The Kentucky Derby Marathon 2013 Race Recap

April 29, 2013

My 8th marathon is done, and I couldn’t be happier with the result! I trained smart and ran a very consistent race. This was the second time I ran the Kentucky Derby Marathon, and I really enjoyed it so much more than the first! The weather was predicted to be cold and very rainy, however, we woke up the morning of the race and the storm system had headed south instead of hitting us in Louisville. Cool weather and cloud filled skies – I was unbelievably excited!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

I stayed with my cousin Dave who lives 10 minutes from the start line, so it was a very easy race-morning commute. His friend Jason met up with us, and the three of us headed over to the race! We parked about a half a mile or so from the start, and made it with just a couple of minutes to spare. It was absolutely jam-packed by the time I got there, so I ended up in Corral D, instead of the A Corral I was originally seeded in.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Love the photo bomb in this one!

The crowd was already moving up to begin the race by the time that I hopped in, so there was zero wait for me. I was quickly off and running! If I have learned anything in the past few races that I have run, it is that I have to start off slowly. Coming out of the gates with completely tapered, fresh legs can be pretty deceiving. You feel like you can run like the wind, but it is not something you want to start off with. I hit the first 5k averaging around 8:10 miles, which is a bit faster than usual, but I felt ok about it. I didn’t want to hold back too much, since I knew I had some hills ahead of me and I knew I would be slowing down a bit later on.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

One of the cool unique parts about the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon is the runners get to run through Churchill Downs, where the actual Kentucky Derby is held each year. We came up on Churchill Downs right at mile 8. We headed on into the venue, and were directed onto the infield, through the tunnel. It was pretty fun to be able to look around the downs and check everything out.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Kentucky Derby Marathon

We did a quick lap on the infield, and then we headed out back to the streets. At this point, the half and full marathon split, so the crowd got significantly more spread out. It was pretty congested until the split, so I was pretty happy to get to this point in the race. It was also the first time I saw my family – always the best part!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

The next big hurdle of the race was the first set of hills in Iroquois Park. I had been mentally preparing myself for this mark throughout the beginning of the race, and I am so glad I did! The hills were pretty intense from about miles 11.5 to 15. Luckily, for every uphill, there was a pretty gracious downhill. I was quite surprised how well I did with the hills, considering I completed zero hills training throughout my workouts. My splits only slowed to about 8:25/mile, and I was very happy with that. It definitely didn’t hurt that the park was beautiful!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Kentucky Derby Marathon

I came out of the park flying! Miles 15-16 showed a 7:45 split on my awesome new Garmin – I am guessing because I hit a downhill at this point, so I pulled up on the reins a bit. There was no way I could sustain this pace for the whole race – no way, no how! I slowed to a more comfortable 8:10-8:15 pace, and just churned out the next 8 miles.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

The next set of hills were coming up at mile 22, so I started to mentally prep myself, again, for the challenge. I hit the first couple of hills pretty strong, but then they really got to me. Hello lack of hill training! Up until mile 23, I was on track to run a 3:34 and change. I slowly started to lose some of that speed, and really fought for the last 3 miles. I was hurting like mad, but I knew if I even had a shot at a pr, these last few miles were going to hurt, and hurt pretty bad. I rounded a few more corners, and headed for the finish. Once I saw the line, I gave it absolutely everything I had. Every last ounce of energy I had was dedicated to that stretch. I crossed the finish line, and immediately looked down at my watch.


Kentucky Derby Marathon

It was my second fastest marathon finishing time ever, and was, by far, my most physical and mentally challenge race I have ever run. During the last 3 miles, I held on so tight. I fought for every last second I ran. My legs were telling me one thing, and my mind, another. Luckily, I was literally talking to myself out loud, saying, “you are stronger than you think you are”. And guess what? I truly believed it.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

No, I didn’t reach that PR or a Boston Qualifying time, but I ran a damn good race. I crossed the finish line and was incredibly proud of what I just accomplished. I pushed myself through a much hillier course than I am used to, and honestly, I had a lot of fun. I wasn’t pressuring myself for a certain time or pace. I was in it to simply run it. And run it I did!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

A huge congrats to both Dave and Jason who ran a great race! It was Jason’s very first marathon, and he did awesome! Such a huge accomplishment!

Has anyone else ran the Kentucky Derby Marathon? Did you race this past weekend as well?  How did it go?


Kentucky Derby Marathon Expo

April 26, 2013

There is no turning back now! Tomorrow, I am lining up for my 8th marathon!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

I arrived in Louisville Wednesday afternoon to spend a little extra time with my family. My dad has 5 other siblings, and they all live here, so I have a lot of people to visit with! My cousin is also running the marathon, so we headed to the expo last night to grab our race packets before the crowds hit. It was held downtown at the convention center, and was very easy to get in and out of!

Kentucky Derby MarathonThere were zero lines everywhere I went. Big win to get to expos early! I grabbed my packet and took a quick walk through the official merchandise and other vendors. Compared to other expos, it was a pretty small event, but was organized well.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

The course was posted and it has changed since the last time I ran the race. I am looking forward to a new route, and hopefully a little less hills than last time I ran it – fingers crossed!

Kentucky Derby Marathon


I am pretty excited to sport a Boston ribbon in support of all of those affected during my race tomorrow. The race staff was nice enough to give all of the runners ribbons to pin on our race shirts. I know that I will be running these miles for everyone that wasn’t able to finish Boston on April 15th. Anyone else dedicating your spring race to those runners?

Kentucky Derby Marathon


Ohh, something fun I just have to share. I think there is quite a lot of truth to this – what do you think?!

