Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flying Pig 1/2 (Race Report)

Lucky State # 13 / 50- Ohio!
Rain, Rain, hills, hills, and rain.

The Maniac / Fanatic photo meet up was scheduled for 5:50am- I have to get up by 4 to stretch, get ready, and eat so I'm good to go and out the door by 5am- this means EARLY bedtime.
We all disperse to our sleeping areas around 10pm. Cara's guest room has a full bed- didn't want B and I to be cramped so I volunteered to sleep on the couch so B could have the bed and we'd both have enough space to sleep better. Boy was I wrong. I am a light sleeper- generally if I sleep in a new environment I need ear plugs to block out sound, otherwise I'll just lay there for hours before I'm able to fall asleep. For whatever reason I didn't use my earplugs and sure enough majority of my night / early morning was spent laying there. B/n 10-12:30 I slept 1 hour, and then got in another hour (maybe) b/n 12:30 and 2:10 when my lovely friend drunk texted me and woke me up. We chatted for a few and since I wasn't able to go back to sleep I just got up and surfed the net till my alarm went off at 4am- awesome.

Once I got up and moving I wasn't really tired, but I was worried that the sleep deprivation might catch up to me later in day- hopefully NOT during the race. 

Yay for Pig hats!!

I bent down so you could see more of the hat
Cara and Matt- their 1st half marathon
Trash bags + towels- bring on the rain.

We leave toward downtown by 5am so we can factor in race traffic + walking time and still get to the Maniac/Fanatic photo by 5:50am
My first race testing out a trash bag while running
Only 3 fanatics
All the maniacs +  us 3

After the photo I head with C and M to the port o potties, followed by our corral. My bib said corral C, but I think I had high balled my time when I registered due to injury because the 2 hr pace group was in corral B. I said goodbye to everyone and just walked into corral B to await the start of the race.

First Few Miles
Gun went off and there was no staggered start. It took me over 5 minutes to get across the start line, and once there it was pure chaos. I've never seen so many walkers or SUPER SLOW runners in the first mile- I cannot emphasize enough the whole idea behind your starting position that correlates with your ability and / or goal time. The first mile was  frustrating because I was just trying to get out of a crowd and dodge the slow ones that I ended up working way harder than I should be for only the first mile- because of this I was already burning up and had to rip off my trash bag prior to even getting to the mile marker. 

My parents were planning on being around mile 3, outside their hotel, right around the bridge that leads back into Ohio (1.5 miles were ran in Ky). The plan was to throw them my big hat and then put on my visor to block the rain. I was literally drenched from a sweat / rain combo that all I could think about was 'find my parents, give them the hat' over and over. Unfortunately I had no idea exactly where they would be, so b/n mile 2-3 I was running slower trying to scan the spectators for my parents. 

I randomly saw my dad, he's 6'4 so hes easy to spot, on the other side of the road so I managed to weave through the crowd and right when I got to him I landed in a huge puddle- oh blisters awesome. I happily gave him my hat, put on my visor, chatted for a minute, then he told me where to find my mom down the road (that was helpful) I saw my mom in the distance standing on the ledge, so instead of running on the bridge and having to stop and get in everyone's way (like a polite runner would do unlike so many others that were out there that day... which was a large amount) I ran on the sidewalk to the right. 
I almost knocked mom over because she didn't see me and I grabbed her leg saying hi
already a sweaty mess at mile 3
everyone heading toward the bridge back into Ohio

I gave her a hug and said goodbye and went toward the bridge back into Ohio... all uphill of course. Apparently I wasn't the only genius who had the idea of using the sidewalk, quite a few others did, and wouldn't you know it they were all a little slower so I was consistently having to shout "to the right" or "to the left" since it was a tight space and I wanted to pass them.... reminded me of my track days hehe.

Miles 4-10
Shortly after getting back into Ohio, we were running downtown and the streets were LINED with spectators. Its an AWESOME feeling to have hundreds of people screaming, however, it OVERmotivates me and I end up running too fast- 7:45 min mile too fast to be exact. I looked down at my watch and knew it would catch up to me, I tried slowing down but figured I'd probably walk later anyway and then I can rest. Sure enough within 1 mile was the LARGEST hill of the race. As I was walking up it, Cara came up behind me and walked with me for a minute, we talked, ran, than walked, and finally I told her to just go on without me... which she did and I didn't see her until the finish. 

Somewhere in here I kind of gave up on the race- I was SUPER tired (sleep deprivation setting in), I was hot, and I was just annoyed at how inconsistent I was becoming. My garmin messed up and it wouldn't tell me my total race time, so I kept looking at the clock at each mile marker trying to estimate how long I had been running- it wasn't looking pretty- might be a stretch to want to go under 2 hours this race. I decided to try to enjoy myself and take photos, unfortunately only 3 turned out:
random fact about me: love castles and castle inspired architecture
This castle was in the middle of "the hill", which was about mile 7. To be honest the whole race was hills, but this was the longest and steepest, with 4 climbing hills following it- yay! As you can see, despite the weather conditions, the spectators / race supporters were out in full cheer mode- HUGE BONUS on this race

gorgeous butterfly garden

Since this shark was walking, I figured he wouldn't mind a photo.
Depending on the size of the hills, I use that time to conserve energy and walk a little so I have enough mojo to finish the race strong- considering I had zero energy in the middle of the race, I seriously doubted I would get a second wind, so I just walked every few minutes- I'm so great at that.

