Sat, May 11, 2019
I’ve tried to sit down and write this blog a bunch of times, but each time I had to put my laptop away and go back to it later. So many thoughts and feelings to process and not enough time to dedicate to it! Well, a week after descending on Cincinnati for my special birthday celebration weekend I’m finally ready to write! In January this year I gave a lot of thought as to what I might want to do to celebrate my 50th birthday in May in terms of fitness goals. I did ponder running a full marathon – for like 3 minutes, but then decided I wanted to focus on a less intense, more doable and enjoyable goal. How about a new (to me ) race around my bday, I thought. Right around this same time I started seeing folks talk about the Flying Pig race in Cincinnati in the Challenger Nation (running group website). I had heard tons of good things about the Flying Pig and had never done it before. Plus it became clear very quickly that this was becoming an EPIC meet up for my virtual running group! That was all I needed to hear! I registered in January for my 11th half marathon and started to put my training plan and other weekend plans together. I figured we could make it a family trip by including a college visit to Xavier University in the mix as well.
Before I share the details of the weekend I want to include a note about my training for this race. I. Was. Dedicated. I didn’t do lots of cross training, but I was religious about doing the amount of minutes listed on the plan (Coach Jenny’s plan, of course!). I am usually good about getting all the long runs in, but lots of times I just do 3 miles on week days and that is it. I made sure to get all the minutes in (sometimes early on the TM before work) for like every weekday training run. I really think this made all the difference for my success on race day!!
The weekend came and I left home Saturday morning with my husband and son in tow. We checked into the hotel first and then walked over to the expo right across the street. We all agreed that Cincinnati was a pretty cool city! They are very serious about their support of the Flying Pig. See below.
The Expo was very fun with lots of SWAG!!
After the Expo we went back to the hotel to relax a bit before dinner. We had signed up for the special Challenger meet up for dinner at the Rock Bottom Brewery, about a 2 minute walk from our room. The dinner was a buffet from 4:30pm – 7pm so it was a come and go situation (so I thought). In typical Ramsey fashion I screwed up the time somehow! We got caught up watching a cool movie on Netflix so we planned to leave for dinner around 5:30pm. Then, our GPS to walk to the restaurant got messed up so we walked all the way around the barn out of our way to get there. Did I mention it was raining and we didn’t have umbrellas?! By the time we finally arrived it was like 6pm and everyone was already seated and eating! Turns out everything did actually start at 4:30pm so I missed Coach Jenny’s talk and everything. Thankfully, we were so welcome by everyone that my frustration and embarrassment quickly faded and we enjoyed dinner and mingling with all my virtual friends I could finally meet in real life! There were about 60 folks there for the weekend! I wish I could have had more time to talk with more folks, but there is always next year, I suppose!
That night I slept terribly (typical for the night before a race), but got up ready to run! It was so nice to be so close to the start line. I just followed the folks I met in the elevator!
What a fantastic race!! I was overwhelmed by so much spectator support the entire way! There were tons of signs and people all along the route. Most big races typically have Gatorade/water stations regularly along the way, but in addition to that this race had SO much stuff – food and other supplies runners need during runs. It was almost as if the race organizers could read our minds…like “boy, I could use a tissue right now,” and BOOM someone is handing you one! Or “wow, I just need some extra energy right about now”, and BOOM, someone is handing you an unwrapped Hershey’s kiss in a cup! The following food items were given out by volunteers along the route (keep in mind this is just the half – they had more stuff for the last half of the rout too I’m sure. And remember this is DURING the race – this doesn’t count all the stuff we got during the after race party):
- Bacon (duh, and so funny)
- Hershey’s kisses (at least 2x during the race)
- Swedish Fish
- Pringles chips
- Orange wedges (2x during the race)
- Orange juicey candies
If that list wasn’t enough, there also non food items given out – again, seemingly right when we thought we needed it. Here is the list of non food items that were distributed:
- Tissues (at least 2x during the race)
- Paper towels (dry ones and some stops and wet ones at others)
- Hose sprays/mist sprays
- GU packets
- Sticks of Vaseline for chapped lips.
Between mile 12 and 13 they gave out shots of beer (eww), but hillarious! I mean this was incredible!! It felt like almost every mile or shorter there was something else being given to us! I only took the orange slices, tissue, paper towels, GU and definitely the hose spritzer. I saw two live pet pigs too!! One was like a mile in and the other was about 5 miles in. In terms of the race itself, I felt really good! The weather was perfect – 54 degrees and cloudy – totally perfect! MY GLASSES DIDN’T FOG UP which was huge as it is always nice to see running in a race (ha)! I was worried about the hills, but after talking to Coach the night before I decided to take her advice and “walk the ups”. It worked and I felt really strong the entire race.
I talked with the Challengers who ran this race before about the route and they said you will know when you get to the top of the hilly part because of the view – everyone takes pics. Yep – see below! Worth the climb for sure!
The race was great and I was really happy with my time too! My time was 2:34:44 which was a 11:46 per mile pace. I finished in the top 50% for my age group and about the middle of the pack for the women. It was awesome having Zach and Mike greet me at the finish. Last race in my 40’s. Bring on my 50’s!!!