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Hi there I’m Suzy!

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Kentucky Derby Marathon


April 28, 2007

There are definite advantages to being an experienced marathoner. You know what type of pain and fatigue to anticipate as well as how to pace yourself. I cut 35 minutes off of my time from my 1st to my 2nd marathon largely for this reason. For the novice, it’s easy to let your ego get the best of you early on and run beyond your means….which is exactly what I did at the Kentucky Derby marathon, despite it being my 9th race.

I met up early with Natalie, who was doing her 4th half, to ride out to the start. Iroquois Park, home of gorgeous views, would host our first 6 miles. Having been told by one of the pacers that there were “only 2 hills on the course, one at 3 and one at 17”, I was shocked to discover the entire park was a series of winding hills. I had not trained for them, but I like hills and perhaps ran faster because of them. 10K 49:28 (3:25 marathon pace)

Running through Churchill Downs during mile 8 was the coolest part of the race: twin spires, grandstands, manicured lawn, and horses warming up beside us. The terrain had evened out at this point and although my legs didn’t feel any punishment from the earlier hills, I still hadn’t found my “groove” to set into a comfortable pace. And who decided on blue powerade? Blue??! Was the race director absent when that decision was made? 15K 1:14:09

Still running WAY faster than I knew I should be, I could feel a blister forming on the arch of my foot. Knowing I would see Trey at mile 20, I called to request vaseline and blister cushions. As it turned out, he was not able to get a cab back from the start and had to come into the city on foot! Armed with nothing but a course map, he would end up walking close to 10 miles (portions on the interstate) before it was all over…now that is a loyal spectator! 25K 2:06:12

Somewhere around 17, I started vomiting blood. I’d love to blame it on the blue powerade, but I think my system was just in shock from running so hard. When I finally saw Trey at 21 and told him, a medic overheard and asked if I needed a ride back (DNF? I don’t think so!). I’m pretty sure he walkie talkied his entire staff and said, “the girl in the blue is about to go down!” because they paid close attention to me for the next few miles. I probably needed it, too…I was really slowing at this point. 30K 2:35:03

Mile 22 took us on a bridge over the Ohio river and into Indiana (no, this does not count as my IN in 50 states) for a lap in the Hoosier state and back into KY. At mile 24 I made a deal with myself: if I could finish the last two miles 1. without stopping to walk/cry/vomit and 2. alive, I would not run another marathon until the fall. No “pick up one” here or there this summer. I would take a real break. This was it for awhile. 26.2 miles 3:46:09

Am I mad at myself for crashing and burning? Missing Boston qualify by only 6 minutes? Ruining my negative split streak? No, no, no! Kentucky was a gut check, yes, but overall a great race! I’m glad I went out too fast. Now I know what it feels like! I am no longer a stranger to the pain and fatigue that a 8 minute pace offers. Now if I can just hold that pace during the second half…I’ll have to wait until October, though!