Last year, the KY Derby Festival Mini Marathon was the longest distance I had ever ran in my life.
This year, the focus has been on a 16 year old who decided she wanted a lifestyle change by training to complete her first 13.1.
We coordinated schedules and sacrificed Saturday mornings for training. Perms got sweated out, attitudes flared, and physical limits were pushed.
We decided to packet pick up on Thursday to beat the crowd. Most people were in casual work wear or gym attire. Nylia and I were in semi formal dresses enroute to the Upward Bound Academic Gala at the Brown and Williamson Club.
We handled the expo like pros and followed the purposely designed maze of goodies and products:
•Race shirts are lighter weight and softer than last year’s.
•Mini Cooper Pace Car.
•I Run Because… signature walls.
•Finish line simulated photos.
•Tons of freebies
My oldest brother called Tuesday to announce he would be down Friday for the weekend. Plus, it’s my nephew Pharrell’s (Yes, he was named after the singer-songwriter) 10th birthday. Unfortunately, he was a little under the weather.
We all headed downtown to Joe’s Crab Shack. Downtown was jam packed due to a Brantley Gilbert concert. I saw a lot of people walking with Race Expo bags. I was so glad I got that out the way a day earlier.
My oldest nephew Trey (Phillip III) was there with his lovely girlfriend, Tay who is expecting Phillip IV on June 3rd.
We arrived just in time for the start and I was worried before we hit mile marker one. Nylia was starting to breathe heavily even though we were taking it easy. I knew she was good for at least 3-4 miles before she needed a break.
I kept going in hopes that she would follow. The strategy worked but I didn’t want her to burn out with so many miles remaining.
The run/walk approach worked best for us. All I was worried about was making sub 15:00 miles so we would not get picked up by the race shuttle for being too slow for street closures.
During the 2nd water stop, I saw some Krispy Kreme donuts. My first time ever eating a donut while running. It was also my first time running with a crossbody bag versus a running belt.
We stayed under the 15:00 pace which granted us time to take it easy on the infield of Churchill Downs.
I received so many compliments, thumbs up, and high fives over my shirt.
The Take Aways:
#1. Never underestimate a person. I honestly did not think Nylia was going to make it. She performed at the best of her ability. Finish time 3:15.
#2. New appreciation for runners and walkers towards the back of the field. No matter the speed, people are still going at the pace which is comfortable for them.
#3. Nylia says she will do another half marathon but she would like to train more. She also wants to try some other sports. As long as she stays active, I’m good. Everyone doesn’t have to be a runner to be healthy.