Thursday, May 10, 2012

Race Recap - Flying Pig 5k - Saturday, May 5, 2012

I have a few friends who are new to running.  They blame me for this new hobby/obsession... I make one innocent comment at Girls Weekend about wanting to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2013 and BOOM – a new batch of runners is born.

In the few months since this all started, we’ve been searching the web for races that we think would be fun to do together.  And that’s how we heard about the Flying Pig.  Once we saw the awesome, piggy medals, we decided we had to have them.

So the first weekend in May meant a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio for 3 of the 5 of us to run the Flying Pig 5k. (Other commitments (including a race for one of the kiddo’s in Pittsburgh (yes, even the little ones are into this running thing)) kept the other 2 from joining us this time around).

The 3 of us who went to the race are at 3 different points in our running career – I’m the “veteran”, running about 3 years and on my 15th or so race, Jen started in January of this year and was running her 3rd race, and Keira, she’s the baby runner, having just started the Couch to 5k program, was doing her first official 5k.  

We had a 10:00 start time, but wanted to get into the city early to pick up our packets and get prepared.  So we headed in a little early and just kind of hung around and watched the people for a while.  We got to see some of the runners in the 10k race by on their way to the finish.  

We went a little piggy crazy for outfits – flying piggy socks, flying piggy headbands, and even piggy ears.  We got lots of compliments on the socks and the ears.  Keira made a special shirt for the event, and it was also quite a hit.  We were kind of surprised that there weren’t more people decked out in pig gear, but we’ve never been a group to follow the crowd, so we didn’t care.  As Keira said, “we’re too cool to dress normal.” 

3 little piggies ready to race

Flying pig socks
When it was time to line up for the start.  We waded our way through the crowd of people to what seemed like a good spot – not too close to the front, not too close to the back.  And there we stood.  The gun went off for the race to start, and still we stood.  There were so many people in the race that it took a good 2 minutes before we even started moving towards the start line, and probably another minute or so before we crossed it.  (Which was a little nerve-wracking, but at least the race was chip-timed and not gun-timed).

The first mile was a constant attempt to go around people, dodging this way to a clear spot, shooting back the other way, weaving in and out and passing people all around.  I was holding a pretty decent pace, not too fast and not too slow, but the added effort of weaving around stressed me out a bit.  That coupled with the heat and humidity, and an unfriendly hill (wasn’t expecting that - who knew Cincinnati had hills?) made me really slow it down in mile 2.  I walked for a bit and then tried to pick it up again, but I was still weaving in and out of people and that really tires me out.  So mile 3 was also slower than I wanted.  

But I kicked it into high gear for the end.  There was this woman with a stroller and we kept passing each other throughout most of mile 3.  I decided I wasn’t going to let her beat me, so I took off for the last quarter mile, leaving stroller lady and a bunch of others behind and crossed the finish line with a burst of speed I didn’t know I had.

Looking at my finish time, I was disappointed in the numbers on the clock.  This was my slowest 5k in a long time.  BUT, I can honestly say that it was first time I finished a race and didn’t feel like I could’ve raced harder or faster (I have now joined the ranks of runners who throw-up after crossing the finish line (not sure if I should proud of that or not…).  I put all I had on that particular day out there, holding nothing back.  And looking at the statistics – my place overall, in my age group, and in the women’s field –  I didn’t do half bad. (one of the benefits of running the big races ;o) )

Would I have finished better if I’d started farther up in the field?  Would it have made a difference if I’d eaten something different for breakfast?  Should I have been better hydrated?  Did the tall piggy socks make me too hot?  All questions that crossed that my mind as I went over the race and my performance in my mind.  And the answers are: Maybe. Maybe. Probably. Possibly.  

But in the end, for this race, it doesn’t matter.  The number on the clock really means very little compared to the awesomeness of being there to cheer my friends on and watch them cross the finish line.  That really is something special, and I’m so proud of both of them. 

We earned those piggy medals girls!  Wear ‘em with pride!

Flying Pig 5k Medal

Race Stats:
Time: 32:47
971st out of 3,616
54th in age group
397th woman (out of 2225)

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