Thursday morning Chris instant messaged me at work. “Brit, do you want to run the Flying Pig this weekend?”
The Flying Pig is a series of races, 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon and there were still spots open in each race.
Before I knew it, I was standing in the registration booth in Cincinnati signing up for a marathon the following day.
Chris is that guy who is very charming, so charming that people, me included, seem to go along with all of his crazy ideas. This was no exception.
After signing up for the race, we bummed around Cincinnati a bit. The downtown is not a particularly interesting or impressive neighborhood, especially considering that many places were closed because it was the weekend. We had some Chipotle for lunch, went back to our hotel for a nap, then had Rock Bottom for an early dinner. I think it is the only time that I have ever been to a Rock Bottom and did not order a beer.
I was asleep by 6pm trying to make sure that I got enough sleep before waking up at 4:30 for the race. It turns out that waking up at 4:30 does not seem like a good idea no matter how early you go to bed.
We woke up to heavy rains and sporadic lightning. The local newscasters kept threatening that the race would be cancelled. Fortunately they were wrong, but I kept thinking back to what had happened to the racers in Nashville a week earlier.
It turned out that our rain was a blessing. Between the rain and the breeze, I stayed cool enough to run a decent race. I think the temperature was very similar to the temperature in Louisville last week, but this felt a million times better!
I think it also helped that wore my vented “Alaska, way bigger than Texas!” hat which kept my head cooler than my non-vented Penn State hat. I should really invest in a running hat, but I don’t need one all that often, usually if it rains I just run inside.
We left the hotel around 6am to head to the “Starting Swine”, haha, for the 6:30 start. It took a full 15 minutes to actually cross the line, probably because people were slow in ditching their garbage bag ponchos in a huge pile in the middle of the road.
When we finally got started, it became evident that we were so far back in the pack that we were surrounded by people intending to walk the entire half marathon. We spent the first three miles or so cutting back and forth around them until the crowd thinned a bit.
Miles five through eight had some serious hills, but we tried to focus on maintaining the same effort level from the first few miles regardless of the pace. Thankfully the pace didn’t suffer much and neither did my legs.
We got some flat and downhill relief from miles nine and ten before another killer hill on mile eleven. Things were looking good after that!
Special thanks to the beer tent during mile fourteen! I did not drink my beer because I didn’t know what it would to do my stomach, but Chris was happy to have his and mine as well!
Mile seventeen had another killer hill. You would never guess it from the elevation map, but it was a doozie! That was the only portion of the race that I walked, about 30 seconds of that hill. I was against walking it, but thankfully Chris talked me into it. That hill surely could have killed my legs at that point!
Right before mile eighteen was the Penn State Gu tent! “We are!”…”Penn State!” I had a great time cheering with you guys! It really lifted my spirits and gave me energy to power through the next few miles which was really important because just after the eighteen mile marker, Chris and I parted ways until the finish.
The last eight miles were uneventful. I got to mile 20 by thinking “Just two more miles until you eat your last Gu, then it is the home stretch.”
After mile 20, I just concentrated on doing my standard Tuesday morning run. Six miles, you do this all the time no problem.
Thankfully the crowd support was awesome for the last few miles, which easily carried me through to the “Finish Swine” and a new PR. Granted a slow one, but I’ll take it!
Chip time: 4:28:29, Pace 10:15/mile