I had a severe lull in my working out self back in October through Christmas. It was pretty bad. Jason and I had committed to going to Louisville, KY for the Derby Marathon and miniMarathon back in April. As the reality of this race approached and the impending training that would have to go into it, I just felt a sense of dread.
Finally I sat down and looked at my calendar and tried to figure out the path of least resistance to the derby half. I knew I needed a few elements to get me there. 1. A plan. 2. Team Players 3. An Outfit.
I planned to train much less this time around than for my first half. I felt that I overtrained last time and I hurt a lot. I decided on 3 runs a week and no workouts in between. Literally, I did the bare minimum to train for this. I also decided I wouldn’t train beyond 10 miles, as that seemed to be my downfall last time. After that I reached out to some running buddies to see if I could run with anyone. I ended up doing a 7 miler with Melissa and the Scotland Run with New York City. Everything else was solo.
As for my outfit, I knew I had to do something horseish since it was for the derby minimarathon and a unicorn seemed the obvious choice. I consulted with my sparkle skirt stylist, and she suggested I wear the new sample rainbow skirt to go with my unicorn theme. I then consulted the Anderson Clan (my Dad’s side of the family) for a vote on which Unicorn Tank Top I should wear. I wore their choice!
All of this was so lucky too, because Boston’s marathon mascot is the unicorn (who knew?), so it made running for Boston all that more meaningful. Plus I got to do a little crafting to make my tank JUST RIGHT for Boston.
I started training in February and before I knew it, it was time. I was so surprised at how fast (for me) I as running. I was running just under 10-minute miles almost all the time. I even made my 10 mile last run a 12 miler and felt great.
Running to music really helped me with my pace and kept my form strong. Also, running the shorter runs on the treadmill at slightly faster paces because baby girl was staring at me and threatening to cry really helped get my pace down (up?).
I just felt ready and strong and like this was going to be no big deal and there was very little anxiety or soreness or grief surrounding it.
The day of the race it was perfectly chilly, just right to wear the gloves I got in my swag bag and that was it. At the last second I decided not to run with my belt and just take the water at the stations. My strategy was to interact with all the spectators. Any time I saw people in the distance, I would swerve to whatever side they were on and slap fives or egg them on because they weren’t cheering enough. I saw way drunk frat boys, tiny families cheering a mom or dad on, a guy with an Illinois flag (3 times), giant heads of runners as signs, people on their porches, church members dancing and handing out oranges, a guy with a container of vaseline for whoever needed it, and on and on.
Wearing the unicorn horn was BRILLIANT because I got a lot of cheers and 2 Happy Birthdays, and a few skirt comments including a YOW from some dude who didn’t look like he was there to watch the marathon. If I didn’t have the unicorn horn I am guessing I would have gotten skirt comments, but it was a ratio of 2: 50 skirt: unicorn. Brooklyn Owl really needs to join forces with Team Sparkle.
I loved hearing the southern accents and seeing the beautiful Lousiville. I had no idea we were running through Churchill Downs. We entered the stadium and an enclosed area that stunk so bad—I thought—wow–all these runners’ body odors are getting stuck inside here—then I heard thunder and thought—oh here comes that rain.
Turns out–it was the smell and sound of horses! Mile 8 was my slowest mile because I was in awe of what I was seeing! That was the coolest part of the track for me.
Mile 11 was a little tricky too….I was getting cold on and off and was sad I never saw my family on the course! Apparently it was a grand effort by my sister but she could never find a road that wasn’t blocked off to get to us! When I turned that corner to the finish–there they were!!! It was so wonderful to hear them cheering and now I had made it to be reunited with them. Ah running—a metaphor for so much of life!
I shaved 12 minutes off my first half and felt SO SO SO proud of myself. To top that off, both of my parents finished strong! And Jason got a new personal record shaving 4 minutes off of his marathon time. It was a grand grand day.