Accountability first! Current weight: 252.3 as of 5/2. I ran a lot in Cincinnati…but I also ate quite a bit too.
And…I had a couple of beers.
Annnd…some Kentucky bourbon.
Do I regret it? Nah. I was in Cincy and I wanted to try all the local foods and adult beverages that the ‘Nati and Kentucky (sits right across the bridge from Cincinnati) are known for.
Back on the grind though.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the race weekend report.
So, I apologize for it being a day late but I was EXHAUSTED from this past weekend’s activities and the 18 hours of travel it took to get from Pennsylvania to Ohio and back. I thought I would wake up on Monday, refreshed and ready to get stuff done, but we didn’t pull up in front of my house until 2:30 am and my body said “you. are. resting.” The reality of being 43 and not 23 hit me like a ton of bricks and my bed held me hostage for most of the day. As for the rest of the week – life happened. Definitely wanted to get this out to you before it become too old news.
I briefly explained in my previous post what my personal draw was to this race. (Fun, festive race atmosphere) Let me take a minute to tell you about the race itself for those who might not be familiar with The Pig and might be reading this / considering running it in the future.
The Flying Pig has a 5k race, 10k race, half-marathon and a full marathon. You can run the 5k and 10k individually or together on Saturday and either the half or full on Sunday. If you so choose, you can participate in the “challenge” where you run the 5k, 10k and the half-marathon (the “3-way challenge”) or the 5k, 10k and full marathon. (the “4-way challenge) If you want the “extra-cheese,” you add the Little Kings one-mile race on Friday for about $25 more. The benefit to all of this? Swag and medals of course! DUH! Each race has its own t-shirt and medal and if you complete either the 3-way or 4-way challenge you get a separate shirt appropriate to your challenge and another medal. If you participated in the “extra cheese,” you get another medal, t-shirt and plaque to mount all of your medals on at the completion of race weekend.
Road runners tend to like medals and swag. The folks who make the decisions in regards to the Pig are apparently acutely aware of this fact and subsequently make sure you get A LOT of both.
I traveled to Cincinnati for race weekend with two of the guys who I started this whole running journey with: my friend Marcus, who as I have mentioned before has been my compadre for over 15 years and my boy Frank who works with me, got me started on trail running and is usually my pacing partner on long runs. We are all members of the same running groups online, run races together before multiple times in real life and are all of a relatively similar temperament, so 18 hours in a van wasn’t going to be too difficult.
My Uber picked me up from my house early and had me at Frank’s house around 7:30 or so. When we got to Frank’s door, Frank was already waiting for me in his car. We shot over to the rental spot and selected a van for the trip. Primary concern: audio capability. Because road trips need epic soundtracks…and epic soundtracks playing back on Fisher-Price-level speakers = not epic.
We picked up Marcus from his house and got on the road. Nothing much to report here. The trip was mostly uneventful. We had figured on a nine-hour commute. We had gotten to a later start than I had initially anticipated and we ended up paying the price for that as far as time was concerned because we had to make it in time to get to the race expo before it closed in order to pick up our race bibs/swag for the 5k and 10k on Saturday and we also had to be in town early enough to get Marcus to the start of the Little King’s one-mile race a.k.a. the “extra cheese” race. Expo was due to close at 7pm and we hit traffic around 5:30 outside of Columbus. It was a blessing for all of us that my friend Staci who I had been in contact with during most of the trip, was already in Cincinnati and was on her way to the expo with some more people who I knew. She was in town to run the race as well and offered to pick up our stuff from expo because she’s cooler than the other side of the pillow. With that off our minds, we were able to relax a little bit more but we still drove with extra pep to get to expo on GP.
We got to expo with just fifteen minutes to spare. We made our way inside to get a quick “once over” to decide what to hit on Saturday after the races when we would have more time to explore. As we were walking in, I noticed a really short man in a suit and tie. I mean…REALLY short. Bald. Wearing a medal around his neck. He looked familiar, but I just couldn’t place where from. I mentally chalked it up to coincidence when Marcus leaned in and said “yo…is that Meb?” I didn’t really hear nor process his question fully so I uttered something like my standard “nah bruh.” Once I got inside the expo and REALLY thought about his question and the way the man looked…I realized that it WAS Meb! Or at least it HAD been. I guess that I just didn’t expect him to be my 10-year-old son’s height in real life. It was at that point that Staci got in contact with me, got me out of my stupor and we linked up to get our stuff from her and headed over to the finisher’s area of the Little Kings Mile.
#UnimpressedStaci with all of our race swag.
The Little King’s Mile.
Once at the LKM, Marcus and Staci boarded a bus to take them over to the where the race actually started while Frank and I went to a bar with outdoor seating that overlooked the finish line. I was supposed to run the LKM as well…but due to procrastination on my part, registered too late. Womp womp.
