Sup friends! I’m finally back to normal (at least for me) and am ready to recap such an amazing weekend in Louisville, Kentucky for the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon.
I was accompanied by the friend and co-worker Cody and his wife Katie. I was happy to have them with me for the over 7 hour drive (more like 9, we’ll get to that). This would be Cody’s first half marathon.
The first half of our trip was pretty perfect. We rolled along pretty smoothly, only stopping once for coffee and a potty break then one more time for gas and a driving lunch. In Lynchburg, we have Biscuitville, but in West Virginia they had Biscuit WORLD. As expected, the biscuits were larger and they were AMAZING. I had a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit, but with a hash brown in it. Sorry there’s no pic, it didn’t last long enough.
Our plan was to head to the Maker’s Mark Distillery before getting to Louisville. We had PLENTY of time…until we didn’t. A tractor trailer jackknifed on the highway and blocked both lanes. We sat waiting for nearly 2 hours before finally deciding to off-road it and turn around. We missed the distillery tours completely. This was sad. I wanted to stop in and thank my pals at Maker’s for sending me amazing and sometimes hilarious Christmas presents over the years. Bummer.
Our hotel was not the nicest of hotels, but it was in a prime location. We were about a half mile from the start line and even closer to where packet pickup was. We made our way to pick those up and of COURSE they were giving away whiskey. We had to have just one.
We were in need of food (and maybe a drink or two) so we had good old American food. I went with a cheeseburger and garlic fries combined with a REALLY good stout. We stopped in another bar but called it a night at a fairly reasonable time.
Race day morning, I woke up feeling pretty good. I decided on the Nike Pegagus Turbos for my shoe (you know I have like 12 choices), even though I’d never worn them for a race this long. They didn’t disappoint. They are such a great shoe! I reviewed them actually and you read that here if you’d like.
Cody and I started together but separated quickly. Cody ended up coming in at around 2:01 which was GREAT, especially for his first half marathon. I think he’s already plotting his improvement on that. I didn’t have a particular goal. I just wanted to run hard and see how it went. I weaved my way through a bunch of runner traffic, which is a bit of a rush but does take energy.
Mile 1: 7:02 (that’s a bit fast, but ok cause it feels GREAT)
Mile 2: 6:53, Mile 3: 6:48, Mile 4: 6:47, Mile 5: 6:54 (easy tiger…this feels great but you aren’t exactly trained up)
Mile 6: 7:00 (Dude…are you going to try and PR?!)
Mile 7: 7:10 (This is getting harder by the mile. Maybe you should take something.)
Mile 8: 7:59 (Oh boy. Stop and drink. Take a Gu. BREATHE.)
Mile 9: 7:30, Mile 10: 7:34 (Not even a run through Churchill Downs can speed me up. This is suffering.)
Mile 11: 7:20 (Heading back toward civilization. Time to look good for the spectators, grab some high-fives and slap some signs.
Mile 12: 7:01 (People are watching! I have to pretend that I like this.)
Mile 13: 7:26 (I better save some for the home stretch and finish photos)
Last 0.1: 32 seconds and a 4:39 mile pace haha. (I just HAD to burn a few people at the end. Goes to show I had a bit left in the tank and my brain is the problem.)
Katie got a couple of great pics of me coming into the finish and I especially liked this one.
Once Cody came in, we had our free post-race beer and headed back to the hotel to clean up. We found food and we found drinks. I did NOT have a mint julep, though my buddy Katie did. She let me try it and it was pretty yummy. My post-race meal was a stuffed baked potato with pulled pork, cheese, sour cream and all that good stuff. I poured a bowl of baked beans on top. The drink of choice was an old fashioned. We toured various bars and saw a giant baseball bat. The Louisville Slugger tour was not all that great, but no ragrets. The highlight of everything was probably some candied bacon that an awesome random stranger bought us (thanks Tony!).
We ended up having a great time at a piano bar (those are fun!) and then toughing out a long drive back to VA. I highly recommend this race and Louisville in general. We had so much fun (and food). I’ll definitely consider this one again!
I don’t normally mooch off of the watermarked photos, but these were really good and I’m really broke from this trip. Please don’t judge.
Last, but not least we have the medal and a little somethin’ somethin’ extra. It’s PERSONALIZED WHISKEY! I won mine (thank you Twitter) but I believe they were $30. That’s not bad at all in my opinion. 🙂