Tuesday, May 1, 2012

KDF Race Report - the Beginning & Middle

First off - THANK YOU! - thank you for all of your wonderful comments and congratulations on Monday's post. Blogging and being a part of this 'community' has really enhanced my 'running life' and regardless of how the race went, I'm just blown away by your positive vibes. So thanks :)

Speaking of how the race went....

The race began just about as great as any race you can ever run.

Friday night our plans to see the Great Balloon glow has been botched by horrible winds and left my foot achey after a trek through the fairgrounds. As I was setting out all my gear I was numb: I was nervous, and angry about the knee and the foot developments (and about the balloon glow!), and just didn't know what the morning would bring. Josh, being the best coach out there, pressed me to think positive and ignore all the doubt. If he knew I could do it, then I knew I could do it.

Saturday morning I woke up around 5:30 and had toast with butter spread. Since my digestive system has been so wonky these last few years - and months - I was determined to mirror my pre-20 miler routine as best I could. I hydrated, I ate my toast, I got dressed. To my surprise, Josh offered to walk me down to the start line. While normally I would've enjoyed a bit of alone time before a race -after all, I'm almost always alone when I start - I was happy to have the company. We walked down to the start line and promptly started looking for Julia. Thanks to cell phones and a relatively spaced-out crowd (at the time) we managed to meet up with her!
Stolen from Julia's facebook (Sorry Jules!) :D
If you think Julia is inspiring just from reading her blog, well, she is the real deal. She is every ounce as genuine and strong and wonderful as she is on the blog, so you should check out her BLOG!

Unfortunately, I had to make a bee-line for the bathroom so I couldn't meet up with the other 100 people I'd hoped to see that morning. By my estimate, my fueling plan was working perfectly: I'd hit the bathroom right before the start and be good for the duration! My handsome trooper Josh stayed with me up until the minute I came zooming out of the port-o-potty headed to the start line.
Coach Josh stayed with me up to the start!
I left Josh and headed to the start, which was packed in. What had been an empty start-chute had completely filled! I quickly found my pace group, the 5:00 folks. I owe my perfect finish in the Flying Pig to Pacer Judy (from Pacer Jim's team) and I knew I wanted to run with a group this time too. My pacers were Greg & Dwight and they were absolutely FABULOUS! They were so calm and friendly and did exactly what I'd hoped pacers would do: hold a steady pace, keep everybody's spirits up, and be a cheerleader for the group. Can't say enough good things about these two from the ASICS pace team.

Before too long the gun sounded and we were off! Despite how far back we were I crossed the start only 10 minutes after the gun, which was pretty good. The only thing I really remember about the first four miles is how fast they flew by. We were winding through downtown Louisville from west to east. The early miles were packed, but not so much that it was super uncomfortable. Dwight & Greg exchanged funny stories about previous races and at each mile we all had to cheer as we went past the marker and Greg would tell a bad pirate joke.

The only downer in those early miles was a little bit of rain late in mile four. Luckily it was short-lived and didn't do any serious soaking to my shoes.

We turned onto fourth street and I felt like i was home. So many of my long runs went through the area known as Old Louisville up fourth and third streets. It felt so normal and the beautiful trees created this canopy that only held the excitement in for us. This was probably the most crowd-packed portion of the course that I can remember. Everything felt great: my pacing was dead on (thanks to G&D), my hips and glutes both felt great and my feet were just clopping right along.

The only complaint I had at this point was, well, I had to pee. Bad. My old coach Leslie used to tell us, "don't worry, it'll reabsorb" but wow, this wasn't going anywhere. I was weighing the pros & cons in my head: find somewhere to pee and feel infinitely better in general and love life again BUT lose my pace team OR don't pee and be miserable for another 4 hours but finish with my pace team. I decided to try not to think about either and just keep moving.

As we came into mile 7 the sun was starting to come out. I was a little bummed that the water-stop didn't have any water for us and really hoped that wasn't a sign of things to come. Up next was the part that is wholly unique to the KDF Mini & Marathon: running through Churchill Downs. One of these times I'm going to stop and take a photo, but not this race. The race goes through the stands and into the infield, then out the back. It's really a neat experience to see the horses out galloping around and going through workouts. The only negative? You have to go down through a tunnel (and then back UP and out) to enter and exit the infield - it's a steep, steep concrete incline that's not very fun (at all!).

We popped out on the backside and prepared to part ways with the mini-runners. This poor girl in front of me almost didn't realize the split (despite the signs and the guys with bullhorns....) and had to dart deer-across-interstate-style to get back. So there we split, mini runners headed back to the river and the Finish line and the Marathon runners drumming along out towards Iroquois park and it's three miles of glorious hills....

Next up: the middle & the end


  1. friend you are so sweet to say such kind things about me :) i wouldnt have missed meeting up with you for the world! i have been so excited for you to run this race...i only wish we could have had more time together to chat and encourage :)

    you are amazing! and i love that you have had such great pacer experiences. im always too nervous to run with a pace group. who knows why. haha. i have never been in that part of Old Louisville but it was by far my favorite. absolutely gorgeous! i felt totally lost in the trees. it was amazing. and so true about churchill downs. me and my bro just kept counting down the miles till we got there and then he yelled at me for speeding through the tunnel to "get it over with"...he was like "you are the only person i know who sprints hills. haha. i like for them to get over quick!

    cant wait to read the rest!!

  2. Awwww you and Julia are the cutest :) and I love this recap. You and Josh look great - way to go coach! and I can't wait for the rest......cliff hanger :P