Kentucky Derby Marathon


Well, the forecast for tomorrow is looking like cold rain for the whole race. I have run in the rain multiple times, but never for this long of a distance, or in the cold. I would love your tips on anything I can wear or use to help me out! I really haven’t set a goal for this race. Just looking to have some fun and enjoy the race. Regardless, I don’t want to be uncomfortable for the whole race because of the race!

Kentucky Derby MarathonSee you on the other side of 26.2! Let me know your cold and rainy marathon tips!! I could really use them!



#BostonStrong Tampa

April 24, 2013

Currently I am flying high in the sky, headed up to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby Marathon on Saturday. With everything that happened in the past week, I will say the marathon has been put a bit on the back burner. I haven’t put a lot of thought (or worrying) into the day, so I am just hoping for the best at this point. Now more than ever, I am excited to run 26.2 miles for those that couldn’t last Monday.

Tampa was one of the many cities that rallied around Boston and held a support run in honor of all the victims that were affected by the bombings in April 15th. On Monday night, I headed over to FitNiche in Hyde Park and met 100+ of my closest friends to run a 5k. What the store expected to be around 50 runners was easily triple their estimate.

Boston Run Fit Niche

The awesome manager of the store, Lee Stephens, gave us a quick run down of the course we would be running. It was all right turns that led us back to the store, all with accessible sidewalks and minimal traffic.

Boston Strong Fit NicheLee also let us know that the first mile would be in complete silene, in order to pay tribute to those affected in Boston. Once we all started, it was eerily quite – all we were able to hear were the pitter patter of running sneakers on the hot pavement. It was a nice time to reflect on the reason we were out running together. It wasn’t just another 5k fun run. This had meaning behind it.

Boston Strong Fit NicheBefore we knew it, we passed the one mile mark, and were able to chat again. I ended up running most of the distance with Heather, who was actually in Boston when the bombs exploded. Luckily, she was quite speedy and finished around the 3:20 mark. It was pretty interesting to hear her experience of simply being in Boston when all of this was happening. Glad she was one of many people that walked away from Boston unscathed!

Boston Strong Fit Niche

Boston Strong Fit Niche

The 5k FitNiche hosted was truly amazing. So many people came in support of the Boston Marathon. Most of them will never qualify, let alone run the race, but we all had one thing in common – the love for the running community, and everything it provides each and every one of us.

Boston Strong Fit Niche

Did you participate in a Boston Tribute run this week? Have you ever ran a mile of complete silence in a group setting?



My Favorite Session at Social Fresh East

April 22, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about social media conference that I was lucky enough to get a press pass to. Social Fresh was held last Thursday and Friday – there were a lot of great sessions and I thought one really stood out. When Morgan Johnson from JetBlue spoke, people listened. If you don’t follow JetBlue on social media channels, you really should start. They are doing social right, and it is incredibly evident! Morgan gave us a little insight in to their social strategy, and I would love to share some of the great information with you!

Social Fresh

At JetBlue, #CultureMatters. They wanted to bring humanity back to air travel and inspire humanity overall.

The 5 Values of JetBlue:

  • Safety
  • Caring
  • Fun
  • Integrity
  • Passion

The goals of their social program are communication, service, & commerce. They realize they are a guest in the communities they post in and know you have to earn the right to market. First, you need to build the relationship. Only then do you earn the right to monetize. If you connect with customers and show you are a real human being, and not just a faceless brand, then you get the chance to make that gesture, connect, and hopefully earn a loyal customer. Transparency in social is vital. Lay it all out there, and let people make their own decisions.

Social Fresh JetBlue

70% of Jet Blue’s operations touch either Boston or New York City. When Frankenstorm was happening, they had their biggest time of engagement when they weren’t even flying. They were connecting with customers and working with them to get flights rebooked and keeping them informed.

During Hurricane Sandy, they sent food trucks into the affected areas of New York City, and essentially bought out the food trucks and gave away all of the food. They wanted to help, and knew this was a great way to do to. Set up power strips. They wanted to let their community know they were there for them. The food trucks ended up crowd sourcing this idea and other people ended up sponsoring the trucks for the other days. People saw what JetBlue was doing, and they wanted to get in on the great idea.

Social Fresh

I really loved hearing more about JetBlue’s social strategy. I love flying on the airline, and have always had a very positive experience when interacting with them, mostly on Twitter.

Do you already integrate some of the ideas and tips above? Have you ever interacted with JetBlue online?

 P.S. Don’t forget to come to the Boston Recovery Run tonight in Hyde Park at Fit Niche!!











Boston Recovery Run in Tampa

April 19, 2013

With so much going on surrounding the tragedy in Boston, many people want to help, but just don’t know where to start. Here is one small way that you can participate in the efforts to raise money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Local running stores across the country are participating in a Boston Recovery Run. At 6:30pm on Monday, April 22nd, there are a number of stores meeting to run in honor of the Boston Marathon. FitNiche in Tampa will be hosting this run for all the Tampa runners. Meet at the Hyde Park store to participate. We will run the first mile in silence, along with thousands of other runners across the country. A simple t-shirt will also be available at the stores for $20.00 with 100% of the proceeds going directly to One Fund Boston. If you aren’t in the area, you can donate to One Fund Boston directly through the link, in any amount you care to give. The shirts will be available sometime Monday at each of the stores in the area.

One Fund Boston

If you are associated with a running store, part of a running group, or want to participate on Monday, tell others! Start your own group in your city and team up with your local running store. As for all of the Tampa people, come to Fit Niche Hyde Park on Monday night. Let’s all band together through this confusing time, and raise money for those who were affected.

I hope to see as many of my Tampa friends on Monday night as possible! Email me at foodfunrun[at]gmail[dot]com if you need any more details!