Tag Archives: race recap

Palace Half Marathon Recap

18 Mar

There are a lot of decisions to be made before a big race. What do I eat? What do I wear? And, perhaps most importantly, what time do I leave?

To get to Hampton Court Palace from Waterloo Station I had two options: the 7:27am train, which would arrive at 8:03am, or the 7:57am, which would arrive at 8:33am. The race officially starts at 9am, but my wave, wave 4, wasn’t set to start until 9:12am. Did I want to get there too early and stand around, or get a little extra sleep and risk rushing to drop off my bag and use the loo before the start? Based on my experience with the Thanksgiving Day Race, it’s better to be early than late, so I decided I’d catch the 7:27 train.

I woke up at 6:05am and ate my usual race day breakfast of overnight oats with dark chocolate and peanut butter. I got dressed, braided my hair, packed my backpack and promptly realized it takes me longer to eat and get ready than I thought. I was already running late for being early. I only had to take the Tube one stop, so as I ran to the station at 7:10, I figured I could still be on time. Except I forgot one minor detail — it was 7am on a Sunday morning. Nobody takes the Tube at 7am on a Sunday morning, so the trains only run every 15 minutes or so. I hurried to the Northern line platform, only to find not even an estimate of when the next train was coming. So I ran to the Bakerloo platform. And that’s when I met Chloe.

“Are you going to Waterloo?” she asked.

“Yes,” I replied. She was dressed in running gear, so I took a wild guess:

“Hampton Court Palace Half?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she replied.

Just then the screen lit up. The next Bakerloo train was coming in 15 minutes. We didn’t have 15 minutes. So we decided to give the Northern Line another chance, and raced up the escalator and down the corridor, burning precious energy we were meant to be saving for our impending 13.1-mile run. We could hear the sound of a train approaching, so we gunned it down the stairs and made it just in time to board. We rode for one stop to Waterloo Station.

“I’m following you!” Chloe said.
“OK, but I’m just following the signs!” I replied. Chloe laughed.

We walked quickly through the long passageways until we emerged in the middle of Waterloo Station. At 7:28am. One minute after the train left. That’s one more reason to aim for the earlier train — if you miss it, you have a fallback option. Chloe and I stood and talked while we waited. She told me this was her second half marathon, as she had run the Great North Run 8 years ago. That’s where she is from — “up north.” She didn’t tell me the exact town, which is just as well, because there was a 97% chance my American brain had never heard of it. She had stayed in London for the night with her family, who would be joining her later at the palace. We talked the entire train ride to Hampton Court, mostly about running. She had a charming laugh and laughed at almost everything I said. I remember my mom commenting that I was talking a lot during our drive to the Hunger Walk 5K last May, so I guess I’m a bit of a nervous talker before a race.

When the train arrived at Hampton Court, we joined the massive herd of runners heading for the exit. We crossed the bridge to the palace, which was hard to miss, and made our way to the event village at the finish line, which is where the bag drop and toilets were located. The map made it seem like the start and finish were close to each other, but it was definitely deceiving. By the time I actually made it to the start, I had racked up 5,000 Fitbit steps already.

“I’m in wave 5, do you think they’d mind if I ran with you in wave 4?” Chloe asked. I told her it probably didn’t matter, as there wasn’t even a clear marker of our wave on our bib.

“I don’t want to slow you down, so we can just start together,” she said. We queued our way through the bag drop and toilets, then started walking towards the start. That’s when we heard the announcement. “Wave 5 is starting, wave 6 and all remaining runners report to the start line.”

Not only had I missed my wave, Chloe had also missed hers, so we had to start with the last wave, full of those intending to run-walk and barely finish under the 3 hour maximum, and I’m guessing a few stragglers who missed the train and took too long to drop off their bag and pee, like us. The only thing good about the whole ordeal was that I was distracted. I was too busy talking to my new friend and going through the motions to fully realize what I was about to do. I was about to run 13.1 miles after only recovering from the flu a week ago. I quickly synced my Fitbit, opened up the MapMyRun app, and before I had a chance to question my sanity, we were off.

palace half map.jpg

We left the palace and turned onto the tow path along the Thames. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for a race — 48 degrees F (9C), sunny, blue sky — but it had rained the night before, so the path was laden with mud-filled puddles. The narrow width of the path already made it difficult to pass people, but the added puddle obstacles made it nearly impossible. Chloe and I chugged along, noting the inspirational signs that were clearly meant for when we circled back on this path for miles 8 through 11, but we took them to heart none the less.

