Happy Monday friends! I’m not going to lie, as I type this post up, it’s Sunday morning and I’m completely exhausted, mentally and physically. Just some random words of wisdom for those of you who might ever consider training for a marathon, make sure to clear your schedule the entire afternoon after your long run! It always seems like I have to work (like this weekend I was on call at the hospital) and napping and resting after running for over 3 hours is an absolute must! Anyways… back to running! This weekend was a celebration for running here in Cincinnati, Fleet Feet’s 20 / 12 Event!
This free event is put on by Fleet Feet with help from the Flying Pig Marathon, Procter and Gamble (major race sponsor) and charity sponsors. This year was the largest this event has ever been with over 1,500 runners. Crazy, right?! It’s a really fun way for all the different training groups and running clubs to get together and run the longest run of the training season together. And for those of you going, “20 / 12, I’m confused it’s 2016!” I had the same thought at first. It means 20 mile run and 12 mile run. The event included a fully supported 20, 12, and 6 mile courses, all through stretches of the Flying Pig Marathon course. Awesome! Even though I’m running the Kentucky Derby Marathon to mix things up this year, it’s always helpful to run a hilly course, especially when the race you are training for is relatively flat.
So, I woke up Saturday morning to snow. That’s right. I said it! I should have taken a picture of all the cars on my street because I actually had to dig out my ice scraper to drive over to the 20 / 12 event. Crazy for April am I right?! Between scraping the ice off my car and stopping for gas, I actually ended up making myself and my training buddy Mary cut it close on time. The coaches in our training group, Queen City Running Club, decided that we needed a 22 mile run (oof!) and that we’d be meeting early for an add on before the event started. Normally our group doesn’t actually start running until 10 minutes after the set meeting time, however yesterday, they took off at 7:30 right on the nose. So even though we were just seconds late, we missed the group. So, for the first 2 miles of the run, Mary and I were playing catchup to the group, which is not the way you want to start out a 3 + hour run.
After the end of the 2 mile add on, Mary and I finally caught our group at the first water stop. Awesome! I felt a little more relieved at that point and was excited to have found all of our other training buddies. Mary decided to hang back and run with a slower pace group and I decided to join our regular group and kill the last 20 miles of this run! We started moving and I’m not gonna lie, it was windy. And then it started snowing! Hard to believe that we had hot, sticky, humid runs in March, but in April it was snowing. After running about 3 miles with my usual crew, I started to feel like I was playing catch up to them instead of running nice and easy, or as I always like to say “running by feel.” I found Mary and her group at the next water stop and made the decision to hang back because we still had quite a ways to go, and I didn’t want to exert all my energy into a training run.So glad I made this choice because as the run went on, I just kept struggling more and more. I’m not sure if my legs were still tired from the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler or if I was just having a weird week, but either way, I’m glad I listened to my body. This run was not necessarily mentally hard, and as far as fueling went, I felt good on that side of things too, but my hamstrings and quads felt tighter and tighter each and every mile covered. Then, at mile 18, at the bottom of our last hill, I started to experience major pain in my right ankle. I’m not sure why this happened, but it was painful. As I ran by my parents house at mile 19.5, I actually knocked on the door to see if anyone was home to give me a ride. I was actually going to skip the last couple miles to avoid the pain in my ankle. Not fun. Anyways, nobody was home so I was stuck. I caught up with one of the slower pace groups and decided to power through it. Those last few miles weren’t fun, but I’m glad I pushed through.
At the finish line, there was a giant celebration full of food, drinks and giveaways. So fun! Honestly, I was in a bit of a trance after finishing just short of 22 miles (my watch said 21.6–I’ll take it!). I immediately fueled up on a sub and cookie and of course, our head coach Joe surprised us all with some post race mimosas to celebrate. Hit the spot. Since this was a gathering of all the training groups in town, I knew I’d run into other runner friends in different groups which was fun too. Great job to all the runners! It was cold, windy, and challenging, but we all did it! Even though this run did not go well for me, I’m thankful I had the good sense to listen to my body and majorly scale back my pace. There’s no shame in doing that and when you run with a group as large as mine, there’s always good conversation to distract you from the pain, no matter how fast you’re running 🙂
On the agenda after the 20 / 12? Finding warmth and celebratory drinks with the group!
Another reason I was able to push through this run was because I had an exciting dinner planned for later in the day. My parents decided to treat me to a nice steak meal at Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct for my birthday. Anyone that knows me well definitely knows that I’d rather have food than physical gifts any day so it’s safe to say I was pumped for this meal. After 22 miles, I’d say it was earned.
The meal started out with some delicious sourdough and salted rye bread with truffle butter. Plus, a glass of wine, obviously 🙂
Then came the best part: the steak! I went for a petite filet with peppercorn sauce. It was moist, juicy, and sliced like butter. Absolutely delicious. It came with some garlicky mashed potatoes. Yum!
We also split a few sides! Pecan bourbon roasted carrots, mac ‘n cheese, and seasoned fries. Not pictured was the arancini (fried risotto ball) we all shared. Everything was incredible.
The server then surprised me with a birthday slice of cheesecake. I’m not normally a cheesecake person, but this was rich, creamy and not super sweet. Hit the spot.
Finally, we all decided to split a second dessert. Obligatory birthday donuts, obviously. These were ricotta donuts and were light, fluffy and amazing. Served with some stellar dipping sauces. Only had room in my stomach for one of these bad boys.
After getting our large bag of leftovers (so much food!) we headed out and a good night’s sleep was in order. Here’s a photo of me with my parents. Not gonna lie, best birthday gift ever. Such a great meal.