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Wow, I can’t believe another mini-marathon has come and gone. It’s also amazing to me how incredibly different each one of these races has been — this was my third in a row!

I have an overwhelming sense of pride at finishing this race and I had so much fun with my friend Farrah and the new friend I made in Chloe. But let’s start from the beginning…

Saturday morning, I woke up at 5 a.m. I ate some oatmeal with banana and peanut butter right out of the jar!

I decided to skip coffee and in hindsight I wish I’d had some but it was so early and I really didn’t have time to make any before I had to meet Farrah at the parking lot!

We stood in line for a shuttle to the starting line and got rained on the whole time! But thankfully, we got to the race in plenty of time and it stopped raining before it started. It was a good 10-12 minutes before we actually got across the start line but once we did, all my pre-race nerves went away – I feel like an old pro now.

The first few miles were a breeze. We did one easy flat mile and then the next couple were through hilly Iroquois Park. The hills did not bother me as much as they had during the 10 miler. Once we got out of the park, we had to stop at the bathroom, which unfortunately took several minutes due to there only being a few and a long line ahead of us!

Once we got going again, it had started to rain a bit but it felt good because I was quite warm. Farrah and Chloe ran ahead of me and then took walking breaks, which allowed me to catch up with them.One thing that really bugged me about this race were the lack of mile markers. The only ones I remember were 1, 7, and 10. The rest of the time, I had no idea what was going on.

During the race, I alternated between water and Powerade. I usually skip the sugary stuff but something told me to do it this time. Do you use sports drinks?

After the first 6 miles (I think), I started taking walking breaks for a minute or so. I didn’t wear a watch so I wasn’t sure of the ratio. But the longer the race went on, the more I walked. When we ran into Churchill Downs, we had finished 7 miles and at this point it was so hard for me to believe that we had 6 more miles to go!

When we split from the marathon runners, around mile 9 or 10, we made another pit stop at the bathrooms. In my mind, I felt like I could jog some more but my legs were hurting and my left hip felt like it was on fire. So despite my best efforts, I ended up walking the last 3-4 miles of the race.

But during this time I got to know a really sweet girl named Chloe. She’s a young, single mom working two jobs AND going to college and following her dreams. In her short years, she has lived a lifetime already and yet she’s so confident in herself and so grateful for her blessings. And it was her first mini marathon! She had just started running earlier this year.

This conversation made my day! It really puts things in perspective for me. I am not at all disappointed that I had to walk part of this race. And I am darn proud of myself for finishing 🙂

The last mile or so of the race was totally ridiculous. They changed the course this year and all the turns made me feel like we had just gone in a big circle. But once we rounded the corner and saw the finish line, we all took off running. It felt so good to finish strong!

Official race time: 3:04:45

Pace doesn’t matter (thanks Andrea!), just that I started, finished and had a great time in between 🙂

Now I can relax a bit, decide what I want to focus on now, and keep on running for fun! I’ve got quite a few 5k’s coming up in the next couple of months, so I’m thinking  a PR might happen at some point. We’ll see!

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