“Mile one!” Chloe announced.

“What’s our pace?” I asked. I had MayMyRun running, but my headphones weren’t on so I didn’t get the audio notification.

“11:05,” she said. Crap. I knew we were taking it slow, but that was really slow. Too slow. I tried not to have a goal for this race besides finishing it, but a part of me wanted to beat my previous time of 2:16, so I was hoping to maintain around a 10 min/mile pace.

I believe I said something like “I need to kick it up,” and hopped up on the grass to get around the guy in front of me. I picked up the pace a little and turned to Chloe to let her know I was going to go ahead, but she wasn’t next to me anymore. I kept looking back while dodging puddles and other runners, but by the time I finally caught a glimpse of her, she was too far back.  I still feel bad about how I left things with her — I wish I had said a proper goodbye and thanked her for the companionship. I even tried to look her up on Facebook to message her, but I couldn’t find her.

I was on my own now. And quickly realized I was… bored. I thought about listening to music, but music is for when I need to feel pumped up to set a 5K or 10K record. I didn’t need speed now, I needed a distraction. When I do a long run on the treadmill, I watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but when I do a long run outside, I listen to the My Favorite Murder podcast. So I opened up the podcast app, and suddenly I was running through the streets of Thames Ditton listening to how Dr. Harold Shipman likely murdered 250 of his patients. We were no longer on the muddy tow path, which was good, but now we were on the pavement (“sidewalk” to you Americans) running alongside traffic, which, again, made it difficult to pass anyone. The podcast kept my mind occupied, but by mile 7 my body was already starting to feel it. I popped a Jelly Baby candy and reminded myself that I was already half finished.

By mile 9 the path was starting to feel less crowded, and I was able to settle into a groove. We looped back onto the original path by the starting line, and got a boost from the crowds cheering from above. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling. One by one the people around me stopped to walk, while I powered on. I was doing the math in my head and knew I was on track for a PR, as long as I didn’t stop. At mile 11 there was a tiny hill, then we turned onto a grass path that led back to the palace. The home stretch! And the worst part of the course yet. Mentally and physically I was actually doing fine — much better than I had been at this stage during my first half. But the muddy grass path prevented me from kicking it into high gear, as all my focus went into not slipping or falling. Finally we leveled out onto more even terrain and I knew the finish line was just around the corner. I paused my music so I could feel the full effect of the crowds. Instead of putting your number in big font on the front of your bib like most races do, the Palace Half puts your name, so as I barrelled towards the finish line, perfect strangers in the crowds shouted “You’ve got this, Renee!” and “Go, Renee!” I was already a bit delirious at this point, so it nearly brought tears to my eyes. The Jelly Baby I ate at mile 12 had kicked in and suddenly I had all the energy in the world to sprint to the finish. It was in stark contrast to my Richmond Half finish, when I took my one and only walking break right before the finish line.

After 2 hours and 14 minutes of running, I crossed the finish line triumphantly, put my medal around my neck, and grabbed my swag bag. I’ve only done a handful of races, but I have to say this one had the best swag set up. Instead of making you file through the line and grab every item until your arms overfloweth, they had tables labeled by shirt size, so you got a bag containing your correct shirt size plus snacks and other goodies.

It was hard to think clearly at this point. I knew from reading “how to recover after a half marathon” articles that I had to keep walking after I finished, but I also knew I had to drink something. And eat something. There was some kind of homemade flapjack (an oat bar in American English) in my swag bag, so I ate that as I stumbled over to the bag drop area. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a proper flapjack in my life, but in that moment that gooey, oaty, golden syrupy sugar bomb was the best thing I had ever tasted. I picked up my backpack and dropped a High Five Zero electrolyte tablet in one of the water bottles I picked up at the finish line. I had been sipping water throughout the entire race, but I knew to recover properly I had to rehydrate more. I also put on the sweatshirt I threw into my bag at the last minute because suddenly I was really cold. While I was running I had thought about waiting around the finish line for Chloe to finish, but now that I was done, all I wanted to do was get home and shower. So I took some selfies with my medal in front of the palace, then followed the herd towards the train station. My legs were sore at this point, but walking wasn’t painful. But then I sat on the train for 20 minutes waiting for it to depart, then sat for 30 minutes on the journey to Waterloo.

