March 19, 2011

Cincinnati's Bridges

9.3 - that was the mileage on this morning's Half Marathon training run that covered Northern Kentucky and downtown Cincinnati. It was a beautiful morning and a great day to get out before the sun came up to take in some of the lovely sights in the Queen City. The thing about running in Cincinnati is that you'll no doubt find yourself pounding up and down some hills and what some people don't realize is that almost any bridge is actually a big hill. So when you set out to run 9.3 miles and you look at the route laid out by the running coach and you see 5 bridges on the turn by turn directions, there's a bit of an "ugh" feeling that sets in before you even start your first mile.Alas, I pushed ahead and got moving across the first bridge - The Purple People Bridge - this is a pedestrian only bridge, so it's a nice smooth concrete surface to run along. The bridge goes between Newport, KY and the east side of Cincinnati's downtown area, near the some popular park areas called Sawyer Point and Yeatman's Cove. On most of our runs, this is usually the first bridge we cross, so it's always challenging to start on a hill, but overall I don't find this bridge too tough to handle. Up next, the Taylor-Southgate Bridge - this is the bridge that I find gives me the most trouble. It's 850 meters, which is similar to the others, but for some reason it kicks my butt every time I cross it. And today, we had to cross it twice (gasp) - on the way out and on the way back - but I made it, thankfully. One awesome moment from today's run while on the bridge was that the sun was coming up right beyond the bridge, so it was a bit easier to focus on the beauty of that image rather than the pain my legs were feeling while running the bridge.

Bridge number 3 was the Licking River Bridge (click link for photo). This one runs over the Licking River in Northern Ky and there's a long gradual hill leading up the this bridge, so it's never fun to cross this one and the pedestrian lane is pretty skinny along this bridge which is well depicted in the photo link.
The fourth bridge of today's run was the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge (the far left bridge in the photo). This one is pretty challenging, however I really like this bridge because of the views it gives you of downtown Cincinnati. It runs between Covington and downtown Cincy and it's right next to the home of the Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium, so when it's football season, you might be able to catch the players out on the practice field.

So, there you have it - a quick tour of some of the bridges spanning the Ohio River that I traveled on by foot this morning. While very challenging, there's a part of me that enjoys the up and downs of the bridges. Usually the down part is my favorite but hey no big surprise there because who doesn't love a downhill!

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