K IS FOR KENTUCKY
Elaine Doll-Dunn, Psy.D.
“ Looaval, Luhvul, Looaville, Looyville, Louisville.
However you say it, a great city.”
(My race day T-shirt.)
( It occurs to me that being fit should have some perks besides feeling good and knowing you’re healthy.
Running a marathon in a new state is a nice treat for surviving mega miles and lifting loads of weights. Sooo...)
The week before the Kentucky Derby is a celebration of races, one of which is the Louisville Marathon. Since I had never run a marathon in that state, we decided to put it on our agenda. We traveled to Indianapolis to see Jerry’s mom, then drove to Louisville the night before the race to take in the sights. After a fried catfish dinner with an okra side and a mammoth sweet potato, we drove over to pick up our race information. The packet pick-up/expo was the usual stuff, but a nice addition was the remuda of fiberglass horses decorated by area artists’ ala the Cows in Chicago, Pigs in Cincinnati, Mr. Potato Head in Providence, and Deer in Lead. (Talk about “a horse of a different color!”) In honor of the up-coming horse race, they colorfully bordered the perimeter of the diners at the pasta-feed and posed gracefully at various spots among the expo goods.
In the morning we caught the bus to the start. As I sat quietly and gathered my thoughts for the 26.2, the usual bus noise accompanied my thoughts. “Buzz, buzz, buzz, Achilles.” “Buzz, buzz, buzz, orthotics.” “Buzz, buzz, buzz, Galloway.” That with the pungent odor of various analgesics, sticky sweet fresh donuts, and of course, steaming coffee, set the so familiar stage on which to play out marathon number 102.
The race began in the cool green recesses of Cherokee Park, a long swing through the hills and swales of a naturally groomed, tree towered, lavishly appointed park. One of many, we discovered, the whole race was run in parks and through beautiful residential districts. A horse couldn’t have had it any better. We even went by Thomas Edison’s home; he didn’t leave the light on…
The Kentucky Derby is a stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses, staged annually in Louisville, Kentucky. The race currently covers one and one-quarter miles (2.012 km) at Churchill Downs; colts and geldings carry 126 pounds, fillies 121. (My Asics don’t list a weight allowance.) Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. built the race track in Louisville after visiting England to study both its track and its races, he wanted his track to have a race that would rival England’s Epsom Derby. (The word “Derby” means race.
so named after the 12th Earl of Derby who organized the first such horse race in 1780.)
Clark established the Kentucky Derby, which was first run on May 1, 1875. The track became known as Churchill downs, named for Lewis Clark’s relatives, John and Henry Churchill, who had provided the land for the complex. It was officially incorporated as Churchill Downs n 1937.
The excitement of Derby Festival Week is generated throughout the city and crescendos toward the horse race, but especially impacts the marathon; maybe we all feel like thoroughbreds just by proximity. It was a cool day and a terrific run. I felt great, all systems working marvelously—especially for being a ’37 model— and I finished feeling like I could do at least another ten miles. That just doesn’t happen. Maybe I picked up a mint julep at one of those aid stations?
The people were the usual entertainment, I heard one guy admonish a spectator; “Don’t get your camera out-I’m running slow enough you can sketch me!’ Everybody’s a comedian.
The major sponsor of the event was Meijer Grocery. Meijer has the famous “Sandy” horse (the little brown pony with the quarter slot for a quick in-place trot) in front of their stores, so his picture was on everything. Marathon goodie bags, race information packet, posters in store windows… all bearing the slogan, “A championship jockey has to start somewhere!” Cute. Kerry Bell would have loved it. (She has a functioning “Sandy “on her ranch.)
Along the sidelines, we saw some outrageous headgear, tribute to the pre-race festivities when all the ladies wear reeealllly fine hats. And roses were in evidence everywhere. “Run for the Roses” is the nickname of the Derby so it was part of the theme. We didn’t get a horseshoe shaped rose garland at the finish line however; I guess that’s reserved for the four legged runners. I was satisfied with a very nice medal and a great T-shirt…roses fade.
So a Derby Day Dessert: that rich, dense chocolate pecan pie infused with Kentucky bourbon that stays on your hips regardless of the mileage, and we were on our way back to Hoosier Ville. FT HPNZ.
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