Then I stood up. Or, rather, attempted to stand up. If I may quote some Jim Steinman lyrics, “Every muscle in rebellion, every nerve is on edge.” The full weight of what I had just accomplished had set in and my hips, knees and legs cried out with each movement. “Just one Tube stop” neglects to mention the stairs, escalators, and ridiculously long, dear god why are they so long?!, passageways that connect the underground to the above ground world.

sore legs.gif

But I finally made it home.

“Good afternoon, madam,” the porter greeted me. I normally just smile or wave back, but this time I couldn’t help myself.

“I just ran a half marathon!” I told him. “And I am definitely going to take the lift instead of the stairs.”

I know 2:14 is a decent half marathon time for someone with sports-induced asthma recovering from the flu, but I can’t help but wonder if my time would have been better had I started in my correct wave. The tow paths still would have felt crowded, but I would have been stuck behind people aiming for a time between 2 hours and 2:20, not people walking. But maybe it would have caused me to go out too fast and then I would have blown up halfway through? Who knows. I checked Chloe’s time online and saw that she finished 30 minutes after me, so it was probably good I didn’t try to wait around. At least I did set a new personal best, and now I have a higher chance of getting another PB the next time I do a half… whenever that may be.

2017 Thanksgiving Day Race recap

4 Dec

2017 thanksgiving day race.jpgI did not have high expectations for this year’s Thanksgiving Day Race. Thanks to Pokemon Go, I hadn’t trained as hard as previous years. My A goal was a PR, but I would settle for a B goal of finishing in under an hour. And after I did a 2-mile shakeout run the day before to test my new trainers and thermal compression shirt, a C goal of just finishing seemed more attainable. I was used to running on the flat park paths of London in 50-degree weather. The forecast for 9am on race day was 26 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 C).

In the past we’ve always gotten to the race too early with nothing to do but stand around and shiver, so we left later this year, only to find they really do close the roads at 8am, so it was nearly impossible to find parking. My parents dropped me off near the stadium while they searched for a spot. I had just enough time to queue for the loo (can I say that in America?) before I walked to the start. I was feeling ambitious and lined up with the 9-minute mile crew. I took two puffs of my inhaler and soon we were off.

The problem with the Thanksgiving Day Race (and a lot of other races that aren’t serious marathons) is that no one takes the timing corrals seriously. Immediately after I crossed the starting line I was boxed in by a crew of walkers, only to get around them and encounter slow runners. All my runs on tourist-infested Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus prepared me for this, so I maneuvered around them effortlessly, hopping up on the sidewalk, then down on the road, then back on the sidewalk. I was feeling good. I had my music blasting, my two pairs of gloves were keeping my hands warm, my new thermal compression top was doing its job, and I let myself think that maybe — just maybe — I had a personal best in me after all.

frenchie tripping.gif

And then I was on the ground. It happened so suddenly, but at the same time felt like slow motion. I could feel myself falling, but couldn’t do anything to stop it. My right knee and left hip hit the sidewalk hard and my brand new iPhone went flying. (The fact that it didn’t get damaged is a testament to my Speck case!) Runners around me stopped to make sure I was OK. I quickly got up and gave a little kick to make sure my leg wasn’t seriously injured. I was so close to the starting line that I could easily have called it quits and walked back. I decided I would try running for a minute and if it didn’t hurt, I’d continue on. I quickly discovered that a pain-masking adrenaline rush is a very real thing, and I felt faster and stronger than ever. It was also so cold out that it probably had the same effect as icing my knee. So when Britney came through my headphones and told me to “get to work,” I took off, as if the spectacular wipe out never happened.

I ever started to get cocky around mile 3. I opened Pokemon Go and started spinning stops for items as I ran. I even placed a Pokemon in a gym along the course. MapMyRun was telling me my pace was around 9 minutes a mile, which I knew wasn’t right, but I still felt like maybe my shot at a PR wasn’t lost. And then the final bridge came. I didn’t walk it, but it definitely slowed me down. The last mile of a race always seems to go on forever. I sprinted the last bit, but it wasn’t enough. I crossed the finish line in under an hour, but a minute slower than my time from two years ago. Not too shabby considering I wiped out in the first mile and almost didn’t continue.

