Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Cincinnati Flying Pig (Half) Marathon

I'm done. I finished. My feet (and toenails) hurt. I don't ever want to do anything longer than a 10K again. But apparently participating in these torturous events is similar to giving birth and getting tattoos (the latter which I actually know about), and I'm destined to want to do more. Not looking forward to that day. In fact, if you catch me slipping into the "I want to do another half marathon ... or heck, a whole marathon" mentality, please slap me ... hard.

Anyway, here's me at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning before heading out. Still nice and dry. (And excited about the new bib placement on my leg instead of on my shirt. Less snagging.)

Oh, in case I haven't mentioned it yet, the forecast for today in Cincinnati called for showers and storms, beginning at 6 a.m. (the race started at 6:30). Fortunately the rain didn't last the entire race, but it was definitely enough to drench everyone. It was also enough to soak my socks and shoes and to give me some seriously bad foot pain because of the intense pruning.

I was miserable. I was seriously considering quitting at least 3 separate times. What kept me going? Was it the drive to accomplish something huge? Was it the finishers medal? Did it have anything to do with the significance of the event? No. My driving thought was, "I paid for this sucker! I'm going to finish it!"

Even in the last mile, when my feet and ankle hurt so bad that I couldn't do much more than shuffle (not exaggerating in the slightest), I just wanted someone to bring me a wheelchair. I did manage to jog over the finish line, though I have no idea how I did.

So, on to some pictures and I'll fill you in in the middle.

Dark picture, but this is the band playing at the start line. Speaking of the start line, it took so long to get across it. There were 5 corrals (Pig Pens) leading up to the start. I'm not entirely positive, but I think it took 10-15 minutes to cross the start line. Whew!

Plus, walking to the Pens was a HUGE pain. The had fences erected to separate the sidewalks from the corrals (street) and THEN they put port-o-potties in that fenced-in sidewalk area creating a nasty bottleneck as my friend Sarah and I tried to make our way to Pig Pen E.

Speaking of Sarah, she was nice enough to stick with me through the entire first mile of the race. That was actually a really fun part. I ran the whole first mile and took two short walk breaks during the second mile and a few more during the third. My sock started rubbing funky on one of my toes during mile 4, so I stopped to adjust. Good story, huh? =)

My mom made her way from the start line up to 7th and Plum to watch me run up to mile marker 5. She snagged a few pics.

Dude dressed like a pig.

There's me in the light green Fernside shirt!

Speaking of Fernside, I raised $595 and some change! Yay!

Mile 5 and still trucking.

Hi mom!

Time for a pic with mile marker 5.

So, shortly after these pics, I continued down 7th, which turns into Gilbert, which is an enormous hill. I mean, HUGE. It's "The Hill." It's 3 miles of intense uphill followed by a lot more gradual uphill. As I expected, it killed me. I couldn't run up the hill at all and didn't expect to be able to. I actually had a lot of trouble walking up the hill. I hate uphills.

After the hill, I hit some pretty bad spots for me, including my first bout of wanting to quit. Nothing sounded better than a ride in a medic vehicle. With a few exceptions, I walked from the bottom of Gilbert (mile 6-ish) until the end of the race. I got a few short jogs in where the road was flat and on Martin Luther King where there were some little bitty downhills.

Then I got to see my coworker, Theresa, at the top of Gilbert and that gave me a little extra mojo to run down Gilbert. I was so worried I wouldn't be able to do it, but I did it. I ran the whole way down. That's why I pulled off a 15-minute mile that late in the race. (I'm good at downhills.) Another short jog across I-71 and down a hill on Central, and that was all she wrote.

Wait, I take that back. I did do tiny little jogs to see my coworkers Theresa (again) and Lisa and Lisa's daughter, Kate. I thought since they came out to see me, they deserved to see some action. Then that was it until my finish line jaunt (maybe 100 yards).

Bad, bad, bad. UGH!

Yes, I know I finished, but it was just so hard and I was so obviously not prepared like I should have been.

Okay, back out of the dreariness are the "Finish Swine" pics my pal Caitlin took when she met my mom to see me cross the line.

The Finish Swine

Check out the sign on the US Bank Arena.

There I am! Light green shirt, looking like death.

At this point I was choking up and was seconds away from hyperventilating. No joke. Couldn't breathe because I was freaking out, in pain, emotional, and my feet felt like hell.

Dying some more.

