Kentucky Derby Marathon Recap

Taper Time
Last Long Run, 8 miles.
The Norton Healthcare group met last Saturday for our last trek around Iroquois Park. 


Norton Healthcare Last Group Run at Swags

Race Expo:
I went to the convention center on Thursday, so my marathon eve would be carefree.  I love the marathon shirt color and Asics hat.  The mini marathoners received a blue shirt with the same logo.


Derby festival marathon expo

It took me just over an hour to circulate around the booths.  I won a couple of prizes from spinning the wheel with different vendors. 

I met John from the Asics pace team.  I signed up for the 3:40 group.  That is my Boston Qualifying time.  Originally, I had no goals other than to finish strong.

My training cycle has been successful and I’ve been pain free, so I made up my mind to shoot for a BQ.

I snapped a few more photos before I left the expo.  I was delighted to see Peyton Froula’s medal dress which was featured on the news.


I would totally wear this with some custom running kicks

Race Gear:
I decided to go with Asics instead of Nike.  I experienced chaffing on my long run in Florida.  The Asics material is softer than my Nike shorts. 


I gotta match!

Marathon morning:
I was up at 4 a.m. to eat oatmeal and sip green tea with lime.  I went back to sleep and woke up at 5:45 like it was Christmas morning.

The forecast was calling for light rain in the low 50°s with heavy downpours by late morning.  I switched from my matchy matchy headband to a neon pink hat.  Boo.

30 minutes until start:


I had the best trash bag poncho

My trash bag went down to my ankles.  At 7 a.m. it served as blanket, because it was chilly and overcast.

There was a bottleneck at the porta potties off Brook & Main.  They had facilites all up and down Main and in other locations.  I was in a line about 6 deep.  In and out. 

Next, I had a hard time finding the gear drop off.  It was a block over from where it was listed on the directions.  Dry clothing would be crucial after a soggy race.

The Start
I was assigned to corral C which is where John told me the 3:40 pace team would be positioned.

No sooner than I removed my elegant trash bag is when a rainy mist moved into the area.

The race started on time and the crowds gradually moved across the start timing mat. As with most larger races it was very crowded for the first three miles.

I always use tangents as a competitive tactic when I race.  There was a pattern of Left, Left, Right, Right up until the Churchill Downs entrance.  I used that to my advantage, and stayed tight on the turns.

Warmed Up
Another strategy was to sip Powerade every 30 minutes and take a GU with water every 5-6 miles.  I did a good job of keeping up with the pace group.  There were 4 pacers and about 20 people following, although it was hard to tell because it was still crowded.

Churchill Downs
The first thing I noticed when I entered the infield was the 90ft wide screen with a message to runners, “Go Baby Go!”

I passed the twin spires and remembered how last year I stopped to take photos.  No time for that this year.

The Marathon Split:
The smart people (mini marathoners) kept left and the marathoners made the right down the scenic Southern Parkway.

We saw the marathon leaders heading back downtown  (16 mile mark) when our pace group was getting close to mile 11.  Like my Dad says, “Good Gracious of Life!”

Iroquois Park:
I had this idea that once I made it out the park the remainder of the race would be smooth sailing.

That may have been true if the sky had not decided to let down a heavy rain.  I was grateful for the trees which seemed to soften the impact.

Tangents were our friends.  They made the 2 mile elevation changes more tolerable.  I was looking for that 14 mile marker I saw every other week during hill repeat workouts.  From mile 14 to the park exit is all downhill.  I clocked my fastest split of 8:05.

The course route got a little funky when we had to run a silly loop around the Amphitheater parking lot.  It reminded me of a Driver’s Ed driving course.  It was boring and a mental energy robber.

The Rain Struggle:
I was feeling very uncomfortable as my gear felt glued to my skin.  I could feel water suds in my toes, and my Brooks felt like moon boots.

The Asics Pacers would check on me although I was not very conversational besides a “I’m hanging in there,” or head nod.

I didn’t want to put my burdens on them by complaining about my feet or muscle fatigue.

Reunited with The Smart People:
The mini marathoners were on the left side and the fulls on the right.  They offered a ton of support that boosted my morale as I was in the teens of the race.

We had to dodge a lot of orange peels that appeared to be tossed to the marathoners side of the road.

Final Split:
I had a major problem at 3rd Street and Breckinridge.  The rain turned back into a mist but my shoes and socks were giving me problems.  It felt like I had golf ball sized blisters on the arches of my feet.

I changed my form to roll off the outside of my feet.  It was too late in the race to be giving up.