By the time I met up with my parents and Cherry and collected my swag, the reality of my injuries started to kick in and really hurt. Blood was seeping through my two layers of pants. My hip didn’t begin to hurt until days later, but my knee was extraordinarily bruised and beat up. I spent the rest of the morning icing it while watching the parade. It’s now 11 days later and it’s still bruised and scabbed. I’m quite fortunate that I wasn’t seriously injured and that it only hurts now when Cherry jumps up on me or I forget and slam a cabinet shut with my knee. My hip was really bothering me last week to the point that I almost went to the doctor, but I tried some stretches I read about online and it really made a difference.This whole week I’ve felt 30 going on 70 complaining about my hip and knee pain. Getting old is the worst. I thought running was supposed to keep me young and healthy?

Richmond Runfest Richmond Half Marathon recap

19 Sep

I stood by the baggage drop van taking last minute puffs of my inhaler.

“Um, are you OK to run 13 miles?” The nice lady manning the van asked me, genuine concern in her voice.

“Yeah, of course,” I replied, much more confidently than I felt. I was about to run the Richmond Half through Kew Gardens — my first half marathon.

During my training runs I questioned why I was doing this, but when my alarm went off at 6:30am, I really started to doubt my silly before-I-turn-30 goal. But I suited up, downed my overnight oats, and hopped on the tube to Richmond. The train was filled with other runners boasting their half or 10K bibs. And like true sheeple, when we got off at the Kew Gardens stop, each of thought “I’ll just follow the other runners, they’ll know where they’re going,” and we all started walking in the complete opposite direction of Kew Gardens, despite the fact that we all had GPS on our phones. After a couple blocks the runner in front pulled out the map and realized we were going the wrong way. Just what I wanted to do before running 13.1 miles — walk an extra mile. It was good warm up I guess. I still arrived with plenty of time to use the loo, and then immediately join the queue for the loo again because there was no way I was stopping along the course to use a porta-potty. I dropped off my bag and made my way to the start just as they were calling for my wave. Could not have timed it better.

richmond half start.png

We all started in a giant group, which made it hard to pick up speed or pass anyone. We moved as a giant amoeba through the scenic garden.

kew gardens pagoda.png

Then before I knew it, I was on my own — where had the rest of my amoeba gone?

The thing I love about running is that it can be either a solo or group sport. I was surprised to see more runners running the race by themselves than with groups of friends. Yet there was this subtle “we’re all in this together” spirit in the air as we powered towards the same finish line. At times running can be lonely though. At mile 5 we were back in the woods dodging sticks, rocks and whatever a pothole is called when it’s in the woods. To get the full experience (and because I read they were banned) I ran without headphones, so I only had the jukebox in my head. Which for some inexplicable reason was playing Jim Steinman’s Left in the Dark on repeat. It’s a sad song about an unfaithful lover. It is the furthest thing from a pump up running song. But I went with it. The only thing I had to focus on was not tripping, and even that wasn’t going well — I tried to dodge a rock and almost wiped out, but luckily caught myself without getting injured.

Around mile 5.5 we went through a cheering tunnel, which was encouraging. I felt ready to sprint towards the finish. But then I realized the cheering was meant for those doubling back on mile 11.5. There were people already 6 miles ahead of me. I still had 7.5 miles to go. I ate a Jelly Baby and buckled down for the long haul.

I always assumed I would walk a portion of the race. Besides my 10K race last November, I never run non-stop. There are always stoplights and stop signs along my routes, and even when I’m only doing 4 miles, I often have to take a walking break just to blow my nose and catch my breath (and most recently, catch a Pokemon). So it was just a matter of when my walking break would be. Around mile 7 my knee started to hurt. Just make it to mile 8, I told myself. That’s a respectable, even number. You can say you ran 8 miles non-stop. But then at mile 8 I ate a Jelly Baby and didn’t feel a desire to stop. So I pushed on. Slowly, mind you, but at a pace faster than walking. “You only have 5K left!” I told myself, then quickly realized it was 5 miles, not 5K (3 miles). Bollocks. Cue more Left in the Dark.

At mile 9 something weird came over me. I expected to be feeling like death, alternating a minute of walking with a minute of running. But instead this inner voice piped up: “What if you did it? What if you actually ran this entire half marathon? You only have 4 miles left. That’s a literal walk (run) in the park.” So I ran, getting a little boost each time I passed a runner who had thrown in the towel and started walking.

