Monthly Archives: April 2015

Having completed 27 races, now follow a fairly consistent post-marathon pattern – shower, lasagna, rest.

Threw ‘tradition’ out the window after finishing this morning’s Kentucky Derby Marathon.  Sure I showered.  Yes, devoured a plate of “go-to” lasagna.  But kick around slowly & lick my wounds?  No way; no time today.

Invited Connecticut BFF Dawn to Kentucky – #1 she’s my BFF; #2 this gal eats/breathes/sleeps equine.  Not only owns & shows quarter horses but versed in a multitude of horse disciplines & events – I tell ya, she’s a HUGE fan of the mighty equine.  No one else I’d rather share space in Kentucky Horse Country – I’m better for knowing Dawn.

Hour half drive to Lexington; tonite’s destination: the Kentucky Reining Cup Freestyle World Championship.

…the Kentucky Reining Cup Freestyle World Championship is the largest, most prestigious and most important Freestyle competition in the sport of Reining and crowns the annual World Champion in this, the more artistic side of an otherwise technical sport.


Free from the restraints of a prescribed pattern, Reining competitors must only achieve required maneuvers in their own freely choreographed program, complete with special effect lighting and costumes.

Think the redneck in me still prefers rodeo, but whatta show.  SPECTACULAR!

Woke Sunday & picked up where I left off – with the ponies.  Arrived early at Churchill Downs (home to the Kentucky Derby) & watched horses exercising on the traditional dirt track.  Yeah, pretty much perfect.  Derby Museum, Walking tour, Barn & Backside tour – & only 6 days before the next Derby running.  A true WOW day!

Lunch at the Cardinal Café, 2 hours at the Muhammad Ali Museum (boxing icon & native of Louisville), then finished at Sunergos (met FB marathoner Heidi), before trekking north to Indianapolis for my flight HOME to Colorado.

Sooo much to see & do in Louisville.  That said, if you wanna see Kentucky, you gotta see the ponies.  FAAAANNNTASTIC!


Kentucky Reining Cup


Marathon morning in Kentucky.  Overcast & humid – 90% chance of rain, just a matter of time.

My Old Kentucky Home” played pre-race.  Felt like Derby day.  FAANNNTASTIC!

Halfers & full marathoners shared today’s Start.  Assigned Corral D, minute between each starting corral.  Expecting heavy rain, overdressed for the a.m. humid temps.  Began stripping layers after mile 2; holding on to discarded clothing, still sensing precip.

Mile 8 – Churchill Downs.

My step-father gambled on the horses for years.  First Derby winner I remember was filly Genuine Risk in 1980; officially Derby-hooked after Gato del Sol’s victory two years later – a gray horse running 21-1 odds, 10th highest payout in Derby history.  Skip was killed in a car accident in 2008.  Every time I watch horse racing, I remember Skip.  Always.

Fast forward to 2015 – passed mile marker 8, now running in front of horse racing’s most iconic track, Churchill Downs.  Tunneled down, then UP thru the Entrance where next weekend’s Derby horses will meet the track.  WOW!  Experience I’ll soon not forget.

Entered Iroquois Park, canopying trees shielded me from streaming mist/light rain.  Up & down rolling hills.

Mile 11 – downpour.  Gave in to the rain, all part of the experience.  Cold, yes – but I’m gonna survive, just gonna get really really wet 🙂

Hill at mile 21, saw a military guy slow to a crawl – “hit the wall“.  “Come on, man”, waved him up & he climbed that hill.  Short “thanks, man” & we kept running.  Mile 22.  Mile 23: JT, a college kid in a bright pink singlet, charity-running for breast cancer.  Military Guy called out “Come on” – & now we were 3.  Mile 25, I slowed.  “Just one more mile” – now it was Murray State providing encouragement.

Tightest camaraderie to date between 3 strangers.  I thanked JT as we received our medals.  Military Guy caught up as I was collecting my post-race bagel.  Introduced his wife.  I congratulated him on his 1st marathon finish.

Will long remember finishing today’s marathon – my 27th – & the camaraderie shared between three strangers endurance running in Louisville, Kentucky.  Thanks guys, appreciate the journey.


Kentucky Derby Marathon: K R Haga – FINISH in 4:31:13.  Time of Arrival: 12:02 PM.


LOVED mile 8 - running thru Churchill Downs.  WOW!  Experience I'll soon not forget.

LOVED mile 8 – running thru Churchill Downs.  Experience I’ll soon not forget.

#27 in the books, next weekend - Wisconsin

#27 in the books, next weekend – Wisconsin

Late night flight to Indianapolis, followed by a 2 ½ drive to Louisville ($200 cheaper than flying direct), made for a sleepy Friday morning start.  Today’s destination: Mammoth Cave Nat’l Park.

Started the day with a scenic trip of Kentucky (iPhone mishap) – past multiple horse farms, thru Kentucky bluegrass, ultimately entering the backside of Mammoth.  Ferried over a rain-gorged river to the Visitors Center – 2 car ferries in 3 weeks, awesome life!

My friend Dawn booked the 9:30am ranger-led tour a month in advance.  Lucky for me – ‘cause when we arrived, I saw most tours were sold out (all day).  Double lucky?  Arrived 30 minutes early…only because we gained an hour slipping into Central Time Zone.  Whew!

Quick bus ride, short walk past our sink hole surroundings, ranger prep talk – then down, down, down we descended beneath the surface. This was my 2nd caving adventure – explored South Dakota’s Wind Cave Nat’l Park last September [day before Nebraska marathon].

No two mountains are the same – I can now say the same of caves.  Wind Cave was aptly named – strong winds blew from its entrance; cavers greeted by spectacular rock formations & colourful mineral deposits.  Mammoth, while void of exotic mineral veins, boasted its own eye-stunning formations.  Mammoth Cave runs deep (twice the depth of Wind Cave), water dripping down the park’s narrow maze of metal stairs cut for tourists.  Shared space with cave crickets (resembling spiders) surviving deep underground.

Highlights: Moonlight Dome & Frozen Niagara.  2 hours was not enough – I’ll be back.  HUGE fan.

Back on the road, enjoyed home-cookin’ in Elizabethtown before a self-guided tour of the Jim Beam Stillhouse in Clermont.  Appreciated the science behind processing Kentucky bourbon – but that’s as addicted as I’ll get to “fire water” 🙂

Bib pick-up downtown, followed by an amazing dinner at Lilly’s (celebrated Dawn’s birthday).

Weatherman says 90% chance for rain – rain jacket, hat & a lotta patience – Kentucky Derby Marathon tomorrow morning.



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