This morning, nearly 7,500 of my closest friends and I completed the 2012 Rodes City Run.
Celebrating its 32nd running, the Rodes City Run is a 10K race and makes up the second leg of the Triple Crown of Running series.
So at the crack of dawn, I pulled myself from the comfort of my bed and headed down to the Brown Hotel for the start of the race. If you didn’t know, Louisville is hosting the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the NCAA tournament, and traffic was a mess for 7:00 am on a Saturday. I was supposed to meet my friend, Eileen, at 7:30, and at 7:25, I still hadn’t found a parking spot.
I spied a garage near the starting line, so I whipped my car over into the turning lane. Looking ahead, I could see the fee was $5. Good thing I stopped at the bank and pulled a twenty from the ATM, but I was convinced there would be no change. After all, it’s an unattended parking garage that already looked a bit janky. To my surprise, the machine spat out 15 Sacajawea dollar coins. Good times. (At least I didn’t pay $20 like my friends, who were literally across the street.)
I met up with Eileen and our friends Carrie and Brandon. We shuffled toward the chaotic starting line and made comments about the people around us. It’s St. Patrick’s Day after all. And the BEST BASKETBALL TEAM IN THE COUNTRY is playing later tonight at the KFC YUM! Center, so we saw all kinds of funny outfits. Tutus. Dudes in kilts. Unibrow shirts.
The gunshot signaled the start of the race, and the crowd lurched forward, but we went nowhere.
When we finally crossed the tracking line that read the chips in our bibs for our official chip time, I wanted to note the clock time, but I didn’t see it anywhere. It seemed like maybe four minutes or so had passed.
I really wanted to finish this race in under an hour.
Brandon shot off like a bolt of lightning, and we didn’t see him again until after we finished. Carrie, Eileen and I settled into a pace that was much quicker than I normally run, but I decided to go with it to see where it would take me. After all, I could drop off if needed.
The early morning sun was direct with our line of vision. I couldn’t look up at all without being blinded, and most people seemed to hunker down through the first couple of miles. I had been looking forward to seeing the long line of runners plodding down Broadway, but the sun was having none of that.
We followed Broadway over to the Highlands and up Cherokee Road, which is one of my favorite areas in Louisville. By this point, Eileen had dropped back a bit, and Carrie and I were running alongside one another. Turning a corner near Cave Hill Cemetery, Carrie commented that the fog that still lingered near the headstones looked like a horror movie. I half-expected this to be the start of the zombie apocalypse.
Carrie’s fast. She flew down the downhills. I did my best to keep up, and I kept feeling like I was pushing with pretty much all I had just to stay beside her. We crossed the three-mile marker, and I notice that we were nearly three minutes ahead of our 5K time from two weeks ago. (Carrie ran the Anthem 5K 15 seconds faster than me.) I used precious energy to alert her of our achievement, and that seemed to add a little spring in our steps as we wound around Lexington Road.
It’s funny. I’m sure it’s a common occurrence, but you never realize how many hills there are when you’re driving. They seem to spring up out of nowhere when you have to use your own horsepower to get up and down them.
At mile 4, I started to tire out. I’d been running at an unfamiliar pace, and weaving in and out of people had started to wear on me. I told Carrie to run ahead and not to hold back for me. She got about four steps ahead of me before I decided to just power through it and finish. When we crossed mile 5, I could tell we were both pushing hard.
We turned west on Main, and I could see the finish line from the Anthem 5K up ahead. I hadn’t done my research, so I asked Carrie if the finish line was the same for this race. To my dismay, it was a little farther. So we pushed on. We made it to Louisville Slugger Field, and supporters began to show up, signaling that the end had to be close. A Marine stood on the sidewalk, screaming, “Ooorah! Push! Push!” and we somehow picked up our pace.
When we turned by the baseball stadium, we could see the finish line. We powered through the last .2 miles and, as we crossed the finish line, I glanced at the clock – 1:03:35. This would be close.
Official chip time: 58:04.
Yeah! Not only had we run under an hour, we were almost two minutes under my goal! We were covered in sweat, but took a few minutes to pose for pictures.
Keep running, friends!