Thursday, May 16, 2019

Race Review: Flying Pig Marathon!

Race: Flying Pig Marathon
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
Race Date: 05.05.2019

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are doing well. I am here to review the Flying Pig Marathon. This review will be from the point of view from someone that has never been to Cincinnati, Oh.

This will be my 4th marathon. I've done Philly twice, NYC once. While training last fall, was already looking for a spring marathons. Was willing to travel, and would prefer to go somewhere I've never been. This race is always in the top lists of fun marathons, all sorts of Pig themed, looks like a blast! Although, we have been to Ohio once (Cedar point). As  travelers looking to cross off states, I did see that Indiana and Kentucky are nearby, found some touristy things to do there as well, that helped with selling it to my non running (and very supportive) spouse.

Travel: flew from Philly to CVG airport (Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport). (Philly to Cincy is a 9 hr drive) As we were heading towards the ground transportation, we were greeted by a welcoming committee! Someone in a pig mascot costume, someone holding a sign, and a greeter with a goodie bag! Already feeling welcome!
Goodie bag containing: Water, propel hydration mix, protein bar, chocolate bar, Cincinnati visitor's guide, and the Flying Pig race weekend event guide! (Protein bar not pictured, I ate it shortly after receiving it!)
Expo:
Held at Duke Energy Convention Center. 20 minutes from the airport. Located just as you enter the city of Cincinnati. There is a parking garage, parking lots, and limited street parking. We were able to locate street parking after a few loops. The place was packed, but bib pickup was a breeze. Less than 5 minutes. After bib pickup, you are herded through the clothing shop (majority by sponsor Asics), miscellaneous glassware and pig themed knick knacks by the cashier before heading into the expo. As you enter the expo, there is a long line for a bag of more free goodies!
After the goodie bag, there are at least 4 rows of vendors, food, clothing, races, etc. So many vendors (seemed like 100's) and people, it was almost overwhelming!

On the opposite side of the expo is where you pick up your swag. Shirt, duffel/cooler bag, and a print of this year's race poster!
The poster was provided in a box, but sadly, I was unable to fit the box into my bag to travel home. A few wrinkles experienced due to being packed in my bag. :(
Before leaving the expo, had to get a few pics with some of the FlyingPigs

After the expo: went back to my hotel to get settled in. Start getting my #FlatRunner #FlatJoe ready.. But no running shorts!! I always get my gear ready and even repeat "head to toe" in my head several times.. After doing laundry earlier in the week, I set aside a pair of shorts just for race day, they were set aside, but not with my stuff to pack yet! Glad it was still somewhat early, like 4 pm. Googled sporting good stores. There's one within 3 miles, in Kentucky! They store had the exact shorts I normally wear. 

We were originally going to eat carbs somewhere near the hotel. (maybe slightly overpriced). But since we were outside of the city, we found a few more options. My first of few meals in Kentucky! After the shorts fiasco, we had dinner at Pompilios. Great place to carb load! Excellent Italian food, good portions and affordable prices. Pompilios is also known for a little known fact.. It was in the move 'Rain Man'. If you remember the scene where the tooth pics scattering everywhere, that was at Pompilios

After dinner, went back to the hotel and went to bed nice and early.

Race Day: 

Alarm set early, up a few minutes before that. Of course! Coffee, hydrate. "morning routine". Had a light breakfast (bagel w/ pb) on the way down to the starting area..

Amenities, ie portable toilets: As I head on down to the starting area. I was at the starting line side of the stadium.There are a few portable toilets per corral. Apparently, if you approached the stadium from the opposite side, there were banks of many more toilets. There were toilets throughout the course if needed. Of course lines at the earlier ones. 

Course:

Map:
Elevation:
The race starts out by the sports stadiums in Cincinnati. Paul Brown Stadium, which hosts the  Cincinnati Bengals. Crowd support and signs already! Then passing by the Great American Ball Park, which hosts the Cincinnati Reds. 

Over a bridge, crossing the Ohio River. Welcome to Kentucky! 2-3 miles. Through a couple towns in Kentucky. Both lined with support. Think I saw Captain America cheering us on, thanks Cap! Then back to Ohio. Crossing the Ohio River again. 

