The Road to 50k: Back To Bockfest

“It is my design to die in the brew-house; let ale be placed to my mouth when I am expiring so that when the choir of angels come they may say: ‘Be God propitious to this drinker.’”

— St. Columbanus (AD 612)

This weekend marked the return of Cincinnati’s Bockfest, an annual series of events that celebrate the coming of Lent and – eventually – spring. It’s Zinzinnati’s German Catholic heritage at its finest and the festivities begin with a delightfully absurd parade on Friday evening that’s filled with monks on Segways, sausage queens and Krampus carts, goats and goatmen, and casks of blessed bock beer. It’s Old World weirdness at its very best.

For Cincinnati’s running community, the centerpiece of the weekend is Saturday morning’s Bockfest 5k, the first of an annual three-part race series that centers on the Queen City’s brewing history. The course takes runners for a quick jaunt through Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district before supplying them with copious amounts of high ABV bock beer. What’s not to like?

The spoils from 2019's Bockfest 5k.
The spoils from 2019’s Bockfest 5k.

Since my Saturday mornings are already devoted to BERunProject’s weekly long runs, Bockfest 2019 translated into an earlier-than-normal start for a nearly 16 mile run that led directly to the start of the 5k. This isn’t the first time I’ve done a long run directly before racing this specific 5k, but this year marked the highest mileage I’ve ever reached before a 5K. At the end of the morning, I ended up with 18.85 miles (why didn’t I just run that extra .15 to get to 19?!?), which included a 24:26 minute 5k at the end. While that’s a pretty sub-standard 5k time for me, and I wasn’t trying to “race” the course of the 5k, it ended up being one of the best 18-19 milers I’ve ever run. That’s encouraging to see roughly one month out from the Forget the PR Mohican 50k on April 6. I ran my last 20-miler back on Sept. 29, 2018, at a much slower average pace of 8:51 per mile. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t spent enough time on the trails this training season, but I’m very happy with the progress of my road running.

bockfestfinish2019

Runners from Beyond Exercise made a strong showing in the race, which you can view for yourself thanks to this footage captured by Andrew Kennedy:

Cincinnati’s TQL Race Series continues on May 3rd with the Little Kings 50 West Mile (recently rebranded!), which happens to be the very first race I ever ran. I haven’t run that race in many years, but it should be a walk in the park next to a nearly 19 mile 5k.

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