The Barrie RoadRunners

Monday, May 10, 2010

When Pigs Fly

“Come fly with us the first Sunday of May”, that’s the tag line for Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon, and fly we did.

Cindy Marcelli, Sam Furlong and I had planned this run since last year’s Niagara Falls Marathon Expo. IT WAS A PINK MARATHON… BOOYAAAHHH.. I was going. Damn straight I was going!
I signed up in December and eagerly awaited the monthly installment of the Squeal, the Flying Pig’s E-Newsletter.
Even with my bulging muscle I was determined to go, I’d walk if I had to. So I did. I decided that I would walk the half marathon, I couldn’t see myself being able to finish the course in the allotted time given, being the novice walker that I was.
Plus I had looked at the course elevation. Hills from 5.5 mile mark until the 11mile mark for the half marathon and similar for the full marathon, until it broke from the half at the 8 mile mark and then rolling hills until the 21st mile. I’ll take Half Marathon Walking for a Finish Alex!

We piled in Cindy’s car and headed out to Cincinnati with high hopes of the race to come. Weather had the temperature in the mid 20’s with thunder showers. Fingers crossed for just showers. Aaaaack.
I had packed for all possibilities this time. There would be no repeat of Disney this time. At least I thought I had packed for all possibilities, for the weather, but apparently not for running. I had left my shoes at the front door. Zout alors! Ahh well, I had planned on buying new Saucony’s while I was there at any rate.

We crossed the border with little hassle, though the crossing officer did find it odd that we ALL knew each other and we ALL were going to the same race and we were ALL from the same town. “We belong to the same running club”... you could see the light turn on at that point. Nice girl, not the sharpest hair pin turn on the map though.

The trip down the I-75 was cool! Gas prices were terrific, as were the prices for the snick-snacks. Hard to find healthy though, but then again perhaps I wasn’t looking that hard. LOL.

We signed into the Millennium hotel downtown Cincinnati with little incident. Though there was some discussion about the male front desk staff’s doubling as a male review later that evening…. Girls will be Girls.

We headed off the Expo and WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Was I ever impressed. The only down side was the T-shirt, poster & sports bag pick was at the OTHER end of the Expo – so you had no choice but to go through the entire Expo. NOT that I wouldn’t have, but I like having the option not to.
I had to switch my marathon to the half marathon – there was a $10 cost, but I had entered so early this year I had a special discounted discount, so the $10 wasn’t too bad. And they were really nice about it as well. No hassles. None, the switch over was painless. The only thing I would improve is the communication between runner and administration when it comes to deferring. I had tried to email the administration to request a deferral and that took about 2 weeks. Then there were no details as to when I would know. It would be very handy to have been advised from the get go that deferrals are sent out AFTER the marathon if approved.

As for the Expo, it was brilliant. LOTS of PIG paraphernalia, much pink everywhere. I was in heaven. Yippee. Yah for me.
I managed to find myself a pair of Hurricanes – size 8 – pink detailing. Does it GET any better?
We got some freebees along the way. I got a Saucony water bottle from the “official” Saucony stall;sad as they were they didn’t have my shoes in stock, they were pleased that I stuck with Saucony and found my shoes at a different exhibitors stall. Hence the water bottle, my gift for being loyal to their brand.
We ran into the Officers at the Air Force Marathon stall, they talk a good talk. I just may do that this year. We’ve had a few RoadRunners go there last year and had nothing but good things to say, perhaps it’s time to send the female contingency amongst the Air Force pilots. <<>>

Off we went for a nice Italian meal at Campinello’s for dinner. We walked down 5th Street, turned right at the Fire Hall and down Centre Street to our restaurant. Wow. The food was great, not a lot of vegetarian options, but okay. We were greeted by a gentlemen at the bar, the biggest fellow I have seen close up, I didn’t realize we posed a security threat… we were seated. In the back corner of the first floor, it’s got basement apartment charm really. Our waitress, was apparently the only person that could serve us, a rather quirky rule – since we never saw her once, our servers were a mishmash of the bartender, the busboy, the cook himself. I don’t think we stopped laughing or bothering the restaurant staff. But give us our fair do; utensils are a requirement to eat pasta with in civilized society. Oh how they laughed at we quirky Canadians. They could almost talk hockey as well, right up until they said “ the Habs are going down” – at that point it was time to pay the bill and leave. It’s okay for we Toronto fans to dis the Habs, but that’s where I draw the line.

Our trip back to the hotel was fraught with adventure as we passed the fire hall. We were invited in to have a look, then to sit up in the fire truck, try on the coats and hats & have our pictures taken with the handsome firefighters on hand. Who needs the male review when you have friendly firemen at hand… <<>>

Saturday early morning bade us hello with a seriously wicked thunder and lightening storm followed by a torrential downpour, we had our brekkie at the hotel, and then toddled off to the expos again – just cuz it was so good the first time. And it was close – we wouldn’t get to wet.
As Sam, Cindy and I wandered around the Marathon Merchandise area I heard my name being called… What the?? Ahhh it was another Barrite, Tigera Turner! WOOT WOOT another RoadRunner – there can never be enough of us running an event.

After dropping our packages off in our room it was time to take a tour of Macy’s and Victoria Secrets for a few hours before heading back to the hotel and prepping for dinner. We opted for the Runners Buffet Special that the hotel had put on. Lots of white pasta & salad, fruit and dessert, all reasonably priced. And off for an early night we went.
Or so we thought.

