Apr 18, 2010

Troy's Trip to Cincinnati

So the weekend after I went to Kenosha, Troy came to Cincinnati. He had no idea what he was in for.

My wife and I picked him at the airport and promptly took to Hofbrauhaus, in Newport. There, we had a couple of good German beers, along with some pretzels with cheese. From there, we left for the Montgomery Inn Boathouse, where we had a 6:30 reservation. But before that, I wanted to take him up to the bar. It was a really, really nice night, and the view of the Ohio River is very nice. When we get up there, Susan notices that out on the deck is someone she thinks might be Oscar Robertson. Entirely possible. So I walk to where I have a view of him, and sure enough, it's him. Troy immediately becomes fascinated with him, and thinks about walking up to him and just starting a conversation. LOL. In the end though, we leave Oscar alone, and head downstairs for dinner.

Dinner was great, as usual when you go to the Boathouse. BBQ ribs are a must, and I think he really enjoyed them. Some people think the sauce is too sweet and lacks any smokiness. It is sweet, and not smoky, but I've always liked it. All in all, a very good night.

Saturday morning comes, and we head downtown to run our 20-miler. I plan to have us run a good portion of the race route of the Flying Pig Marathon. We'll skip the section in Kentucky, and avoid running on Columbia Pkwy. We start at Fountain Square downtown, and head immediately up to Eden Park. Troy was NOT prepared for the hills he was about to encounter. The first 3 miles or so, are all uphill, but he manages really well. From there, we head to Hyde Park Square, and out to Mariemont. We stop there to use the restroom, and head back out. From here, we head down the Murray bike trail. Now, instead of turning at Waterson, we head back to Erie Ave in order to catch Delta, to head south and pick up Riverside from there. On our way to Delta, we stop at a convenience store to buy some Gatorade (for him)and Vitamin Water (for me) to refill out water bottles. Troy's very happy to run down Delta. All downhill. Finally, we hit Riverside and head back for downtown. At this point, we're about 16 miles into our run. The week before, Troy really started to tire at around mile 18. I'm curious how he'll do today. We cruise right by the 18-mile mark, he's doing great. He makes it to the 20-mile mark in great shape, and is happy, thinking he's done. Only problem...we parked somewhere different than I had planned so Troy could hit up the restroom before we started, and we are still about 1.2-1.3 miles from the car. So I tell him to just run however much he could. He ran 20 miles the previous week, and was gassed. This weekend, he ran 20 and was pretty solid. We make it another 0.6 miles, and he sees the uphill we need to go to get from US Bank Arena to Fountain Square and he says, “OK, that's it. I'm done.”. Could he have kept running? Yeah. He just didn't want to go uphill again. Ha! Fair enough. Besides, he had no idea what he was in for the next day!

We felt great after the run. We head home, shower, change, and head back out the door. On the agenda? Lunch at Skyline Chili, a trip to Jungle Jim's International Market, then back downtown for Beerfest 2010. We spent about 2 hours there, and headed to Terry's Turf Club for some food. Between Beerfest, and Terry's, we drank a fair share of alcohol. Not so much that we were unable to drive home, but enough to know that when we wake up the next morning at 5:30AM in order to prepare for the 15K race, we weren't going to be functioning at optimum levels. Especially on this course.

Now, if you don't know Troy, he's a bit of nut. Very outgoing, very energetic, and he loves to get reactions from folks. And so, in order to do that at the race, he ran the race in a kilt. Yes, a Utilikilt, to be exact. Good stuff.

We arrive downtown and head to the Westin Hotel, where the Cincinnati Runner's Club has reserved 2 rooms for members to be able to use pre and post race. We use the facilities and head down to prepare to run. Race starts at 8AM. I'm not exactly sure how well I can run, given the previous night's festivities.

We get lined up, and before we know it, the race is off and running. I push just a little, and know immediately that I am not going to “race” today. I slow down, and within a few seconds, Troy is up with me, and we run together. I'm actually really glad we did. We had a pretty good time. Or, that is to say, I had a really good time. Troy was mildly cursing Cincinnati, Columbia Parkway, and perhaps me. He was learning that when I said there wasn't a flat spot along the entire 15K course, I wasn't kidding. He couldn't believe it. He said he hadn't run anywhere near as many hills as he had these past 2 days. And I believe him. Cincinnati can be a tough place to run, if you're not prepared for it. But he did great. He even made it up and down the hill at Torrence without too much complaint.

With about 1.6 miles to go, I ask him if he has one last push in him to the finish. He said he didn't really want to push any harder than he was, but that if I wanted to, I should go ahead. I decided I wanted to just blow my legs out at the end, since the following day was a rest day for me. So I picked up my pace to about an 80% effort level, and held that steady to the finish. It allowed me to finish with a sub 8-minute pace. I came in at 1:13:53 (7:57/mile). Troy came in at 1:16:02 (8:11/mile). This was a PR for me, although not nearly the best I could have done. But, no matter. A PR all the same. So I have now PR'd two of the distances I want to this year, half and 15K. I still have the 5K, 10K and marathon distance to go. Right on schedule.

Afterward, we headed home, cleaned up, and went out to get a much deserved meal. We were spent! Shortly thereafter, I took him to the airport, headed home, and slept. Very well. Very, very well.

It was a great weekend, and I hope we can do something similar again. It definitely makes a tough time during a training session, when you're starting to burn out a bit, a lot more enjoyable. And it helped keep me on track. Since I'm normally a solo-runner, having a partner for 2 weekends was great. Makes me want to run with others more.

So that's my report. THANKS TROY. And good luck in Kenosha on May 2nd.

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