Miles 5-10, This area was my biggest concern through training. Inclines and hills! The hills do have some scenery to them as well. Going up to and through Eden and Hyde Parks were very pretty with a few lookout points and an observatory. Support on your way up and a bit sprinkled where they could be in the parks. 

After the parks and hills, through neighborhood main streets, excellent crowd support, and you start seeing some partying going on. Started being offered alcohol around mile 11. Mimosa's. Later on, plenty of beer stands and at least one margarita stand. I did not partake in any, as this was not part of my training. lol..  

Pacing at 13.1: goal was to pace 9:09.  At 13.1, I was at 9:08 and was very comfortable, even after all the hills that I was concerned with. Felt great, oh, I can do another half at this pace! Oh, so very wrong.

Relatively flat most of the second half with one or two inclines. Map shows the last hill before 16, but I swear I cussed at one short steep one later on.  

Mile 15 goes through a small quaint town (Mariemont, Ohio) and a couple neighborhoods. Then onto a highway for a mile or so. 

Around mi 17-18, I start to slow down. Back on the roads from the highway heading towards the city. Still some crowd support 20-24. Dragging. Tried walking a min running a mi. A bit drained, to say the least.

24-26.2 Getting close to the city and the Finish Swine! You can sense the crowds and energy before you see them at the last turn! The crowds are roaring as you approach that Finish Swine!

Pacing: 2nd half 13.1-26.2 avg pace was 11:08. Definitely hit that dreaded wall.
Overall: avg 10:08

8 minutes off from my PR. This course has some hills up front. I did more hill training this cycle than before, but looks like I have some more to do. I won't hang my head in disappointment (for long) for not PR'ing on a tougher course than I'm used to. Very happy to have completed the Flying Pig Marathon. More work to do, but should be ready for my flat courses in the fall! (God willing. lol)

Aid/Water: 
There was plenty of water stations. Many in addition to the ones labeled on the map. Some "unofficial" water stations by churches or other volunteer groups.

In addition to the alcohol, there were food stands throughout (some "unofficial"), a few of the many offerings: 

Swedish fish
Twizzlers
Gummy bears
Gummy Worms
Hershey's kisses
Nestle’s Crunch Bar
Chocolate Graham Crackers
Girl Scout Cookies
Bacon!
orange slices
Pickles/pickle juice

Post race: after receiving your medal, there is a snack line (bag provided, hate when there's no bag). two fruit cups (not pictured, ate them right away), four cereal bars, pb crackers, peanut trail mix, nut bar, oats & honey granola bar, banana, there was also a LaRosa's pizza food truck before you exit to grab a slice! I was in no condition yet to think about pizza, but love the option!
Free beer: There's a huge post race party nearby, over on the river front. One free beer included. Michelob Ultra. light and refreshing! There were additional beer and wine stands to purchase from.
A few post race pics:  (not pictured, also met up with some friends from online IRL!, was great to meet them in person)
Later on, after the race, checked out a Cincy food at Skyline. 3-way chili! (spaghetti, chili, cheese), There are a few more options, but I don't do raw onions. Was a very interesting take on chili. Some cinnamon to it. I wasn't going to try something new before the race, but glad i checked it out! 
Overall: A great experience provided from beginning to end. Awesome crowd support. Wish I could remember all of the great punny signs (i'm a sucker for puns), so creative, funny, and supportive! If my travel budget permits (after crossing off a few more states), I would definitely do this race again!

Race sites and Social:
Site: http://flyingpigmarathon.com/
Facebook: flyingpigmarathon
Twitter: RunFlyingPig
Instagram: runflyingpig


If you want to check out my touristy pics of Indianapolis, we did the river walkway, pics are here on IG. Louisville, we had a good time as well, did the Louisville Slugger museum/factory, and Churchill downs, pics here, a distillery and a brewery (not pictured). 

If you do any races, please remember to review them on ! Your opinions help other runners decide what races to run!  Follow me on BibRave Joe G

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