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Happliy married to my bestfriend and the love of my life. New stay-at-home mom. Lover of running. Friend of Jesus. I am trying to just find my way through life with the help of my friends, family and the love of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 2014 Race Recap


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First things first....
O...M....G! I am a marathoner. I am a marathoner!!

Ok, now that we have that out of the way...OMG, I just ran 26.2 miles. I crossed the finish line. I got a medal and I did it with the two best people one could ever hope to run with.

Ok...seriously...out of my system. Onto the race recap. Apologies for wordiness and photo heavy. Bear with me. It was my first and I tried to relish in every moment and I'm trying to remember each of it mile by mile.

We arrived in Cleveland on Saturday. The race was Sunday. I came into the decision a little late in the game so I didn't get a hotel. This was fine because Andrew's cousins live in a suburb of Cleveland and they offered their home to us to stay there. Score!!

We hit the expo at the I-X center. The expo was OK. I liked it better than the Pig a few weeks ago. I didn't feel like there were tons of "sales" as I was kinda scouting for some cheap shoes but I didn't find any. Lots of things un running related (like windows, doors, gutters). I felt like I was at the state fair :) I did enjoy all that was in the swag bag and my finisher shirt is awesome!


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 After packet pickup we decided to head back to the hotel, check in and meet for dinner. Andrew and I just followed them to the hotel and parked in a public parking lot. No biggie. We waited in the hotel lobby and after everyone was done we walked over to the Winking Lizard for dinner. The "start" line was in front of their hotel so I grabbed an early shot!




The food was good but the service was slow. I had hoped to be done eating way before 8:00 but we had a large group and the server seemed to be overloaded with large tables. I enjoyed the time out though. Forgetting for a brief second of why we were there and getting to be a kid less person for one evening. Afterwards we walked back to the hotel and said our good nights. We headed for Richmond Heights and it took us about 25 minutes. I showered quickly, got into bed, checked Facebook, (thank goodness because Michael and Lynne reminded me to charge my watch), laid out my clothes for the following morning, got back into bed and then tried to go to sleep. Tried!! I think maybe I got a solid 2 hours. I kept thinking what if I slept through my alarm!



I didn't. It went off right at 4:30am. I got up, slowly got dressed, wondered again what the heck I was thinking, unplugged my watch (story about that later), started drinking my water. We loaded up the car and were on the road at 4:55am. It took much less time to get back to Cleveland. We were suppose to exit at 3rd but it was already closed off so we exited early and found a line of cars trying to get into the parking garage. I was hoping it wasn't a bad omen. We decided to try to get as close as we could to the start line and found a $5 parking garage open. We pulled in and I started to make my peanut butter sandwich and ate my banana. Still drinking water. I went through my bag ONE MORE TIME. Water belt, check..fill up the bottles now. Gymboss-check. Three cliff bars and a thing of chews-check. Watch-check-wait...it only has two bars. Shit...watch didn't charge. Ok..no problem. Lynne and Angi both have intervals built into theirs--check but minor panic. Throw away shirt-check-sorta. (not a throw away). OK. I was set. We walk into the hotel and get to the lobby where we were scheduled to meet everyone. Lynne shows up first and then Angi. We start talking and Stephanie (our coach) give us our little pep talk and I decide to pee once more before we head to the corrals.

We head down to the corrals about 5 after 6. We were "suppose" to be in line at 6am but seeing as half the people in my corral were on the side of a building  to block the wind and people walked into the corral at 7:00am, I wager this rule was not strictly enforced. We met up with Gail and her daughter who were walking the 10k. They stayed with us until about 6:50 and they headed into their corral. We were very lucky that Angi brought us her industrial strength trash bags and those babies are freaking awesome. I'll be stealing one for the Indianapolis race in November for sure. We got into our corral and looked around. Not too many marathoners in this group! We were also in the back and saw the last pacer for the marathon at a 5:25 finish. We were hoping for a sub 6 but not that "sub". I was kinda disappointed with that but it is what it is. Not every group can be paced (like Columbus).
Photo Selfie by Angi 
Starting Line "corrals: Photo courtesy of Angi

