Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kentucky Derby Half Marathon Recap ....

I woke up early & refreshed.  Something that never happens on race day.  Usually butterflies swirling in my belly keeps me up all night long, afraid I'll over sleep through an alarm.

I woke up right when my alarm went off, my eyes bright & my tail bushy (that doesn't sound right... bright eyed & bushy tailed is what I'm going for)....

& it was the craziest thing.  Literally, the first thing that went through my mind when I woke up was the song,

I will not fear... His promises is true... my God will come through... always!  Always!

I had the most amazing sense of peace come over me right then & there...

I hopped right out of bed & headed into the kitchen.  The dogs were all sleeping in, & Ricky was still snoozing, so I made my race breakfast (an egg sandwich with hot sauce) & sat in the kitchen just reflecting on how the day was going to go.  I made up my mind to not freak out ... to enjoy the day... to be IN the moment... & know God was with me, was going to get me through the day...

I had everything laid out the night before so I got done with breakfast & started getting dressed.  Its always exciting because the news stations are already covering the start line & it gets me fired up, ready to get down to the crowds.

They had said that the temp was in the low 50's & it was going to be a perfect sunny, beautiful day.  I went out the door with just a short sleeve shirt & figured it would warm up as I got to moving.  I didn't expect to walk out the door & have such a cool breeze hit me.  I was freezing.

We got down to the race & Ricky parked & walked with me to the start line.  Getting in the crowds, hearing the music, seeing the corrals, my nerves really kicked in.  It didn't help that I was still cold, so I was just shaking with the big ball of emotion. 
Me Shivering before the race. 
Look how tight my hands are.
Nerves were kicking in

Ricky went with me even in the corral to keep me company & he kept his arms around me to keep me warm.  Is my husband awesome or what?

Before I knew it, we were moving forward. I didn't hear the horn go off, but I knew we had started.... Ricky walked with me all the way to the start line & veered off right as I got ready to hit my watch to begin this adventure.  I told him he was lucky they didn't tackle him coming off the course :)  The things you do for love.

Mile 1 - Of course, felt great.  The first mile is just full of cheerleaders & spectators ... I think I just look at all the faces looking for their loved ones & it is just full of joy & expectation in mile one.

I was determined to keep my pace of walk 3 minutes, run 2 minutes - but the first mile, I ran the first 5 minutes & then started my pace....

Mile 2 - There was a church called Liberty Temple - they were amazing!  They had to get there early & they had bought full bottles of water on their own & handing them out.  Plus, they had the Rocky theme going & honestly, they were the BEST CROWD OF PEOPLE!  They were on chairs, on tables, screaming, hitting everyone's hands... they deserve an award for "BEST CHEERLEADERS"

Mile 3 - About this time, I'm getting sick of winding up streets, back down streets, to wind back UP the street... get me out of these small roads...
It was also about this time that my new hand held phone gadget that I bought turned out not to be the best gadget I thought it was.  It was cutting into my thumb... so bad, I almost couldn't even FEEL my thumb.  Hmmm... let's get this thing off of my hand before my thumb turns blue.

Good in theory
Bad for swollen thumbs

Mile 4  - Ahh - on Broadway - a big wide road where you feel like you can breath.  I'm still keeping my same pace & feeling really good actually.  I saw ahead of me people going to the side & grabbing something at the next water station.  I thought there may be oranges there.  No - there were about 20 dozen boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts.  UGH!  I don't get how people eat junk when they run. One year, I saw people eating White Castle hamburgers.  I can puke thinking about it.

Mile 5 - this is where you take the turn to head down the road that leads you to Churchill Downs.  We pass a retirement home & I love that the front of it is always full of people cheering us on... people in wheelchairs, people who are elderly... they just clap & clap.  I want to just stop & hug them all.

Mile 6-7 - I hate this part of the race.  I was still keeping my normal pace, doing OK.  I just hate it because its so long at this point going down the road.  I just want to get to Churchill Downs & it feels like you're never going to reach those twin spirals. 
This part of the race really is my personal hell

I will say, my song "Press on" by Mandisa came on & I was kicking butt running through that whole song.
It was right after that that I could feel a blister coming up on the bottom of both my feet, on the balls of my feet.  The right foot was worse, but it was nothing to slow me down.

Mile 8 - The coolest part.  We got to run into Churchill Downs... I hadn't even taken my phone out during the whole time but had to document going into the track.  It was the first year we got to actually go in the front way.

My favorite part of the race ended up turning into the worst for me....

Proof I was still smiling at mile 8

When I was coming out of the tunnel of the track & heading into mile 9, I had 2 issues hit me.  First, those blisters that were coming up earlier had been getting worse & the one on my right foot was becoming unbearable.  I've never had blisters on the bottom of my feet before so I didn't even know how to deal with them. 

They had me limping & walking funny, which in turn, had my legs tighten up...

I was in trouble.

It was about mile 9.5 where I broke my pace for the first time.  Every time I went to do my 2 minute run, the blisters felt like they were bleeding... I was getting ready to just cry...

Luckily, I saw a friend on the side lines with her new baby & she ran out & hugged me.  Its funny how the small things give you energy again.

Ricky called me at mile 10 & asked where I was at.  I told him where & he said he would meet me up the road.  I didn't tell him how bad I felt at this point because I knew he would freak out & not let me go any further...

But I got to mile 11 & here comes Ricky.  I see him & smile & wave & then he got up to me & I told him how miserable I was.  At this point my pace had dropped something CRAZY... I couldn't run at all anymore. 

