Who worries about running hills? Me! Well at least before running the Flying Pig.
Ted and I drove the course in reverse the day before and I thought “This won’t be a fast one, that’s for sure!” It was a roller coaster ride.
Come race day, those hills weren’t that bad. Now that’s according to me. Some of the people we spoke to after the race said it was really tough because they didn’t train well. To be honest, I relied on my Boston Marathon to get me through this since I didn’t run hills over the winter. My running after Boston was pretty scant due to recovery, running a good half in Myrtle then trying to tame a painful hip before the Pig. In the end, guess it worked.
The majority of hills in the Flying Pig are short and very do-able for someone who has trained to run hills over 26 miles. The hill to “get over” comes between 5 and 8 1/2 miles but because it’s so early in the race, it’s a simple challenge. Plus, no one is walking at that point so that helps to motivate you forward and …just get over it!
Along the course there is Gatorade and water every mile. At mile 18, Power Bar Energy gels. Orange slices were handed out at quite a few points along the course and one cheering section offered oranges and bananas (if “real food” is your fuel of choice on the course). Mile 13 or 14, Jelly Beans were handed out and mile 24 were the “Pig Newton’s” and oranges. Both of these stations were a bit of a disappointment to me since I was expecting more of a promotion for the goodies. I missed both stations since it wasn’t until I was right up next to the tables when I realized what they were.
As for the spectators, AMAZING! It wasn’t the best day to be out watching a road race. The weather was over cast, chilly for standing around (in the 50”s) and rain was on the way. But those support crews were out there loud and motivating. There was one stretch of about less than 1/4 mile where there weren’t any folks cheering us on. Cow bells, signs, cheering, car horns, you name it, the crowd did it. They LOVE this race and the runners LOVE them!
My race was a TON better than expected. Like I said, we drove the course and I thought it would be tough. It was an overcast day, in the 50’s with rain holding out until about 9 am or so. It didn’t rain hard enough to bother runners at that point.
Miles 1 –5: You will start out and very soon approach over passes as you go into Kentucky from Ohio. In fact, one half marathoner yelled out “I’m dying! Some how I got stuck in corral B and it’s killing me!”. She just started out too fast. The crowd will keep your pace at bay unless you like dodging back and forth around masses of people. I couldn’t see the road for people and there were road medians which were not marked but thanks to the runners in front warning us, were avoidable.
Miles 5 – 8 1/2: If you look at the elevation chart, you see a scary incline. Don’t worry. It’s early in the race and if you’re pacing correctly, it’s nothing you can’t handle and will soon forget about as you continue the ups and downs of the course.
Miles 9 – 11: Net down hill with some steep spots that feel pretty good. Remember those ups and downs keep the muscles working differently so nothing seizes up.
Mile 11 1/2: There is a little “popper”. Not bad. Short and fun. Look forward to it.
Mile 12 – 18: You’ll ride the course through it’s wave style elevations and go through very crowd heavy areas. This stretch is run along the bike path and leave behind a crowd that will yell your name, cheer you on and give you the motivation to keep moving forward.
Mile 19 – Finish: Elevation steady. There are very short, gradual inclines which you won’t want to forfeit your time on if you aren’t looking for an excuse to walk. For the most part, flat and constant.
Overall: The starting area is easy to get to from most hotels in the area. Easy to find corrals and starting time is right on target. Porta-Potties are located in each starting corral but don’t leave it too late since lines are long. *Ted and I both waited 25 minutes and weren’t able to use porta-potties before the start of the race. Good thing it was just nerves
The Flying Pig course is so interesting, it will seem like the fastest 26.2 miles you’ve ever run. Allow your mind to experience the course and all it’s interesting points. Just run without expectation, using your arms up the tough inclines, riding the hills on the declines. I liked this course. It’s not “diabolical” like Boston. It’s honest. It’s fun. There were TONS of first time marathoners in this race. I wouldn’t suggest it as a first marathon, but I would suggest it is a MUST on your marathon list. Organization ranks right up there. Not one complaint. GREAT RACE!
Marathon Number 8!
Ted ran the Half Marathon and toughed it out as he wrestled with both foot and Achilles pain. He said the down hills were more painful than the up hills. He did it! Scared me… but he did it. When I crossed the finish line, the text message from him said “I’m in the room. You can make your way back. I’ll meet you here.” He was feeling better by the time I was back to the room. A warm bath helps heal everything.
So does a couple of Bloody Mary’s
I’ve wanted to run this race since 2010. It was as much AND more than I could have expected especially since Ted experienced it with me. We really love Cincinnati!
Do you have a marathon “wish list”?