This Little Piggie Went for a Run
The Flying Pig Half, Part 2:
So a cannon fires and we are off! I don't really understand a cannon start. I think if I was in the front row that might scare me pretty badly. As it was we were sandwiched right behind the 8 min/mile sign and before the 9 min/mile sign. They don't have formal corrals or wave starts, so the start was really crowded. I was a little worried that the first mile would be totally miserable, but it really wasn't TOO bad. There were a few people way further up than they should have been, but it wasn't unbearable. We headed out from the starting area and made our way through downtown and towards the first bridge. This is a really scenic and enjoyable course. Right around Mile 1 you start making your way across the first of a series of bridges. I love a course where you get to run places you wouldn't normally get to! It was very cool being part of the bobblehead of runners heading across a major bridge over the Ohio River and into Kentucky. Once we were in Kentucky we headed through a really cute little neighborhood, past a great sounding alternative band and then we were headed back into Ohio via a different bridge. The sun was just starting to come up and the view going back into Ohio of the Cincinnati skyline was really pretty. The crowd was already starting to really thin out, which was nice. I'm not a huge fan of running bridges, though. The pounding of the climb up the bridge and then the pounding of the descent on the other side was doing a number of my legs. All I could think was that my legs needed to stay strong for the Eden Park section! (Mile 1: 8:48 (crowds..), Mile 2: 8:21, Mile 3: 8:26)
Around mile 3.5 we were back in downtown Cincinnati and making our way through downtown and towards Eden Park. Brent and I were still together and hanging strong. He was pulling the pace more than I was through this section. I didn't want to burn out before the hills, so I was trying to be cautious. We made our way through some business, past a TV station and we started the slow climb up to the peak of Eden Park. Brent and I had actually been up there before. When my brother first moved to Cincinnati several years ago he drove us up there because the view is beautiful. Strangely enough I remembered it being a very steep climb!! And it was! From mile 5 - 8 you are steadily climbing up. The worst of the climb is in Mile 5 & 6 though, or at least that's how it felt to me. Elizabeth had said she would be waiting somewhere within the Eden Park section, and that she would be wearing a Wild Bill pink shirt. I was eyeballing every spectator, looking for pink. Right in the middle of a climb in mile 5 I saw a 20-something-er wearing pink - but not Elizabeth! Hmmmm. It was a nice distraction keeping my eyes peeled, though. We climbed and climbed and finally passed the first relay exchange point. Those guys veered off to the left and their teammates charged out. (Mile 4: 8:17, Mile 5: 8:25, Mile 6: 8:58) That was mile 6.8, and we all had to cross over a chip mat. Apparently you could track people live, if I had known that I would have left a post with our bib numbers. We kept trucking and finally made it to the summit and were treated to a beautiful view of some house overlooking the river. Brent pulled out his camera phone to snap some pics and right at that moment I saw Elizabeth! I screamed for her, she screamed for me, there was some jumping around and Brent got it all on his cameraphone. He is so prepared!! She raced down the sidewalk and hopped in to join us. She told us she had just run her friends up the hill and was headed back to try to find us. I can't believe I spotted her, I am SO bad at finding people in crowds! She was carrying a bunch of people's hats and was running along with the cutest little pink backpack bobbing around on her back! We chatted away about how exciting it was to meet each other, and of course cameras were clicking away the whole time. She mentioned something about being glad to meet us since we're so "famous" (which we are NOT) which really cracked me up because a guy right in front of us turned around to check us out and he really gave me a once over trying to figure out "who we were". HA!! No one really, but Brent and I were declared Nashville's favorite running couple recently by Nashville is Talking!!! I'll take it!