The finish line for the LKM is on Joe Knuxhall way which runs right under the Roebling Bridge that runs over the Ohio River and connects Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky. The area itself is a beautiful waterfront and the bridge itself is stunning. If you are a fan of running near some scenery and near water like I am, then you won’t be disappointed. The race itself seems to attract folks who just want to walk and relax during the whole thing and folks who are looking to burn it up as well. (As evidenced by the winner of the elite stage who ran the mile in something ridiculous like 4:22.) The race medal this year doubled as a bottle opener, which only served as impetus to kick myself even harder for not entering. If you decide to come and do ANY of the races during the weekend of the Pig, make sure you add this race to your agenda. It’s only $25 extra, sweet swag, you can do it at your own pace and you really can’t beat the views and vibes. I watched Marcus, Staci and a bunch more of my people finish from my perch at the outdoor area of the bar with some cold, double dark local brew in hand and thought “this is going to be a really good weekend.
After the Little King’s Mile with some good people. The Roebling bridge into Kentucky is right behind us.
10k, 5k and Half-Marathon
The huge thing that was weighing on everyone’s mind during the weekend was the weather. Forecasts predicted chilly, rainy conditions on Saturday (the day of the 10k and 5, respectively) and rain with the possibility of thunderstorms on Sunday during the half and full marathons. The weather folks called the weather pretty much spot on for Saturday, as we ended up having some rain that varied in intensity during the course of both the 10k and 5k.
In my earlier post I mentioned that I was gunning for my first sub-hour 10k. Well, long story short: it didn’t happen. (Official time: 1:06:05)
I wasn’t upset that it didn’t happen; the race itself went off fine without any hitches whatsoever. It was definitely overcast and a bit on the chilly side. I had my race gloves on during the entire length of both the 10k and 5k. The fact that it was overcast and chilly actually worked in our favor as it kept the temps cool for the race. The course wasn’t terribly hilly and my legs felt pretty good as I made my way through the back of the pack.
The fact that I started from my customary position in the back actually played a part in why I didn’t PR, along with a few others. Let me explain.
I have gotten used to my finishing times meriting a position in the rear corrals for so long that I just naturally gravitate towards there out of habit…and for fear of not really being a mid-pack runner. When I start from the back, I am forced to run around a bunch of slower runners and / or walkers and this adds time and mileage due to the fact that I end up not running the tangents.
I also didn’t take into account the fact that my legs would still be tired from my 10k the day before the drive and from the 9-hour drive to Ohio itself. Once I had completed the race and had a chance to really analyze my performance, I didn’t beat myself up and chalked up any other thoughts of PR’s for another time when I wasn’t running a medley weekend.
When I caught up with my various friends, we agreed to walk the 5k…which I did at first…but then it started to really rain…and I really can’t stand walking when I could be running so after walking about a mile and a half with my people, I jogged the rest for a 56:12.
Not gonna lie here: I was hesitant about even posting this time as a I usually run 28/29 min 5k’s…but it is what it is.
The half-marathon experience was incredible. Crowd support was constant throughout the entire race both on the Cincinnati side and the Covington, Ky side. The weather was initially overcast but became warm and sunny as the race progressed. I felt good overall despite my legs feeling pretty tired from racing twice the day before. My foam roller came in handy as I spent some time the night before the race working out the kinks in my quads on the hotel room floor. I reminded myself to let go of my PR aspirations and enjoy the crowd as the race started. Around mile three or four, I ended up next to a friend who was having a difficult time getting herself up one of the bridges as it was affecting her asthma. I slowed my pace, offered words of encouragement and stayed until I knew she’d felt strong enough to go on further. Like I said before; PR’s were out of the window so why not help my people have a more enjoyable race experience.
Mile 6 of this race is a hill that I had heard about long before I had arrived in the city. I was told that while it was long and daunting, the climb would prove worth it in the end. The people who told me these things were spot-on…about everything. While I had managed to run the majority of the race including the bridges, I ended up having to walk a lot of mile 6. On my way up, I encountered several entertaining things which included an Elvis impersonator who was singing, a guy dressed in all pink holding a letter “F” and shouting “get the F up this hill” through a megaphone…and what blew my mind was view at the crest of mile 6 which that I got to see while a gospel choir sang in the background.
The view from the crest of the hill at mile six.
I finished the race at 2:47:40 and felt good about what I had accomplished over the course of the past two days. Looking back at it all, I would do it all the same.
If you are thinking about running a race or series of races for PR’s with fast, flat courses with a strict focus on the racing aspect alone – then this might not be the race weekend for you.
If you are thinking about running a race or series of races where you can laugh, cheer, eat Twizzlers and donuts, see Elvis, act crazy and vibe with good people, then the Pig might be the race experience you are looking for.
THIS is what the Pig is all about.