Angi, Gail, Me, Lynne and Cheryl

The race started a bit late (7:05) there was the National Anthem and the gun went off. It took us about 10 minutes to get to the start line. We crossed and saw Stephanie, Andrew, and Lori on the left and they got us going. We had our first mile pace (as always a little fast but not OVERLY fast) right on and I was already feeling good. It was a chilly start-49 degrees and shedding the trash bag was necessary. I had my throw away shirt on but my feet were cold and they felt like hell beating on the concrete. The streets were a MESS. I remember telling Andrew on the way to his cousins to remind me NEVER to complain about Columbus roads again. We made a conscious effort to watch the road ahead of us as we were not about to start out on a sprained ankle or a face-plant on the road! It didn't take us long to warm up and I shed my "throw away" shirt at mile 2.5 right after we get over the first bridge. Andrew had asked me not to throw away his shirt so I kept it tied around my waist the entire time. Nothing says I love you like not throwing away a "throw away" shirt.

The 10k split went well. We were well on target for our projected finish time.  We were still running/talking/laughing. We really enjoyed looking at the homes in this area. The people were out and offered us beer/water. The water stops before hand were really busy!! So they "made up" water stops were awesome. They made up banners and put them up. It kinda reminded us a little of the German Village/Schiller Park area of Cap City.  Lynne took this opportunity to nearly take a face-plant when she tripped on a rock.  She caught herself--thank goodness. Angi decided to bring us to tears at mile 7 with a story of which I'll never forget. Its not my place to share here. Angi had 26 people on her arm of which we could pray for. This was a good way for us to focus on something other than the race and not loose our heads. It really helped me. If I was having a moment, I'd ask her "who are we praying for now, Angi?" The juggler and "granny" were still behind us. This is also the time frame where Angi invented "kick the cup". The water stations were so freaking busy and the cups were so littered on the ground for awhile afterwards. Angi kept kicking the cup, Lynne would kick it back. The one time I tried, I missed the cup completely. Goes to show...games will balls or "cups" are just not my forte. It passed the time for a few minutes.

We made it to mile 9.5 and we made the big "split". You know the one. The one where the half marathoners go one way and the marathoners go the other way. I screamed and jumped and had a moment. We start taking notice of who is around us. There is granny, the running juggler and a few others that seemed to be right around us. These next few miles were in my opinion on the "not so safe" part of town but the police presence was huge. I'd say every 50 feet or so. I love thanking the officers being out there. Its always something I've done and I will always continue to do. I'm sure its not their favorite thing; standing  7+ hours and watch thousands of crazy runners. There were very few spectators on this part or the race. There was one good DJ. I can honestly say that the entertainment on this course was seriously lacking. We saw the same DJ twice and any other time there was a DJ we heard "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" three times and "Thrift Store" five freaking times. I have taken that song off my playlist for any future races. I think they had an approved song list and each DJ had the same list.  But what are the chances that the song would come on FIVE freaking times??!!! There is just no other explanation.

We head onto Lake Ave (mile 11) and start seeing the Elites coming back. We take this opportunity to stop so I can use the bathroom. I knew it was gonna happen, just wasn't sure how long I could hold out. I've never had to stop in a race before but I already had much more to drink and I have a nervous bladder. Yes, I openly said that on my blog. We are cheering for the elites and wonder what mile they are on (21). We are starting to notice that our watches are not timing up with the mileage (damn tangents) and so every time we have a mile marker on our watches we have to run about .4 miles before we see the "flag". I start watching out for my friend Heather is also running the full and catch her around mile 12 or 13 (she was on her way back :18-19))


Our 14.5 mile selfie. I put our a prayer request right after!

Picture of the shore line from "our" side of the bridge

Lynne and her mom. I love everything about this picture.


