Well, I completed my 15th state with this past weekend’s Flying Pig half marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also almost died this past weekend.
WHY DIDN’T ANYONE PROPERLY WARN ME?!
That is the elevation graph from my Garmin. Yeah, basically, you run up a mountain and down the other side…and innocently call it a half marathon. Just to note, the elevation of Boston’s infamous Heartbreak Hill is 90m. I have long ago forgotten any pain felt on Heartbreak. I will NEVER forget Flying Pig’s Everest.
But let’s back it up a bit. As per usual, I will post about the weekend’s touristing adventures (and spoiler alert – Cincinnati is a GREAT place!!) in another post, and this post will focus on the race.
I picked up my race kit Saturday evening and was impressed with the expo – lots of vendors and in addition to the standard technical race shirt,
The weather forecast for this past weekend was not good (to put it mildly) with guarantees of rain and thunderstorms all weekend long – particularly during the race Sunday morning. It rained all day Saturday and on Sunday morning, as I was getting ready to head to the race, it was raining (with thunder and lightning still in the forecast for that morning).
On Saturday night I had to put out my race gear with options depending on how cold/rainy/muggy it was going to be – tank or t-shirt, poncho, reflective blanket, sleeves, mitts – ahhhh!
In the end I went with a tank top and sleeves that I could take off and discard (which I did). I wore my compression socks ONLY to prevent blisters and wounds from bits of dirt from the rain getting getting in my shoe and in my sock (this happened in Atlanta last summer). And I wore this poncho to the start line.
I politely smiled and said yes.
But what I wanted to say is, “F you. You don’t know me, you don’t know my story. You don’t know if this is my very first half marathon that I have feverishly been training for, that I’m so proud of, you don’t know if I’m a seasoned runner going for PR today, YOU DON’T KNOW the journey that has brought me here. So how DARE you refer to it as “only” a half marathon”.
But don’t worry I got the final word in. We ended up arriving at the starting area together and, with 11,000 people, in the dark and rain, it was a bit confusing to figure out where your corral was. Because of their snooty comment to me at the elevator, I thought that they must be faster runners and, as I was in the front one, we might be in the same one…
Me: Hey, what corral are you guys in, maybe we can figure out where ours is together?
Them: We’re corral D & F. What about you?
Anyway, found my corral and was in it with 15 minutes until gun time – woohoo! AND, guess what?! The rain stopped!!! With 45 seconds until go time, I took off my poncho (it was keeping me warm) and then headed out across the start line with the stampede when we were given the go-ahead!
And really, everything was relatively good until mile 6. The course was well marked, there were well organized water stations every mile and OMG the crowds support was amazing!! At one point we passed a retirement home and all the old ladies were out front in their wheelchairs and walkers hooting and hollering at us (literally) and holding signs that read things like, “Hurry up, I’m going to miss Bingo!” and “Hurry up, it’s almost my nap time!”. They totally made me laugh out loud!
But let’s be clear, it’s not as though this part of the course is flat, no, there are rolling hills…but they are child’s play once you enter the death zone at mile 6. This is where you start climbing a
hill mountain that, and I’m not kidding, doesn’t end for 3 miles. My neck hurt by the end of it from having to tilt my head to see up in front of me! The only fun memory I have from that hill was a spectator standing on the side, dressed in pink camo, and holding a pink cut-out of the letter F, saying calmly into a megaphone: “Get F up the hill” over and over again.
It cracked me up. I probably had decreased oxygen levels in my brain at this point.
Other than that, the rest of the time on this hill I promised myself that not only would I never race again, I would never RUN again. Because this was just stupid. And horrible. And the worst ever.
Lol. I can be dramatic at times. But I was dead serious on Sunday.
I had some hope that once I reached the downhill portion I could just fly myself down to the finish line but, no, my legs were having NONE. OF. THAT. I think the only reason I made it was because of gravity.
In addition to never being so happy to cross a finish line in my life, I also totally loved this finish SWINE! lol!!
Picked up my medal – so cool, no?! And I so wish I had more of a stomach to have enjoyed the TONS AND TONS AND TONS of free food that was on offer. It was incredible!!! But all I could convince myself to grab was a banana, water and some granola bars.
Then I made my way over through the maze of merchandise tents and entertainment to find Twitter friend Matt so I could actually meet him face to face!
And while he got his PR, he missed sub 1:30 by about 30 seconds!! THAT IS AGONY!!! And, almost worse, is that there is discussion that the course was around 200m long…it would have taken him less than 30 seconds to run 200m #justsayin
As for me – my time was one of the slowest I’ve posted in years but when I look at the overall, gender and division placing, I’m pretty damn proud of myself.
(for the record, when my Garmin hit 13.1 miles, it read: 1:43:25…I crossed the finish line at a distance of 13.38 miles)
My thoughts on the race now that I’m 72 hours post torture?
Cincinnati’s Flying Pig is an AMAZING race. Well organized, great expo, incredible crowd support, great medal, great post-race food, drink & entertainment. I would recommend it to anyone (with full warning about the mountain).
But, I will NEVER EVER do it again and I couldn’t be happier about that. lol