Half Marathon Taper Week Thoughts

i’m about a week out from running my first half marathon, post-kids. hilariously to me now, in the months after both of my boys were born, i half-heartedly wondered aloud to my husband about signing up for a race again – primarily driven by the intense need to reclaim parts of my body and time for myself, in those early postpartum days – and now, as i’ve finished up my 12 week training plan, i can’t even fathom having had the energy to stick to this training before this moment of parenthood.

i used to be a casual-ish runner in the Before Parenting Times; i ran several halfs (this was probs my most recent?!), could run a 5/10k on a relative whim if a friend asked. i ran trails in the mornings before work and did a 14 mile race up mt. evans. running isn’t net-new to me. i ran a thanksgiving day 10k in november and stuck to my training plan and felt pretty great about my first-post-kids race. of course, training in CO and running in OH helped – all the extra oxygen to breathe! so with all this in mind, in february, weeks before my youngest turned two, i decided to rip the bandaid and commit to running this half and i had foolish confidence that i’d hit my stride (pun intended) with training and feel really great heading into this taper week and next week’s race.

but alas.

i DID stick to my training plan, pretty damn closely! there were a couple times i traded a 5 mile base/weekday run for 3.5 to better fit into my life though, i didn’t think twice about it. at this point in my life, i can’t let any one thing consume me fully anymore – not work, not parenting, not running. i am more than the loudest, most pressing thing in my life and i need these disparate parts of my life to complement and contribute, not overrun (lol, unintentional pun but we’re rolling with it). but on the whole, i was diligent about hitting my weekday runs, even if it meant heading to the gym at 8p after i did the kiddo bedtime shuffle, and i laced up every weekend for long run, even when we had visitors – even when my mom visited and gave us a parenting weekend off and i could have slept in in a dark, quiet hotel room (9 miler from our hotel stay downtown which followed the actual race route, fun!). i freaking committed and held myself accountable.

here, in the last days before the race next sunday, i’m feeling: proud, stronger (well, cognitively i know i’m stronger), super duper tired and honestly ready to be on the other side of this race and training.

the most recent weeks, mileage ‘peak weeks’, have truly exhausted my body and mind. which then opens space for doubt and disappointment to creep in. ‘i’ve been following the plan. why the EFF IS THIS STILL SO FREAKING HARD.’ my first 10 mile long run was SO HARD and my body was SO TIRED. the following week, i did another 10 miler – the same route – hoping to feel more confident, stronger. nope. maybe 11 miles would feel better? still nope.

so in this taper week, i’m cutting myself some slack. i had set myself an arbitrary time goal at the outset of this and at this moment, i’m deciding my only goal is to have a good time. to not be too hard on myself. to cross the finish line and be proud of what i did. i signed up for this race to force me (and my family) to create space to prioritize taking care of myself. to not consume myself with work in the evenings. to get outside. to exercise. to spend time alone (and for my family to spend time without me). i’ve done all those things!! mission accomplished!! so who cares if i’m slower than i ‘used to be’? literally no one. my body is tired, strong and it will finish that damn race next week and that is badass.

there are, however, a few things i’ve pinpointed that i’ll do differently next time:

  • finding a plan that calls for more cross-training (my body is tired bc it’s literally only been running)
  • finding a plan that includes strength training expectations (see above)
  • learning more about how/when/what to eat and when (i can’t figure this out for the life of me. i don’t know why nutrition/macros are like an alien language to me but they are. i need to pay someone to just tell me what to do)
  • committing to earlier bedtimes, consistently (true in running and non-running; my tragic flaw)

because i’m excited for a little break after this — and then i’m excited to push myself to get stronger and do it all over again.

Race Recap: 2016 Pittsburgh Half Marathon (#GameOnPGH)

Disclosure: As a Pittsburgh Marathon Blogger, my race entry was comped but all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

After months of preparing and many hilly training miles run, I crossed the finish line at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon with a giant smile on my face!

Pittsburgh Half Marathon 2016 Recap // lynnepetre.com
(obviously, borrowed photo from race photographer)

Let’s back up.

