Race Reports · Running

KY Derby Festival Marathon Recap!

When you’re a dreamer, heartbreak and failure come with the territory.  But I can tell you it’s worth it because it’s a way of living that is both moving and memorable.

April 30, 2016.

Louisville, KY.

Come run a marathon with me. It will be fun, I promise. -things I said to Casey to get her to run a marathon with me LOL

I’ll save y’all the trouble and just tell you about it. -you’re welcome


Prerace – I had a rough week of internal body problems, emotional problems, and STRESS. I knew this was a big week. I controlled the things I could like eating good and sleeping well.  The morning of the race, I was feeling good.  Ate well the day before. Slept as good as I could for being anxious.


Side Note: Remember when I said that running saves me? I got to the race starting line and nothing mattered in that moment. None of my heartache, none of my stress, nothing. I unconsciously forgot about anything that weighed on my mind. It was crazy. In that moment and the entire race, I was just so incredibly happy.  Cloud 9 happy.  I was there because it was a day to prove to myself the person I have become was worth it. I was there because of the people who had given so much support to me. I was there to lift up anyone around me who needed it. I was there for a purpose. To serve. To run for those who can’t.

Mile 1: This mile flew by. Everyone was talking and making jokes around us. The hype was so real. 8:15 mile…right where I wanted to start.

Mile 2: This mile was when I started getting a little ahead of myself.  I did good staying slow on the first mile but forgot about staying slow the second mile … ha whoops… 7:58.

Mile 3: I knew right when my watch buzzed that we were wayyy too fast. There were a lot of turns during this mile. We slowed down a little to make this an 8:08 mile.

Mile 4: I still stayed on pace for mile 4. Nothing challenging but was nice to have some music during this mile and people were still trying to get in the groove. 8:05.

Mile 5: This mile took us around central park. It got a little congested during this mile with the sharp turns and smaller road. I had run this part of the course before so I went from completely lost to OMG I’ve been here. 8:09.

Mile 6: During this mile is when I saw my 10k time. I felt very comfortable and confident.  There was also great crowd excitement during this mile. 8:15.

Mile 7: This mile had a little hill in it but I was also surprised with how fast this mile went. Good music and a lot of crowd. Still feeling solid. 8:04.

Mile 8: I ran the race without headphones so every mile you could hear about 15 GPS watches beep and mine would vibrate on my wrist.  We reached the 8 mile marker and I heard all the watches beep but never felt mine buzz.  I looked down and saw I was going 9:40 pace and wasn’t close to reaching 8 miles.  I was confused.

At this point Casey and I were separated so I had no idea what my mile 8 pace was.

Mile 9: We entered through the tunnel into Churchill Downs right after the 8 mile marker. It had started to sprinkle and I was still looking at my watch wondering what the hell was going on. Churchill Downs wasn’t really what I expected but this could have had to do with them having all the tents up for the Derby.  The paved path we ran on was also skinny so I was stuck behind people most of the way.

Mile 10: Right before mile 10 started was when the marathon and the mini split. This cut the people in 1/10ths it felt like.  It went from crowded to me and like 3 other people. I was also surprised at the lack of water stations.  I didn’t take my first Powerade until the start of this mile.

It was raining pretty hard at this point and the sky got darker. In a way the rain was good because the humidity had picked up so it felt refreshing.

Mile 11: This mile took a lot of mental focus. I lost track of my pace. I lost all the running crowd around me. It also started pouring rain harder.  I was chaffing pretty bad. I felt like it was just me out running by myself. I really had to tune in and grab hold of my form and remember to keep “believing in myself”.

Every mile I was having fun remembering who I dedicated them to.  I would think about all the memories related to that person/people. This mile was no different. I was so in the zone but I heard my name.  I was soaked and couldn’t really see but kept wiping the rain off my forehead to see if I knew these people yelling my name. Under the umbrellas I saw Mariah and Megan! I dedicated mile 11 to them and there they were under the Mile 11 marker. I couldn’t believe it. Am I marathon drunk already?

Mile 12: I did ponder the thought of how unbelievable it was that my friends were in Louisville on the course at mile 11 for a good while. Like they couldn’t be here for me? They didn’t tell me they were coming?

