Pre-workout eats: Cinnamon raisin English muffin with apple butter
Workout: Ran 5.5 miles; average pace, 8:58.
Good morning, turkeys! I hope everyone had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Mark and I had quite the weekend in Cincinnati. And though it was a happy time, it wasn't quite the healthiest. Lots of food. Lots of ice cream. And not a lot of running.
Well, except for that whole wet and wild Thanksgiving Day race.
My cousin, who was also running the 101st annual Thanksgiving Day race, called me Wednesday afternoon with a warning: It was raining in Cincinnati. Not just raining but pouring. The rain continued as Mark and I made the 3.5-hour drive down and throughout the night. Restless on the uncomfortable couch bed, I listened to the steady stream of rain on the windows. It seemed Mother Nature was trying to make up for a dry six months in one day.
The rain became intermittent when Mark and I snap, crackled and popped our way off the mattress and through our pre-race rituals. I held out hope that the rain would stop just so that we could run the race. But as my cousins pulled up to pick us up, it started to teem. I was going to run in the rain.
I will say that things could have been worse. We were lucky that it was in the 50s - even at 7 a.m. - and the warmer temperatures made the rain not so bad. Two of my cousins who ran are older and wiser than I and thought to bring extra ponchos. Oh so grateful on Thanksgiving Day.
We got to the race with plenty of time and were able to take cover in Paul Brown Stadium until the race was close to starting. With about 10 minutes till the start, we braved the outdoors and pushed our way to the middle of the pack.
And just as the countdown began, the rain stopped.
I had initially thought that I would stick with at least one of my cousins throughout the 10K but everyone seemed content to run their own race. My cousin S, who is a varsity football player, took off like a bat out of hell and Mark and I knew right away there would be no hope in keeping up. The others took off at a more moderate pace and we quickly lost sight of them.
So there Mark and I were, running the streets of Cincinnati just as we had at our first half-marathon just six months ago. The course takes runners through downtown, across a bridge to Newport, Kentucky, through Newport, across another bridge to Covington, Kentucky, through Covington and finally across a third bridge back to Cincinnati. The last mile or so is in downtown.
I felt pretty good - fast, even - as we ran the first mile, weaving through runners and walkers. There were pace signs helping people to place themselves at the start but I guess people were too busy getting in costume to care. Around mile 2, my stomach started to cramp up and I decided to slow down a bit. How slow - I'm not so sure. Though I swear that I charged my Garmin before making the trip, it gave me a low battery warning at the start and turned off before I could cross the mat. I did my best to stay steady and comfortable, reminding myself that this was about fun and family - not breaking records.
Around mile 4, I saw my football-playing cousin walking off to the side of the course. I yelled at him to pick up his feet and trying to push him to do well helped me push myself. Or maybe, just maybe, I wanted to show off. He hung with us for a half-mile or so and then fell back. I offered to stick with him but he urged us on.
Once we crossed the third bridge and lanced back in Cincinnati, I hit that point in a race where you want to be done. A guy near us mentioned that we had just a mile left and I knew it was time to go. At the 6-mile mark, I gave it all I could just to be done.
Results - 53:06*; average pace, 8:34; overall place, 2,352/10,743; age group, 115/996; female, 571/5,481**.
*A PR by over 5 minutes.
**I should have actually been No. 570 out of the ladies but I accidentally registered Mark as a female. Oops.
Let's talk about awesome - chocolate milk, water, flavored water, Crystal Light, Sunny D, ice cream, granola bars, apples, cookies, peanuts and Larabars. I went a little nuts, taking an empty Sunny D box to stock up on Cascadian Farms Harvest Spice Bars and mini Larabars. Let's just say my snack drawer at work will not be empty for a long, long, long time.
While we waited for my cousins, I drank a chocolate milk, picked off Mark's bagel and ate some Apple Dippers (courtesy of McDonald's). Despite 11,000 runners, we were able to find each other, celebrate two first-time racers and make it back to the car.
This race was a lot of fun and it was even more fun to share it with my cousins. I definitely hope to do it again.