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1. Waking up on time: I couldn’t sleep the night before the race. I kept having nightmares that I would wake up late for the race and start crying. I guess I can say Nina slept for me. We woke up at 5am so I could have enough time to shower and dress, eat breakfast and, warm up.

2. Eat Breakfast: I did have a chance to eat a light breakfast before the race.  As I said before, I normally do not eat before running, but I didn’t want to start the race on low fuel. So I ate a banana, a piece of toast, and a little bit of coffee. I also took some GU when I got back to the room.

3. Items to carry: I decided not to carry anything with me during the race. I wanted to feel as light as possible and didn’t want to feel bogged down with crap attached to me.  Nina gave me her Garmin to wear so I could pace myself during the race. Man, that helped a lot!

4. Warm Up: Our hotel was in Covington, KY which is right across the Ohio River. It was about 15 minutes from the starting line. As we started to leave the hotel, Nina noticed that I didn’t have on my chip. Whew, that was close! I ran back to the room to retrieve my chip then Nina and I walked briskly to the starting line with minutes to spare.

5. Line up position: By the time I reached the starting line, the wheelchair racers were just taking off. I had 5 minutes to put on my chip and get to my position. The elite and fast runners were at the front of the line, of course.  By the time I put the chip on my shoe, the ten second countdown began. There was no way I was going to make it to the middle of the pack by then.  So I stayed at the front with the fast runners and began to run.

6. Pace: Surprisingly enough, I did not start off too fast. I knew that I was surrounded by fast runners and hoped that they did not get irritated with me because I was in their way. I tried to find a place close to the sidewalk and continued to run at a 10 to 11 minute pace. As the first few miles went by, it was really hard to take walk breaks. I just wanted to continue running, but I knew that walking would pay off in the long run.

Around mile 6 the hills started. When I heard that Cincinnati was hilly, I was expecting hills like Franklin. Those hills were nothing! It was like bumps in the road! As I passed some of the runners, I could hear them breathing like they were having an Asthma attack. Give me a break! It was at that point I was thankful for training in town instead of using the inclines on a treadmill. The hills lasted for about 2.5 miles.

As I turned the corner to reach mile 9, it was all downhill. The runners around me were excited and I talked with a few runners as we laughed and enjoyed the easily ride to the finish line. Mile 10 came and went. I surprised that I didn’t “hit the wall” as some like to call it. I continued to take walk breaks and get Gatorade at the pits stops until mile 12.

I  could hear the roar of the crowd as I got closer to the finish line. It was very exciting. I knew I was going to finish.  When I saw the finish line I threw my hands in the air and shouted with joy that I did it! I kicked up the pace, going from a 9:30 pace to 7:45 pace and continued until I go to the finish line. 2:17:06 was my final time.

I finished in 2:17:06! I couldn’t believe it!! That’s almost 13 minutes below the time I set for myself (2:30:00)! The average time to finish was 2:31:09. Over 22,000 runners participated in the Flying Pig Weekend races. 8,594 ran the half marathon. There were 5,465 females and 3,129 males. Overall, I was 3860 out of the 8,000+ runners, and 1,834 out of the 5,000+ female runners.

I cannot take God enough for allowing me to experience such an event.  I would like to thank him for bringing Nina into my life.  She allowed me to think beyond and try for something that I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing.

I’m definitely planning to do another half marathon before the year is over. It’s such an honor for me to be a part of a group of athletes that I can share an interest with. I’m planning to run the Anderson’s Midnight Flight 10k so I can beat the crap out of my best friend’s ex. 🙂 After that, I plan to run another half marathon before the year is out and train for the Flying Pig Marathon in 2010. I’ll save the Boston Marathon until 2011 when I turn 26.

The Flying Pig

Well, today is the day I leave for Ohio. I’m excited and nervous at the same time, which is excepted. Something would be terribly wrong otherwise. I’ve taken precautions like buying new shoes, preparing what I’m going to wear on the big day, and resting my legs.  I will be fine. Like Nina did with the Frog Love 5k, here are a few tips for myself as I prepare for the big day.

1. Waking up on time: The race begins at 6:30am sharp! That is fine by me, but usually I’m just starting to wake up at 6:30am. This is going to be interesting.

2. Eat Breakfast.I usually don’t eat breakfast before running and considering the time I have to be up, I’m still not sure what I’m going to eat. I don’t want anything that’s heavy. I was thinking of drinking a low-fat, high carb and protein shake, but I’m not sure.

3. Items to carry: I won’t be taking my Ipod. Now this is going to be interesting. I need music to run. I’m not like others who like to run in silence or talk the whole time. Without my Ipod I don’t know what I’m going to do, but since this is such a big event, I think it will go by smoothly. I may carry a small waist pouch that has the essentials like tissue and Gu.

