**Sorry in advance for how long it is - it was a busy weekend!
We left late Friday night, because we didn't want to skip puppy class. Waffles is brat, and really needs the class. Plus, she gets to stay late and play with the trainer's dog because they are the same size, and i secretly hope he might teach her something. She learned how to sit, which was awesome, but she also ripped into a bag of dog food in one of the aisles during the class, which was incredibly embarrassing.
We left Chicago at about 9, and had a 5 hour drive ahead of us (plus one time zone change) We were in a rush to get there, because it turns out Matt's race was on Saturday, not Sunday. Because he needed the sleep to rock the Flying Pig 10k, i drove. It's important to mention that i am fast asleep by 10:30 most nights. Maybe 11 if i get really crazy. In order to stay up until 3 am without killing Matt and Waffles in a fiery car wreck, i consumed both a 5 hour energy, and a redbull. (saturday morning felt worse than any hangover i have ever had! how do people drink that stuff???) I got us to Cincy at about 3am, allowing me three hours of sleep before we had to get up to get Matt to his race.
Matt's dad, myself and waffles went to cheer Matt on. It was cool and drizzling, and i would be lying if i said i wasn't super jealous - perfect running weather in my book. Matt did great, and ran his race in about 54 minutes! Matt's Dad was having a blast being a puppy grandpa and walked waffles around the entire time, so i could take these awesomely blurry action shots of Matt.
After his race, i had a HUGE breakfast, and we went to the expo. This expo was CRAZY. I thought the shamrock shuffle was over the top, but this was larger than life. P&G sponsors the flying pig, and they had a huge sample area where they were giving away rolls of toilet paper, toothbrushes, diapers, etc. There was a line, and Matt refused to wait. But seriously, if you have an hour to kill, its basically like super market sweep.
|It's pigippides! The ancient greek pig who first ran the marathon!|
I woke up at 5am (4am chicago time - ouch!) I got dressed, had some coffee and a luna bar, and took some salt stick tabs. The race had already been yellow flagged because
Then we turned onto Gilbert Ave, and proceeded to run up a f***ing mountain for three miles. This is where i started to lose it. I knew it was going to be hard, but i never in a million years imagined it would be that hard. Part of me died on that hill, but i like to think it was the weak part. At least 3 times someone told me i was at the top and it was all down hill. Each time it was a lie. By the third time it happened i called the lady out for being a god damn liar. I get so bitchy when i'm tired. The main hill was about two miles of awful, followed by shorter, steeper hills. What. is. wrong. with. you. Cincinnati????
My mantras for this race was "You bitches are crazy" up until i started to feel sick, when it became "at least i didn't sign up for the full marathon..."
At about mile 10, i was basically in blackout mode, but i remember going downhill. And people playing the beastie boys. My plan had been to book it and gain back some of time i lost, but i had nothing left. My knee felt like it was on fire (maybe from the uphill?) and i was burning up. I took water and gatorade at every single aid station and it just wasn't enough. I tried to take my pulse, but i forgot how to count. I knew i was struggling though and just shuffled along at a slow but safe pace. I started to see collapsed runners, and vowed not to be one of them, even if i ended up with a three hour finishing time. I had brought a gel, but i was so nauseous the second half of the race that i couldn't stomach it (it was like Get Lucky all over again, only without Kelly to keep me going!) The last two miles were flat, but in full sun. This was the point i had to walk/run until the finish. This was also when people stopped telling me i looked cute, and just started telling me if i finish it, it will be over. I saw Matt and waffles again at mile 12, and was near tears. I hugged waffles and gave matt my uneaten gel.** I spent the last mile dry heaving my way to the finish line. It was pretty rough. My final time was 2:09:something.
** Apparently Matt ate the gel because "it was open" and going to make a mess. He said it was disgusting and threw it away, thus WASTING my gel. When i asked how it had gotten opened, he admitted to opening it because he was hungry. Seriously?
I was pretty sad that i had yet another shitty race plagued by heat. I really think i could be a good runner someday if i could choose a race that isn't yellow flagged. I took extra measures to be as safe as possible on this race, but i still finished it about 5lbs lighter than i started. I really maintain that it was a huge success for me however, because it is a hard course, and it was really hot. My time wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible either, and i now have this experience to benchmark all my other races (spoiler: every other race will seem easy.)
The cost: It's pricey unless you register early, but there are a lot of perks, and i feel like i got more than what i paid for.
The destination: Despite my hatred of skyline chili and the Cincinnati reds, i really like visiting Cincy - It's a really fun big small town.
The weather: Unpredictable. Last year it rained, some years its freezing. This was the hottest year for the pig ever. Also, Cincy is ALWAYS humid, and somewhat of an allergy nightmare.
The course: It's hard. The hardest race i have ever run, by a significant amount. But maybe i just choose easy races. I can tell you, there is nowhere in Chicago to properly train for those hills. Could i have gotten a better time? Maybe. But that it is for another day. I have a marathon in two weeks to get ready for.
|Doesn't look bad at all on here. When you see it in person you WILL PEE YOURSELF.|
The crowd: So amazing. Those people are amazing. I don't think i ran more than 100 feet without someone cheering me on. Best crowds i have ever seen.
The finish: The medal is amazing. My favorite is the pig butt on the back of the medal. An extra perk is that each race (5k, 10k, half, full) has a unique medal.
Support: I know that Cincy can't control the weather, but they sure know how to prepare for it. Other than emails warning me about what to wear and how to cope, they added extra water stations. Thank god.
Food at the End: Tons! I used my mylar blanket as a hobo satchel (like i needed to keep warm?) and left with protien bars, fruit, a bagel, hohos, gogurt, chips, dried fruit! It was amazing! SO MUCH FOOD!!
Overall: I know it's not close to Chicago, but its not far either. This is not an easy race even in perfect conditions. It takes a lot of tough stuff, a lot of which i realized i am missing half way through. There is a reason why Cincy runners always win the pig - they are the few people who can handle those hills! As painful as it was, it was a great time - especially the first 6 miles before it got really, really hot. In fact i was really feeling like this could be my race for the first half!
Will i ever run it again? When pigs fly. Which is May 5th, 2013. (i don't know about the full though, i might need a couple years!) Whose coming with me?