I say this every year and I mean it: the Flying Pig marathon is a great day for Cincinnati. Even at it's worst, it's an amazingly well-organized race. I could tell that, because of the inclement weather, there were far fewer people cheering this year. Still, the people out there were passionate and always help you to get this thing done. And I love the fact that, when you reach the finish line, students from Cincinnati Christian University are volunteering to help out runners. Familiar faces are always a blessing.
So here's the breakdown.
My performance: I finished two seconds slower than my first marathon— 3:58:32. But I'm just as proud of that finish because of the conditions. The early rain made the course a bear; not only were my socks/shoes waterlogged, I was dodging puddles throughout the race. And with the temperature in the mid/upper sixties, combined with all that rain, left the humidity hanging in the air. For the second straight year, I had to change socks in Mariemont. This slows momentum and hurt my time, but it was a necessity for me.
So while my pace in the first part of the race was very strong, those conditions slowed me considerably in the second part of the race. It was the hardest finish yet. During the last four miles, I was continually talking myself out of stopping to walk it out. I honestly believe that, with better conditions, I would've set a personal best. But you play the hand that's dealt to you, and I did all I could. It was a good time.
My take-aways: First, I feel like we finally nailed down the perfect observation plan for Kelly and Kaelyn. They were able to see me at five different locations throughout the city. Knowing that they're waiting for me always pushes me a little more. I know it takes a lot of work for Kelly to make it happen, but I'm so grateful that they accommodate my hobby.
Second, this will likely be remembered as the marathon where I got TV facetime. WLWT televises the event and, every year, they have cameras stationed at the overlook in Eden Park. When I saw them this year, I made a move towards the path of the camera but I thought there weren't broadcasting. When meteorologist Valeri Abate turned around, I knew they were on the air so I acted a fool. Evidence of it can be viewed here. Even during a marathon, I'm still a goof at heart.
My appreciation: Running in terrible weather is no fun, but I can't imagine just watching people do it for hours. And it's beyond me that people will spend hours volunteering to help those people run in terrible weather. I'm so grateful for people like my family who enable runners to reach their goals. I've always enjoyed the marathon because it's me verses myself, or me verses the course. But I always neglect to recognize all the other people who make it happen. It's an amazing collective effort.
So now what? When you're still in pain two days after, it's tough to contemplate doing this again. But I'm a glutton for punishment. I'm pretty sure I'll be back at it in 2012.
Who else is with me?