Mile 14 we are starting to feel the heat. I'm guessing it was probably in the 50's by this time but the sun was hot!! There wasn't much shade to be had. I did really really enjoy it though. The crowd support was present and active. One of my favorite signs made it out (so wish I pulled out my camera)  "smile if you aren't wearing underwear". And all of our personal favorites: "Chafing the Dream". There was another one about chafing which I also loved and remembered it until this morning. (Note to ask Lynne and Angi). This is also where Lynne's mom was spotted and Lynne got her much needed boost. She had a cute sign about us "Cleveland Fools" and it couldn't have come at a better time. I started noticing some lightheadedness and asked Angi if she had an extra salt tab. I was sweating salt buckets. She had a few extra's and I'm glad I took her up on it. The PowerAid they had was really hard to gauge. Half the time it was way watered down and the other half it was so strong I had to take both a water and a power aide and combine it to get it down. Ironically I just found this blog-post about this exact same thing which also categorizes our experiences on Mile 23/24. Glad I'm not the ONLY one who remembered this. http://imtheonetheycallbeal.blogspot.com/2014/05/yesterday-while-enjoying-post-race.html

Mile 14.5 Lynne has to stop to use the bathroom and I've sent out a FB message quickly for prayer. I figured it was a good way to let everyone know we were OK but we were feeling it and slowing down a bit. My new running friend, Jennifer, let me borrow this sweet hat that reflects the heat. She mentioned to dunk it in water and it would keep me cool. I had started doing this around mile 12 and kept at it at every water stop. I think I will need to purchase on of these sweet hats for the summer running months ahead.  We keep going and notice that the turn around is mile 16 and we get that taken care and we are headed back up the shoreline. There were some AMAZING houses here. I mean like serious beachfront property. It was a nice little break imagining what they looked like on the inside. The crowd support here was so nice too. Families and neighbors were out. Little kids giving out hugs and water. It was so fun and they were so supportive. I mean who wants to have their road blocked off for 7 hours at a time? There were so patient about it. Then we notice a few people we didn't see before and wonder where the hell they came from. We are pretty sure they cut the course a little. The turn around was kinda like this little triangle. The side road connected and I would bet my bottom dollar that those two took that bottom part of the triangle. Because when you are running with the same people around you for miles on end,  (Granny, the running juggler, black pants couple and yellow shirt girl) you start noticing the people that "shouldn't" be there. Around mile 17 we see Lynne's mom again and she gives Lynne another hug and wishes her well!! And then mile 18 happens.
Granny

Yellow Shirt Girl


Mile 18 Lynne is hurt. My heart is broken for her. She is so determined to finish out this race. We keep asking if she needs medic or ice and we offer any type of solution we have. We slowed our pace, we tried different intervals but ultimately, walking was the only thing that was gonna get us over this finish line. So that is what we did. We walked the last 8 miles of this race together. There were some tears and lots of "I'm sorry's". But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what she was saying I'm sorry for. We mutually all agreed that unless we were in serious need of a medic or one of us were dying we were finishing together.

Mile 20. The saying is this: Your second HALF of your marathon starts at mile 20. I had no freaking idea what that meant until now. I can honestly say, what they say is true. Its mental now. You KNOW that there are 6.2 miles left and yet, somehow you have no idea how you are going to finish them. Some training plans only have you finishing 20 miles so I guessed that this might be one of the reasons there would be this mental thing. We went to 22 on our training program so I was thinking any mental instability would have come at this point. Problem is: it did! We passed mile 21 and we started talking about how this is the place we were cheering on the elites. Around mile 22 is the last of the housing development. We got a bottle of water from this little boy and his family. I'm so glad we did because after this point, there wasn't much of anything. No crowd, no people, no water stops, no porta johns. Let me rephrase. Mile 23 held some water. On a table. With ONE PERSON. It also had a few porta johns. Porta johns that nearly tipped over if you wanted to use them.I know this as I had to hold on up. There was also a truck that was taking porta johns away. Thank goodness they left TWO. This was the last water stop/porta john stop.   After this you are on the "freeway" or shoreline..whatever you want to call it. I called it the highway to hell. And here is why!