Alarms set, running gear set out, bibs, shoes, hats, rain gear… yep. The rain was not due to stop any time soon. Our only prayer was that the thunder & lightening would cease prior to the starters horn.
As we lay in bed giggling and chortling about the things running through our minds we finally managed to quiet ourselves sufficiently to get some sleep, now if we could only get the mariachi band to stop. We were 17 floors up – single paned windows, and we could hear ever pitch change that the singer of the Latino band was hitting.
So a quick call down to the front desk confirmed our worst nightmare – there was a bar attached to the hotel that was playing live music and it wouldn’t close until 2:00am. Wonderful, can we speak to a manager please. This is the official race hotel for the Flying Pig and you have a dance bar open until 2:00am playing LOUD music when runners have a 6:00am start? Oh there isn’t a bar? It’s part of the Flying Pig festival? It stops when? 11pm? Well that is far more reasonable. Thank you? Where’s the dance bar in the hotel? There isn’t one? Ahh okay… Good to know. True to their word at 11:00pm the music stopped. BAM.. No messing around there folks.

5:00am came as quickly as the rain did. Luckily the thunder and lightening had eased off. We donned on our Pig rain ponchos and headed out the door. We slopped our way to the start line which was 0.6 miles from the hotel and squeezed in to the melee at the start line.
It rained a lot with it easing up as we came to the 5 mile mark. The first mile was interesting – we trudged through downtown Cincinnati on our way to the bridge to Covington Kentucky. We had a wonderfully brisk pace on with the hopes of a sub 3 half marathon walk. As none of us had ever done a walk of this caliber, it was going to be a “walk” in progress.
We clicked off the miles to the bridge back to Cincinnati. Cindy spotted a pink hat and suggested that I go pick it up, it was pink after all. So after a moments debate and some coaxing from Cindy I ran back to pick the hat up. Apparently it was but a rouse to get me to break my rather oppressive pace, they needed the break?!?! With friends like that….

The whole way through the race we were met with “ Are you REALLY from Canada?” why yes we REALLY are. “Thank you so much for coming to our race!” They were so appreciative and friendly, warm and sincere. Why along the 6 mile mark we were beset by an American runner that had gone to Western University and felt the need to have us sing the Canadian National anthem with her. Not to be out done, we sang the American Anthem sans aide. Then the British … we started the Swedish but I had spied a Gold Lamee Elvis and ran screaming up to him. It was a photo op to be sure, mind you I’m not sure about an Elvis impersonator that sings to Neil Diamond tunes…
At the 8 mile mark things had cleared up weather wise and it was the turn off for the full marathon runners. Cindy had hummed and haaa’d about doing the full. She felt good enough so we sent her off on her own to finish the last 18 miles. I tell you – I was so tempted to veer off along with her, but knew I’d be only hurting myself in the long run.

Sam and I continued our steady climb up Cincinnati’s finest hills, there were many cries of “not long now” or “it’s down hill from here”. Yeah not so much buddy. I read the elevation chart I know it doesn’t start downhill until the 11th mile; this is only the 10th mile. I may not do math, but even I can do the math on that one.
And down hill it was – HOLY SMOKES. I had to run down the hill because the idea of walking down that was more than I could bear. My glutes, hip flexors and core were screaming in protest at the thought of walking down that hill, running was my only respite at that point.
Boy do I miss running. It felt so good! So good in fact I ran a little bit more. At about the 12.5 mile point Sam suggested that we continue to run all the way to the finish line, I couldn’t say yes quickly enough, she didn’t have to ask me twice!
We came in at 3:02 – just over my hope of a sub 3 but I was still happy with the result.

We went through the finishers chute, got our medal, water, chips removed, and headed towards the food stalls. There was donuts, bagels, Yo-pops, Lays chips, Cheetos, Doritos, fruit cups, bananas, apples, orange slices. It was a food festival. Heck there was a beer stall on the other side of the runners’ area. WOOT WOOT.

We quickly showered and changed and made it back to the finish line to see Cindy come in at 5:45. That lady truly hauled ass and did a negative split to finish as quickly as she did. Not only that, she looked as fresh as a daisy. On our way back to the finish line for Cindy – Sam and I ran into Tigera on her way back. Sadly Tigera didn’t have as much fun on her run as we did in our half or Cindy in her full. That’s too bad, it’s sad when you travel so far and don’t have a good time or enjoy your race.
I would, however; highly recommend this race for anyone looking for a fun run. You may not get a PB out of it as there are several miles of steady uphill running in the half and full (and then rolling hills there after in the full.) However; for sheer fun and pure PIG pleasure this race is, if I may mix my metaphors, the cats meow.
Two Joannie thumbs up on this race!! Next year – look out, I’m going to be recovered and injury free running the full!

I must say these American cousins of ours really know how to throw a Marathon. Holy smokes, not only did we get the Tech Shirt, but they also gave us a running bag with the Flying Pig patch embroidered on – nice quality stuff, and a poster. Woot woot. Friendly pleasant volunteers, great support through out the race. Why there were folks on their porches cheering us on, bands, cheering squads. There was lots and lots of participation from the citizens of Cincinnati & neighbouring Covington Kentucky.
I think the folks of Toronto should take a page out of the books of the local support crews down south. They love “their” race and embrace it. Everyone is PIG mad for the weekend; I can only imagine what it’s like for the month leading up to the race. All the shops, restaurants and people are completely tuned in to getting this race going. Last year the Flying Pig brought in $7.5 million dollars in revenue to local business owners. That’s a lot of money folks, we could sure use that don’t you think. Time to embrace the race Toronto, make it yours!

This race gets 5 out of 5 pigs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Free counter and web stats