Flying Pig Race Report: I ran up Mt Everest in Cincinnati!

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,

they had some fun giveaways including this handy duffle bag!

Check out the zipper’s tags!!

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.

As I was waiting for the elevator in the hotel, two other men, both runners, were also waiting and we started chatting. One of the men said, after looking at my bib, “Oh, you’re only doing the half?”

ONLY???

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?

Me: (said nonchalantly) Oh, I’m in corral A – the first one. (and then with a huge grin on my face) See ya later boys, have a great race! And I walked away chuckling. They had no response.

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!

Matt is a Cincinnati native and trains on this mountain of a course…and so thinks it totally normal to go for a PR on it.

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

Painted in one more state and hung one more medal & bib!! Only 35 more to go…hahahaha!!!

Happy Wednesday!!!

20 thoughts on “Flying Pig Race Report: I ran up Mt Everest in Cincinnati!

  1. Paul Long

    Great recap of my hometown race. And don’t forget, you entered Kentucky there at the start (where the old folks home is) so you can knock two states off your list with this one. And I know Matt and Tri State, my running group.

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  2. Chris

    I told you about the things to try but forgot to warn you about the hills in the middle (when I ran it I kept the thought in my head “don’t burn yourself out on the hills”) . I bet the humidity after the rain stopped also made the race pretty challenging! But you still had a good time, congrats!

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    1. 50statecanuck Post author

      Truth be told, even if you had warned me, I probably couldn’t have believe the hills were THAT bad lol!! The humidity was definitely an issue for the marathoners and half marathoners out for more than 2 hours. It was STICKY!!!

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  3. Sarah (@kickupastorm)

    Oh man, I had the same experience at Flying Pig. I had NO idea about the hills! I remember getting to the top of that big ass hill, looking down on the rest of the city, and thinking “Oh, well that explains it.” Hurts so good, right? Sometimes I think maybe I’ll go back and do it again, but I haven’t been able to talk myself into yet. Still my favorite race swag though, and I love this year’s shirt.

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    1. 50statecanuck Post author

      And how about when you’re running down the hill and you see the people running UP the hill on the other side, not knowing what hell still lies ahead of them?! lol!!

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  4. Guillaume (G)

    I love the fact the old people came out to cheer! That’s brilliant!
    I see on ur picture the winner was arriving just on 1h15!!!!! Crazy time on that course!

    Well done to you though! Not your fastest but great time still.

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  5. Kyle

    People: What race are you doing on Race Weekend
    Me: I’m doing the 10k
    People: You’re only doing the 10k? But you’re a runner and run a lot

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  6. Jim

    Nice recap Jane. My first ever half was known for its long rolling hills and short but straight up climbs. But, I didn’t know any better to do my research prior to the race. Those hills killed me. If it wasn’t for the many downhills, I would have never finished! haha It sounds like you had fun and had some adventure along the way. Plus, 8:00 minute mile is nothing to be ashamed of on this course, so great job! It sure sucks as you’re in the middle of it, but once you’re done, it feels so good. What’s your next race planned? Have a great day my friend! 🙂

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    1. 50statecanuck Post author

      Haha – thanks, Jim! It certainly did suck in the middle of it!! Haha!! Yes, my time is totally respectable…it’s that it hurt WAY MORE than an 8 min/mile should hurt me right now!! lol!
      I’m not sure what my next race will be…it will be local though – meaning, in my own country lol. I’m going to Africa on vacation for new years 2017 and need to save money for this trip!! 🙂

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  7. rundoodlerun

    Awesome job! Especially considering the conditions! I never would’ve guessed that Cincinnati would be that hilly – I’ve never heard anyone say anything about hills on tha course.

    That looks a lot like the Baltimore Half elevation – I might have to try it sometime! I love hills 😉

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  8. Pingback: Cincinnati Adventures: a Big Boy, a harrowing descent into the underground, baseball trivia and bobblehead…well, you’ll see! | 50statecanuck

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