Sunday, October 23, 2011

Marathon #10: Louisville Marathon

While I opted to not run Chicago due to lack of training and desire to spectate, when Adam suggested a few weeks ago that we run the Louisville Marathon/Half Marathon during our vacation so we can "get" another state and I could officially finish my TENTH MARATHON, I said "Sure!". I have no interest in kicking my own butt during a marathon I've done numerous times before (i.e. Chicago) but I'm more than happy to do so to complete a race in my 6th state, Kentucky!

Adam and I rolled into Louisville in Elly w/ the the top down on a beautiful, sunny 70 degree day 1 week ago. We picked up our packet which included a really great shirt and went out for a nice carbo loading pizza dinner. Of note, we found a bison on the way!

Race morning was perfect- 50 degrees, a bit overcast, a nice breeze. I was really glad that Adam would get to run the first 6 or so miles with me (the half and the full shared part of the course) because I was not in the mood to run. I usually do pretty poorly in the first 4-5 miles of a marathon. It takes me a while to warm up and the number of miles ahead of me seems overwhelming. On the other hand, Adam was quite chipper so I tried to not slow him down too much. Neither of us where shooting for a time, rather were just enjoying the beautiful course right along the Ohio river.

Along the Ohio River.
Mile 1: 8:49
Mile 2: 8:58
Mile 3: 9:38
Mile 4: 9:18
Mile 5: 9:24

I started to get a bit more jazzed about the whole running thing right around the time we got to Adam's turn-around. Miles 6-15 ended up being downright enjoyable. After 6 miles on a path right along the river, the course meanders through some quiet, well kept neighborhoods, then to a forest preserve again by the river. Most of the course was shaded which became more and more important as the sun rose and the clouds parted. I opted to not wear my Nathan water pack. Since I haven't been training, I thought the extra weight might really wear me out and I figured the water stops would not be crowded given the small number of runners.

Mile 6: 9:06
Mile 7: 9:06

Adam had a great race running serious negative splits.
From Mile 8-15 I kept catching up to this nice woman in pink. We'd run together for a bit then I'd let her go ahead again because her pace was too fast for me. While we were talking, however, I learned that she was shooting for a sub-4 (my best is 4:05:18) so I started to wonder if I was doing better than I thought I was. Since the course was an out and back I decided to entertain myself by counting how many women were ahead of me (and cheering for them of course!). I was happy to find that by the 1/2 way point I was the 18th woman!

Mile 8: 8:47
Mile 9: 9:02
Mile 10: 9:07
Mile 11: 9:23
Mile 12: 8:54
Mile 13: 8:47

For a few miles, I entertained thoughts of grandeur- maybe I could pass 1 woman per mile for the last 11 miles and place in the top 10! While part of my brain held on to this thought for motivation, another part of my brain knew very well that this wasn't realistic but that it would be useful to hold on to this fantasy for a bit longer to motivate myself through the high teens. I actually did quite well b/t Miles 15 and 20. I passed 4 women, and 1 woman passed me leaving me in the top 15 women.

Mile 14: 9:13
Mile 15: 9:09
Mile 16: 9:01
Mile 17: 9:15
Mile 18: 9:43
Mile 19: 9:54

Mind you, this was not a big race. 42 women finished overall. But I've never been top 20 overall ever in any race, so I was happy.

Then Mile 20 came along. I won't say the wheels fell off because by now I'm a relatively experienced marathoner and I know how to keep myself together mentally and physically when the going gets tough. But, I was getting pretty miserable (in part because it was getting HOT!); let's just say the wheels were being held on w/ duct tape, shall we?

Mile 20: 9:50
Mile 21: 10:25
Mile 22: 10:24

I tried to keep good form, I tried to keep a good pace, but needed walk breaks mostly for mental health. Miles 20-26.2 stunk because I wasn't trained. I ran the Madison Marathon on May 29th, did a random 17 miler in July, then did no long runs until 2 weeks before this race (15 miles) and the week before this race (18 miles). So minimal distance training and definitely no taper! I got what I deserved on that back 6. But I kept telling myself that after that finish line I will be a runner who has completed 10 marathons in 6 states. I even got a bit misty eyed because I remember when I first started running in 2006- I never would have thought I'd be at this point, trying to run a marathon in all 50 states, finishing my TENTH MARATHON!! Crazy.

Mile 23: 10:06
Mile 24: 10:59
Mile 25: 10:23
Mile 26: 11:23
Last 0.2: 9:43 (pace)

Finally, the finish line came and I enjoyed a post race beer and some damn good Cheetoh Puffs. I was pretty beat up at the end, and even needed a nap that afternoon (not typical for me after a race, I usually am totally fine), but rallied for a great dinner at Proof (post to follow) with Adam.

In the end, it looks like I was the 11th woman out of 42, 36th out of 113 overall. Even more exciting (and let's face it downright shocking) was when I saw this:

I'm new to this whole 'placing' thing so I honestly am not sure how this works. Is this my first age group 'win'? Or was I really 2nd in my age group because the overall female winner was also in my age group?? Just curious. Either way, yippee!!

Finishing in 4:10:12 without significant training on a day when I was taking it easy has really motivated me to make a Boston Qualifying attempt. I know I can do it, it's just a matter of making it happen! So I've got my 'Run Less, Run Faster' book in hand and after I finish this post, I'll start making my training plan to qualify for Boston in 2012 (thus run it in 2013). I prefer winter to summer running, so I'm on the lookout for a good spring race to make this dream a reality. And I'm recruiting spectators. Anyone interested? :)

Me exhausted at the Brown Hotel.


  1. Nice job! Have you run Green Bay? That's a fun spring race.

  2. 4:10 PLUS Cheetos and beer = Winning!

  3. That's an age group win! Congratulations!

    I prefer winter training, too. Summer is full of suck.

  4. Nice run! It looks like a beautiful race. As for the RLRF book - It' my bible. Can't say enough good about it, how much it improved my times (pre-injury) and I'm so ready to get back to it. You gotta be ok with having a lot of prescribed runs though and really take the cross-training seriously.

  5. I LOVE your dark purple outfit! Nice run!