Mission Accomplished! Kentucky Derby PR!

I worked hard training for this. I was prepared for the hills. I had studied the course, and I had a battle plan. I executed it.   4:36:11 and a 9 minute PR!

My A. goal was to finish in the 4:30's-- 4:39:59 would have been great. I looked up a pace chart online and wrote on my arm when I'd need to be at mile 13, mile 16, mile 20, mile 23, and mile 25 to finish in 4:38. The plan was to hold back a bit and stay between 10:25 and 10:40 for the first four miles, then speed up just a little in miles five through 12 to about a 10:30 until the hills at Iroquois Park. I just wanted to survive 12-15 making up as much time as possible on the downhills. Then in the flat 16-22 I hoped to PUSH the pace a little faster. More hills were coming from 22 to 23.5 and after 23.5, I planned to give it all I had left. And that's pretty much what I did.

The start was CHAOTIC. I could not find any of the 5 ladies I knew running the full, including my training partner Marlene. I could barely walk--wall to wall people. I made it into a corral and started my race alone.  It was about 53 and breezy---perfect running weather.

Mile 1: 10:39 pace. On the slow end of my range, right where I needed to start to warm up.
Mile 2: 10:21. Oops, a little fast. Still not crazy.
Mile 3: 10:21 Apparently 10:21 feels right today.
Mile 4: 10:53 My slowest mile of the day. I had my first fuel--some Honey Stinger Organic Energy chews and walked through the water stop as I ate them. I didn't panic because miles 2 and 3 were a bit fast and I figured it would average out. At this point I didn't think I was having a GREAT DAY. I thought I was having an ok day. My legs felt a little heavy at this point and that concerned me. *I continued to fuel every 40 minutes with Gu's after that---mostly caffeinated ones!
Mile 5: 10:18 pace. I had hoped to speed up a bit and did. It rained for about 3 minutes---cold, fat rain drops.
Mile 6: 10:32 pace. I ran into my friend Kathy Grayson at about 6.2. We ran together off and on. I lost a bit of time at a water stop here that was unprepared. I had to WAIT for them to pour a cup for me but I knew hydration was important. Kathy told me Marlene was just ahead, but I was too cautious to speed up to catch her. By now, I was also needing a bathroom--soon! I remember telling Kathy I wasn't having a great day.   Temp was still in the mid-50's. 
Mile 7: 10:09 3rd fastest mile of the day. I was starting to feel better and find my stride! Every port o john I saw had a long line. I wasn't about to waste precious time in line, but my bladder was full!
Mile 8: 10:27 We ran inside Churchill Downs. And there was a real bathroom with no line. I was in and out really quick.
Mile 9: 10:23
Mile 10: 10:15 Really on pace, feeling great
Mile 11: 10:26 Right after the split with the half marathoners (which I almost missed!) I heard "Donna!" It was Marlene. She had also stopped in Churchill Downs (in a different bathroom).
Mile 12: 10:45 Marlene and I ran and chatted. We entered Iroquois Park. It was beautiful--tree lined, winding, hilly road. Up, up, up. I think this was when I had a flashback to both Whiskey Hill and Blackberry Mountain. I turned to tell Marlene that and she wasn't beside me anymore. :-(
Mile 13: 10:08 Big downhill! 2nd fastest mile. I was letting GO on the downhill per plan. Knees taking a beating. Right Achilles hurting. Took two extra strength Tylenol and a salt cap. First TIME CHECK: Needed to hit mile 13 at 2:18:42 according to my arm tat. My Garmin miles were about .3 off from the mile markers, but at mile marker 13, I was about 1:30 ahead of schedule!
Mile 14: 10:51 Big uphill. Really tough. I ran it though. Walked thru a water station.
Mile 15: 10:24 Leaving Iroquois Park and wondering if I have ANY LEGS LEFT. I had taken the park HARD.
Mile 16: Time to push! 10:10!! Yay for flat! Turned on music for the first time.  Pace tat check--still 1:30 ahead of schedule!
Mile 17: 10:21
Mile 18: 10:16 Happy! (This is where the wheels fell off in my PR marathon last time.) I was waiting for that to happen. Took my Gu Roctane with 2 X caffeine.
Mile 19: 10:19 Wheels on!
Mile 20: 10:21 Pushing, pushing Pace tat check--I needed to be at 3:33 and was at 3:31 and change
Mile 21: 10:27 Hit a mini-wall. This mile was hard for me. Glycogen low. I took my last Gu. Or I should say choked it down. Feeling a little nausea. Legs tight and hurting--especially hamstrings.
Mile 22: 10:27. Hill or two. I walked about 5 seconds before saying, "What am I doing? This hill isn't that big!" It was the first walking I'd done since Iroquois Park.   It's starting to get HOT.
Mile 23: 10:37 Hills this late in the course are just mean. I allowed myself to walk 50 stepus up the last big hill. Then made myself run. Pace tat check--still in good shape!
Mile 24: 10:44 Trying to push---still some inclines. I kept missing my pace notifications on the garmin and glad I didn't see this.  Legs have taken a BEATING. 
Mile 25: 10:00 mile. FASTEST MILE OF THE DAY. Really pushing. Considering throwing up.
Mile 26: 10:08. Giving it ALL I GOT.
Mile .58: 9:18 pace. Really. I'm shocked, too. I left it all out there.  From the mile 26 sign to the finish line was sooooooo long. I saw my husband as I was finishing. I raised my arms and screamed as I passed the clock. Gonna be a crazy picture! 4:36:16 on my Garmin when I stopped it.   Yep, I cried. The people with the space blankets asked if I was ok. :-)


My mantra of the day was a verse from Psalms  "Let all that I am praise the Lord...."  Repeating that and prayer got me through the day.   Other than praying, the smartest thing I did was to write those times on my arm.  I'm mathmatically challenged when glycogen depleted (and sometimes other times as well!), and those times on my arm really helped.  They broke the race up for me.  I was just looking forward to mile 13 to see if I was on schedule.  Then 16, then 20.   It was kind of like mini-races within the race.


Bill Fine said…
AWESOME job!!!!! And what a detailed report.....felt like I was there!
bobbie said…
Awesome Job:) I ran the half and PR'd thinking of doing the full next year!
Yolanda said…
Awesome! I just started running in 2011 at the age of 45. And ran my first hald March 24th