2017 Flying Pig 5k Recap and a New Race Distance

I love doing races. It doesn’t matter if I run, walk, or a combo of both – there is something about a race that lifts my spirits and motivates me to continue to stay active.

As I have mentioned before, the Flying Pig Marathon is a HUGE deal in Cincinnati and perhaps the national running community. A large amount of local and visiting runners participate in the event. In addition to the marathon – there are a variety of other races throughout the weekend. Last year I ran the 10k – and had a great time. This year – the weekend fell exactly six weeks after giving birth. My exercise routine consisted of leisurely stroller walks – so I knew  wasn’t going to run anything – but I REALLY wanted to participate in something – so I decided to power walk the 5k with my mom.

I picked up both mine and my mom’s bibs at the expo the night before and that was a poor decision on my part. Because my little baby was only six weeks – I didn’t feel comfortable taking him to the super crowded convention center. So I waited until my husband got home from work so he could watch the baby and I and drove in rush hour traffic in the pouring rain to Downtown Cincinnati by myself. I made it in the nick of time to pick everything up and barely spent anytime in the expo perusing the booths. “Morning of the race” bib pick up was available – and I should have taken advantage of that and saved myself the hassle and the $10 for downtown parking.

Since this was my first race post baby – I had a few extra things to coordinate before I left the house in the morning. I thawed milk the night before and laid out bottles for the baby. I also laid out my clothes and put all my race day essentials in my fanny pack.

I planned to wake up at 6:30 am with the intention to leave the house at 8am – this would allow me the time to get ready, eat breakfast, and nurse. The baby woke up around this time anyway – so I nursed him first, and spent the remainder of the morning getting myself fed and ready. Things ran pretty seamlessly for both me and the baby.

My mom picked me up and it was a quick and easy drive downtown. We parked in a lot a few blocks away from the start line. We also got there SUPER early – which again, was a poor decision. I thought that downtown would be super packed and that we needed a lot of time to park and line up in our corral, but that wasn’t the case. We spent an hour and a half sitting in somewhat chilly weather – watching the 10k finishers (the 10k was held two hours before the 5k start).

Eventually the time came for us to line up in our corrals, or “pig pens” – and shortly we were off. The course goes through downtown Cincinnati and does not cross the bridge into Kentucky like the 10k, half, and full. There were a lot of families and many babies in strollers and even one being worn. My baby was still too young  for this year – but next year, if I do the 5k, I will definitely bring him.

One thing I should have done was bring my own water. I am exclusively breastfeeding and I get really thirsty pretty quickly. Thankfully, there was one water stop halfway through.

Both my mom and I felt we weren’t really “pushing” ourselves with our walking. I did give birth six weeks before – so I didn’t want to over exert myself. We did finish with a time of 50:59 and a pace of 16:24.

At the finish line we got our medals – which I was pumped for since it had been a year since I did a race where they gave you a medal. The post race food was pretty scarce – they only offered you a fruit cup. I wasn’t really disappointed since you don’t burn that many calories – but I always like to stock up on free granola bars.

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The Flying Pig Races are something I really plan on making an annual tradition – there is something for everyone – even kids races! (hello Diaper Dash). After this year’s race weekend there is a short window of time to register for next year’s race at the lowest prices available. I have always wanted to conquer the marathon distance – and the Pig is a great choice for first timers due to the generous pace requirements and amazing course support. And since the price was so reasonable I bit the bullet and did it! I have no time goal – just to finish upright and smiling. Training will be a challenge since I am a nursing mom – but I am going to make it work! I hope by this time next year I will be able to call myself a marathoner!

 

2016 Go Santa Go 5k Recap

My mom moved up to Cincinnati recently, and she got bit by the racing bug when we did the 2016 Princess 5k together this past year. She really wanted to do another race with me, so I did a quick search for local 5k’s in the area and came across the Go Santa Go 5k, which was being held at Summit Park – a great new park down the street from where I live. Proceeds from the race went to the Cancer Survivors Community.

Packet pick up was the day before at my local running store – but there was also race day pickup and registration available. Included in registration was a Santa *or* Elf shirt and hat (you had to pick one). We picked Elves. The shirt and hats were intended to be worn at the race.

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My mom and I arrived about 35 minutes before the race and stayed in the car to keep warm. The temperatures that morning were in the high 30’s.