At mile 10 I decided to reward myself. Since I had made it 10 whole miles without a walking break, I opened up Pokemon Go and hatched my 10K egg (which was at 9.1K so I only had to run 0.9K). (I got a Pinsir in case you were wondering. I did not have him. It made me momentarily happy, which is what I hoped it would do). At mile 11.5 I ran through the cheering tunnel again and got a boost from all the charity volunteers. I was actually doing this! I was running — RUNNING — a half marathon! And I only had 2 miles left! At mile 12 volunteers rang bells and cheered us on. “One more mile!” They shouted. I spotted a photographer and gave him a thumbs up — thumbs up at mile 12. Who am I?

And then I remembered what I overheard a runner say around mile 10: “I hate the finish line of this race. You get into the park and everyone’s cheering and then you think you’re done, but they make you weave around.”

She was right. I was hurting, sure, but I had this fire inside me and was ready to finish. I ran into the park, high-fiving the crowds of supporters. I was on cloud nine! I could see the finish line! I looked at MapMyRun and saw my time — 2 hours and 10 minutes. I said I didn’t have a goal for this half aside from finishing, but my farfetched goal was 2:15. I couldn’t believe there was a chance I could attain that. I just had to go 100m, turn right, and sprint towards the finish. …but then I realized there was a sign after that 100m. “Half Marathon turn left, 10K turn right.” Turning right took you right to the finish. Turning left took you alllll around the park. I wanted to cry. I suddenly was emotionally and physically drained. It was the longest half mile of my life. Every runner around me was either walking or making “I want to die” huffing noises. There were no supporters around us — just grass, barriers and runners running out of gas.

I want to say I powered through, dug deep, gave an inspirational speech to those around me, and shot towards the finish. But I feel like I need to be honest with you, dear readers. I walked. Only for about 10 seconds, just to blow my nose, but at mile 12.8 of my first half marathon I took my first walking break. “You don’t get near the finish line and stop!” Jillian Michaels used to scream at me while I did her exercise DVDs. Well, apparently I do.

But this part happened for real — when I rounded the bend and saw the finish line straight ahead, I dug deep. I sprinted like it was a 200m race. I like to think the other runners plodding along gazed on in amazement as I shot past them. And then, like a scene from a cheesy movie, I actually threw my arms up in the air and crossed the finish line in that pose, victorious. (I can’t wait to see the photo, though I doubt it’s as magnificent as it is in my head). A volunteer handed me a medal, I put it on and held it up proudly for the photographer, and then my eyes started to water as the mental and physical exhaustion started to hit me. I ran a half marathon. And I actually RAN it, aside from that tiny infraction close to the finish line that we won’t talk about. My time ended up being 2:16 — 1 minute from my goal. By no means fast, but a solid first effort.

When I texted my runner friend the news she asked me if I was ready for a full now. As I write this Jim Steinman’s What Part of My Body Hurts the Most is playing in my head, so the thought of putting my body through 26.2 miles seems insane. I think I’d rather focus on improving my 5K, 10K and (maybe) half times. But then again, when I finished my first 10K race I thought there was no way I could run twice that distance, so in the words of (ugh) Justin Bieber — never say never.

Thanksgiving Day Race Recap with pugs and corgis

3 Dec

I did it! After months of sprinting on the track, huffing it up Primrose Hill, and crapping out on 4-mile weekend runs, prompting Stephen to say, “There’s no way you’ll finish that 10K in under an hour,” I did it — I ran the Thanksgiving Day Race in 58 minutes and 49 seconds — a whole minute and 11 seconds faster than my goal.

It was really the perfect race in all aspects — the weather was ideal (50 F instead of the usual 25 F), my playlist was killer, and I saw a pug at the starting line and two corgis along the course. Years ago I declared that a pug sighting automatically improved the quality of my day, so it was a good omen to start the race with one. I also declared that races should have corgis along the way to make me run faster, and there they were — two corgis — on the side of the course cheering us on! However they didn’t make me run faster because I briefly slowed down to take their photo. I decided this race nothing was going to slow me down — I had various mantras I kept repeating in my head, from Shaun T’s “Dig deeper!” and “Never sacrifice form” to Enrico Pollini from Rat Race:

its a race gif.gif

I also really wanted to prove to myself (and Stephen, who runs with me the most) that I am capable of digging deeper and reaching my goal. But when there is a corgi along the race course you cannot not take a photo. (Pics or it didn’t happen, right?) So I got this blurry pic and took off again:

thanksgiving day race corgis.png

As I ran my family was texting me from the finish line, letting me know a guy won the race in 30:39 (how??) and that the very pug from the starting line was standing near them.

cincinnati pug.png

Not only that, but there was a corgi puppy nearby too!

race corgi.png

I wasn’t able to find my family or the pug and corgi after I finished since I was on a mission to get to the snacks by the stadium, but the thought of the pug and corgi (and OK, my family too) waiting for me helped me to push through on the hills.