Race weekend kicked off on Thursday evening with a blogger happy hour at Wigle Whiskey where it was great to mix and mingle with blog friends, new and old.

On Friday afternoon, I hit up the expo for packet pick up and to (quickly) browse the booths. I’m not a big fan of expos but Pittsburgh’s was sizable and had great brands participating and interesting demos/giveaways, including beer tasting. What?!

Then, on Saturday morning, I trekked downtown to run the 5k as a warm-up run and Saturday night, I met up with runner friends at Chelsea’s house for an delicious pasta dinner. Much later Saturday night, I picked up Heidi from the airport! We gabbed until very late and slept for a few hours before our alarms started buzzing at 5 a.m.

Heidi and I were both selected as bloggers for the race which meant we were given VIP access to pre- and post-race festivities. Pre-race, this meant access to breakfast (score!), indoor bathrooms and a special gear check table. We opted to try our luck with the pre-race breakfast and left Shadyside at 5:45 a.m. to find parking and still have enough time for breakfast ahead of the race. Traffic was (surprisingly) non-existent and we breezed right into a parking garage approximately a mile from the start/finish.

We jogged to the Westin where the VIP hospitality suite was located in search of breakfast; after scarfing bagels with cream cheese and a few slices of fruit, we hit the bathrooms and navigated our way to Corral B.

Pittsburgh Half Marathon 2016 Recap // lynnepetre.com

I don’t know about the other corrals but getting into Corral B was kind of a cluster; there was a single point of entry and a race official checked all bibs for anyone entering. As the minutes ticked down to the start and there was still a huge mass of people waiting to get through, it felt like there could have been a better way to get runners to the start.

But the race did start and Heidi and I crossed the timing pad at about 7:10 a.m. As we pushed through the first 3 miles into the Strip District, a light rain drizzled down but considering the initial weather forecast (thunderstorms and heavy rain), we couldn’t complain.

Pittsburgh Half Marathon 2016 Recap // lynnepetre.com

Heidi and I spent the first half of the race catching up – we both have big summers on our schedule and haven’t seen each other since my trip to CO in December. So much to chat about!

Pittsburgh Half Marathon 2016 Recap // lynnepetre.comAround mile 7, I started to feel mentally tired and Heidi encouraged me to eat my Honey Stinger chews which helped give me a boost. Fortunately for me, Heidi dropped from the full marathon to the half and, selfishly, I loved that decision. She paced me the last half of the race and kept me on track to finish in under 2:05. Really, she was trying to pace us to a sub 2hr finish but I didn’t have it in me this race… I stepped in a pothole, like a n00b, at mile 9 and walked a few paces in mile 11 up the final hill (woof). We crossed the finish line at 2:04:35. Pittsburgh Half Marathon 2016 Recap // lynnepetre.com

Overall, given my long-ass taper, I’m pretty pleased with my race (and very thankful to Rabbit Heidi!). If I’d carved out more time to stick to my plan in the last 4-6 weeks of training, I know I could have finished at or under 2 hours, but alas. I don’t regret anything I did instead of running in the weeks leading up to the race. I enjoyed vacation, spent moments with friends and family, tackled work projects and sometimes, just needed downtime with my husband.

In thinking back to the route, I really loved weaving through neighborhoods I’ve only visited a handful of times since moving to Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Half Marathon 2016 Recap // lynnepetre.com

We ran through or by all the Pittsburgh must-sees: Strip District, North Shore, Mt. Washington Incline, South Side, and Downtown. And in true Pittsburgh fashion, we crossed 5 bridges. I’m glad I had points of reference in most of the neighborhoods – it was helpful to give me context to where we were and anticipate what to look for next.

Crowd support throughout the half marathon route was amazing. The first half of the race had bands every mile or so while the second half of the race was full of snacks along the course. I couldn’t stomach any but I remember gummy worms, oranges, cookies, mimosas(!). Each neighborhood had people out holding funny signs and cheering; especially towards the end of the race, it was encouraging to have so many people out watching!

