Backblast – 2023 KDF Mini / Marathon

Most of the time I think a Backblast is there for the PAX, not the author. But in the case of my running journey, it is as much a diary entry for me to look back at, as much as a chance to engage the PAX. For those that take the time to read, enjoy.

The weather was pretty much April 25th. (For historical purposes since I didn’t include it in last year’s blast, it was about 46 degrees at the start, and mid 50’s at the finish.)

My gear consisted of a long sleeve base layer, with a typical F3 shirt, leggings and shorts. In hind sight, the base layer was too much. I opted for a thicker long sleeve shirt, maybe next time a lighter shirt, or no sleeves at all.

I pulled into The County at about 0525, only to realize I left my bib at home. This was starting out fabulous. Much to Dauber’s disapproval, we opted for the clown car to meet up at The County at 0530. Glowsticks made sure we didn’t loose any time in traffic. Like a rocket we made our way toward downtown. When we exited I-71 at Zorn Avenue, Google was advising of road closures, so we took the long way around to Lynn Stadium to park. A short traffic jam later, we arrived in the lot. After almost getting the entire vehicle into the parking spot, Glowsticks decided it was good enough.

While walking through the lot, there was a crunching sound. Somehow, there was a fender bender in the parking lot. One car backing into a parking spot, the other pulling in behind them, and neither thought to stop before making contact. See nothing, say nothing, we kept walking.

A short walk to Slugger Field, and our pre-race meeting location, the Pee Wee Reese statue. Not Paul Hornung (pronounced Horning I’m told.) Here we would meet up with a few fellow F3 runners. We managed to snap the below photo. Unfortunately a few PAX were in the restroom, and others didn’t make it in time. The photo is missing about 20 PAX I think, maybe more.

After what felt like only 2 minutes of stretching, we started the walk towards the corrals. Each PAX finding their own spot, others joining up with running mates to help keep pace. Some chose their running group based on the fact that they offered to hold their in race beverage (more on that later.)

In the starting corrals, it is just a sea of runners. We inch wormed our way to the starting line, starting watches, and phones for tracking as needed. It takes about a mile before the crowd settles into a manageable group. Until then, it is fairly stressful running, trying not to trip, or be tripped.

Using both RaceJoy and my watch as timers, it was so confusing. RaceJoy sounded off the first mile about 45 seconds before my watch alerted to the first mile. The two different devices couldn’t agree the rest of the day. Honestly I didn’t listen to the RaceJoy until much later, when it started giving me projected finish time.

Things went pretty smooth for the first 5 miles, pace was a little hot, logging 8:52, 8:35, 8:27, 8:37 and 8:38 for the first 5 miles. We saw Lambeau somewhere around mile 4. A true HIM among HIMs, making the trip down to support us.

At about mile 5, Dauber was ready for his in race hydration. You see, at the starting line, Dauber was holding a plastic grocery bag with a bottle in it. I graciously offered to carry the bottle for him. I had a running belt capable of holding it. But it was at this point I realized I was just holding him back. He took one sip of his Perpetum, and I hardly saw him after that. Side note, I think DeVitto gets a kick back every time someone says Perpetum.

Slims had hooked up with DeVitto at about this point. This left Harry Caray and me to finish this thing. We soldiered on with mile six and seven being under 9 minute miles. But at mile 7, I started to pull back. Just seeing glimpses of Harry Caray through the crowd. Last year I came out of Churchill Downs (about mile 9), and I fell apart. I tried to avoid that situation this year. I tried to save a little something for the finish.

I kept trucking at a slower pace, but I thought I was still in decent shape. Mile 8 was 9:23, and mile 9 was 9:51. It was about this time that RaceJoy started giving me projected finish times. At one point, it was 1:56. But then mile 10 was clocked at 10:05, and mile 11 was 10:04. All that banked time was slipping away, taking my 2 hour goal with it.

Next thing I know the 2 hour pacer went by me. That defeated feeling started to set in. RaceJoy just kept rubbing it in… Projected race time was over 2 hours. I had told Harry Caray that I wasn’t going to stop running this time, unless it was to splash Merlot. I kept my word. I kept running, albeit slower, and slower. Mile 12 was 10:46 and mile 13, 11:21.

As I rounded the corner for the finish line, my wife and son were there to cheer me along. So I did what any good dad would do. I asked my son to finish the last tenth of a mile with me.

Along with my in race coach, I crossed the finish line. My finish time being 2 hours 8 minutes, 53 seconds. My watch recorded 13.68 miles. I’m told the course is measured at the shorted distance. In order to cover a full half mile more than the advertised distance, I’m convinced I ran the course like a bouncy ball. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it is what I managed to do. It is time to either readjust my goals, or find ways to push harder, go faster.

NAKED MAN MOLESKIN: It is a great feeling to cross the finish line, but still a tough pill to swallow to not make my goal. In trying to put together all the names of the PAX present, at the time of this Blast, I’m up to 36. It’s pretty cool to be part of that group. FOMO is real. Don’t let it get you.

Until next time…

-Captain Crunchberry

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