Sunday, May 12, 2013

Flying Pig Race Weekend - Marathon Report and Video

We were excited to be heading to Cincinnati for the Flying Pig Marathon race weekend. This was our first race since the terrible terrorist acts that took place at the Boston Marathon and I was apprehensive, but hopeful, at the same time. We got into town and immediately went to the Expo. It was huge! They had a big banner you could sign to show your support for Boston and they were selling Boston Strong wristbands and T-shirts with the proceeds going to the Boston Fund. I picked up a wristband and a shirt. There were a lot of Flying Pig branded items available for purchase. We were meeting a lot of friends from all over the country and were excited to keep running into them at the Expo. We all headed out for a nice dinner at Nicholson's Pub but didn’t stay out too late since we had races in the morning as well.

I had signed up for the 4-Way Challenge. This is named for an ordering style of Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili. The Challenge involved running on Saturday the 10k at 8am, followed by the 5k at 10 am, then running the full marathon on Sunday. Dave participated in the 10k. The only negative of the entire race series was the lack of port-o-potties for the 10k/5k start area. We were in a pretty long line and barely made it to the start. As I mentioned, this was our first race since Boston and we wondered what changes would be made. I was feeling good that morning, runners were out there and not being afraid. Unfortunately, I then saw a police officer in full combat gear carrying a machine gun. That brought me to tears. This is definitely going to be the new normal and I hate it.

Dave, Michael, and I decided to do the 10k together and we had fun. Michael and I would run ahead and then Dave would catch up on our walk breaks. We stopped for a lot of pictures and just had fun. Before we knew it, finish line #1 was in sight. We finished and Dave went back to the hotel and we circled back for the 5k. Eddie joined us after finishing the 10k and we all ran the 5k together with our other friend Richard. Again, we just took it easy and we crossed finish line # 2 for the day.

After the races we all hit up, what else, a brewpub. We had a yummy lunch and some delicious beers at Moerlein Lager House. Next it was back to the Expo. My foot was bothering me and I wanted to get it taped. Thankfully for Dave we left the Expo and went back to the hotel to relax a bit. It was Kentucky Derby day so we decided to head out to Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar to watch it. The place was empty, making it an enjoyable place to watch the race. We got some nice free beer glasses in the process for their Derby special. Dinner was at a great place right downtown, The Wine Guy Bistro.

Race morning was an early one. We had a 6:30 start. Michael, Eddie and myself were going to run the race together. The start was extremely moving. They started with a moment of silence for Boston and then played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. There was a beautiful sunrise that morning and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. For the start they played Sweet Caroline and we were all singing along as we crossed the start line. It was a truly moving experience.

The race started well. We crossed over into Kentucky and back in to Ohio. We ran through downtown and then around the outskirts. The course was hilly, but honestly after Knoxville, the hills really didn’t bother me. I was tired but I think it was more from just doing Knoxville the month before. My foot was really bothering me and for the first time in a race I took some Tylenol. It helped a bit, but it was still noticeable. Eddie and Michael were great. They kept me laughing. They both stopped for Graeter’s Ice Cream at Mile 16. I kept on going. I don’t know how they stomached that!

Along the way I kept my promise to high five the spectators as often as possible for Martin.

We saw Dave a bunch of times and I know he was frustrated that he didn’t see us more, but we all thought he did great. The day before Michael had signed us up for one more challenge. The Bacon Challenge. Oh my gosh, it almost killed me. You had to eat 3 pieces of bacon at mile 25.5. We get there and I was actually hungry and looking forward to it. Unfortunately this was the nastiest, fattiest, chewiest bacon. I almost choked on it. I was glad to move on from that one.

I was very happy to see the finish “swine”. Dave was up on a parking structure and got a great view of us coming in. The medals were cool and we got a very nice plaque to display our medals for completing the 4-way challenge.

I honestly can’t say enough about how great this race is. It was very well organized, had a great expo, great medals and premiums. The support on the course was amazing. Ample water and food stops. A stop with wet towels AND dry towels. I highly recommend it to anyone. I unfortunately can’t say the same for the 4-way Skyline Chili. We stopped there on the way home and it was NASTY!!!

Here's our video from Marathon day, along with our friend Eddie's video and then Dave's comments about race day. Our next post will have video from the 10K and a report from Dave on that race.

Dave's Comments

Before I get into the race day spectating I want to say I had the best meal at Wine Guy Bistro.   Tilapia with a papaya and mango, roasted asparagus, and these little crispy risotto cakes.  Since I wasn't in a race the next day I had a wine flight to go with it.

I think that Knoxville's race gave me a false sense of confidence. Since Knoxville's course was mostly open to traffic I could plan spectating stops every 2 or so miles. So when I mapped out this race, I built in 10+ stops. I moved the car to the outside of the course early then waited near Mile 1. I was able to get Starbucks easily. After all my friends in the race went by I headed a few blocks up to Mile 5. All the coffee places had huge lines - so no luck. After seeing Holly go by I went to the car and onto my planned route for mile 6.8. Well, since I only looked at the marathon map I had no idea my route was blocked by the differences in the half marathon course. Slight adjustments took me through the yet-to-be-revitalized parts of downtown. I also didn't realize my planned spectating spot was a suggested one by the race organization - so it was crowded and hard to park. I just got the tripod open and the camera turned on as Holly rounded the corner.

After the mile 10 spot my goal was to get the car from the outside of the course to the inside of the course. My plan (per google maps) was to cut through a high school parking lot. Great plan on paper, until you find out that the gates are locked on the side you are trying to get to. I got on the highway and figured out I missed them at my next spot. So I went to Whole Foods for coffee. When I got close to my mile 14 area viewing location I found they closed the roads blocks away from the course. When I checked my phone (I use Find My Friends) they had passed that point. So I sat at Mile 17 in the light rain and waited.

I was able to make it to Mile 20 ok, handed off the Oreo's to Eddie, and had a chat with a volunteer about the Oreo's. I decided to skip another view point in favor of getting a good parking spot by the finish and a beer. I found the upstairs viewing deck on my own (asked 3 folks how to get closer to the finish line from where I was and they were sending me on a 15 minute walk to get 200 feet) and waited for everyone to come in and finish. Overall 7 viewing locations isn't too bad.

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