Then I hit the entrance of Iroquois Park, the start of the hills on the course. By this point I had stopped really feeling any chaffing. I was simply soaked but felt heavy.

Miles 13-15: We had run this part of the course before in training and I remembered them being pretty intense, but this time around I couldn’t honestly tell you where the hills were. I would argue and say that there weren’t any…sorry Louisville. I guess good thing I didn’t feel the impact of them.

This part of the course actually flew by.  I think it had to do with it being winding and not a straight road where I could see the people a mile ahead of me. The 3:35 pace group caught up to me at this point so I knew I had slowed down my pace tremendously.  I tucked in with them for about 2 miles.

Mile  16: This was right after the park and I saw my friends again…they were real in case you were in suspense wondering.

Anyone that knows me, knows I want to qualify for Boston if it’s the last thing I do. I have no excuses, I just couldn’t hang. I lost the 3:35 pace group.  That hurt more than anything. I wanted that so bad. I beat myself up. They were right there. I tried picking it up again. They kept getting farther ahead of me.

 So I felt like I did at Mile 11, kinda alone on the road.  There was maybe 2-3 people around me.  I couldn’t get over how I had let my dreams go just like that. Tough mile for me.

Mile 17-18: This mile I focused on how I would feel at the finish line with a PR. I went back to thinking about all of my people for my miles. I was on my PowerAde turn and felt a little second wind.

Mile 19-20: At the beginning of mile 19 is when we met back up with the half-marathoners. The crowd picked up and it was nice that some of the half people would cheer for you on the other side of the gate during these miles.  One of the half marathoners started talking to her group of friends about what they were going to eat when they finished. FOOOOOOOOD. Thanks lady for putting that in my head.

Mile 21: We split from the half marathoners and I couldn’t believe I was almost done.  I started focusing on form so I would run fluidly.  I also found a girl and we ran together a little bit.  Pet Peeve during this mile was people starting to walk/sprint/walk/sprint. Why do they do this? Someone enlighten me.

Mile 22: Last hill of the course and I beat the girl I was running with up the hill – mini win.

The 3:40 pacer passing me – damn it.  

Mile 23:  This mile is when I wanted it to end. I wanted to walk so bad. More than anything. Quickly told myself that was not an option. You will not become a sprint-walker.

Mile 24-25: I felt like something came in and I had new legs for a while. No joke. I started picking up the pace –probably not but in my mind I felt like it– and passed a couple people. Found a guy carrying an American flag and talked to him.  I felt like mile 26 was never going to come though.

Mile 26: We joined the half marathoners again and I swear they make you feel like the finish is right around the corner – lies. This mile was my favorite. I was about to finish a marathon. I made it. Seemed so unreal. I was more proud of myself in that moment than I have ever been in my entire life. Taken aback. Jaw dropped. Speechless.

Mile .2:  Turning the corner to the finish my friends (who were in fact there to surprise me -how awesome?) were cheering me in. It was all downhill from here. And, just like that I ran a marathon. Soaking wet, tired, and heart laid out on the ground.  Looking at the clock and seeing my time I couldn’t believe it. I cried.


Yeah, I was heartbroken I didn’t get my BQ. Yeah, I felt like a failure. But, that’s a 16 minute personal record for me. There’s a lot to be said in that.


I am stronger today because of this marathon.  It wasn’t my time for a BQ. Not yet at least.


I can’t thank my friends, family, and coach enough for everything during this marathon season.  Thank you all for allowing me to find myself. Thank you for picking me up when I needed it most.  Cherry on top is having you all in my life.


12 thoughts on “KY Derby Festival Marathon Recap!

  1. There is no failure when you finish something you started; congratulations on your PR!! A BQ for you is not a matter of “if,” but “when.”

  2. Great post! I feel like I lived it with you! I can’t wait to watch u run a marathon one day! We are so proud of you. Fulfilling something that makes u so happy makes me happy. If they could give me legs like Oscar prestorius maybe I could run next to you in like 2040. but til then my heart is always running next to u. ❤️

  3. Nice job! Wait til you’re my age. Your time would have been a MAJOR BQ!! 4 hours for 50-55!

  4. You inspire me Audrey! Sometimes it is hard to make time for yourself and truly stick to achieving your goals. You have reinvigorated my drive to reach my own goals.:)

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