Cinci Flying Pig Half Marathon {Race Review from a Cleveland Native}

Miscellaneous

Best. Race. Ever.

That’s how I would describe the 2015 Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon.
From an awesome expo, to an awesome swag bag, to an awesome starting line, to an awesome course – this race was incredible!

flying-pig-logoWe spent the night in downtown Cinci on Saturday and I woke up on Sunday at 5AM for a 6:30AM start time (the earliest I’ve ever seen, usually it’s 7AM.) I was pretty tired from spending the day and most of the night before in Downtown Louisville for the derby, but a light breakfast and an energy gel did me well.

I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to find my way to the starting line since I was in an unfamiliar city, but as soon as I hit the hotel lobby it was like an explosion of runners in neon colors had hit. I followed a few large groups of people to the starting line and after accidentally getting stuck in the wrong corral (I couldn’t find the exit!) I found where I was supposed to be with about 6 minutes to spare.

Music blasted over the speakers and the crowd was dancing as our corral’s turn got closer to the start. We counted down from 10 and suddenly fireworks and fire flew over the starting line as a buzzer sounded. It was awesome! I beamed as we ran through and the crowd cheered us on. (Another cool thing – they broadcast the race live on TV!)

Photo courtesy of Flying Pig Marathon Instagram.

– Photo courtesy of Flying Pig Marathon Instagram.

The course was fantastic. There were a good gathering of hills around miles 6 to 8, but nothing too crazy. One of my favorite moments was a man at the bottom of one of the hills holding a giant letter “F” who kept shouting “Get the F up this hill!!” Another favorite moment was hearing a runner next to me say to his friend “Mile 5 is the fastest mile on the course, you’ll see why in just a second…” and we suddenly turned a corner and entered a one mile straight away lined with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people cheering on the runners. (I ran an 8:30 that mile.)

Another favorite moment was early on in the race, crossing the bridge over into Kentucky and looking out across the Ohio River and seeing the sunrise. You could see a hot air balloon shadow in the distance too. It was so beautiful and I heard another runner say “Take a mental picture in your head.” And I sure did.

Photo courtesy of Flying Pig Marathon Instagram.

– Photo courtesy of Flying Pig Marathon Instagram.

I was laughing out loud when I saw the finish line with a giant sign reading “The Finish Swine” across the top. The pig related signs and costumes were hilarious to see out on the course and I really enjoyed the theme, oppose to just another “So-and-So City Marathon.”

The finisher’s party was fantastic too with tons of good (free) food for the runners and lots of tents and booths with local groups and restaurants. It was also great to be able to walk back to the hotel afterwards and see the hordes of other runners all around the city enjoying the day and the beautiful weather.

finisherThe only complaint I have about the event is that there was no post-race free beer ticket! (I’ve never ran a race of this size before without a free drink at the end! It’s still not enough to spoil it for me though.) Also a bag at the finish line would have been nice instead of juggling all the free food items you got. (Hey they were free though so I’m not complaining that much!)

After the race we went over to Newport Kentucky and had drinks and lunch out on the deck overlooking the Ohio River. We were feeling so crazy we each got out own pitcher of margaritas in honor of Cinco De Mayo. It was so wonderful to relax with my family in the sunshine after a wonderful race. I saw other runners out walking around too with their families, the Flying Pig metal hanging proudly around their neck.

margsOverall I would give this race 9 out of 10. The marathon is also named a top 10 “Most Fun Runs” and ”best named” Marathon by Runner’s World Magazine and it sure lives up to both!

Here are a few more pictures from this weekend. (Also – the race already has race pictures up! Another reason the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon rocks!)

fly-pig-1derby1derby2flyingpigcheetahexpowalkin

Stay Warm CLE

Miscellaneous

I’m getting cabin fever. Or maybe I actually have it already. Either way, I might lose it if I have to stand in the cold and shovel snow off my car (yes shovel is the correct term) one more time.

AND it’s only the last week of February so chances are good that I will continue shoveling snow off my car for at least another month or so. At least daylight savings is coming up. Hopefully it will all be downhill with this Cleveland winter stuff after that.

Image from Second Sole Rocky River Instagram*

Image from Second Sole Rocky River Instagram*

Last weekend I did 10 miles on the treadmill in a little less than two hours. It was awful, but it was also freezing and blizzarding out. I actually would have taken the treadmill over running in that crap any day. I hate running in the cold – and the rain for that matter, but what is the saying? “If you wait for perfect conditions you’ll never get anything done.” Woof.

Image from Second Sole Rocky River Instagram*

Image from Second Sole Rocky River Instagram*

This weekend I have a 12 miler scheduled. I really don’t want to run on the treadmill again, but I also don’t want to run outside either. It’s supposed to be 37 and snowy on Sunday and that’ll actually be one of the warmer days that we’ve had around here. Maybe I’ll try to brave the run that day. My other thought is to break up the run on the treadmill between two, five milers and then do two final miles. One other annoying thing about the treadmills at the gyms I go to – the longest duration you can set on the treadmill is 55 minutes. So annoying.

For a few weeks I was running 6, 7 and 8 miles on Friday mornings. It was so nice to get my weekly “long” run over with so I didn’t have to try to squeeze it in over the weekend. Now as training hits double digits it’s going to be harder to do that since I have to be at work at 9AM.

I’ve also been going to an awesome boot camp class religiously every Saturday for the past two months, but when I’m training I find it easiest to do my long runs first thing on Saturday mornings. I hate to give up the class, but not sure how I can time manage my training either.

Here’s to making it through until daylight savings – and hopefully spring and/or March!

Maybe a sign that spring is coming? Sunlight & stretching after my 5 miler yesterday morning.

Maybe a sign that spring is coming? Sunlight & stretching after my 5 miler yesterday morning.