I, at first was so disappointed because I started off with an actual goal... something I didn't think I would do.  And the thing is, I was going to make it!!! I really was!  I was like 3 minutes ahead of the game... all up to mile 9.5....

& then I had a small self pity party...

But actually, it was a very small one - especially compared to some of the other ones I've had in races.  I kept thinking, "I wasn't even sure I was going to make it.  & here I am.  Screw the time."

& at that point, Ricky & I stepped to the side of the road, he sat down & I stretched my tight legs & I eased off my foot some.

They say, "crawl if you have to" - I almost was at that point.  I got to the 12 mile mark & I looked at Ricky & said, "It would be crazy for me to not make it now..." & at that, I was basically a snail.  My 14 minute pace went up to a 22 minute pace.  I was just literally taking a step at a time.

& again?  I didn't even care.  People were passing me up & I didn't care.  Time was ticking faster then ever.... & I didn't care.

Ricky was walking with me & we just were laughing, talking about where we were going to eat, listening to a little girl on the side singing in a karaoke machine "Do you wanna build a snowman" from Frozen....
Enjoying the moment... being IN the moment... & that's what I cared about.

We made the turn to the finish line & Ricky said, "Do you want to run?"

I told him, "I'm not sure I can." - every step felt like someone putting a hot knife in the ball of my foot...

but the closer I got to the finish line, I said, 'Let's go!' & I ran the last bit...

Probably a good thing. I think I made my foot completely numb at that point....

It was the funniest thing though because as soon as I crossed the finish line, I didn't see the people handing out the medals & I just crossed the finish line & stopped dead in my tracks & said, "WHERE'S THE MEDALS?"... Ricky busted out laughing.  He said I looked like a child wanting my candy...

well, duh! :)

I limped down & got my medal & I looked at Ricky & said, "I know its an awful time, I know I'm hurting, but I actually feel proud that I did it again"....

I had a whole new race experience... the one where time didn't even matter to me... where I felt self doubt fade away...

it made it a pretty awesome race....

My new addition to the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon collection
Not my worst, not my best, but a new experience

I will say, I really didn't know what to expect in this race...
Didn't expect to start out so well...
REALLY didn't expect to have the pain of a blister (that was new)...
& Really REALLYYY didn't expect to throw the cares away of the 'comparison' away like I did. 

I honestly didn't even see what my time was until I checked my email 2 days later.  Seriously.  That's how little I cared.  I just knew I finished....

& that was my goal.

I like doing races like that.... I need to make that the habit.

(Side Note:  I took a picture of my blister on my foot, but decided to spare everyone that... you're welcome)


  1. Way to go Rebecca - talk about some serious resilience!!! Love that part about you shouting Where's My Medal?! At the very end! :0)

    1. I really did have to laugh about it later... I seriously was like, "Hey... over here... give it to me NOW people!!! " :) haha!

  2. You go, girl! This is hardcore! Ugh, I hate blisters. But you did! And yes, you should pretty proud of yourself!

    1. I really am... I wasn't sure how it was all going to go down... but I crossed the finish line! :) All I cared about :)

  3. You are awesome. That is all.

    Actually, no - you are also an inspiration and I love stalking/reading your blog. :) Today is Day 1 of Half-Marathon training with my husband. Sure, it's easy now (2 mile days) but I need to know real-life experiences that go with 13.1 miles. Blisters ... ugh. Perseverance to the end? ... awesome/inspiring. Knowing that you enjoyed the journey (disregard the blisters)? That's what it's all about! :)

    1. You'll do great in your training! Just stick with the plan you have ahead!!! I can't wait to hear how it all goes for you. There's something exciting about being at the beginning of the training... I get excited every time, even though I know everything that lays ahead :) What race are you doing?

  4. Great job Rebecca!!!! Sorry about the problems toward the end and blisters, but hey every race can't be perfect:) I love how you didn't even check your finish time for a while. I am like you sometimes I would rather just enjoy the run:) I couldn't of eaten the donuts that early on either! However in the MCM around mile 22, they hand out a cup of Dunkin Donut holes to runners, and I remember trying them at that point thinking, yummy:)
    Awesome job on your race girl!!!!

  5. First off, congrats to you for pushing through. That GIF "I ain't even mad" just cracked me up! I was seriously LOL. And donuts or hamburgs would both turn my stomach, yuk! Glad you didn't have any back pain. Wasn't that one of the things you were worried about?

    1. YES! & my back did great! I think this Spider Tape is what made all the difference. Do you know its STILL on! One part of it came off this morning, but the other 3 strips are on... & it really ROCKED. I want to find this lady that put it on me & have her in my life weekly! ;)

  6. Awesome job girlie!! I am SO proud of you for pushing through the pain and finishing- no matter what. Your hubby is so sweet too! Ok, so what caused the blisters? Bad shoes?
    I will definitely run this race next year, it sounds so nice!

  7. Ugh, blisters are the worst. Hopefully you can find some new shoes or socks that don't cause so much trouble for you. Congrats on finishing and continuing to push yourself through the pain. I saw those phone holders at the expo and thought they were a good idea. Glad that I didn't buy one now!

    1. I just changed from Saucony to Brooks because I had gotten blisters in my training when I got up to 8 miles - I thought it was a fluke. I must be running weird. Of course :) Yeah, the phone thing would be great for short runs though!


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