It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

May 08, 2012

When Pigs Fly!

What a great weekend!  Sunday was the Flying Pig Marathon (Half Marathon for me)in Cincinnati, OH.  As I've posted lately, work has just been insane crazy and I haven't had a full day off in close to a month, so I couldn't have been more excited to get away for a weekend and have 3 1/2 days off work!!  

I worked half a day Friday, and then Jim and I took off toward Cincinnati on Friday afternoon.  Since we didn't get going until about 2pm, we only drove to Indianapolis Friday night (about an 8 hour drive) and then drove into Cincy on Sat.  We took our time Sat, not having a set schedule.  We got up and had some breakfast, then drove into downtown Indy just to have a look around.  Then we finally headed in to Cincinnati and headed straight to the Flying Pig Expo. 

The expo was great!  Very similar to other expos at larger races, but still fun.  There were plenty of pigs everywhere and of course Jim and I couldn't resist the opportunity to "ham" it up for the camera.  Proctor and Gamble is the major sponsor for the race and had lots of free samples to hand out.  There was quite the line for some dish soap and tooth brushes.  And of course, the chance to photograph yourself on a giant toilet.

Grossest picture ever?????  Yes, probably.
After we walked around the expo for awhile, I called my friend Coy of First in Philly to see how close she was to the expo.  She was only about 30 minutes away, so we decided to wait for her at the expo instead of meeting up later.  I was sooooo excited to see Coy!  We've become great friends since we met up last October at the MO' Cowbell half marathon, literally texting, e-mailing or calling each other pretty much every day.  Coy finally made it, so we ending up going through the expo again for round #2.  As we were about to leave the expo, we also got a call from Jeff at Detroit Runner who had just gotten to the expo.  So we got a chance to meet him and chat for awhile and snap a pic.  It's always pretty cool to finally meet bloggers in person. 

We finally headed out of the expo and went to find some dinner.  I think Jim and I were at the expo for 4 hours!!  We went to a cool little river front area with shopping, dining and a movie theatre.  We ate at Brio, which is a great Italian restaurant.  We have one in Kansas City, so it wasn't anything new, but it was still good.  After dinner we headed over to the movies to see The Avengers.  Which was AWESOME by the way!!  The movie was long though around 2 1/2 hours so we didn't end up getting to the hotel to check in until around 10:30.  This was kind of a bad idea.  We were tired, and we would be getting up very, very early.

The Flying Pig starts at 6:30 am, so we were planning to leave the hotel at 5:15 am to get there plenty early.  That meant getting up at 4:15 - which is pretty normal for me, but since we didn't get in bed until after 11pm - it made for a very early morning.  Going into a race with limited sleep is probably never a very good idea.

I got up and dragged my lifeless body out of bed and got ready.  We of course, couldn't do a race without the pre-race dance party however.  Our friend Coy was invited to join in the party, which she gladly accepted.  I think she might be crazier than we are.  Coy added a whole new dimension to the pre-race dance.  We got a few weird stares from other runners trying to get in the elevator.

I have no idea what is going on here.  Is she rubbing my ear and picking her nose?

Finally, it was race time.  I knew going into this race this one going to be one to do just for "fun".  I had recently set my half marathon PR, and I knew I had no chance for a PR on this course and that was ok.  The course is super hilly.  It pretty much goes up hill for the first 9 miles.  It was also going to be hot and humid.  It was about 65 degrees at race start and close to about 75 by the time we finished, which isn't that bad, but the humidity was near 90%. 

Coy and I both had to go to the potty shortly before the race, so we got in line thinking that if the race started people would clear out.....they didn't.  We ended up still being in line well after the race started.  When we got out of the porta potty, there was pretty much no one around.  It was really weird to start a race at the very end like that.  We ran for awhile without really seeing many other runners, but then we caught up to the back of the pack.  The first several miles were tough trying to work ourselves around the walkers and finally catch up to the other runners.  The first mile I was really struggling.  I felt like I was working so hard.  I looked down at my Garmin expecting to realize that we were doing like a 9:30 pace or something, only to see an 11:25 average I was working really hard for that kind of pace.  The humidity gets me every time.  Our first 2 miles were pretty slow as I tried to acclimate to the heat and humidity, but then we got moving in miles 3 and 4, but then came the BIG HILLS. There was a pretty good size hill at 5, with a nice downhill, but they from 6-10 it's climbing, climbing and more climbing.  I had to stop and walk a few times during some of those super climbs.  I am not a good hill runner at all.  We have alot of hills in Kansas City, but I struggle on them here too and end up walking them more than I'd like.