I will definitely sign up for the Pittsburgh Half again next year. The race was well executed, the course was interesting and support was awesome. Well done, Pittsburgh Marathon team!

Race Recap: Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend 5k (#GameOnPGH)

When I signed up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I noticed an option to complete the Steel Challenge which meant running the 5k in addition to the Half/Full. Figuring it was a nice was to warm up for the half on the following day, I registered myself and pretty much forgot all about it until race weekend.

Fortunately, I saw my fellow Pittsburgh Marathon & Half blogger friends, Chelsea and Lauren, on Thursday at a pre-race party and we chatted about the 5k and made plans to meet on Saturday morning to shake out before our races on Sunday.

I was a little nervous about parking logistics since I’m still not super familiar with Pittsburgh’s downtown and the 5k is not a loop (starts on the North Shore by the stadiums but ends in Downtown). But I had nothing to worry about: traffic on Saturday morning was non-existent so I made it from Shadyside to a parking garage downtown in 15 minutes. I opted to park downtown and jog the mile to the start line at PNC Park.

Race Recap: Pittsburgh Marathon 5k // lynnepetre.com
PC: Chelsea!

Chelsea and Lauren know pretty much every runner in Pittsburgh so it was fun to run with them on Saturday morning. Every few minutes, Chelsea would cheer on someone she knew or someone who knew Lauren would bump into us and chat for a bit. Case in point, we were a group of 13 hanging out before heading to our corrals!

Chelsea and Lauren were running the full marathon (Lauren’s first!) and knowing if left to my own devices, I would run too hard, too fast for a true shake out run, so I hung with my friends and we ran Lauren’s marathon pace. Chelsea’s friend, Kathleen, was in town from Chicago for the half marathon, too, so we were a chatty group of 4 running through the Pittsburgh streets.

Race Recap: Pittsburgh Marathon 5k // lynnepetre.com
PC: Chelsea!

We finished the 5k in 39:09, running 3 minutes, walking 1, to mirror the pace/cadence Lauren and Chelsea would use the following day in the marathon. It felt good to get the blood flowing and loosen up my muscles while catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while!

Race Recap: Pittsburgh Marathon 5k // lynnepetre.com
PC: Chelsea!

We finished with smiles, feeling warm but not spent. After the race, I headed home to nap (#yolo), prepare for visitors and plan out half marathon race day logistics.

I’d never participated in a back-to-back race schedule but, given the option in the future, I would opt to run an organized 5k the day prior again. I liked getting a feel for the course and it was fun to feel race day energy ahead of ‘the big race’, it helped me get into race day spirit/excitement that much more.

Gear Review: SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt (Giveaway CLOSED)

*Disclosure: This product was provided at no cost to me in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.*

Last fall, my friend Chelsea connected me with her contact at SLS3 to review their Dual Pocket Running Belt. Travis, at SLS3, assured me that this is his favorite running belt of the bunch and actually stays put while running. Admittedly skeptical, I agreed to try the run belt and see if it lived up to Travis’ hype.

In my early days of running, I tried a whole slew of running belts: ones that zipped, ones that flipped, ones that held water bottles. None I loved – they jostled too much, crept too far up my waist or didn’t hold everything I wanted to carry with me. I gave up on running belts and switched over to a small CamelBak pack and have used a small pack ever since.

But this is exactly why I agreed to try the SLS3 belt – I went into this experience with an open mind, ready to see if the world of run belts had changed over the years. I knew I wouldn’t want to run the Pittsburgh Half with a pack so I was hopeful this run belt would perform well enough to win a spot in my race day outfit.

And ya know what? It did!SLS3 Running Belt Review // lynnepetre.com

The dual pockets on this belt are huge but still lay flat on my person while running. I slip my phone (Samsung Galaxy s4 + Otterbox case) into one pocket and my keys, snacks and chapstick in the other. I probably wouldn’t try to add too much more in the pockets but there is some extra room to carry cash, ID cards, pepper spray, etc.

