Friday I headed downtown to the Duke Energy Center and Millenium hotel across the street to get my race pack and check out the expo. Usually everything is all in one place, and after I zig-zagged through the vendors to the t-shirt area did I find out I needed my pack and had to go all the way out and back across the street to get it. I should have known better but I got pretty frustrated and from what I hear they will have both in the same place again next year.
I picked up my tutu and found a booth with race jewelry after I got back through to get my shirt. When I ran the Columbus Marathon I wanted a 26.2 pendant to add to my necklace but couldn't find anything. I snatched one up and love it!
I made it home through the traffic and hit the sheets. Saturday I was planning to meet up with Kelsey and Brittney from Knoxville who were here to do the 3-way challenge and were running the 10K and 5K that morning. We met and intended to meet Olympic runner Ryan Hall who was there this weekend and not only won but set the record for the 10K race! The line was super long so we browsed the expo and took lots of pictures!
We drove across the river into northern Kentucky to Outback Steakhouse and had a yummy pre-race dinner before we parted ways for the night. It felt like we had known each other for years! They were classic southern belle's and I can't wait to visit with them again!
I made it home and hit the sheets around 9 since I was getting up at 4:15. The alarm went off before I knew it and I was up and ready in just a few minutes - thankfully my hair cooperated with this plan.
I was out the door at 4:50 and parked at 5:30. I later regretted this free parking spot close to the start when it was a 20 minute walk after from the finish line! I got lined up quickly, snapped a pre-race picture with Kelsey and Brittney and my friend Jocelyn that I worked with (she's moving to Denver...tomorrow!) joined me in my corral for a few selfies and hugs.
6:30 and the race was started! It took about 15:00 to get to the start but that's the beauty of a chip timed race.
The course was lined with people almost the entire time and the city of Cincinnati showed up to support all the runners! The weather was perfect - not too hot or too cold, and overcast until the last few miles.
I had a few super emotional moments while running. I started and ran consistently for the first 7 miles and that put me right into Eden Park - AKA the hill zone. The bridges are surprisingly steep at the start of the race but this part of the course for about 2.5 miles is almost all uphill. I remember how AWFUL I felt doing this part of the course 2 years ago. I wanted to quit so badly and felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. This year, I felt strong. Just after the split for the full and the half around mile 9 it starts a down hill and I remembered how that part was even terrible because how bad my legs hurt last time. This time, after the Park, I walked and ran the down hills to the finish.
I went in to this race really untrained and wanted to just have fun. Honestly, it was the best time I've had at a race probably ever. The crowds, volunteers, and other runners made the day so fun! I literally gave hundreds of high fives and smiled the whole way. I am so looking forward to race pictures for once!
My next half isn't until August, and as a promise to Kyle to NOT pay for any more races, I won't be doing the sprint triathlon in June as planned. I'm excited to see what I can do the next few months working with Darin and see how running once a week for an hour (or more, depending on my plan each week) plus strength training will help for my next race. No plan, no training, just trusting my body (who clearly knows what's up these days).
For now...I sleep.