The Riverbank run has been around for 41 years. It expects more than 17,000 participants competing in the 5k, 10k, or 25k. The 25k is the largest 25k in the country. It is the USA 25k Championship. So many amazing runners.
This race holds a special place in my heart. It was the second long distance race I have ever run 7 years ago. This is one of theraces that made me fall in love with running. I have done this race for years and this year was my 5th time. Last year was my first time breaking 2 hours. The Riverbank run has a “2 hour club” and the runners that finished in 2 hours or less the previous year are in this club. You have your own area with refreshments like coffee, hot chocolate, bagels, yogurt, bananas, bagels, water, and Gatorade. Not to mention PRIVATE bathrooms!
My goal for this race was a 7:00 minute per mile. I was not sure if this was doable. I ran a 7:00 minute per mile half marathon almost 2 months ago. I did not know if I could hold that pace for 2.4 more miles. I had not done any speed work since before Boston. I didn’t know if my legs were going to more that fast.
I worked my normal shift at work on Friday. I came home and put the little to nap an hour later. I relaxed, ran 2.5 easy miles on the treadmill, took and ice bath, and got ready for dinner. We went to Olive Garden to carb-o load. When we got home, we put the little to bed. I got all my stuff ready. I checked the weather- it was going to be mid 40’s and a tossup if it would rain. I had no idea what to wear. Capris or shorts. Short sleeve or long sleeve. I left everything out and decided to choose in the morning. The weather had be freaking out. I did not want it like Boston and I wanted to PR so bad.
Race morning I woke up at 5:30 am and ate a bagel. I checked the weather. It said it felt like 36 degree. WHAT? I put my capris and long sleeve on and packed my short sleeve and shorts just incase I wanted to change last minute. My sister was at my house at 6:15 am and we were off. The race did not start until 8:30 am, but I had to pick up my bib still and wanted plenty of time. We parked at just after 7 and walked to get my bib. It was inside and very busy. My husband went for a run when I left the house this morning and told me I will get hot with pants and should wear shorts. Also, a friend of mine also notified me that she was warm at 5 am running in capris. I decided to change into shorts. Oh boy- I am glad I did. I lined up with the 7 minute pacer.
We were off. My plan was to stick with the 7 minute pacer and kick it in the last 2 miles if I could. HAHA. My legs were dead after the hills. Mile 1- I was slightly under 7 minute. I was feeling good with the speed. I was running with mostly all men- maybe 2 other women. I was listening to them talking. They looked like they weren’t even working very hard. I was working super hard. The miles were flying by. I took fuel at mile 5. Still running just under 7 minute pace. This stretch is flat. Miles 6-8- still with the pacer. We are starting the get to the hills. Mile 9- 7:04- not awful but the hills were getting to me. Mile 10- 7:08- HUGE hill in the mile. I was drifting from the 7 minute pacer. I told myself to keep them close and try to dig deep to catch up. Miles 11 and 12- 7:08, 7:12. Oh no! I am in trouble. I knew also knew we were done with the hills and was hoping I could pick up my speed again. The pacer group got farther ahead than I liked. I was not going to let those few miles get me down. Mile 13 and 14 were back to sub-7’s. It was starting to rain and we were running into the wind. I would pick a runner to pass to make myself push harder. I was in the home stretch. I had no idea what overall time a 7 minute per mile pace would give you. I tried to the math to see if I was still on pace but my mental math was not working that late in the race. I turned the corner and tired to sprint it out, but my legs just would not move any faster. I saw my sister and little about .2 miles from the finish line. My little was so excited to see me! I was waving and screaming. The last .2 miles felt like I ran a mile. When I stopped my watch at the finish, it read 1:49:08. It was over a 5 minute PR! I still had no idea if it was good enough for the 7 minute per mile pace I wanted considering the 7 minute pacer was about a half mile ahead of me by the end. My Garmin flashed 1 new record. Fastest half marathon: 1:31:37. That would be a 15 second PR. The screen showed 7:01 avg. Am I upset it wasn’t my 7 minute pace like I wanted? NO WAY! I was super ecstatic! I just CRUSHED my pervious time by over 5 minutes! I was on RUNEERS HIGH!
This is a challenging course with hills in miles 8-12. I do recommend this race! The course, the spectators, the fellow runners, and the volunteers are incredible. See you next year Fifth Third Riverbank Run!
This race makes me super excited to train for Chicago. I am ready to put in some work and work hard. My goal is to push myself to paces I don’t think are possible.