Amazingly, the belt really does not really move, even when packed with all my things. I suspect I can thank the the wide strap and buckle – the strap is 1.5 inches wide which is the same size as the pockets, not expanded, and when clipped together, the belt feels sturdy. Past belts I’ve used have had a thinner strap so when the pocket was full, there was no support to keep it in place. Not the case here!
SLS3 Running Belt Review // lynnepetre.com

I’ve used this belt on a number of shorter runs and my 10 mile run at the park and I’ll be wearing this belt for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this weekend. I love that I can stuff my phone and keys away – but still have easy access to pull my phone out for photos #realtalk.
SLS3 Running Belt Review // lynnepetre.com

Want to try a SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt for yourself? The team at SLS3 has offered to give one away! Enter through the Rafflecopter link below; giveaway closes on 5/2 at 12a EST.
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Training Update: Pittsburgh Half Marathon (#GameOnPGH)

It’s the final week! ACK!

Officially, it’s taper time for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon but really, with the travel in my life recently, I have been tapering for the past 3+ weeks. We’ll see how this translates for the race on May 1 but not much I can do about it now except roll with it.

After Mexico, I was home for 4 days and ran 10 miles before hopping a plane to Denver for a busy week at work. I’d brought my gear to run in my old neighborhood and meet friends for OrangeTheory but, for a number of factors, I didn’t do either. From Denver, I flew into Philadelphia late Friday night to play in a volleyball tournament all day Saturday before driving 5+ hours home. Whew!

Track Running // lynnepetre.com

So these last few weeks have been light on actual runs but I’ve been very active which doesn’t substitute for training but is better than being sedentary!

This week, I’ve run a few 3 mile loops, am playing volleyball and doing yoga. I debated doing an OrangeTheory class but decided to not risk sore or tired muscles in the days before next week’s race.

A few weeks ago, before the crazy 6 weeks of travel, I’d set some goals for the Pittsburgh Half and I’m hoping they’re still realistic.

  • A Goal: Under 2 hours
  • B Goal: 2:00-2:05
  • C Goal: Under 2:10

If I’d stuck with my training a bit better these past few weeks, I’d have 100% confidence in myself but now, I’m going to go out and just do my best next Sunday. I know I can cruise through the first half of the race and my 10 mile long runs have been strong…but I wished I’d given myself an 11 or 12 mile long run to feel really good about aiming for my A Goal.

Regardless of what happens during the race, I’m excited to be running (especially after worrying about my knee earlier this year), to see my friends (HeidiChelsea, Lauren – looking at you!) and to experience Pittsburgh on foot. Whatever happens, I’m going to run with a smile and feel grateful for this opportunity!

T-10 days!

Pittsburgh Running Route: North Park Lake

Soon after moving to Pittsburgh, I asked around for favorite running routes to help get myself acclimated with my surroundings. I kept hearing about North Park and its infamous 5 mile loop and how all Pittsburgh Marathoners would do a majority of their long runs at this park.

This past weekend, I woke up late and missed my opportunity to run with Raela which was likely for the best. I headed out to North Park to run 2 laps around the lake for a 10 mile training run. No pausing to say hi/bye to my friend, just 10 miles of me and the pavement…something I honestly haven’t done much of this training cycle but knowing I’m running the half solo, I wanted to get a solid long run in by myself and make sure I could keep a steady pace.

North Park Lake Loop // lynnepetre.com


North Park is ~25 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. I would offer tips on how to get there but Google has told me different ways to go each time. If you’re going during rush hour, give yourself ~35 minutes since there’s no highway route.

There is parking throughout the loop so you can start wherever is most convenient for you. I parked at JC Stone Field since this was at an ‘end’ of the oval and I planned my run so that I ended with a downhill cruise where I could see my car (I hate not knowing how much further is left).

The running/biking path follows the lake through the park. It’s very well marked and obvious where to go to continue on the path. The loop is shaped like an oval and surprisingly, it felt like time passed quickly.

North Park Lake Loop // lynnepetre.comThe weather was beautiful for March so there were lots of people out – runners, bikers, roller-bladers, strollers and dogs all out enjoying the same path as me. In the park, people were fishing, kayaking, picnicing and more. As a solo female runner, it was comforting to have so many people out and about – should anything happen, someone would be around to offer a bandaid. (I’ve heard weekends are usually busy-ish in the winter time, too.)