This was my least favorite part of the course.  It seemed like the water stops were too far apart.  There was nothing to look at to distract me.  The pressure lightened up and came back.

All I wanted to do was make it to the finish, so I could get to a medical tent.

Finish Strong!:
I lost several strides when I grabbed a sip from the last water station.  By this point there were only 2 or 3 people keeping up with the pacers.  I tried my best to kick hard to get shoulder to shoulder like I had been the entire race.

They must have turned on the burners too, because they stayed about 10 yards ahead of me.

I saw mile 25 on 3rd Street, and hooked a right on Main Street.  The spectators were very supportive, and it made me dig deeper.  My water belt was riding up from a faster stride. 

Finally, I saw the finish line and powered through the timing mat.  I thanked the pacers, and told them I could not have done it with out them.

Post Race:
Immediately after I finished, I got a high five from Dan, the Norton Healthcare Training organizer.  He ushered me over to the massage and medical tent.

Two ladies from the Louisville School of Massage were attentive to my needs.  It turns out my feet were unharmed.

When I got home I realized what caused the pain.  The insoles are shot!


My Brook Glycerins are going in the trash!

Runners’ Reunite:
The Great Lawn was a muddy mess.  I grabbed a chocolate milk as I bypassed all the bananas, peanut butter crackers, sun chips and bagels.

All I wanted were some dry clothes.  I was covered in goose bumps.  The gear pick up was way on the other side of the lawn.  I moaned and groaned the entire walk. 

Marathon #2 Finish time:  3:39:51.
I finished 6 seconds behind the pacers.

Overall place:  311/1952
Gender place:  71/830
Division place:  12/133

Female runners dominated the mini marathon field with 6293 women and 4148 men for a total of 10441.

There were 830 women and 1122 men in the marathon.


What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Now I know what a BQ pace for my age group feels like.  It was very tough.  The sad part is breaking the cut off by 9 seconds will more than likely not be enough to grant me a spot in Boston 2016. 

2015 qualifiers had to beat the BQ times by 1:05.

I’m happy with my performance regardless of the cut off time.  It’s 6 minutes faster than my Marine Corps Marathon time.  I proved to myself I could BQ.  I don’t know of any other way I could have trimmed off another minute under these conditions.  I ran my heart out!

I have no regrets with my training.  At this point, I don’t want to run another marathon.

Special Thanks:
Family & Friends
Dan and the entire Norton Healthcare Training program.
Humana Vitality (super nice at the expo)
John, Jon, & Steve from 3:40 Asics Pacers
Race volunteers & spectators.  You Rock!   Fill those cups up a little more next time 🙂

Last but not least, I need to recognize a dear co-worker who passed away yesterday.  Mr.Jones, you will be missed.  I never saw you with out a smile on your face.  You touched the lives of each at every student.  May God Bless your soul Brother Jones!


About Kelsie Lou

Teacher on the move.
This entry was posted in fitness, half marathon, Louisville, marathon, running and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Kentucky Derby Marathon Recap

  1. stevemsexton says:

    Great Job Kelsie. I was out on the course as one of the bike team. I was looking for you but my vision was probably blurred due to the rain. It was a tough day.
    Steve Sexton


    • KelsieLou says:

      Hi Steve! I was looking for you around the U of L campus. I remembered you saying that was your area last year. I saw a few bikers in Iroquois and that was it. The rain was just awful!

      I hope to be back in spin class and yoga soon!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations daughter. You never give up and you do achieve.


  3. I am so, so , so, so, so, so very proud of you. I ran/walked (damn hip) Boston in the rain and it sucks. It ruins shoes and I had on practically a new pair. But you are one tough cookie and you tackled a hard course. Congrats on a BQ time. Be proud of that!! Let’s get together. I need some Kelsie time. We should go shopping and grab lunch or dinner somewhere delish.

    You are amazing.


    • KelsieLou says:

      I missed your post about the hip injury, so I didn’t know what was going on when I tracked you online. I knew something bad was happening. I’m glad you finished Boston. Many would have dropped out or DNS.
      I’m sure you will toe up to that Boston line again….probably next year knowing you!
      Just name the time and place. Lunch/Dinner on me!


  4. runningmydays says:

    Congratulations! You are awesome. I kept thinking if I was running the full this year, I would have went to the mini side during the split. The rain and wind made yesterday’s run so hard. Proud of you!!!!!!


  5. charissarunning says:

    Congrats on your BQ time!!! You did amazing out there, especially given the sub-optimal weather!! And you never know about the time…if you’ve got the BQ there’s always a chance it will end up being enough this year 😀 I’ll be crossing my fingers for you!


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