Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Race

Cincinnati, Ohio

November 24 - Cincinnati, OH - For the third time in my life, I started my turkey day with a 10K run through the streets of downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  In Cincinnati this 10K run/walk is on the list of Thanksgiving traditions along with turkey, football, and the Macy's Day parade.  Started in 1908, this race is the largest known in the midwest and the sixth largest in America behind century old races like the Boston Marathon.  This year over 15,000 people registered to burn a few calories before heading off to their big turkey feasts.

Thousands of cars made their way to the 50,000 free parking spots of Paul Brown Stadium hoping to make the 9 AM start.  I had to jump out of the car and dash to the stadium in search of the restrooms with only 15 minutes to spare.  Bad idea. The line was worse than on a game day! Instead I had to plan a stop at the port-a-potty oasis at mile 3.  I squirmed my way through the massive crowd back toward the starting line to look for my driver (husband) and mom: my cheering section.  Luckily I married the crazy guy who will park in garages that look closed and stand atop large orange traffic barrels waving like wild.

Dodging some walkers in the crowd!
The race started and ended on Second Street.  It probably took me 8+ minutes to even cross the starting line.  There were so many people!! Once the horde surrounding me began to move, I was off. I had set a goal to finish in under one hour.

With so many runners (and walkers) it was hard to take in the sights of the city during the run.  I spotted my cheering husband around mile two before heading over the Ohio River via the Taylor Southgate Bridge into Newport, KY.  Runners were spreading out at this point, so I did get some pretty views of the riverfront.

I did it! 10K - 59:08

The remaining four miles took me past Newport on the Levee before my two minute visit at the "Oasis" then over the Licking River Bridge into Covington. Lots of supporters and great music lined 4th street in Covington providing the perfect motivation for facing the last "rolling hill" on the run.  The final mile took me over the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge back into Cincinnati and toward my destination.  Passing by my cheering section, I made my way to the finish line in 59:08!

It was a wonderful trip home to Cincinnati, and the added bonus of being able to run the 102nd Thanksgiving Day Race with thousands of others made it even better.  I am looking forward to doing it again!

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