There are bathrooms at several points along the route and all looked to be open (not sure if this is a seasonal thing; I know the bathrooms at the the North Park Boathouse are open in the winter). Be sure to bring your own water, though; all of the water fountains I passed were taped up and not in service. I had stashed my water bottle and a coconut water in my car and made a pit stop at mile 5 before taking off for loop 2.

Lastly, there are a number of races at North Park throughout the year. If you’re a little bit shy about showing up and not knowing exactly how to get around the park (it’s big!), registering for a race would be a great way to get acclimated.

Compared to the 2.5 mile loop I’d spent many, many, many mornings running in Denver (HOLLA Heidi, Paula, Christine and others), I really enjoyed this 5-mile loop distance. I can’t say I’d be excited to run more than 2 laps (and especially not 6, like Chelsea) but 10 miles around the park felt like a good distance.

Side note: there is also an off-leash dog park, zip-line course, hockey + ice skating, horse trails, a swimming pool, restaurant/cafe and much more to do at North Park. So if running isn’t your thing, you can likely still find something fun to do at the park.

Gratitude for the Long Run

I’ve been doing my long runs on Sunday mornings. In prior training cycles, I preferred long runs on Saturday mornings but my current work/life balance has me craving Saturday as a sleep-in, slow start to the weekend.

This Saturday was different, though; I got up early to attend a Women in Business Leadership conference that completely ruled and totally inspired me – so glad I went! After walking the mile home in the gorgeous 70* weather, Alex and I took Philly for a long walk before heading out to a CMU party at the coolest ever co-working space (check out TechShop; it’s a maker/creator’s dream!). The event was sponsored by the business school’s wine club so, hello, I enjoyed a couple delicious glasses of sangiovese.

All this to say that when Sunday morning rolled around, I wanted to run because it was a wonderfully mild, spring-like morning but I was feeling sluggish and not super motivated to run 7 miles. I didn’t stay out late (in bed at 11p; party hardy’ing in my old age, for sure) and didn’t go too crazy with the sangiovese but I don’t think I sipped enough water before bed. Fortunately for me, at the party, I’d made plans to run the second half with my friend, Raela. I’d run 3.5 miles around our neighborhood and meet at her apartment and we’d run the last 3.5 miles together.

As I started my run, I felt completely un-motivated. I was so happy to be outside but my legs were not feeling it. I (stupidly? over-zealously?) mapped out a route that included a giant hill in my neighborhood so after a 1 mile warm up, I took on the hill…and walked more than half of it. Totally not against walking but did not help my mental game.

I was feeling grumpy about being tired, about not wanting to run 7 miles, about how I would be even more tired and hungry when I got home. And in the midst of this, shook my head at my thoughts. I remembered that I’m LUKCY to be running 7 miles. That I’m OUTSIDE for 7 miles on a beautiful day. That I GET to spend 35 minutes with music and then 35 minutes catching up with my friend.

After knee surgeries 4 years ago, I was grateful for EVERY run and all physical activity I did. Over time, that appreciation waned as it became the norm again to not worry about my knees and to feel confident the surgery had worked.

Now, with question marks on my horizon, I need to enjoy every single moment I can spend running or exercising. Yeah, maybe I was feeling tired but dammit, at least I was running!

I made it to Raela’s apartment with 3.6 miles run at a 9:56 min/mile average pace. After picking her up, we averaged a 9:00 min/mile pace. Changing my frame of mind to feeling appreciative of how I was spending my time – as well as catching up and laughing with my friend – helped propel me forward and end my long run on a strong, grateful note.

Pittsburgh Half - 7 Mile Long Run // lynnepetre.com

Everyone says it but it is true: shifting ‘ugh, I HAVE to do X‘ thoughts to ‘wow, I GET to do X‘ thoughts really does change your attitude and experience. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder.

#AttitudeofGratitude, FTW.