Lately my races will be consistently within 20 sec of eachother till mile 8, then I slow down till 11 or 12, then it picks up- today was a different story. First few miles were around 8:30, had a 7:45 in there, then 2 10:30s (more walking time)- looking at my Garmin is hilarious because Mile 5 was 7:45, mile 6 9:30, mile 7- 10:26(beginning of 'the hill'), Mile 8- 8:46- wow Lisa.

Miles 10-Finish
When I get to mile 10 I ALWAYS tell myself "just a 5k left"- sometimes it helps, other times it does nothing for me, today it helped. I started looking at the official race clock and crunching the numbers in my head to see if it were AT ALL possible to break 2 hours- its doable, but slightly far fetched because I had a few 10s thrown in there. Luckily mile 10.5-11.5 was alllllllllll doooooooown hill, which was amazing because you don't have to think you just let your legs carry you- they carried me to an 8:06 and I wasn't even winded!! We hit a slight turnaround where you could see people heading toward the finish line right around mile 12. I was so discouraged because I saw the 2 hour pace group and I was no where near her- that is when my wall hit me. I have a little over a mile left (knew the course was going to be long) I'm frustrated because my garmin won't tell me my total time so I don't know where I'm at with the official time, and I have zero energy left to give. Sometimes I can deal with zero energy if its been zapped because I've been working hard the whole time and I just gave it my all- when that happens, my competitive mentality kicks in and reminds myself I didn't work hard the whole race to throw it away in the last mile.... this wasn't the case. I was lethargic, going through the motions, a hot wet mess, and just wanted to lay down and sleep.

I decided to push what I could for my parents. They've been supportive of me through all my sports endeavors and here they were standing in the pouring rain for a few hours, having to walk 2-3 miles from where they first saw me, to the finish line to capture the end. One of the nice parts of the the finish line with this race, was once you turned the corner and saw the line, it wasn't far off in the distance- it was actually doable to pick up the pace and begin kicking it in.

I'm proud to say I actually did have a kick. This is huge for me because the last time I had a strong kick was January... it's May 1st, so its been awhile. 
My motivation....

To beat the guy in green. We were leap frogging earlier in the race and he was just so damn happy giving spectators high fives, joking around with people dressed up, enjoying his run- I was wanting his attitude since I was miserable and needed the extra energy. I was surprised that I managed to catch back up to him, and that I recognized him since there was 30,000+ runners.

I'm happy to report that I beat him (sucker) AND once I stopped my Garmin and pulled up my run it came in @ 1:59:26- woo that was cutting it close, but I was excited that I managed to pull it off without knowing my exact position.

On the way out of the whole finish line / post race food area I managed to see 2 pigs that weren't at the expo... you better believe I had total strangers take my photo

Shortly after my parents spotted me through the chain link fence and went over to talk with them about how I did etc while waiting to leave the area.

Finally exited the area, met up with folks, and began our quest for looking for meeting spot 'K' to reconvene with B,C,and M. We only saw z and y- rest of letters no where to be found,but luckily I happened to spot C and we chatted for a bit before M found us as well.

Can you believe this was Cara's 1st half marathon EVER and she walked up ALL the hills and still managed to squeak out a 1:55? Super impressed. I'm convinced now that since I can't do anything about getting shorter , that I need to drop at least 10lbs so I have less weight to carry around!

Took awhile for us to find B due to phones dying and us not knowing where meeting spot "K" was located, but we finally did, all talked about the race, then were on our way to get dry and shower before gorging at Hofbrahaus.

Pig we saw on the LONG trek back to the car.
Showered, DRY, and hungry we venture to the Hofbrahaus to meet up with my parents for a much deserved beer and my ultimate favorite food- weiner schnitzel!!! 
Hefeweizens all around

I wish I could say I killed it, but alas I left quite a bit left due to being full
German food, German beer, dessert, great company, another state done- victory!

We all said our goodbyes after lunch and B and I made the very tiresome drive back to Nashville. I hadn't been this exhausted after a race since my very first half marathon experience- just goes to show, sleep does wonders for your energy levels! 



  1. Looks like a fun race! Too bad I can't do it :D

  2. Looks like you had a blast!! congrats on the finish!

  3. I too was at the pig, but I did the full as my first, not a wise choice with all those crazy hills!! Next time I will pick the half for sure! Great Job getting under 2:)

  4. Rough race. Looking forward to seeing what you can do when you can even out your pace a bit.

    And, so impressed with C's first half at a sub 1:55--in the rain, with hills. Wow!

    Where are you at with an Oregon race? Any decisions yet?