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.|
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 pace.....man 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 am.....my 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.