I was elated that I finally reached my goal, but now there’s that “what now?”. Each year I shaved about 3 min off my 10K time — do I try for 55 min next year? But this race was so good I’m not sure I want to run it again next year (or if I’ll even be in town). When I brought up my “what now?” conundrum to my runner friend, she replied immediately: “You gotta run a half!” It’s always been in the back of my head that I want to tackle a half marathon before I turn 30. So many runners of varying sizes and abilities have done it — why not me? The London Half is in October, so I’ve got 310 days to decide and prepare. In the meantime I’ve “registered my interest” and have been carboloading as only Americans during the holidays know how.

Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race 10K recap

17 Dec

So on Thanksgiving Day (which was somehow almost 3 weeks ago) I ran my second ever 10K race. If you remember from my recent posts, I was really hoping for a sub-hour time. Sadly, that didn’t happen, and I have a whole host of excuses to explain why.

Excuse #1: I got attacked by a dog the day before.

Alright, I’m making it sound worse than it was. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the day after I arrived back in the US, I decided to do a short run around my parents’ neighborhood to make sure my race day kit (American English: outfit) was warm enough (see Excuse #2). I was wearing mountain trekking socks, calf compression sleeves, thermal pants and pug leggings, so my calves were essentially covered in 4 layers. My lungs were burning from the cold (it was about 30 degrees, or -1 C), but my body felt warm enough. As I was running I noticed a man and his boxer puppy jogging toward me. My first thought was “huh, a Steelers sweatshirt, you don’t see too many of those in Bengal territory,” followed shortly by “Ow!” as the puppy playfully jumped up on my leg. The guy kept running, perhaps not even noticing what happened, as did I, as it seemed like a harmless puppy pounce. But as I jogged on I felt a slight pain, and when I finally got home and removed all 4 layers from my leg, I saw a huge (like the size of a grapefruit!) bruise on my calf, along with a cut. I’m still not sure if it was a bite or a scratch — it happened so fast — and I can’t believe either would leave such a big and painful mark. I iced and bandaged it and it felt alright, but I’m still using it as an excuse for my race day performance.

Excuse #2: It was freaking cold.

When I left London at the end of November it was mid-50s (12 C). It was chilly, but not cold. It was actually near-perfect running weather. It wasn’t until the day before I left that I actually wore any of my thermal clothing on a run. The morning of the race it was 30 degrees (-1 C), which is a big difference when you’ve been training in 20 degrees warmer. Even with my thermal layers, gloves, headband and snood, my lungs were frozen.

Excuse #3: London is pancake flat.

I never realized how flat London’s royal parks are until I ran in Cincinnati and Kentucky. The slightest incline kills me. The hills in the race were described as “rolling,” and truly, to anyone experienced in running anywhere besides London, they probably weren’t that bad, but since I did the majority of my training on completely flat roads, I struggled. I even broke my rule and walked up a couple of the bridges.

Excuse #4: My pants kept falling down.

Since I started running a year and a half ago, I have worn the same £2 LA Gear shorts. In the winter I wear them over my leggings since I need the pockets for tissues. They have always served me well. Yet on race day they started falling down after mile 1 and I had to continually pull them up. It’s never happened to me before and hasn’t happened since, so it was a total fluke.

Those are my main excuses. You could also add there were a crapload of people walking and running and the coral system isn’t that great, so even if you line up with your estimated mile time, you still end up dodging walkers. I took this shot right after the start.

cincinnati thanksgiving raceI ended up finishing in 1:02, 2 minutes slower than my goal, but 3 minutes faster than last year. And I got to wear my pugtastic outfit:

race edited(This was the only official race photo in which I don’t look like I’m going to die. The one near the finish line was not pretty!)

There’s always next year to reach my goal, or I should try a 10K race in London where it’s flat and warmer!