We came, we flew and we conquered! Whenever I told anyone I was running the Flying Pig in Cincinnati the first thing they said to me was, "I hope you're ready for some hills!" To which I thought, "Hills shmills. I will be fine." Well, you people weren't joking. There were some SERIOUS hills in that half marathon. I handled them during the race just fine but after I was ready to hibernate until next year's pig but that also had a little something to do with the fact that I got 3 hours of sleep the night before... I think it's time for a little Cincinnati trip recap!
Thursday night my sister and I hopped on a flight out of New York so we could have all of Friday with our family. We had a serious weekend of activities planned and we didn't want to miss a second. Friday we had brunch at this insanely delicious restaurant called "Taste of Belgium" before going wedding dress shopping for my cousin Sarah. This place LITERALLY made the most scrumptious waffles I've ever tasted. Even the people who didn't like waffles, liked the waffles. Everything was amazing.
After brunch and wedding dress shopping, we went back to the house so we could play with the kittens our Aunt and Uncle discovered under their porch and so I could get a dress rehearsal run in on those infamous Cincinnati hills. (That's me pretending to be like, "Yeah this is great." But in real life I was like, "This is awful. New York has no hills.")
Then to reward my 5 mile hill climb we cracked a bottle of wine and played our favorite game, Progressive Rummy before our huge and DELICIOUS dinner at The Precinct. The Precinct was AMAZING. We were hands down the loudest table in the joint and I'm almost positive I ate an entire baby cow. (Sorry veggie people.) I can't stop smiling, that's how much fun we had.
The following morning was Race Day Eve and my cousin Brooke and I convinced my Aunt Becky and cousin Sarah to go to a cycling class at a new studio called CycleBar really early in the morning. They tried to bail and we were like, "NOT SO MUCH." It's always interesting to see how different studios do their classes. But they had really nice Schwinn bikes and tv screens for races which was very cool. I kept having to remind myself to take it easy whenever I would start to load on more resistance or spin really hard. The instructor would set up a race and halfway through I'd have to remind myself, "Cool it! You have a million hills to run tomorrow!" We had a really fun time regardless.
After spinning we went over to Lululemon so I could get some shorts to wear during the half marathon (I know nothing new on race day but I only brought pants and it was much hotter than I anticipated. AND I ended up finding my favorite pair of shorts ever so it was a successful pre-race day purchase.) After our little shopping excursion we went over to the expo to pick up my bib. I found out that I totally screwed up my registration and registered as Kelly, Roberts instead of Roberts, Kelly so we had some hiccups finding my bib.
After we got my bib we went back to the house for a pre-race BBQ. This is where I made a pretty silly mistake. We started making signs rather late and I didn't want to miss the party! I hate being left out! So I may or may not have gone to bed around 1:30 in the morning...I had to get up at 4:30... Yes, I only got three hours of sleep!
The race itself was really well done. I took my Vega Sport Energizer powder which honest to god got me through the half. I was so tired before taking off and it helped me wake up. That stuff is magic. I don't know what's in it or what it does but my God I am a believer. I have to give the organizers of The Flying Pig credit because for the amount of people who ran the marathon and half marathon, it did not feel crowded AT ALL. I got into my coral, ahem, pig pen (SO CUTE) about 5 minutes before we took off. It was a really great set up. Kudos to the Flying Pig for really having their act together.
I, as per usual, took off WAY to fast. I had my fancy Timex Ironman One GPS that I don't know how to use programed to yell at me when I run faster than an 8:15 min/mile pace and I thought my arm was going to vibrate off. Here are my splits:
Turns out my beautiful lazy heel strike is ruining my life. I spent the first 5 miles with a beautiful dull pain in my calves and both anterior tibialis and got a pretty adorable slap on the wrist from my Physical Therapist Mike this morning. I was like, "Mike why does they hurt!?!" And he was like, "Because you refuse to stop heel striking." And I was like, "Yeah, that makes sense." So I have something to work on...
But back to the pig...THOSE HILLS! THOSE FREAKING HILLS! MY GOD! This half marathon was a wake up call to tweak my training for the San Francisco Marathon. I got through them just fine and felt great during but there's no way I can run a comfortable marathon on hills like that. (Yes I just said comfortable marathon. It's possible. I've done it.)
The best part of the race was my family waiting for me at mile 9. They made some of THE FUNNIEST race signs and I took a good 1-2 minutes to hang out and take pictures. I was like "Aunt Becky push me in this stroller I'm done with these hills."
Despite the hills, I had a total ball. There were so many people out on the course which makes any race that much more fun and exciting. I gave probably a trillion high fives.
I always feel like a billion dollars whenever I have enough gas to really gun it to the finish line....or should I say...Finish Swine! This go around the last mile felt RIDICULOUSLY long but I pushed the last .2 and over the finish swine. I even heard people going, "Jeeze look at her go. I bet she's a professional athlete. How impressive!" OK FINE THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN! But I assumed that was what they were thinking because that is what I was thinking.
The finish area was awesome with all sorts of delicious treats and treasures. They outdo every other race finish but I honestly just wanted to get back to my family so we could eat steak, eggs, pancakes and mimosas while we spent our last day together.
As I was walking back downtown so my Aunt and Uncle could pick me up, I was at that .1 mile mark from the finish when a runner collapsed. My heart stopped. The other runners around him miraculously caught him and got medics in less than 10 seconds but time seriously stood still. We runners rarely get our yearly physicals or we don't listen to warning signs as we push our limits and it really reminded me that these races can be dangerous. As much fun as they are, you have to take them seriously. Anything could have happened-he could have been dehydrated, over hydrated, fatigued, you name it...I hope he is OK and was able to get back up but please remember to stay safe out there. ESPECIALLY as we enter into the warmer months.
My official finish time was 1:57:33. I really wasn't watching my time at all until the end when I saw I was teeter tottering on 2 hours. It's funny, once you break 2 hours you are hell bent on never going over again. So I really punched it the last 2 miles down the hills to get under 2. I am really happy with my time and I can't wait to see what I do at the Brooklyn Half in 2 weeks.
All in all I had a ball. This weekend was so much fun and I am so grateful my Aunt Becky recommended it to me last year. This trip to Ohio has been one of the best trips I've taken this year. My family means the world to me and being able to have a weekend like this with them was unbelievable.
Oh and don't worry, I got my post race Skyline, burger and beer.
That being said...I want to invite you to run the shakeout run I am hosting!
If you are in the NYC area or if you are running the Brooklyn Half and want a fun way to pick up your bib, here you go! The shakeout run is taking place the day before the Brooklyn Half on Friday May 15. We will be running over the Brooklyn Bridge, down through Dumbo and over to the Pre-Party in Brooklyn Bridge Park for bib pickup and beers! Hope you can come! To register click the link below.
Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.