Thursday, May 11, 2017

Flying Pig Weekend

Last fall one of the awesome ladies from our group Meg at Running Just As Fast As She Can announced she was signed up to run the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati. Several of us decided to meet up with her in Cincinnati to cheer her on and spend some time with each other after over 2.5 years of online interaction. (History - We started following each other's blogs at various times. Then in the fall of 2014 someone suggested we do a "no Halloween candy in October challenge."  We started a Facebook group for accountability. By the end of the month, we knew we had started something so much greater and Lovely Ladies Losing It was born.)

Before the weekend, I admit I was super nervous. It is one thing to have a great relationship with people online, but what happens in real life?  Spoiler alert:  You meet up and have a great time with them. I had actually previously met two of them one on one. The group dynamic was what concerned me most. In general, I am more reserved and awkward in groups. After just a few minutes together we fell right into a rhythm. Everyone was pretty much like I already "knew" them to be.

A few weeks before Flying Pig I decided to walk the 5k. To be honest, I found out that there was a cool finisher's medal...and I wanted it. Two of the other ladies ended up walking the 5k also. We pretty much walked, people watched and chatted. Another friend brought her husband and he ran the 5k - his first 5k - ran the whole thing with a great time. Impressive!

The rest of our group spectated and cheered. I think this is actually the first race I have done that my husband has strictly been a spectator. It feel really good to be have his undivided support and not be missing his finish while I was still on the course (like we've done in previous races together).
5k racers as far as the eye could see.

My greatest cheerleader ready with a high five.

Worth every step for medals and space blankets. 

The Ladies
After the 5k, we went to the expo to pick up my husband's marathon packet and to meet up with another one of our ladies who drove up for part of the day.

By the time we left the expo my dogs were definitely barking and I was grateful to sit down for awhile at lunch. Our marathon lady, Meg, chose A Taste of Belgium. When we got there it was packed. but a waitress took as back outside and down the block to a private room entrance. The food was delicious, but my husband and I both agreed the portions were on the small side. We were still hungry. Must have been my post race and his pre-marathon bellies talking. For the record, I might have eaten this weekend like I was running a marathon. Time to rein it in now that I am home

Chicken and first time.

Ham, brie, apple waffle sandwich. 
After lunch it was back to the hotel to rest a little before meeting up with the ladies again to make signs for the marathon runners, chat some more and eat dinner. We ordered a stack of pizzas from a place down the street. This is so unlike me, but I was so busy having fun I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I normally would, sorry, no pizza pictures. Trust me though it looked and tasted delicious.

Sunday was the main event - the Flying Pig marathon. As I mentioned one our ladies, Meg and my husband were both running the marathon. (check out Meg's recap here) My husband and I got down to the start line around 5:30a - yes, we are early birds. It was actually quite relaxing to take in sights and sounds as people trickled then poured in.

Calm before the storm.
Once they opened the corrals he headed off to get situated in his corral. I am happy to say he had a MUCH smoother start than the Louisiana marathon - no lost iPods, no getting separated with me still holding all his fuel, etc. Everything was perfect.  Once he was safely corralled, I walked back to the corral where Meg would start to meet up with the rest of our spectating ladies.
Marathon Meg corralled and ready to run. 
She was pretty much settled in, so our group walked up to the start line where we could watch them both begin their 26.2 mile adventure. The start was huge - wave after wave in a staggered start. I read somewhere there were about 18,000 running the half and full marathon.

Walking up to starting line with  his wave. 

Who doesn't love a little early morning fire??
Once we saw them off we headed to our first spectating location between miles 5-6.  We had set up runner tracking on an app to follow them step by step during the race. I had a slight panic when we noticed my husband stopped tracking at mile 3 - did something happen to him?  Thankfully, it was just that his phone died. It was a bummer for the rest of the race to not be able to keep as close tabs on him as we planned.
Dedicated matter how cold our hands got holding those signs :) 
Once both runners had passed our first spectating spot we caught a Lyft (my first ever) to mile 14. We had the best driver who let us cram five of us in her Corolla.

The lady who may have been stretched out across our laps in the back seat handled it with such grace :) If we weren't close before. we certainly were by the end of that drive.  We tumbled out of the clown car at mile 14.

Waiting for my nerd, I mean husband to reach mile 14.
This picture speaks for itself. 

Marathon Meg!
We had found a great spectating spot. The course doubled back about two blocks away, so we were able to catch our runners again at their mile 17 without "breaking a sweat" ourselves. There was a bit of a shark/killer whale controversy...I will let you decide. Either way, I give him props for running the whole marathon in that costume.