Finally, at around mile 10 you start the decline.  But after climbing so much, it's a pretty significant downhill.  Aerobically that's great, but it was absolutely burning up my quads, which had already been worked pretty hard.  We gained some momentum in miles 11 and 12, but I paid for it in the last mile. I was hurting - bad in mile 13.  My quads were dead, and I felt like I had nothing left and even had to stop and walk a couple of times in that last mile.  I like to finish strong at the end of the race, but I had nothing left.  The heat, humidity and hills, had got me.  We crossed the finish line and I have to admit I was glad to be done. 

It was a "long" race too, registering 13.44 on my Garmin.  I knew I was in trouble when at mile 1 my Garmin was already at 1.06.  An extra .33 miles is alot, but there was a ton of weaving in and out of people during those first several miles.  But in the end I finished in 2:31 so I was good with that considering the hills and weather and considering I hadn't broken 2:30 for a half marathon prior to February of this year.  So it ended up being my 3rd fastest half and I did have 4 miles in the 10:30s.

Check out that elevation and climb.

We got our medal, which is awesome with the Pig face on the front and the Pig butt on the back.  Then I grabbed some food - yummy stuff too - swiss cake rolls and potato chips...just what the doctor ordered after a tough race.  After the race we had about a mile walk back to the car.  My legs were just dead.  I knew I was going to be sore the next day - especially after a 10 hour drive home.  And I quads are still sore!

 Overall, it was a wonderful race.  The expo, shirt, medal are awesome!  You also get a poster and a duffel bag.  The volunteers were some of the best I have ever experienced at a race.  They were so encouraging and supportive.  Everyone was so friendly and excited to have you there.  Even our hotel staff clapped for us as we walked back in the door after the race.  It was a great added touch.   The crowd support was also wonderful.  There were people pretty much every step of the race.  The route itself isn't super exciting, and it is a hilly course, but I would still highly recommend this race to anyone. 


  1. Nice race and great report. Looks like you had a great time with lots of fun. I think it is very important to have fun races and weekends like this. It makes running even more special.

  2. Welcome to Ohio!! Congrats on the race, too bad I picked the wrong race

  3. great recap, Michael.......everyone who had run the Pig raves about it, but also comments on the difficulty of the course and the humidity, but it seems like you managed it very well. Kansas City is definitely not flat (I was there last July and ran from downtown out past the World War 1 Memorial.....nice hill there!) and can be VERY humid, so I think you might have had an advantage there! I'd love to run the Pig someday, but Cincy is a long way from Boston.....we'll see. Glad to see you had such a wonderful time!

  4. Those pics were great...looked like you really had a good time. I grew up about 2 hours couth of place! did you get to kings Island at all???

    fun race weekends are such a thrill...especially when you share them with family ;) Great job on the race!

  5. Great job on another successful 1/2! You are just killing that distance. It sounds like such a fun race weekend.

  6. Those are some epic dance moves! Looks like you had too much fun. 2:31 is nothing to sneeze at with a course that hilly - way to go!

  7. What a great weekend huh!? I still can't get over coming out of the porta potty and everyone being gone HAHAHAHA!!!

  8. Sounds like a great race!! Nice finish!

  9. Great job! I love the medal also!

  10. I can't decide if the giant toilet is gross or hilarious. Which means it's probably both.

    Great job!

  11. Its so cool that you can drive to these events across states. That is something that you cannot do here in the islands.

    I love the photos. The giant toilet and the dance pictures are funny.

    Hey, you did a good job with the race with all those hills.

  12. I've heard that's a fun race, and I'm so glad you were able to get away from work for it. Great job!

  13. I want that medal! That is the best!
    IF I was at an Expo for four hours I would have to hitch hike home as I would have no money for gas!

    Good job on the race. Very good job!

  14. Great Job Michael - your time is awesome given the conditions!! I enjoyed meeting you, Jim and Coy. You guys are crazy! Haha!

  15. That medal is great! It's almost worth doing all those uphills to get one. Well done on a great result.

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  18. Sounds so dang fuN! Oh my gosh you and Coy look adorable. Michael you look freaking amazing and so dang thin. Wow you are so pretty! That husband of yours is seriously lucky. :)

    You ran great considering the humidity and I am very excited to watch you Summer of racing. You are definitely going to set some new PRs and even get that sub-30. I have faith in you!

  19. Very cool medal! And how great to be able to meet some other bloggers in person! Looks like a fabulous time! Congratulations!!!!

  20. Love that the dance party was in the hall of the hotel. That's amazing.

    And the medal looks awesome.