Yup...you are correctly seeing that. The last 2-3 miles are long freaking hills and the freaking motorcycle police driving up and then following us mile to mile was starting to unnerve me. We were at the end of the pack but by no means were we last. We still had granny behind us.

Shoreline from the 24 mile standpoint. Way more pretty!

 At mile 24, I texted Andrew and hold him we were safe and OK. I didn't want to tell him Lynn was hurt because I didn't want to cause panic. Lynne is smart and if she needed the medic she would have let us know first. He texted back and told me they had ice cold chocolate milk at the finish.  I very clearly remember telling Angi and Lynne that I was done at mile 25 and this damn hill could kiss my ass. We were walking a very fast pace. One that I don't generally walk and my muscles were screaming. Someone recently told me it wasn't a race if doesn't hurt. Similar saying of If it was easy everyone would do it. I had muscles screaming at me that I didn't even know were attached to muscles that normally screamed at the end of a long run. Problem is, I'd walk after those long runs. I texted Andrew again and told him I was done. I didn't think I could do it. He kept texting me back and told me I was almost done. I needed to come get my medal. I was emotional and had the deep holding back teary eyes. Like the ugly cry on hold feeling. There were two people that cheered us on from 25-26. A man in a grass skirt and a guy with a drum. I've never been so happy to see a man in a grass skirt in all my life. He was so nice. He asked our names and did a little "ditty" and put all our names in it.




Grass Skirt Guy Photo courtesy of : The Harp
We started talking about how we were going to do the finish line because we were all walking now. (Sometimes Angi or I would run ahead and then wait to have the other two catch up--just to use some different muscles). Would we hold hands and finish together? Finish separately? We didn't quite now yet. Angi and Lynne's watch beeped for our 26th mile and we knew that we still had .4 miles to go till we see the flag. We get to the crest of the hill and we see the flag. That last little bit of adrenaline is kicking in. I can feel it running through every vein. I still had something left. How is that even remotely possible when one mile ago I wanted to throw myself in to Lake Erie? We start running down and Todd is there with open arms for Lynne. Tears...freaking more tears. I'm such a freaking sap! We wait for her to have her moment and make or final decision. I think God already had this all lined up. Because right after Todd there are the race photographers. Group Shot they yell...so we hold hands...and start shuffling. Just for the picture. Then we break and we see our family and friends lined up at the near vacant finish line screaming and crying and taking pictures like the freaking paparazzi. We crossed...one right after the other. Maybe not quite in unison but together. I heard them say our names together. "Here come Angi, Kim and Lynne from Columbus, Ohio completing their first full marathon." We pumped fists, we had hands in the air, we didn't look down (I can't guarantee that I didn't for sure) and I for the first time I felt like I will have a great finish line picture because there was no one there to crowd the chute. I sure as hell have the BEST FINISH LINE PICTURE EVER!! We run straight into the arms of Stephanie and Dana and Lori and Todd and Andrew and JimBob. Everyone that we needed to be there was there! I had the serious ugly cry that I knew I would. I can't even remember if Lynne or Angi shed a tear. I don't know if it was because I was dehydrated because it didn't last as long as I thought it would. We got our medals and hugged everyone again. We got more photo's taken by everyone. We made it!!

 Photo: Kim Ebbeskotte marathoner


 Six hours, 32 minutes and 35 second. 6:32:35. I have absolutely NO regrets. None. I wouldn't change ONE thing we did. I'm so glad we continued and stayed together. I'm so proud of Lynne running injured for as long as she did and then continuing to walk as if she wasn't in any pain at all not to mention her kick ass walking pace because that freaking kicked my ass!  I'm so thankful for Angi for holding us all together because I was falling apart at mile 25. I'm so thankful for this bond that we formed through the treacherous hours of training in the never-ending winter. All of that couldn't have prepared us more for the weather we had. All of that training couldn't have prepared us for an unforeseen injury. But our faith in each other and our confidence in the training we did together knowing each others strengths and weaknesses did.

