed my long sleeve because I was heating up so I knew the rain would help me stay cool.  One thing I don't like is getting hot.  During the first 3 or 4 miles I saw a man running barefoot.  I listened to him talking to another runner about how he always runs barefoot.  I also saw a woman running in pogo shoes.  There were so many people and it was tight the first few miles, but after that it thinned out.  I was thankful the entire street was blocked off for the runners.

It was a really great course and there were so many amazing people cheering us on and handing out water.  Not only the race water stations, but church's and frat's had set up water/fruit stations.  Music was playing and the people were so happy and positive.  

My favorite part was running through Churchill Downs and UofL campus.  It was so cool to see the race track and the horses that were practicing.  The campus was great, too.  By this time it was really raining, but it didn't bother me at all.  I actually thought to myself once "I could pee while running and no one would know because I am soaked".  haha!

Some pictures I took while running...

When I finished mile 10 in under 2 hours I realized I had a shot at beating my time.  I only wish I had run mile 9 and 10 a little faster and done a little less sightseeing.  Oh well!  My last 2 half's mile 10-13 were slow and painful, but not today.  God was with me and I would not fail.  I kept running faster and walking less.  My Galloway Method was so messed up, but I didn't care.  I was feeling good and just went with it.

I got very emotional the last 2 miles.  My heart was happy.  It was my best run ever!  Everything came together just right.  No one knew I had tears in my eyes for the rain so it was good.  I wouldn't of cared anyway.  I was on a runners high.

Crossing the finish line never felt so good!  My fastest mile was #13!  I had done it.  I had a fantastic run from start to finish.  Topped it off with a PR!  2:33:01

I got to hit the PR GONG!!! Made my day!

I also accomplished the Kentucky Half Classic.  By completing RunTheBluegrass and the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon I got a 3rd medal that says I did 26.2 through Kentucky.  YEAH!  Love my home state and glad to have completed this goal.

Here is a breakdown of my half...

Thanks for stopping by and happy running!  

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