Ugh. I can't believe I am more than a whole week removed from this race and I am just now having a moment to sit down and write about it. In reality, I am going to be in and out writing throughout the day, because I want to be able to recap this race, but I also know that I am going to have a fairly busy day at the office... But I would like to hit publish on this before I leave for the day...
So two weeks ago was the 107th (!!!) Thanksgiving Day Race in downtown Cincinnati. I have run this race several times in the past. My PB 10K was run on this course, last year, only about 2 weeks after I ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. So obviously, I have more to give the 10K than what I was able to do on that day, even on that difficult course.
I drank my coffee and ate a superhero muffin (my current go to long run breakfast). And went to say goodbye to J before heading downtown. Unfortunately, I think I was down there too early. I had planned to park in J's parking garage (where he has a parking pass) but the gates were down. So that sucked (I think they opened around 8 am. Which is super lame, they definitely should open earlier than that). I ended up parking in a different garage and finding a real bathroom to use before heading out for my 2 mile + strides warm up.
I finished my strides leading right into Paul Brown Stadium, which was open specifically for the race. I used a bathroom in there (pro tip: don't go to the bathroom closest to the entrance. It is a football stadium, just walk around the circle a little bit, and you will find another one - likely with a shorter line!) and then headed over to the start line to see if I could find Caroline. I was starting to get a little chilly because I ran in my top layer and sweat a smidge. So now, because I was a little bit wet, I was feeling cold. It was not long before the race started.
I had talked to Jen beforehand, and she gave me a little plan, since it was a goal race. She suggested 7:05s the first 5K and then kick it up with whatever I had left.
I took off, up the hill away from the river and up toward Over the Rhine. The entire first mile was uphill. It clicked off at 7:05, right on schedule, but it felt much harder than it should. Damn hill. None the less, I was not ready or willing to throw in the towel. I continued to charge, up Liberty, knowing that was the biggest climb of the race. After reaching the top of that hill, I had a great reprieve where I was able to really stride out on a downhill which took us past the casino. Mile 2: 7:17. Yuck.
We cruised back toward the river then, planning on heading back to the river and to spend time on the Kentucky side of the river. This was a relatively flat mile, looping us back toward US Bank Arena and Great American Ballpark. Mile 3 was back on pace. 7:05.
We headed up over the Taylor Southgate bridge into Newport. This is also the bridge that you start on for the Flying Pig marathon - to give others a frame of reference. I was feeling tired and climbing up hill over the bridge was not a lot of fun. Coming down off the bridge, I had to convince myself to keep pushing, because my legs were definitely feeling it at that point. Mile 4: 7:12.
During the next mile, we crossed two more bridges, the Veteran's Memorial (over the Licking River into Covington), and the Clyde Wade Bailey bridge that took us back to Ohio with right around 1 mile to go. Mile 5: 7:24. These last two bridges were the the death of me. I knew that going uphill to get to the top of the bridge was going to be tough. But I thought I would still have enough in my legs to cruise the downs. Nope. No go. My legs were so over it. Mile 6: 7:32. (Yep. SUPER positive splits).
After coming down from the last bridge, there was a slight uphill to Paul Brown and Second Street and cruise to the finish. I gave it everything I had...
I hit the finish line in 45:25. A big PR but definitely not the race that I know I am capable of running. But I also know that some days my legs feel good running, and some days they don't. And it is ok. I am still super happy with the race and ready to get to work on the BIG spring goal. Boston.
Here we go!