After getting our medals and pictures taken we went to the vacant and dead finish line party. Sad but true. No one there to say congrats. The chips and water and chocolate milk were being loaded up on trucks as we were walking by. The guys were kind enough to give us all what we wanted. I will give them that. Our one free beer was available to us and we even got an extra (guess that was ONE perk). Lynne got some ice and parked it for a few. There was really no reason to stay, there was no one there. :( We walked back to the hotel basking in all our glory. We said goodbye to Dana and Stephanie and Lori (our entourage) and Lynne and Todd graciously opened up their hotel room for us to shower since we didn't have a room. We stretched and talked a bit in the room and then said our goodbyes. It was one of those bittersweet moments. It reminds me of one of those movies where you just had this amazing climatic part and it just ENDS and you are left with WTH? I get it now. I was advised and I totally get it. I was asked if I would ever do another one and I said without a doubt "NO". Today, I'm not quite so convinced.  Yesterday, I became a marathoner. Yesterday, I was able to push aside every doubt that I ever had about running. Because I did it. Because I didn't give up.

Yup...THIS was the after-party. See anyone? Nope, we didn't either. 





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Monday, May 5, 2014

Flying Pig Half Marathon Race Recap


My first "destination" race and I couldn't have picked a better one. My Saturday started out early. A LOT of my friends were running Cap City and I wanted to be there to see them so I volunteered with Fleet Feet for the cheering squad and bag check. I was stationed out with a lot of the women that I would be running "the Pig" with the following day so it was nice to have that camaraderie.  We cheered a lot, and after we cleared mile 3 we hightailed it to mile 8 to say "hello" again to all our friends running, stole some pics and hightailed it over to the finish line so that Sue could catch her husband coming in and hopefully PRing! He had a 5+minute PR. Go Frank!!  After most everyone came through it was time to leave and get home to get the kids all packed up and dropped off. Then we were headed south!!




We arrived in Cincinnati around 5:00. We got checked in at the hotel. Ironically when we got there the line wasn't too bad and I found Lori, Gail and Sue in line. We were checked in in a matter of minutes. Some we know waited an hour or longer. We parked the car and got into the hotel, used the bathroom and hit the expo to pick up my packet. I've been to expo's in the past but have never stayed as Andrew has always been waiting in the car with the kids. It was nice to be able to pick up all the freebies, look at all the shirts and try on things that would be nice to have. By the way, I tried on the Fitletic Fuel Belt and I seriously want it but I don't know if its too late now to use it for the full. I'm not sure 8 miles as a long run is enough of a run to "test" it out. ((sigh))





After the expo it was time for dinner and we didn't think enough ahead of time to make reservations. However, there are a lot of places within blocks of the hotel so we chose takeout from Rockbottom and walked down to pick it up. After dinner we went back upstairs and called the kids to say goodnight. I was ready to hit the sack by 9:30. I wasn't sure if I would sleep but for some reason, this race didn't give me the normal race nerves that I typically get. I'm not sure if it is because I was so excited to run it (because I saw all the Cap City runners that day) or because I knew I was treating it as a training run.

Needless to say the alarm went of at 5 am. I got up, got dressed and decided that the weather did not deem the need for capri's. So I chose just the skirt and my MiT shirt. I had my bagel with peanut butter and banana and started downstairs. But of course the elevators were jamming. Every elevator was full of people and we waited too long. So we opted for the stairs only to be yelled at by the hotel staff because they were only to be emergency exits and we set off the silent alarms in the building. I was pissed because I missed the 5:45 group photo and my knee was being bitchy. We started walking down to the "pig pens"  and I couldn't believe all the people. 30,000 runners for the half and full. I think every single one of them were there. I managed to get one shot of "some" of us...

Photo: Kim Ebbeskotte and her crew including Stephanie Klingler


We stopped to use the indoor bathrooms. Since we were in the second to last corral "pig pen" we knew we had a little time. However, by the time we got to the corrals there was no way to cram into G so we started in H. I think it was 20 minutes before we even hit the start line.