Around 5 minutes before the start we lined up at the starting line. This was probably one of the smallest races I have participated in. I believe there were about 117 participants.

When I race with my mom we stick to power walking. The course went through and around the park. During the race my mom and I pretty much chatted and people watched. Our official time was 47:47, with a pace of 15:24 per mile.

Hot chocolate and cookies were available post race and an awards ceremony was held for people who placed in their age group. Since my mother and I were certain we did not place, we left and went back to my house.

Like the Thanksgiving Day Race, this is another race I’d like to make an annual tradition. I definitely plan to bring the stroller and my little buddy next year!

2016 Thanksgiving Day Race Recap

At the end of October I got back into my running routine after two months off. Due to my “condition” I was slower and would occasionally get round ligament pain. I managed a few runs and then took another 1.5 week break due to feeling depressed about the election and a TERRIBLE migraine.

My husband had been getting excited about Cincinnati’s Thanksgiving Day Race – an over century long annual Cincinnati tradition. Around 13,000 people run/walk the race each year and it takes place in downtown Cincinnati.

On the evening he was registering, at the last minute, I asked him to sign me up. Until then the longest I had run had been 4 miles, but 1/3 of the race was walkers, so I figured I could take my time completing the 10k distance.

The weekend after he registered I did a 5 mile indoor track run and felt confident that I would finish upright and smiling.

The morning of the race was chilly and wet – once we arrived at the starting area – the rain started to let up. The husband and I got into our respective pace groups and we were on our way.

I kept 15:30 intervals – because I wanted to take it easy and try to minimize any pain. I really enjoyed the course. Like the Flying Pig 10k it went through downtown Cincinnati and Kentucky.

There were a few serious hills and I simply walked the uphills – at this point in my state of fitness and my other current state – I really did not want to over exert myself.

What I really loved about the race was the large attendance and family vibe. There were lots of families running and walking together, and there were a lot of strollers on the course and it got me excited that one day we could make this an annual family tradition.

I finished in 1:35, with a 15:25 pace. My slowest race thus far, but I’m darn proud I’m able to complete a 10k at 6 months pregnant.

We will definitely do this race again – I think a Thanksgiving Day run is such a fun way to get pumped for the holiday – looking forward to next year!!

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Hiatus explained AND 2016 Hyde Park Blast

Well it has been AWHILE since I last posted something. Life has changed ALOT in the past few months and it’s only going to change more.

I currently have a bun in the oven and the first five months of baking were ROUGH! I had suffered from nonstop nausea and fatigue and pretty much stopped exercising for two months.

Back in June I ran the Hyde Park Blast, and what I did not know at that time was that my little bun was along for the ride. It was a four mile race through Cincinnati’s Hyde Park district and I achieved one of my best times: a 47:28 finish with an 11:52 pace. A few weeks later I found out about my new partner in crime – and was able to run throughout July and early August until the nausea hit hard and I pretty much went out of commission.

Once I started to feel better, I set out to slowly get back into a running routine, or at least a run/walk routine. At five months, the bump was starting to show and I realized if I jostled myself too much I would get round ligament pain in my uterus – so 15:30 run/walk intervals seemed to be my golden ratio. Pretty much a power walk, but it felt great to get my body moving again.

By mid-November I felt like I had a solid enough foundation to register for the Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race, an annual 10k through downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky – I was a little nervous…

to be continued

2016 Flying Pig 10k recap

A few days after we arrived in Cincinnati, OH, I registered for the Flying Pig 10k. Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon is considered by many to be a “must do”. The race weekend consists of a one mile, 5k, 10k, half and full (the half and full are held at the same time – so one must pick either option). While I would have loved to have done the half or the full – the past month has not allowed me to consistently train for running a distance longer than 5 miles – so I felt that the 10k would be the best choice.

I went to the expo the day before the race to pick up my bib and it was super fun – it was similar to a RunDisney expo in size and vendors, but a lot more manageable in terms of crowds. What I love about “the Pig” is the hometown pride – this is truly Cincinnati’s race – and it made me super happy to be a part of the community.

On race morning – I got up early and drove myself downtown. I gave myself a generous amount of time to drive and find parking – I arrived at the start area close to an hour before the start time. It was drizzling a little – but the rain let up by the time the race began.