Pittsburgh Half Marathon Training – Month 1 #GameOnPGH

So it’s been exactly a month of half marathon training and so far, so good! Despite writing about my knee/MRI earlier this week, my knee is feeling pretty good right now and I’m hoping everything comes back clear from my doctor next week.

I haven’t hit every single weekday run but I’ve hit most. I’d counted on being able to attend OrangeTheory at least twice a week but the gym here has recently exploded in popularity so it’s really difficult to get into a class. And without a dedicated class time, I have found myself saying, ‘oh, I’ll just run later this afternoon when I have a break in my meetings.’ But of course, by the time that break has come around, I am in the weeds and have missed my opportunity to run. So I just need to be better about getting up earlier and running before Denver starts working.

Pittsburgh Half Marathon Training Month 1 // lynnepetre.com

Long runs this month included 2×4 milers, 1×5 miler, 1×6 miler.

The 5 miles SUCKED. I was on week 2 of Whole30 and I failed to fuel properly. The night before, I had a kale salad paired with pan-fried chicken and sauted veggies covered in tomato sauce. Delicious, and it filled me up for dinner, but terrible for long run prep. I spent much of the 5 miles lightheaded and took frequent walk breaks.

To contrast, my 6 miles the following week rocked. I made sure to eat carbs the night before, ate a banana before heading out and brought Honey Stinger chews with me. At mile 3, I popped a couple and have saved the rest for my run this weekend.

Pittsburgh Half Marathon Training Month 1 // lynnepetre.com

Right now (Saturday), it’s snowing and 11* outside; with windchill, it’s a ‘feels like of -14*’. The training group run was cancelled and, as much as I like to do my long runs on Saturday vs. Sunday, I am saving my 6 miles for tomorrow morning/afternoon when the temps should be around 20*.

1 month down, 2.5 to go! I’m feeling really good about training so far and am looking forward to ramping up my long run mileage.

Let the Half Marathon Training Begin! #GameOnPGH

It’s been a while since I’ve been serious about running. I’ve always incorporated running into my fitness but for the past couple of years, I haven’t stuck to a dedicated plan or trained for a race; I love running but in Colorado, mountain adventures on the weekends won out over long training runs. I took to city park paths and mountain trails to keep my endurance up but, more so, to spend time with my friends. I rarely wore my GPS watch and rarely pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

Trail Running Boulder // lynnepetre.com

Soon after unpacking in Pittsburgh, though, I started looking up local races; I knew if I could find the races, I would find runners I could convince to be my friends. And if I couldn’t find friends? At least I would have a big goal on my horizon that would keep me busy.

I quickly found the Pittsburgh Marathon and Half and started reading recaps on the internet – this would be my race! The May 1 race date meant I had plenty of time to train my body to run more than 5 miles at a time again and I was excited to use training as a way to explore my new city.

I applied to be a blogger ambassador for the race and am thrilled to have been accepted! I will be partnering with the Pittsburgh Marathon team to blog my way through training – as this will be my first half since 2012, I’m basically starting from scratch. I’ll be sharing not only my run training but also how I’m fueling, cross training that I’m incorporating, fun gear I’m using and more.

Track Running // lynnepetre.com

I’m excited to take on this challenge, run 13.1 miles again and bring you along with me. And if you’re a Pittsburgher – or want to visit Pittsburgh to run with me! – use the code PETRE2016 for $10 off your registration (register here) or 15% off official race gear in the P3R Store!

Race Recap: Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race 10k

When I knew I would be in Cincinnati for Thanksgiving, I immediately started texting my siblings to find out who else would be in town so I could start peer pressuring at least one of them to run the Thanksgiving Day 10k with me. The last Thanksgiving I spent in Cincinnati, I was able to talk my entire family into doing the 10k with me so I was hopeful I would find a taker. Fortunately for me, my youngest brother, Mike, would be in town and was easily convinced into running with me.

