Having just officially registered for the Flying Pig 5K yesterday, I was eager to get back to the River and stalk the path of "the Pig"! A week before what is the Super Bowl of Tri-State running, I wanted to see if my training at Five Seasons had put me within range of completing my goal of 3.11 miles in under 50 minutes.
So it was back to Newport on the Levee--the Rock of the Ohio River, with its picturesque vantage point of the Cincinnati skyline--as the starting line of a 3.9 mile loop both sides of the river. With my mentor, "Ol' Giant Strides" Joseph Pinnell--a true go-getter who had just ran the loop before meeting me--we set off across the Purple People Bridge, half closed and full of workers, already preparing for the Flying Pig, hanging sponsors banners on the bridge's trusses.
Descending from the bridge deck, we speed walked into a Yeatman's Cove Park bustling with activity and even now filled with Pig booth tents. It happened to be the Cincinnati Walk MS, a very well turned out event for a most deserving cause. But with the throngs of the charitably fit ambling along on a cool, spring day, we experienced some seriously slow bunching--the bane of the personal record seeker. Like Peyton Manning calling an audible, Joseph lead me across the lawn, and it was clear walking on an empty path.
Leaving Yeatman's Cove, we walked west on Mehring Way, plowing through the Walk MS parade and passing U.S. Bank Arena and Great American Ballpark. Between the Reds' home field and Paul Brown Stadium is the Smale Riverfront Park, a green space under construction that promises to join the row of Cincinnati's beautiful riverfront parks. Around Elm and then Freedom Way, we crossed the river on the historic John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. Completed in 1866, it was engineer Roebling's precursor to the Brooklyn Bridge.
|Wright on the Roebling|
Back in Kentucky we walked along the riverfront in Covington's millionaire row: Stately older houses, with a perfect view of the river and Cincinnati. Along the way there were bronze statues--Roebling showing off his bridge; an African American man reading a book on a bench; and John James Audubon sketching one of his famous birds--and historic plaques commemorating Civil War events: items one would never see unless one walked along the river side.
We wound our way through the a corner of Covington and crossed a bridge over Licking River--which was hosting a rowing competition--making our way back to Newport, and entering General James Taylor Park. The paved path follows high atop the narrow spine of a berm which, looking around, gave me the feeling that I was walking on air. This coupled with the realization that I was under my goal time splits and seeing the Rock in the short distance, I was enlivened and felt like a million bucks.
'Goal accomplished!' I thought. 'Can't walk much faster, let me try a run!' I asked Joseph to set a ten-minute mile pace--which would meet my goal of besting my personal record mile of 11:11--and we began what to me felt like a sprint. 'Keep going, keeping going!' I urged myself. After what felt like an hour, but was at best a minute, I return to my walk. Only ten of those in a row and I'll have done it! Oh boy!! Something to work up to!!!
Returning to the Levee having indeed met my goal time was most reassuring. With a whole week before the big race I just have to continue eating healthy and not try any new joint wrenching exercises. I wish the Pig was tomorrow!