Race Recap: The 104th Thanksgiving Day Race

So yesterday I ran the Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race. It is the 104th annual race. The race takes place downtown and goes through both Ohio and Kentucky. J's company was the title sponsor this year for the first time. I figure that was my in to leave on thanksgiving morning and run six miles instead of hanging out and helping with the cooking. I wanted to show my support and appreciation to J and his employer for helping put on this race.

I was up early in the morning to feed Addie and then I started to brown meat and stuff for my dad's stuffing. Addie sat in her chair in the kitchen with me. J came down after I had been down for only about 5 minutes, and he started working on cleaning the guts out of the turkey. After 15 more minutes, my dad rolled in, and at that point, I felt like I could get in the car and head downtown for the race.

I arrived downtown right around 8:20 for the 9 am start. I stayed in my car for a few minutes getting my timing chip on to my shoe and my bib pinned to my Oiselle singlet. It also was freezing so staying in the car for a little while was not a bad idea regardless. I wasn't meeting anyone and there were not any official corrals so I figured the least amount of time I needed to spend outside the better it would be. It was just so cold outside, in the teens with lower wind chills and so I was not overly thrilled and honestly was questioning whether I was really interested in running at all!

But I sucked it up and lined up to run. This is a HUGE race, with 17,000 runners hanging out in downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. I did not even hear the gun (or bullhorn or whatever) go off to start the race. But soon I was moving forward, rounding the corner onto Vine Street to cross the timing mats and head up into Cincinnati.

They changed the course this year, although in reality I do not remember the old course from when I ran this race 2 years ago anyway. So now the course went straight up Vine all the way into Over the Rhine, up the hill on Liberty (ugh) and back past the new casino. After that, you are halfway. The next three miles are fairly similar to the first three miles of the Flying Pig. You run 3 bridges in the 3 miles you have left covering both of the little downtown type areas of Northern Kentucky. Newport and Covington as well as the bridge that goes in between them.

I went into this race with only one goal. I wanted to finish in less than an hour. Not a huge of super challenging goal. But I just wanted to run and feel good running. I mean, sometimes racing hurts, really hurts. But with this race? It's thanksgiving! I want to enjoy myself.

The new course definitely seemed to add a few more hills. I hate that Liberty hill, J and I have run it in our beer series races before and it always catches you by surprise and always makes you mad. But hey, it was quick and then I was running back downhill past the casino and toward the river. I was focused on slowly picking up speed as my legs started to feel much more warm. But I still was not trying to push super hard. I am glad for the fact that I went into the race with this attitude. It definitely made things easier to not put pressure on myself and just to think about feeling good while I was running.

I honestly recall very little about running in Kentucky other than that the bridges hurt. Bridges are always a nice hill no matter where you are, and having so many of them was not that much fun. When I got back to the Ohio side, I was ready to pull out all the stops to finish the race. I started going faster and kicking up the speed to really sprint to the finish. I passed a lot of people in that last 400-ish meters.

The only complaint that I have is that immediately after crossing the finish line, you make a right to get to the finishers area (where they cut off your timing chip, you collect water, bananas, etc) because of this immediate turn, the area after the timing mats was crazy crowded with no where to go. It was tough to even step on the third mat because you came to a complete stop right away.

I finished the race in 57:58, so I met my sub-1 hour goal. It was a 9:22 average pace for the race, which I am happy and comfortable with. That is a good pace for me right now, even though it used to (before elbow break and baby break) be nice and easy for me.

Did you run a Turkey Trot?

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