The drive up to Cincinnati was uneventful. We got into the madhouse that is Downtown Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon and someone in the parking lot gave us their parking voucher! Now, that's some good karma. I'm sure that dude had a helluva race on Sunday morning.
The expo for the Pig is BIG and the first couple of times I went, I was annoyed by all the people and the booths, but I guess the third time is the charm. Also... of note... I got to see this guy in person for the first time:
Also known as the tiniest man I've ever seen.
I'm just going to leave this photo from the movie,
Darby O'Gill and the Little People
Anyway, we collected our swag (slightly disappointed this year... the shirts are cut a little too generous and the bag was crap) and headed off to check into our hotel. We had a nice dinner at a local restaurant, the Greyhound Tavern and were in bed EARLY.
Here's the thing... Cincinnati is in the Eastern Time Zone. The race starts at 6:30. We set our alarm for 3:30am (we were leaving the hotel at 5 to make sure we were parked before the streets closed). That means we got up at what felt like 2:30am!! (Good practice for the Grand Canyon, I suppose). It was ridiculous and I am dizzy from just re-reading all that. Anyway, we got to the race with plenty of time. But, as usual... there were not enough porta johns. They started shooing everyone into corrals around 6:15, which is fine, because there are porta johns in each corral. BUT ONLY 2. WTF? Melissa and I stood around in line for over 5 minutes after our corral had already been let go and there were LOTS others behind us waiting. Oh well. I'd rather be relieved and start in the back. Maybe they should divvy up all the porta johns to go into the corrals. That way everyone is there early! I dunno. I've never organized a race, so, I'm probably better to just complain than offer up suggestions.
I think they intentionally wrecked this photo to stay off the blog.
I wanted to start the race around a 9:00 pace. Melissa decided to stick with me (she was signed up for the half). Our first mile was over 10:00. No big deal. We started cranking down and finally settled into a 9:00 pace. It was an overcast, comfortable morning.
The spectators for this race are great. Except, I did almost chew a dog owner out around mile 2. He didn't have his dog on a short leash and the dog lunged out in front of Melissa, making her stumble around him. The owner yelled... "HAHA WATCH OUT." Ummm... excuse me? You watch your fucking dog, asshole. Maybe instead of tending to your beer, you should be tending to your adorable dog to make sure he doesn't trip a runner or get trampled by one.
It was shortly after that incident that we encountered a guy wearing these shorts:
Don't be fooled, my friends.
It was all business in the front.
But the back was a crazy grey and white pattern.
Melissa and I remembered his bib number for the entire race so we could look it up. Sadly, it's not as funny in this picture as it was during the race.
We cruised up the hills at miles 6-8 and like I said before... once I saw the 8 mile marker, I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. 18 more miles???? Are you kidding me??? I told Melissa that I might just run the half. She tried to convince me to continue on. But, I came up with all kinds of brilliant excuses... including this gem: "What if I get to mile 24 and sprain my ankle and then I can't do the Grand Canyon????" As soon as I said that, she was like... oh yeah... just do the half. Bwahahahahahahaha. Brilliant.
And then she said... "well we better pick it up. I'm not finishing over 2:00." BLARG. I was hoping to just lollygag to the finish. The half course is pretty different after the split, than the Full. There is a significant downhill stretch and all that pounding made my stomach start to grumble, so Melissa left me when I popped into a porta john at mile 10.
I finished just BARELY under 2 hours and was pretty happy with just running the half. I got a pretty terrible side stitch from the downhill and the stomach trouble and I was just kind ready to be done. We went back to the car to change and then headed back to the finish line to see the guys finish.
All-in-all, I think there might be some lingering demons from my DNF there in 2012. I probably won't go back to run the full there again. I LOVE the course and the city... but, I think 3 attempts and I'm done. I highly recommend the race though. It's Melissa's PR course (which is pretty amazing to think about as you're chugging up the hills early in the race) and the guys had pretty decent days on Sunday, too.