When you start training properly for a race, time seems to fly by. I started training for the Derby ½ Marathon back at the beginning of February and before I knew it, I was packing my bags for Louisville.
We got down to Louisville a day early so that Julia and I could run around the race expo, like contestants from the Price is Right, for our packets and other free bees. Sadly, we forgot who our dudes were and quickly realized we would only be getting our packets. I guess race expos are not that fun to people who have no interest in the actual race.
Julia and I were not drinking on that Friday so that we would be 100% on race day. We toured downtown Louisville and watched Tom and Kurt have beers in the random spots we stopped at.
Height Perspective. This bat was about 45 Toms tall
Downtown Louisville is a really neat and somewhat desolate after work hours. It reminded me a lot of St Louis in so many ways. The city is smaller like St Louis and contained a lot of French themes and architecture.
A lotta (Me, Tom, Julia, Kurt)’s
Dinner on Friday was around 8pm and I planned to carb up and pass out (hot right?). Which is exactly what I did. I ended up eating so much pasta and being so full that I had put myself into a food coma by 9pm. I had to sleep on my side and allow for some space for my stomach to lay. I am a true Italian party animal.
The morning of the race I set my alarm for 5:15 AM and woke up excited. This is how I usually get on race days. I am so excited about being done with the race that I am almost giddy at the start. We had some coffee toast and were out the door by 6:50 AM. After paying for parking at the slowest parking garage I have ever encountered, we found ourselves running to the start line. We made it into a corral last minute and barely managed to get a selfie in before we took off.
Miles 1 -3
Mile 1 went through most of the downtown area that we had walked around in the day before in the first mile. My dad texted me around this time with “Run Fast & Repeat”. I texted him my bib number and told him he could track me online with the running app I had downloaded.
Mile 2 and 3 were neighborhoods that looked a little rougher. Julia looked at me and assured me the course gets better. I laughed at her nervousness about it because I was really enjoying the race so far. There were so many families on their porches with signs, cheering us on. I saw a couple groups of thug looking guys even high five some of the runners. Even they can appreciate a group of people who would pay to run this far for no reason.
This was a very pretty part of the race. Big beautiful houses and huge trees that draped over the streets. I was still feeling good at this point too. I kept thinking over and over how great Julia and I were going to feel at the finish. I start envisioning being hoisted onto Toms shoulders and carried around like a champ. This is what I have to do to get through runs. These fake, over the top, scenarios do work people.
It was around Mile 6 that I got a notification through the race app. Apparently, others can log onto it, type in your bib number and send you words of encouragement that will be sent and read out loud to you while you run. So at Mile 6, I get a notification from “Dave Moschetti” that said “Go Serena Go!”. I laughed out loud and showed Julia the notification. Thanks dad! Yes, only 7 more miles to go!
At this point of the race, I was excited to split off from all the people doing the actual marathon. I knew at that point we would be heading back to the finish and I had that in my head as the finishing point of the race even though we still had several miles to go. There is something comforting about the fact that you are headed back to the finish.
Mile 7 had us running into Churchill Downs. I knew it was coming but had no idea I was there until I saw the huge sign for it. We ran down dark tunnels and then up again onto the track. We then ran the length and by the horses. The weather was starting to get warmer and we were out of the shade so it was at this point I started to chafe on the lower part of my arm pits. Yea!
After taking a run down and back up and out we were out of Churchill Downs and officially splitting off from the full marathoners. By Mile 9, Julia was losing steam. I told her we only have 4 miles left but for some reason that did not seem to comfort her at all.
This was by far the toughest for Julia and I. The chafing was getting slowly worse and Julia was ready to start walking. I was not about to let her do that. I wanted her to run the entire thing even if it was just at a slower pace. At Mile 11, she landed weird on her foot and had to walk it out for a minute. I could tell she really wanted to just keep walking. But again, I was not letting her stop. Julia is so nice, too, that she would rather just suck it up and run than seemingly “disappoint” me by stopping. I would like to believe though that at the end she was ultimately happy she kept going.
The last mile was basically me looking for Tom on the sidelines. I didn’t know where they would be and I wanted to make sure I didn’t look like death when he saw me. Yes, apparently even after being together 4 1/2 years AND married, I still care what I look like when Tom sees me.
I also was worried about Julia, at this point, because she looked like she was either going to cry or murder me for looking excited. I would tap her on the arm, smile at her and try to mime drinking beers but all she could do is give me pity smiles back all while looking like she wanted to lay down on the road and take a nap. My GPS on my phone had also been messed up along the way so even though I knew we had hit 13 miles, I could not see the finish and had no idea how far we had left.
I was so consumed with looking for Tom and cheering Julia up that when we turned the corner I did not even notice the Finish Line coming up fast. Not only was the Finish Line visible but it appeared to be we were both on a hill going down to it. We looked at each other and then just booked it down this hill to the end. I was so excited that I forgot about looking for Tom, but he apparently was right at the finish and watched me cross.
Julia and I hugged after the race. I was glad I ran it with her. I didn’t really care about my time for it because I didn’t want to ruin my entire weekend overexerting myself for this. I ended up being really happy with my race results and that Julia didn’t kill me mid race.
And….after brunch and a nap we were finally able to drink with the guys.