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When Pigs Fly, I Soar and I Sore

Where do I start. What a fantastic weekend. Let me explain. No that will take to long. Let me summarize. No no. Let me make short statements. No haw about some modified Caesar. I came, I saw, I ran and ran and ran. No in bullet points I

  • Got to Cincy
  • Went to the Expo
  • Saw Bart Yasso
  • Went to the Zoo
  • Went back to the Expo
  • Went to sleep way to late
  • Ran a fantastic race
  • Went back home

For Real now.

Wearing my Virginia Tech Bike Jersey was probably the best move of the day. Besides being a bike jersey with its three back pockets for storing the essentials like gels, caps and the like, we are a Hokie Nation. I mean it. Before the race one gentleman came up to Space and I and introduced himself. I believe he was class of 73. We chatted for a few minutes and went on our merry way. When I got to the start coral another Hokie proud came up to me. He told me he saw my Jersey and had to say hi. There is nothing prettier than Orange and Maroon. I believe he was class of 70. This was his 5th marathon and he was at the Marine Corps last year as well. As we waited for the start we chatted up with a couple in front of us. It was their first. We assured them that the 26 miles was not that hard. It was the last .2 . If you had run the Marine Corps Marathon this is truly the case. I saw the guy once more as he passed me at about mile 23 or 24. As the race went on I had a cheering section at just about every mile. I say it again “We are a Hokie Nation” Many a Hokies in Tech gear saw me and cheered me on. It was awesome. Even at the finish line (swine) as I was “sprinting” to the finish an official told me he was a Tech Alum. On a side note. I saw a family of cheering spectators in U of Illinois shirts and as an homage to my brother from a different mother Eric Skinner I yelled out I-L-L. After a brief surprised look I they yelled back the I-N-I!

I got a perfect spot for the hotel. It was about a mile and a quarter to the start line and gave me a good warm up walk to get things worked out. The crowd was pumped and things started to get antsy when the start time had come and gone. It turns out that overnight a house fire had occurred somewhere on the race course. The race was delayed and rerouted a block. At about 6:45 the fireworks went off and so did I.

I started weaving my way through the crowd. I had lined up just before the 4:15 pace group but was not worried where they were. I just used the first mile to warm up. I reached the 1 mile point at 12 minutes and change. I was a little worried but I knew there was a delay crossing the start line but 12 minutes still seemed slow. I got into my effort mode and put the speed on. I felt good even though I was putting up 8 minute miles. I had my plan and I was sticking to it. I would listen to my body and not the clock. I passed the 4:00 pace group at about mile 4 and was cool with that. At one point I saw the 3:45 pace group was not that far in front of me. I could have caught them but I thought it a bad idea that could only lead to disaster.

Now for some reason I am unable to read and elevation chart. I saw that there was a big hill at about mile 8-9 but it just seemed like the rest was easy down hills. I was wrong. This course is full of hills, up an down. I am real glad I ran all of those hills in training. Without them I may have been sunk. What really got me was some of the short steep hills. There was one around mile 17 that I saw nearlly 2/3 of the people in front of me come to a stand still. I trudged up but the pace was much slower. I know that there are courses with more hills but this was a nice challenge and me being surprised by it added to the challenge.

Things were going real well up through the 30k mark. I was actually on 30k pace. I met my one and only time goal for 2008. I crossed the half marathon mark in less than 2 hours. Over all things went real well but there was a melt down at the 21 mile mark or so. My poor feet just did not want to take the pounding anymore. They started hurting real bad. The fatigue set in and things were looking real grim. I decided to slow down and get a grip on the situation. Then I trudged on.

We were on the Ohio River front at this point and I was very glad that the race organizers were on top of their game. There were almost too many water stops. Of course that is not possible to have to many but there were plenty in the second half (last 10k) of the race. It gave me a chance to slow down rehydrate and possibly walk if I needed to. Speaking of rehydration. My hands got real dry and therefor the salt got crusty. It is just uncomfortable but some water on the hands washes them off and helps alot. Another thing is I kind of forgot my gel plan and should have taken the third at about the 30k mark but I missed it and thought I was okay. I need to stop listening to my brain. It does stupid things at times.

There were so many cool features to this race like the gym bag gift at the Expo, the poster, the Flying Pig towel at the Finish, the medal. But a real cool feature is the Race to the Finish. There was a timing mat at the 25.2 mile mark. It there was a race inside of the race. The fastest last mile. This is nothing but a new torture device that we runners now have to go for because it is in our nature. I am already hobbling along but I put up a 9:33 last mile or something like that and Finished in 4:05:06.

The finish was fantastic. In the final half mile the streets were lined with people cheering the runners on. It came over another hill to view the finish line. What a great site. If memory serves there was a bridge over head with people cheering us on as well. I hate coming to a stop after races. I always feel so disoriented about things. The medical staff asked me if I needed help. I waved them off. I was just starting my road to Cleveland.

About the other cool stuff. There was no finish line, it was the Finish Swine. Of course. The post race refreshments were varied and plentiful. The medal has not only Flying Pig on it; on the back is a Flying Pig’s butt. Pictures are coming. Man do I love post race massages. If I weren’t married I may have asked that fine young lady to come home with me. There is something about laying down and being manhandled. It may hurt at first but the effects are joyful and ever lasting.

Overall, I made some mistakes on this race but that is the learning experience that is running marathons. I will return to Cincy to take on the Pig again. Probably not next year. I am still stunned by my time and the race was long by a quarter mile. They reworked it our and the 26.2 time would have been 4:02:46.  All I need is to shave off another hour to qualify for Boston.  😛

I am really looking forward to a nice flat course like the Cleveland Marathon in 2 weeks. What a race and Go Hokies.


One Response

  1. Found you through Vanilla, and wow! Sounds like you had a great race. I was thinking about doing the Flying Pig but opted for the Rhode Races in Providence instead. I love the race within a race thing though, and congrats on pushing through!


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