Pretending like I have some "kick" left in my step. I almost fooled myself here.

I'm glad these shots are from behind, because I was seriously puckered up right about now.

So, after crossing the line, we were given our finishers medals and a Mylar blanket, and ushered through the recovery area. Water, Gatorade, people to cut the tags off your shoes, bananas, fruit cups, donuts, potato chips, go-gurt, chocolate milk...

All I wanted was a banana and a spot on the concrete. It was crazy crowded down in Sawyer Point, so I found the first curb I could that wasn't covered in garbage or people and collapse to the ground--exactly what you're not supposed to do. But oh, it felt so good. My mom and Caitlin found me and I immediately showed them why I was in so much pain.



Ohhhhhh! My poor feeeeeet!!!

And here I am. My only post-race shot with my medal. Yay feet!

So here are the stats:

Official finish time: 3:40:49
Official pace: 16:52/mile

Here are my lap times, recorded by yours truly on my iPhone, which I managed to keep try with my trusty bandanna:

0-1 13:44 (ran it all)
1-2 14:14 (few short walk breaks)
2-3 15:34 (few short walk breaks)
3-4 14:00 (yep)
4-5 16:36 (still yep)
5-6 16:10 (7th to Gilbert)
6-7 19:19 (up uphill)
7-8 18:29 (still uphill)
8-9 17:10 (still uphill, though less, but still walking, wanted to quit)
9-10 19:05 (wanted to quit and die)
10-11 15:58 (Hey hey hey! Downhill fun!)
11-12 18:24 (dying again)
12-13 20:43 (low point...shuffling and limping)

Here are the Flying Pig's official photographs.

Thank you to everyone who sent me emails and texts and Facebook messages. You're all wonderful and I could tell you were really happy for me and that you believed in me.

Thank you to those of you who donated to Fernside and contributed to such a successful fundraising project.

Thank you to Theresa, Lisa (and Kate), and Caitlin for coming to watch me.

Thank you to Sarah for signing up for the event and for sticking with me for the first mile.

And a HUGE thank you to my mom for getting up extra, extra early, chauffeuring me and Sarah to the race, standing in the rain, hiking all over the downtown area, taking pictures, watching me finish, taking me home, making me lunch, doing my dishes and taking care of me! I don't know what I would have done without your help today. I love you!

And with that ... I'm going to bed with my man, Mr. Biofreeze.


  1. Ok, I think it's possible that you got the absolute worst conditions for your first long race! I couldn't imagine running in wet socks and shoes... pretty sure I'd want to throw in the towel too! And the hills... ugh!! Hills suck big time! You really should be SO proud of yourself for finishing!! Seriously Becky, did you ever think you would be finishing a half marathon?? I'm sure that many of us who have ever known you (and yes, I realize it's been a long time since I've seen you, but still..) knew that you had it in you, and now you know it for yourself. Now you can take that with you into everything you do in life. This accomplishment is YOURS so own it and enjoy it! And I hope you give it another shot at some point... it does get better! :)

  2. Congratulations! Your feet will heal I promise, I've got some worse pictures of my feet from college racing that I'll spare you from.

  3. I don't care one bit about how long it took you to finish. I am so impressed by your willingness to even sign up for this race, and then to finish it is fantastic. You've already motivated me to get off of the couch and run, now it's days like this that make me feel like I need to step up and out of my comfort zone and sign up for races like the one you ran today. Congrats on finishing!


  4. Congratulations! I know that the Pig is an incredibly difficult race to begin with, but add in rain!?! UGH!! You finished, that's all that matters. You should be so proud!

  5. amazing accomplishment Beckey! You set a goal and stuck with it! Never downplay this to yourself! You are an inspiration to those of us who think we cant! I hope you hang that medal with pride! Take care of your feet OUCH!!

  6. Way to go!!! I am way impressed, but not surprised that you finished -- I knew you'd get through it! I would have laid down and gone to sleep on the street after the first hour. You really accomplished something out there and you should be super-proud of yourself. Think how easy those 3-4 mile runs are going to feel now! :)

  7. Beckey! You are one hell of a woman!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I wish I could have been there to cheer you on an give you a big hug at the end!! I am so proud of you!!!!(you know how I like exclamation points!) You inspire me! Just a little over a year ago you could barely run a minute straight and now you're doing half marathons!! You are incredible! I hope I can be at the next one! You rock!

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