At mile 17, my husband was still going strong and we were confident he would finish well.  So after watching him pass mile 17, we decided I better hurry back downtown to catch his finish. Two others from our group went back with me. We called for an Uber, but unfortunately after we had waited a bit the driver cancelled (he was on the wrong side of the marathon to reach us).  So we told him we would walk a few blocks and call him back.  I guess he must have gotten another call because he was no longer available and we had to start over. By the time, the second guy picked us up I was very nervous we wouldn't make it back in time. Our driver definitely tried, I will give him that. Unfortunately, just a moment before we arrived I got the automatic text that he had crossed the finish line...or Finish Swine as they say at Flying Pig.

I was super bummed. After the crushing finish at Louisiana, I wanted more than anything to see him make that final "sprint" down the finish chute. He had a fantastic race and was very happy with his time of 4:32 (almost an hour better than Louisiana and way less pain).

By the time we got around to where the runners exit the finish chute my husband was no where to be found. We searched for about an hour.  He had gone back to wait at the finish line knowing we would be coming there to watch our friend finish. In that moment, I just wasn't thinking clearly - I was still rattled by not seeing him finish and assumed he was too. Finally, we were reunited. Meg had texted that she was having some stomach issues and was struggling the last couple miles. A few of us walked back up the course to find her and cheer her through that final mile. Marathon finishes are so emotional....pride, pain, relief, joy...for runners and spectators.

After the marathon we went back to the hotel for a bit to rest and clean up before heading out for a celebratory dinner.  Meg had noticed Molly Malone's Irish Pub and Restaurant while running the marathon. The menu sounded amazing so zipped over in our Uber.

Bacon and Cabbage - I know you see the butter - it was SO good.
Side note about Uber and Lyft. My husband and I had never had the opportunity to use them before, but I think we were won over this weekend. A great vacation tool. So quick, convenient and the drivers all seemed to be enjoying themselves. I felt like each ride was its own mini adventure.

After dinner we treated ourselves to ice cream at Graeter's at Fountain Square.

The Fountain - I sang a little  of the WKRP in Cincinnati theme song in my head every time we saw it. 

Black raspberry chocolate chip and salted caramel ice cream.
Back at the hotel where was more talking and laughing.  At one point I was literally falling asleep, but I just didn't want the weekend to end.

We had to make an early start home Monday morning to get my husband back to work in the afternoon. A Flying Pig cookie for the road and we were off.

I was struck while watching this marathon that it is an event for a wide variety of people. I saw every age, shape and size, elites and back of the packers, etc. I wondered about their stories as they ran by. I am infinitely proud of Meg and my husband - they have conquered 26.2 miles with pure grit and determination.  To be honest, I have no desired or urge to ever run a marathon, but I so impressed by those who take on the challenge. It is incredibly motivational to see someone set a goal and achieve it. Hopefully, you will have a front row seat in watching that unfold as I apply that motivation to my own goals.

A special shout out to my ladies reading this post. Thank you for making this weekend wonderful. I can't wait until we meet again. If you don't follow already I recommend you check out their blogs.

Meg - Running Just As Fast As She Can
Desiree - Des 2.0 - The Reboot
Mary - Runs to Get Waisted
Tiina - One Crazy Penguin (she hasn't blogged for awhile, but there is some good stuff if the archives)


  1. Yay! What a wonderful recap! I'm so glad that I got to see you and Gary twice this year! And so proud of his marathon finish and Meg's too! They both did phenomenally!

    1. They were incredible. It was great to see you again too - who would have thought :) Now that Gary has "retired" from marathoning we can't use that for an excuse for our next visit.

  2. I am NOT missing this next year! What a great time (and literally a great time by Gary - Wow!!) I feel the same when I meet one of us - I think it will be awkward because I'm so awkward and then it turns out to be lovely. :) This is a truly magical group.

    1. We are so lucky to have this group :) We missed you!

  3. Oh my word....maybe it's just an emotional time of the month for me...but I literally started to tear up when I read that you missed Gary's finish!!!!! Grrr. I'm frustrated for you!!!!!

    It sounds like you had a fantastic weekend!!!! I was smiling the whole time I read it knowing that the race was really only the was a total weekend of friendship!!! And like I asked Desiree....did y'all plan the purple shorts for your race??????

    1. It was a great weekend. Yes, Meg found the shirts online and we all got them to match. Every time I wear it I will think about a fantastic weekend.