Race Reports: Little King's 1 Mile and Flying Pig Half Marathon

May 14th, 2014

This is a short after-thought of races run on the weekend of 5/2/2014 - 5/4/2014.  The Little King's Mile is the second-annual, and I ran it last year.  The Flying Pig Half Marathon is the 16th annual, and it is my first half marathon.

Little King's Mile

I admit that I was a bit concerned about how well I'd do on this race.  Last year's time was an 8:34, and I know I've improved significantly, but my interval training hasn't been that much better for half-miles.  So whatever, I kept it controlled from Orchard Street through 9th Street, which is roughly the first half.  After 9th, I started pushing a little more and started passing lots of people until around 4th, took a brief not-passing rest, and then just past 4th (where it started to go downhill), I turned on the jets and pushed through the finish line.

During the race, I noticed a few things to always watch out for - potholes (there were several), cars and bike racks in the road, a place where road work had a significant lateral (left-right) grade where some pavement repair was done, and a young lady running without shoes.  I was actually worried about running behind her (and ultimately passed her) because her over-pronation in her left foot was so bad I thought she'd trip herself (and being 220+ pounds, if she went down, I'd end up falling on her and both of us would be injured!).  I trailed her for only around a block (and I stayed a little to the left) and ultimately passed her south of 4th Street.

A few seconds after crossing the line, I hit my watch and saw a 7:52:03!  I grabbed a bottle of water and walked into the recovery party and grabbed my first beer.  I had my number pinned to a pullover and noticed the QR code on the bib.  In many past experiences, the QR code never worked.  This time...

2014-05-02 20.31.39

7:40! HECK YEAH! PS: there may still have been other waves of runners that hadn't started, so the actual places may change, but I care more about the time and less about the place. 7:40 is a huge improvement over last year.

2014-05-02 20.25.47

Reward for a good mile time!

The after party was great, even though I only stayed around for two beers.  I had a coney coupon that I didn't intend to use and found a lonely-looking lady in the coney line to give the coupon to, and she gave me one of her beer coupons.  I really wasn't feeling like drinking a third beer in fairly rapid succession knowing that I had to drive home, so I figured I'd get a draft beer that was probably a little smaller.  When I got to what I believe was the only booth that had draft beer, they were out and handing out cans (like the one pictured above).  However, the guy working the booth wasn't opening them so I hid mine in my pullover sleeve and left for home.

I really like running this race for a few reasons - the beer (of course!), the scenery in Over The Rhine, which has been going from dangerous slum to really nice urban neighborhood with a historic character, and that it is a great fitness test.  The 1 mile race is a sprint, and I can tell a lot about a year's worth of training not only by my time but how I feel after the finish, and last year I had some trouble breathing and a lot of coughing after the run.  This year, I only had minimal coughing - definitely a sign of a more healthy respiratory system!

The swag's pretty cool, too!

The swag's pretty cool, too!

Flying Pig Half Marathon

The half is an important race for many reasons:

  • I know a number of the amateur radio volunteers on the course.  The radio volunteers span several clubs and it is all of us (well, THEM this year!) working together for the greater good.
  • There are 6 people including myself from my office running the half.  20% of our office.  That's pretty damn cool and very laudable!  We've pushed each other, gave each other advice, and we even walked over to the pig expo together (well, all except one that had a Friday afternoon meeting, and I picked up her packet for her).
  • It's very easy to train for a 5k.  Pretty easy to train for a 10k.  Not easy to train for a 21k!
  • I'm still trying to show an improvement in my pace over the last long run (the Hudepohl 14k).  I ran a slight improvement in a practice half marathon, and I hope to see an even better improvement when I see my official results on Sunday.

Unfortunately, the pace improvement just didn't happen.  I did a 2:17, which is okay, about 10:30/mile, but not as fast as I wanted to go.  I went out very fast - in the low 9's, hit the hills hard, and then just about died at mile 10.  I still made it, though, and I got the swag and a picture to prove it.

The crowds in Cincinnati are awesome.  Lots of live bands along the course and lots of people coming out to watch us run.  Let's be honest, it's not exciting to watch runners, so the fact that all these people came out early on a Sunday morning is really cool.

Medal front

Medal front

Medal back.  Gotta love that you see the backside of the pig.

Medal back. Gotta love that you see the backside of the pig.

This was probably 100 feet from the finish line.  Yes, I'm going to buy this picture - the photographer nailed it at the perfect moment.

This was probably 100 feet from the finish line. (Yes, I'm going to buy this picture - the photographer nailed it at the perfect moment).