Wow, that's all I can say about this race and the events around it. They have really put together a fun race experience and my favorite so far. From the pig sculptures to the swag to the spectators in the rain - it was amazing. I would love to go back and do this race again - and wouldn't even mind tackling the marathon if I eventually turn into a marathon junkie.
So the race - I like to break it up into three distinct parts: First 5 miles, Second 5 miles, Final 5K. I know many people say to do this anyways, but the way the race route was set up lent itself well to this way of thinking. I just want to take a minute and plug this half, I loved the course - even the hills. Mainly because the first 5 miles end within blocks of the finish line so when a race usually has left the finish area at the beginning mile or so, you were still in the area well into the race. I think this was a great mind game in my opinion.
Miles 1-5: I started out running with the 4:10 marathon pace group. I wanted to be able to pace the first couple of miles and also have a group to run the hills (which didn't happen). The crowd was dense for the first 3 miles between the bridges, turns, and poor road conditions from the rain. This caused for very sporatic pacing. Sometimes I felt like we were sprinting and other times it felt like 10 minute miles. Around mile 4.5 I stopped for water and got caught up in the mob. Instead of easily working my way back to the group, I sprinted - STUPID. Not only was it going up an overpass, but the group was speeding up for some reason also. Ended up killing my legs momentairly. I was faced with the option of keeping up and being tired or walking to take a gel and letting the group get away. I chose the latter. I think in the end it worked out.
Splits for the first 5 miles were: 9:52, 9:34, 9:42, 9:09, 9:25
Miles 6-10: Known as the climb. And what a climb it was. Being from Oklahoma I have never seen a hill like this and have no clue how I would have trained. My thought had always been to take it easy on the hills and just survive - well I did this, just taking it easy turned out to be walking every 5-10 minutes for a block. I really didn't want to but my legs just couldn't handle the hills and the short recoveries. Within the time I also had to use a porta potty (first time ever in a race) and stopped for a picture opp with the family. By this time I had given up on the thought of having a PR in the race and just wanted to have fun and enjoy the gorgeous views (through the rain). There was no way I would beat Dallas with a mile of hills left to go and walking so much.
Splits for miles 6-10 were: 9:18, 10:33, 11:30, 9:53, 10:13
The last 5K: So my original intention was to "race" the final 3.1. It was a mix of downhill and flat that I thought would be doable if I took it easy on the hills. Well I took it easy on the hills and man did it pay off. The downhill started around mile 10.5 or so and it was steep. I stretched my legs and just let it fly, enjoyed passing people and watching downtown Cincy come back into view. I was feeling good and keeping a pace around 8:30 - then the shoe came untied - stop retie both, start again. Still moving at a great pace. We start passing the walkers at this point as they are going through mile 6 and I think, man I've come so far since I started running which was a real confindence boost! I turned into the final 2 miles and took off...crap another untied shoe, why didn't I double knot?????? Took off again. Around 12.5 my legs start to get tired but I keep telling myself to push through and want it, so I do. Turning onto the final stretch I expected about .2 miles, no more like 1/2 miles to go. Really feeling it now but I will myself not to stop, even though I really want to walk I don't. Up the final mini hill (monster at this point) and past the "Finish Swine". As I pass the clock says 2:14:xx - not bad, not a PR but okay. I look down at my watch as I stop it and it says 2:09:18 - NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No way I PR'd with walking, the hill, potty stop, and 2 shoe tying stops. Welcome beaming smile!!!!
Splits for last 3 miles were: 9:15, 9:06, 8:56
And just to say - if it hadn't been for the potty stop and untied shoes, Garmin said my final time would have been 2:06:xx!!!!!!!
Anyways despite the rain and the hills the race went great. Spectators were amazing to say the least and I really enjoyed the experience. Now time for some rest!