The Road to Kentucky began after the NY Marathon in November. Fate struck again as training was going well in preparation for Kentucky when the evil plantar struck. There were days a few weeks ago where I was noticably limping at work. The always faithful Dr Spears and Co, were able to PT me back to shape just in the nick of time to be healthy enough for the start.
However, this story is more about my lifelong quest to visit Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. You see, for over 40 plus years I’ve been watching the Derby with my mom or we cell phoned our racing tips before the race. She had many ups and downs in her life but horse racing was a common pleasure of ours. I’m sad to say she passed away over a year ago past March.
When my daughter Sophie and I entered the hallowed grounds of Churchill Downs on Friday, I welled up in tears. It was a beautiful site seeing those Twin Spires and all the great memories of past Derbies. We had a great day touring the grounds and it was a nice way to spend pre-race day.
On race day, conditions were perfect. Clear and cool. The field of 18,000 were off and heading towards Churchill Downs which was mile 8-9 of the course. I was on a 3:25 pace through Mile 8. We entered Churchill and I slowed a little. Then within seconds after we left Churchill, nearly everyone in the field headed back to downtown Louisville for the Half Marathon and suddenly I was alone. You see, only 2,000 ran the Marathon. After that, I started to slow down and had nothing but me and the road for another 17 miles. I’m not sure why I couldn’t keep up the pace but I think it was mental having not having banked as many miles as I would have liked. In the end, after plodding through the final 17 I clocked in around 3:56. Anytime you can do a Marathon, despite the time, it is an accomplishment.
The Road to Kentucky ended last night when my daughter and I attended opening night of racing at Churchill Downs. What could be better than that?