Photo Credit: Lori Takos



It was SLLLLOOOOWWW going. Let me tell you. It may have hurt us being intermingled in with the walkers but I had to take it easy. After all, this was a 'training run' not a race for me. But no sooner did we get started we saw the priests that blessed us with holy water. Then we came across Frank (Sue's husband) and he took this cute pic.



After that pic we didn't stay together long. The adrenaline started kicking in and we were headed over a bridge. Shelly came up beside me to get me over the bridge and from then on we decided to run this race together.  Lord knows bridges and I do not get along. Taylor- Southgate bridge took us into the great state of KY. We were there for a bit and I enjoyed my time in there. There was a group there that were dancing and clapping to the "happy" song and of that song always gets me going. I was finally warmed up and ready to get this party started. It was so cool running into Newport seeing the Aquarium and familiar streets that we've driven on so many times before.

Mile 3 we cross back over into OH via the Clay Wade Baily Bridge. We see the juggling runner...yes--you heard me correctly and the OH sign. It was great to see the stadium from this perspective and for the first time, I didn't mind running on a bridge.



We cross the bridge and around mile 3.5 I run into Andrew. I was shocked because I had just assumed he decided he would go back to the hotel. He didn't think there would be any good places for him to get to without having to take a bus. It was such a great surprise and I was glad he saw me on good moment. I stopped to give him a kiss and Shelly and I continued onto mile 4+.

We stopped at most water stops and at mile 4 I decided I had to pee but the lines were way too long. There just wasn't time to stop for that nonsense. The hills we've had prior to this small part of flat were all "rolling" and we were kinda used to that. We don't have too many of them in Columbus but there are a few on the trail...just not long ones. We knew that the "hill" was going to be coming up around mile six and we were as prepared as we were ever gonna be so our plan was just to continue our intervals and run the downhills just like we've been doing on the rolling hills. This is the look to mile 6--you can kinda see the hill and it veers to the right...but I just thought the see of people looked way cool.



We ran into Cobi and said hello...checked on each other and continued on. Speaking of...does anyone ever feel like you are being rude in a race?? If so, please tell me about it, because I when I see someone and say hi I kinda feel like I need to stop and made conversation or see if they need help or something?? I don't know race etiquette when it comes to friends....

We start up that long hill to Eden Park and we see Jeff and Jackie from Fleet Feet (Sue's son and daughter-in-law) and I was PUMPED. I was glad to see a familiar face and even better that it was MiT related. I knew they were there to support all MiT but specifically, my girl, Sue. ROCK ON!! He snapped this picture--and YES, I was throwing up gang signs, i.e.  peace symbols into the air. It was the PUMP I needed to kick this long hills ASS!!

Photo Credit: Jeff Henderson

The next two miles are freaking one long ass hill. I kid you not...but at the top of that hill you have this small little plateau that overlooks the city and you see this....MAGIC. Meaning, you, the runner, just freaking ran up the hill from all the way down there!! PERSPECTIVE!!! Please excuse the horrible selfie. I never promised I was a good selfie taker.






Miles 8 and 9 were nothing but more hills and plateaus. I ran into Elvis, saw some Shriners. There were flying fish (aka Swedish fish handouts). The bands and DJ's were awesome. The only things I truely disliked were the folk singers. I just can't handle that type of music while running even if I am slow. That is just not necessary.

As we finished up mile 9 that is where the magic happened and by magic...I mean ORANGE SLICES. Yes, ORGANIC ORANGE SLICES THAT TASTED LIKE HEAVEN. Manna from heaven! Need I say more?? I couldn't even take a picture they were that good. No, really. I was feeling awesome still and on fire and I was afraid to stop anymore because if I did I may not have started again. I knew that hill descent was coming soon and I wanted to take advantage of it. I did run into my friends Dana and Kelly (who was running her first half) and also into Felecia who was taking a water/talk break. God love these women. They are freaking badass. I said hello :)