The corrals AKA “pig pens” were all released at once. The course crossed into Kentucky so this was the first race where I ran through TWO states – pretty cool. There wasn’t any on-course entertainment – but there was a sufficient amount of aid stations. I crossed the finish in 1:18:24 with a pace of 12:38 – not a PR but I’m happy with my time.

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I quickly grabbed a bottle of water and some complimentary snacks and hopped in my car and drove home. As I walked to my car it started to rain again, and continued throughout the day – I lucked out! I’m still anticipating a soggy, wet, race in the future – but today was not that day.

This race was a great scenic tour of my new hometown AND a great introduction into Cincinnati’s running community.

Trying to Be “Somewhat” Healthy on a Road Trip

My husband and I recently completed a 10 day cross country road trip from San Francisco, CA to Cincinnati, OH. Below are some of the things that we did to try to make this trip a little healthier:

Try to find hotels with complimentary breakfasts –  I’m a breakfast eater and breakfasts can be a challenging thing to manage on the road – Most road hotels (Hampton Inn, Best Westerns, comfort inn) offer free hot breakfasts – where you can pick and choose what you want in the amount you want. You have the options of eggs, biscuits, waffles, yogurt, hot and cold cereals, fruit, english muffins, and pastries. It made the mornings more enjoyable and we were still able to hit the road on time.

Have snacks on hand – hunger strikes at weird times on the road, and we had healthy options on hand. Cashews, almonds, raisins, dates, peanut butter (in individual cups for those who like to eat it straight up), protein bars, and crackers were our trip staples.

Eat one “sack” meal per day – we usually had one meal in a restaurant (lunch or dinner) per day, the other meal we ate in the car or in our hotel room – which usually was a light sack lunch – some combination of peanut butter sandwich, crackers, nuts, dried fruit.We also occasionally had leftovers from the previous restaurant meals for lunch/dinner. All of our lodgings were equipped with a refrigerator. Having one lighter meal helped balance things out.

Try to fit in exercise – most of the road trip was spent in a sedentary state, but we did try to fit a few runs in if our hotel was located near a safe running route. Most hotels we stayed at also had fitness centers, but we did not take advantage of them (maybe next time). We also took a few nice walks in some of the towns we stopped in.

Have realistic expectations – I’m not someone with the strongest of discipline – while I would love to be someone who could eat clean regardless of the situation they are in, I’m just not. In my home life – we eat out once a week, but on the road, it’s everyday. I also am someone who likes to indulge during special occasions, and being fortunate to explore different regions of our beautiful nation is a special occasion. We definitely had more than a few opportunities to indulge and we took advantage of them.

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Cupcake Pancakes at IHOP – one of the several meals I treated myself to on the road

Our cross country road trip was an experience that made lifelong memories for us – it was nice to be able to balance the “vices” of traveling with a few healthy choices.

New town – new experiences

Two and a half years ago my husband and I packed up everything – left our family, friends, pretty much everything that was familiar to us and moved out west to San Francisco, CA.

The move was a challenge – but thanks to generous friends or as I’d like to call them: angels – who let us crash at their place for a month – we were able to find an apartment in a great location with convenient amenities – in the city of SF.

Living in one of the most beautiful and progressive cities in the country was a wonderful experience.

I found an amazing job with great people, had the opportunity to see lots of top notch live entertainment, explored new cities and locations in the Bay Area and within the state of CA, learned how to be more of a minimalist, ate lots of delicious food, and thanks to SF’s mild climate and scenic views – became a runner. If it were not for my move here – I might have not picked up what I hope to be a lifelong habit.

However – with time brings change – and many things are calling us back east: primarily opportunities and family.

We are planting our roots in Cincinnati, Ohio. I lived in Columbus, Ohio (about 90 minutes north of Cinci) for close to four years.

Ohio has a special place in my heart – it’s where I met my husband, where I made my closest friends, and where I received my college degree.

I’m not as familiar with Cinci as I am with Columbus – I have visited there many times (my husband grew up there) – however I still consider myself to be unfamiliar with the area.

Like our move to SF – I’m looking forward to finding a place to call home.

I’m also really looking forward to running in Cinci – a challenge for me will be the hot summers and cold winters (fall and spring are the sweet spots for running outdoors). I’ve been doing a lot of research on races in the Cincinnati area and throughout the tri-state area (Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky) and it seems to be that I’m arriving at the start of racing season. I already have a list of races I’d like to register for – I might have a busy summer ahead.