4. Warm Up: Warm up says it all. I don’t think I have to explain the consequences if I don’t warm up.

5. Line up position: This event is all-in-one and what I mean by that is there will be wheelchair racers in the front and they get a 5 minute head start. Then the speed demons are next, the middle of the pack runners, the slow joggers and walkers. This event is going to be huge because the half-marathon, marathon, and relay races start at the same time.  I’m would be in the middle.

6. Pace:You can’t help starting out fast because of the adrenaline rush right before you take off and the crowd cheering you on, but I’m determined to start slow. I want to run at a 10 to 10:30 pace so I’m going to continue to aim for that.

6.  Cool down and party hard because it’s over!

Bib Number

I just got my bib number today! My number is 10583!

The week of Taper

Exactly one week from today at 6:30am, I will be crossing the starting line of the Flying Pig half marathon. Finally the longs months of training have come to a close. I completed my last long run this morning. 10 miles in 1:44:00. That’s around a 10:40 pace, which is good. I took a 30 second to 1 minute walk break after every mile and it helps tremendously. That will probably be the last intense run I do before the big day. 

Monday: STEP class

Tuesday: 3 mile run

Wednesday: STEP class

Thursday: 2 mile run

Friday and Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Race day!

I’m starting to feel the excitement and I’m ready. I don’t think I would have changed anything in my training schedule.

Nerves

It’s now less than two weeks from the the Flying Pig and I’m getting nervous. So many “what ifs” are crowding my brain. My number one fear is injury. I’ve been really careful the last few weeks and cut down on my running as soon as I feel the slightest irritation in my legs. I’m probably just overreacting, but 13.1 miles is a huge jump from 3.1 miles.  The bad part is that I’m starting to have weird dreams.

The dreams started a few days ago. I dreamt that one of my co-workers was my “running mentor”. He found me somehow walking around Ohio looking lost  and offered me a ride. From there, he told me advice about warming up and what to eat before the race, etc. We stopped for breakfast and he made me buy a huge stack of pancakes, eggs, and bacon (for protein buildup). From there, the dream went to the day of the race. Nina was there of course and so was Carla to cheer us on. I was dressed as a piglet. I had to wake up at this point. I was totally creeped out.

Last night I had a weird dream that I was coming home from work. It was night and I had recently meet someone by the name of Frank who had given me his number if I needed help. There were two trees on each side of the front door. They didn’t look like normal trees with a thick trunk. The trunk was like branches twisted together. If you ever seen The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, the White tree of Gondor is what the tree looked like only they were brown and not white.  As I started to open the door, I noticed the trees started to move. When I looked closer, there were snakes moving in the trees. There wasn’t just one or two; there were a lot of them. They didn’t look like they were going to attack me, but they just kept moving and starting at me. Their skin was brown with blacks stripes wrapping around their bodies. I  had a panic attack. I couldn’t scream or move. I could only look at the snakes move in the trees. Once I was able to move again, I walked back to my Jeep and called Frank to help me find a place to stay for the night. He was surprised that I called him so soon. Ok, this dream was creepy too.

I’ve noticed a trend that when I’m extremely stressed or nervous about something, I start to have weird dreams. I’ve prepared long and hard for this race so I guess the best advice to myself would be to continue what I’m doing and be optimistic. I don’t care about what time I finish. I just want to cross the finish line free of injury if possible.

This is something that I’ve wanted to write for a few weeks and now that the bulk of tax season is over (yeah!) I can finally write about it. For the past few weeks, I noticed that no matter how much I stuff my face with food, I end up losing a few ounces or pounds. This is something I’m not bragging about, but it’s fascinating to me! 

I have to confess that there have been times where I would just eat whatever I wanted because it was a running day. Even some of my friends noticed my eating habits before I do. I’ll just burn the calories when I run or do some other exercise. Do all runners go through this phase? I’m sure there are a lot of them do. Am I using running as an excuse to eat whatever I want? Well, yeah!

I’m still running about 20 to 25 miles a week. I’ve slacked off a little this week, but I’m back in the groove now and should hit the 20 mile mark by the end of the week. Even with my slacking, I’ve lost a few ounces. I still wonder how I’m going to rebound from this when I stop running as much. I know I won’t look like Rollie Polie Olie overnight, but I have to prepare myself for the change once the Flying Pig is over.

The Countdown

We have less than 25 left before the Flying Pig Marathon. At this point, I’m ready for it to be done. I’m tired of training. I’ve been training since December because I thought it would take me longer to train since I haven’t run a half-marathon before. I don’t want to slack off now when it race is so close, but I’m ready to get back into my casual running.