Mile 10--the badass descent. I felt like I was flying. No wonder they call it the "flying pig". I don't even know how fast I was going because I was too afraid to concentrate on anything other than the road. I was trying to remember my downhill training from Hannah (marshmallows) and not making any noise. I picked up my feet and tried not to stomp them back down. (clouds).I kept looking straight in front of my feet. I didn't stop...at all. Not once...not one time. If I did...I would have barreled down on my ass. Not a way I want to end my race.  I get down the hill finally and back to a plateau. I decided once I was done on the hill I would restart my intervals. Problem is, no one told me how to recoup myself. My legs were still "running" but my body was not. I felt like I was going a 15ppm pace. Not that I cared. I thought maybe I was bonking but I was smart. I was hydrated, still sweating, and not hungry but "ate" my chews and cliff bars every 4 miles as normal. I was scheduled to eat at mile 10 and I kept asking myself if I missed that...problem is I think I did. So I ate as soon as possible.

The last 5K to me were horrible. The crowd support was amazing but I was still feeling off. Again, my feet were moving but my body and head were telling me that I was stopped. I had a little lightheadedness...that I really have never experienced before so I couldn't tell what I was doing that was wrong. I just made sure to keep grabbing water at the stops and drinking it. I didn't feel "hot" or "cold" or "clammy". I just kept wondering why I was going so freaking slow. I saw Aimee and Shelly caught back up to me as I lost her on the hill.

My tangents were off a bit so by the time I hit the shoot I had already hit 13.1 miles. I shouldn't have looked at my watch because then my body and mind both played tricks on me thinking I was done. I had wanted to run the entire length of the shoot but I knew better. Something told me to do one interval and then on the second run just finish it off. And I did. I have these pictures to prove it. Andrew and my friend Karen both said they were screaming my name but the shoot was LOUD. Like football stadium loud. It has two levels of people and I was so concentrated on the Finish Swine that I couldn't even think straight. Someone also said they were calling names but I don't remember hearing a think. I did (sorry) elbow someone to get to the line. Who the hell walks into a finish line...not me so I busted my ass and the poor woman got in the way. I just know that is gonna be my finish line pic so I'm thankful my husband got a way better one.

Photo credit: Jeff Henderson
Photo: Kim Ebbeskotte approaching the finish line.

My time? 2:51. My best race? Not a chance in hell. My favorite race thus far...YES! Would I have changed anything differently? Yes, I would have taken the downhill slower. I think that did something to my legs and to my psyche. It threw me completely off.  The hills didn't bother me too much. The weather started off at a balmy 56 and was near 70 when I finished. The sun was warm but I didn't feel TOO bad at that point. AND, I should have taken more pictures...but I can honestly say Cincinnati is not good for cell phone batteries. My phone died three times while I was there. OUCH!

The "bling" and the after-party were AMAZING. I couldn't believe the amount of food you got. I finished and got my picture with the finish swing pig. I got my Mylar blanket, water and food. I really just wanted a banana. I felt that was the one thing that was gonna fix whatever problem was going on with me. Fleet Feet in Cincinnati allowed us to use their gear check and tent for the after party. They were all so very kind and made sure we were very well taken care of. I couldn't believe the amount of hospitality that was extended there. Thank you Fleet Feet Cincinnati!!






Missing a banana, water, peaches and sunchips.









































I really can't wait to do this again. On the way home from the race, we stopped at a Chipotle. I ran into a woman who ran the relay. When I asked her what leg she said the second because no one else wanted to do the hills. At that moment I knew I wanted to go back and relay this full but I also want to do the half again. All in due time I suppose. :) What a freaking awesome experience for my third half marathon, my first destination race and my last BIG training run before I tackle a full in two weeks. I would highly recommend this race to everyone. Do not be scared of the hills. I suggest training for them and I'm so glad that I did those endless hill repeats even though I didn't really want to. I think I will continue them.

Oh, and I can't forget the "bling" from my husband. Every race he gets me a memory bead for my Pandora bracelet. I shouldn't say every race but every "big" event. This was for my first destination race. It is a flying pig, and yes, it really does have wings:) I love that he truly gets and understands what this sport means to me. He may not like it all the time but he does "get it". Thanks love for all of your support.