Yesterday, I left off parting ways with Terry and Randy.
Since this mile isn’t too interesting – I’m just on my way to Churchill Downs by myself – let me give you some highlights from various parts of the race.
I saw fun signs such as “May the course be with you,” and “May the odds be ever in your favor.”
Walgreens gave out free orange slices, which was kind of incredibly awesome.
Before (and after) the race there were people wearing “Ask me” shirts. I didn’t have any questions, but I thought it was awesome that there were answer people scattered around any areas in which runners or spectators would be congregating. A+, amazing job, race directors.
Back to the story at hand – I make it to Churchill Downs, and see Mile Marker 8. Sweet business. I decently hustle through the site of the Kentucky Derby. We’re on a little wind-y, paved path in there.
Since the path is winding around, you can see people farther in the distance than you might be able to if we were still in a straight line. Lo and behold, I see Terry and Randy. And I’m pretty sure I can catch them! I take off, pushing myself, running as fast as I did in my first mile.
“Terry! Randy!” I call out once I’m within earshot. They turn around, see me, and slow down as I continue working hard to catch up.
I did it. Right before Mile Marker 9, panting and sweating, I catch up to them. I am incredibly happy to see them again; running without them was not as fun.
They were kind enough to say that they had just been talking about missing running with me. Awww.
My pace is definitely slows down in the last four miles, but you know, I’m tired! We mix up some fast walking with some jogging.
Going into mile 11, Terry looks Randy and me, and tells us it’s only a little over 1/10 of a mile to the mile marker, so let’s jog. Around this time, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” blasts out of some nearby speakers. Perfect running song.
We start jogging our way to Mile 11. Randy goes back to walking a tiny bit before the mile marker. I look at him and yell, “to the mile marker!” He picked it right back up. They had done such a good job of pushing me; I had to return the favor.
Going back to the music blasting out – what a day for my jams! Michael Jackson played at the start line and miles later, when I needed help keeping up.
At Mile Marker 11, Terry disappears in the distance, finishing in sub 3 hours. I wanted so badly to run with him, but I couldn’t move that fast!
I encourage Randy to run forward. Assuming I don’t get injured in the last two miles, I can’t imagine a scenario in which I wouldn’t beat my PR. “Thank you for all your help, now run ahead and finish strong!”
He says he’s not finishing without me! We walk most of mile 12. As I reach Mile Marker 12, I stretch out my legs a little. (They were working hard!) As we left that marker, our time hadn’t quite hit 2 hours and 50 minutes.
I didn’t want to get too lazy in the final 1.1 miles, but I didn’t know how much more I could jog. Randy would have us jog to a stop light, then walk to the next one, and on and on.
Before you knew it, we turned a corner, and there were throngs of cheering spectators. One of my jams was blasting yet again.
I happily ran on through. Official time: 3:04:47. Boom, baby! A new PR (by over 7 minutes!).
The fabulous volunteers wrapped me in one of those special plastic blanket things and put my medal on over my head! Celebrity treatment, baby. did I mention this race was the bomb?
(I think the amazing Planet Smoothie I had the day before helped. (In case you’re a new reader, I am obsessed with Planet Smoothie. It is the most delicious thing. Ever. I drink gobs of it anytime I’m in a magical place that has it.)
I went and enjoyed the wonderful finish festival area with Randy and his friends. We saw an awesomely fun recycling booth (sponsored by Coca-Cola). (Recycling is cool.)
I got a free massage and met the absolute coolest, nicest girls – Stephanie and Liz. (You have to see Liz at Beyond Massage Lousiville the next time you’re out there.)
My incredible dad hooked me up with my favorite foods – lemons, pickles, and Doritos!
Amazing race. Amazing people. I’ll go ahead and make the absolute statement. This is, thus far, my favorite race of the year.