I flew in Friday and Molly picked me up from the airport. What a nice treat to have volunteers from the race welcoming us with gift bags! We checked into our hotel, the Renaissance, which was the perfect location for the race. We decided to hit the expo that day, and it was only a few blocks away.
The expo had plenty of stuff to check out and a few freebies, too. I was super excited to see the new Nuun Plus, and went ahead and purchased some to try for the race. Other than that, I managed to leave without purchasing the really cute pig shirts but did end up with a pink coffee mug.
That night, we had dinner at Pi Pizza- they had gluten free and vegan options which was perfect for us. Saturday I did a 20 minute shakeout run and then Molly and I headed to Findlay Market. I found the perfect ornament for Ohio! We chilled the rest of the day and ended up getting dinner at whole foods and Jason’s deli (grilled chicken and baked potato for me).Lights were out by 9 for an early 4:30 wakeup call.
I had my usual- gluten free bagel and almond butter and decided to have a 1/2 a banana and some coffee too. We got ready and Molly decided to play it safe and just cheer (she ran the Toledo Marathon the weekend before with a PR at 3:14 and is going to pace me at Bayshore). I did my warm-up and felt okay. I had been on antibiotics for a few days, but my lungs were still a little tight from whatever had been wrong with me.Coach had a plan for the first two miles to be at 7:20, pull back to 7:40 until mile 9 and then take 5 seconds off per mile to a fast finish. I lined up in the first corral and waited for the start.
The first mile was a bit congested and opened up a bit once we hit the bridge to Kentucky. I felt pretty good and was already impressed with the crowd support. My absolute favorite was the retirement home- had I not had a specific goal- I would’ve stopped to take pictures of their signs. Luckily, they shared one on the Flying Pig Facebook page that I can share. Some of the signs said, “Hurry, this sign is heavy” and “Run faster, I’m ready for my nap.” Seriously- the best thing I’ve seen in all of my races.The next bridge took us back to Ohio and honestly, the sunrise from this was gorgeous (again, didn’t take a pic). We hit the downtown area and a long stretch of awesome crowd support. It was easy to spot Molly in her pig ears and I even saw a few of my TNT friends cheering, too (the GA chapter had a team). The course ran up some sort of interstate and I thought, “oh, these are the hills everyone was referring to.” It wasn’t too bad. And then, we took a turn and climbed some more. And another turn and we climbed more. Literally, I felt like we were climbing for 3-4 miles. I knew the goal of holding a 7:40 pace was out the window at that type of climb and I just did my best.
What goes up, must come down. Thank goodness!! The rest of the course seemed to fly by It was time to start dropping pace and cruising downhill for several miles made that a lot easier. The crowd support had picked up even more for the last few miles and I was called Ms.Piggy more times than I would like to admit. I think that might be the only time I didn’t mind being called a pig? The rest of the race wasn’t effortless, but it wasn’t my hardest either- I gave it what I could down the long finishers chute.
Race Results1:39:34 Overall 388/11527 Females 66/7305 Females 30-34 15/1109
All. Over. The. Place.
A lady kept yelling at me as I finished that I was the first pig to cross the line. And, because of that, I was stopped immediately by the local new station that was covering the race. So, I was interviewed on live TV for the being the first pig to finish and then the reporter was in awe of the fact that I was racing that states and somewhat baffled by the fact that I flew to Ohio to run.
I slowly made my way to the exit- the post race food was quite amazing for those with a non-picky stomach. Literally they had everything from soup, cookies, crackers, chips, powerbars, fruit cups, nuts and granola. I grabbed the fruit cup and stopped at several of the pigs for pictures- I loved the marathon one!
I finally made it out, found Molly, and we headed back to the hotel. We grabbed coffee and showered up. Molly headed home and I headed to find breakfast and then treated myself to Graeters’s which is the best ice cream (next to Jenny’s). Molly said to get the coconut chocolate chip and it was ON POINT. I decided to head to the airport early and was able to get on an earlier flight home, too.
- The overall pig theme across the city
- AMAZING crowd support and volunteers
- Post race food options
- Running friends on the trip
- Reversible bling
- Running costumes
Not So Much:
- The shirt
How can you not love a medal with a pig on it?? This year the race theme was All Stars (the All Star game will be in Cincy in July) so that’s why the pig is wearing a baseball cap. The Flying Pig is always known for it’s creative pig bling and this year it was great. The shirt, though, is awful. I will never wear it and it’s going straight to the basement for the future race shirt quilt.
This is a must do for Ohio- I think most racing-the-staters would tell you that. If the half marathon or marathon isn’t your thing, they have races all day Saturday, too. This is probably one of the best run races I’ve ever done-I don’t think there was a single hiccup and the welcome from the airport all the way to the hotel and even Uber (they were a sponsor) was insane. It was all flying pig and pig love everywhere all weekend.
Kentucky is literally over the river and it would’ve been cheaper to stay over there (not sure by how much), but I didn’t mind paying more to be within walking distance to EVERYTHING (the only reason we drove for food was because of my stomach sensitivities). The hotel even had pre and post race goodies for anyone who raced- including cold towels post race. I was underwhelmed by the city, though, and not sure what else we could’ve done for entertainment (the Reds were playing the Braves in Atlanta so no baseball game) other than walking to the market and a few shops. From what I’ve heard, there is a good brew scene, but again, not something I really do before races so I missed out.
As for my own race, I’m very happy with how it went considering the goals and circumstances.
Do the little details matter to you when you travel to a race or do you prefer no frills? If it’s not a goal race, do you pay as much attention to the course profile?