Race Recap: Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race 10k // lynnepetre.com

Race Recap: Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race 10k // lynnepetre.com

We woke up early-ish on Thanksgiving morning (and looked really tired); fortunately, the race doesn’t start until 9 a.m. and with the holiday, we expected zero traffic getting into downtown for the race at Paul Brown Stadium. We stayed at my mom’s house which is about 15 miles north of the city and it took us 20ish minutes from leaving the house to parking.  Thanks to the holiday, there was ample street, surface lot and parking garage parking available.

I love this Thanksgiving Day Race for the same reasons most people love a Turkey Trot/Thanksgiving Day race – working out before a day of eating and sitting, it’s a fun way to get active with people you love, tradition. I also love the Thanksgiving Day Race for it’s sheer size. This year was record-breaking attendance with 16,000 runners coming out to run!

16,000! Good job, Greater Cincinnati!

Race Recap: Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race 10k // lynnepetre.com

Sure, it makes it hard to actually race with 16,000 people but knowing 15,998 other people also wanted to run 6 miles on Thanksgiving was awesome. And the sight of turning the corner to run up the hill at Vine street and Liberty street and seeing the street sidewalk-to-sidewalk with people is a spectacular image my brother and I soon won’t forget.

The race started right at 9 a.m. and we started in the 9min/mile pace group. Mike had previously told me, ‘Lynne, I’m not going to run as fast as you. I’d be surprised if I run under a 9 min/mile pace!’ So we opted to line up in the 9 minute pace group. We’d planned to start together and my goal was for us to stick together – if that meant we ran slower than I would if I was running solo, so be it. It was more important to me to spend time with my brother than it was to push myself and race.

Well….it turns out, my self-proclaimed non-running brother is much faster than he expected! After we weaved in and out of walkers and slower runners in the first 1.5 miles, the course opened up a bit and we could hit our stride.

Feeling pretty good, I looked down at my Garmin to check our pace. 8:21! WUT?! I mentioned it to Mike to was a few paces ahead of me – I struggled to keep up with his long-legged stride and chased him much of the race – and he grunted in acknowledgement. We continued on.

The course was really interesting this year; we started at Paul Brown Stadium and began by running through a booming new district in Cincinnati, OTR. The course then ran back towards the river, crossed a bridge into Kentucky, ventured through Newport and Covington (bar/business districts) before crossing a final bridge back into Ohio and ending with a downhill, straight shot finish back at Paul Brown.


Race Recap: Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race 10k // lynnepetre.com

Downtown Cincinnati has undergone a transformation in recent years and the race course navigated through the gentrified OTR district. I was most excited for this part of the race as I’ve heard about the interesting bars, restaurants and shops that have gone in but haven’t been in Cincinnati recently to check them out for myself.  Running down Vine Street, the main drag in OTR, was neat to be able to at least see the new development. And the Newport/Covington section is always a fun trip down memory lane as we University of Cincinnati kids spent a lot of time at bars in these neighborhoods.

Mike and I continued running under 9 minute miles for the next couple of miles and at mile 4, Mike’s IT Band started seizing up and he was in the pain cave. But did he slow down? Nope. Onward!

At Mile 5.5, the course took us up and over the final bridge to cross back into Cincinnati and shoot us into the finish…I always remember how much I hate this bridge every year as we climb up what feels like a never-ending hill. But in looking at our splits, I’m really impressed that we didn’t slow too-too much! It felt like we were crawling but we maintained our pace.

Race Recap: Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race 10k // lynnepetre.com



My brother, Mike, is in red, I’m in the pink tights behind him. Coincidentally, the face in between Mike and I, behind me, is a good friend from college! Just after this photo, we realized we were running next to each other and chatted before sprinting into the finish.

Race Recap: Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race 10k // lynnepetre.com


Our official time was 57:13, a 9:14 pace. Not too shabby for a not super dedicated training cycle!

We didn’t stick around for finish line food/party because we both were too pooped to walk around the block and wait in a line. We parked ~6 blocks from the start (up a hill! Poor planning on our part) so opted to head back to the car and clean up/relax before Thanksgiving dinner festivities began.

Per usual, this race was extremely well organized, had good crowd support, fun finish line party and interesting course. As many times as I spend Thanksgiving in Cincinnati, I will continue to run this race.