It’s been just about a year since I started running. Since then, running has become a huge part of life and hands down the best way to celebrate just about anything. Naturally, I was psyched for my first Thanksgiving Day race, and to top it off, it’s my TENTH race of 2011, fulfilling one of my goals for the year! Our original T-day plans had us in Cincinnati, so I had registered for the 102nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Race there. Somewhere along the way, plans changed and Ian and I ended up hosting in Columbus. Thankfully, I had a few really great races to pick from, but like any other hardcore runner, the question really came down to swag: pumpkin pie or a bottle of wine?
Quite the debacle indeed, but I think we all know what I ended up going with… wine all the way, baby.
Pre-race, I was probably the coldest I have ever been. Instead of hanging out in the car, we decided to watch the kids race that started about 30 minutes before the main event. It was cute, for sure, but some of the parents were really driving me up the wall – shoving people out of the way to get shots of their kid, pulling their screaming kids through the race, and just generally being ridiculous. Instead of watching that hot mess, I decided to take a few laps around the block in hopes of warming up my legs, which were aching they were so cold.
When it was time for Ian to leave the corrals, I couldn’t bear to part with my jacket, so I took my number off my shirt and pinned it to my jacket. I knew I’d probably regret that decision, but I just could not take that jacket off… brrr!
As I cruised along, I slowly started to regain feeling in my lower extremities, but I have to say that the course wasn’t big enough for the 4,000 who were running the race. I had a goal of running at least one sub-9:00 mile, but I spent most of the race weaving like a maniac – I probably ran half the race in the grass next to the path/road, all the better to pass people. At one point, I almost creamed a girl who stopped out of nowhere to tie her shoe right in front of me. That’s what you get when you stop mid-race without notice. I felt bad, but only a little.
Despite all the crowding and weaving, I passed mile 1 in 9:17. Around mile 2, I started to get really hot, but figured I’d try to tough it out. By the time I hit mile marker 3, I knew I wouldn’t make it in that sauna of a jacket, so mid-run, I wiggled my way out of it, re-pinning my number on the fly and tying the jacket around my waist. The epitome of class, dontchyaknow.
The last 1/2 mile was all downhill, and thank goodness – my legs were burning by then. I rounded the corner and sprinted to the finish in…
35:13, an average pace of 8:48/mile!
I went into the race with a goal of running at least one sub-9:00 mile, and I ended up running 2…
Mile 1 – 9:17
Mile 2 – 9:02
Mile 3 – 8:44
Mile 4 – 8:17
If you had told me a year ago that I would finish a race with an average pace in the 8s, I probably would have dropped to the floor in hysterical laughter. Despite one of the most difficult years of my life, I’ve worked hard and I’ve been blessed with many accomplishments – for that, among many other things, I am truly thankful.
And besides, we all know wine tastes better when you earn it!