At this point we were still gaining elevation, but I really don't remember much about it because we were just chatting away. She was bopping right along with us and definitely helping the miles go by faster and keeping us on pace. Right before Mile 10 Elizabeth pulled out to go and check on her marathon friends and we were on our own again. (Mile 7: 8:40, Mile 8: 8:35, Mile 9: 8:13, Mile 10: 8:43). (Thanks again for running so far with us, I'm SO glad we got to meet!!!!) Exception: a chatty girl who wanted to join in with us because the marathoners split off at mile 9 and she no longer had a pace leader to follow. We really weren't interested so we let her get ahead of us. There was a tiny hill at the start of Mile 10, and a volunteer told us it was the last one. Brent and I yelled back at him that if he was making it up we'd come back for him. He said "I was lying last time but not this time!" He really wasn't, we were done with hills! It was down, down, downhill for at least a mile! So much so that I really started to get tired of downhill. From Mile 10.5 - 12 you repeat the beginning portion of the course, and we could see all the people who were still back at miles 4 & 5. It was really crazy to think some people were so much further back, and I was glad I was near the end!! Most of them were walkers, 13.1 and 26.2 miles are a REALLY long walk! I can't imagine undertaking that sort of distance as a walk. We were back in downtown and I could tell we were getting close to the end. A little ways into Mile 12 Brent said something about we had 12 minutes to finish and he'd have a PR. I don't remember the last 12 minute mile I had, but for some reason I thought "All right, let's pick it up." (Mile 11: 8:00, Mile 12: 7:55) The last mile has a weird turnaround and then you're headed towards the finish. Tons of spectators lined the finish line area, and once we hit Mile 13 Brent gave me "the look" and said "Let's go!" I said "I'll try!" and we picked up the speed. We headed under some sort of strange underpass that had concrete support columns. We were headed towards the finish line, right next to each other, and this guy starts veering into my path!! I'm not sure what his deal was, maybe he was trying to avoid a pole or maybe he wanted to be in the center of the finish line. Whatever, I elbowed him to keep him out of my way and we rushed to the finish. We heard the announcer call out "Brent and Rachel - from Smyrna, TN!" How cool! Tons of races we've done have had announcers call out your name, but I've never heard them actually say my name. Hopefully we'll end up with cute finish line pics. (Mile 13: 8:04, the remaining piece - which my watch measured at .3 miles was at a 8:26 pace)
We got our medals and started making our way through the finish line area. My sister-in-law (SIL) and kids had seen us finish and they made their way over to the fence separating us. We told her we'd meet her over by the jumbotron once we were done in the finisher's area. We got our medals, mylar blankets and they even gave out free towels with the race logo on it!! They're really cute. They also handed out plastic bags for all the TONS of free food. We got bags of chips, oreos, fruit, tons of snacks and freebies! If they had had pizza, sodas, and coffee it would have beaten the free after-race food in Memphis (but Cincy is a close second!) We had our picture made and headed out to meet my SIL and Elizabeth! (She had made her way down the rest of the half course.) My SIL's kids were a bit......bored. My niece was grouchy and my nephew was bored and sleepy. They wanted to go home. My SIL had said she'd come down and watch if we could help her with the kids after we finished.....not an easy task after a tough half and a long day. (Note that my niece has a cookie stuck underneath her chin.....) My stomach was NOT happy. It had been grouchy all day and there wasn't much I could think of that might help it. And we were FREEZING! The mylar blankets saved my life, but I was still shaking. We visited with Elizabeth and a friend of hers for a while until they headed back up the marathon course. Then we went closer to the marathon finish line to watch for my brother. A little after 4 hours we saw one of their friends finish, and then about a minute later we saw my brother charging through!! He was much earlier than we expected! Brent was able to snap a pic and we headed over to the finisher's area.
He was jazzed!! I think he caught the running bug on Sunday. He found the rest of his relay team (who would probably die if they knew their pic was up on the net!!) and their other friend and they were on a massive runner's high! Instantly his team started talking about all running the half together next year, and my brother even mentioned running the whole thing! I'm really glad he had such a good time. At lunch that day he was talking about possibly running a half in Memphis or somewhere else this fall. He was even on the phone right afterwards reliving the whole experience with one of the guys. So funny!
We went back to his house, cleaned up, and ate some lunch. Then Brent and I headed home. It was ONE LONG DRIVE! We were both tired and my stomach was so grouchy. We stopped for caffeine and Cheetos. The Cheetos really helped! Five hours later we were home, another race in the bank!
Our final time was 1:52:39 for me, and 1:52:38 for Brent. He got me by a second! I finished #645 of 4,378 half marathoners. I was woman #190 out of 2,700 women. Not bad!! Avg Pace was 8:35/mile.
So for now we just have smaller races until the end of the summer. That's fine with me, I need a break! I need to look at the local race calendar and see what we want to do. I'm not a huge fan of 5Ks, a half is really my favorite distance. I also really, REALLY need to spend some time updating my sidebar. A lot of the links are old or dead, and there's a ton of new blogs I need to add!
Have a great night! I have a ton of blogs to catch up on, something like 150 posts!!!!! Congrats to Susie for a great half last weekend, and to Shore Turtle and Jay T for flying down Broad Street.
Tues - 1 mile am walk with Pips, 6 mile treadmill run (storms!!)
Wed - 2/3 mile am walk with Pips, 1/3 mile jog + I'm about to do some abs stuff