Sunday, May 1, 2011

Flying Pigs Half Marathon

How's this for gettin' piggy with it?

My philosophy in running is that if you know you cannot finish a race, then at least show up to support your friends who are running it, that is, if you are physically able to do so.  After suffering mild heat exhaustion in Nashville the day before and having to endure the grueling 5 hour drive with an aching back, I knew I had to make a decision regarding The Flying Pigs Marathon.  It certainly did not help that I lost an hour due to the time zone change between Nashville and Cincinnati, and I didn't arrive until a little bit before midnight.  With only a few hours of sleep and that nagging sciatic pain which ultimately traveled down to my leg, I pretty much made up my mind to pull out of this 26.2 miler.  However, since I did have a custom pink flying pig cape made for this event, I wanted to try to at squeak out a half marathon, which I did.  Barely.

I arrived at the start line two hours early.  I was not able to sleep, so I just figured I get there early so that I wouldn't miss the Marathon Maniacs group photo.  Also, I wanted to make sure that I got to meet all the Facebook runners that I am friends with but have not face to face yet.  If it weren't for my Marathon Maniac friends, I most likely would have just detoured back to Madison, IN, and DNF'ed the pig.  Seriously, that was all that I had to keep me motivated to be out there.  With that sharp pain on my back and right leg and the rain that came down, I really only had my friends to look forward to.  Once the yellow and red singlets and the Half Fanatic blue arrived, I couldn't help but smile!


I have to give a big shout out to my marathon twin, Dave Mari, who always goes out of his way to coordinate the pre-race group photo.  This guy always goes above and beyond the call of duty and we all appreciate it.  Not only do we get a great souvenir photo of it, but most of us get to meet the other maniacs that we don't already know or are Facebook friends but have not already met.

Finally!  I get to meet Medals 4 Mettle Scott Dahl!
And there's Wayne Sherman!

After the group photo, we all dispersed and headed to our corrals, or at the Flying Pigs, these are called "pig pens."  Four minutes before the race, the down pour hit.  Rain rain rain.  My endorphin spikes quickly flattened and the blisters started to form.  I knew before hitting that first mile that there was no way I could complete 26.2 miles.

At about mile 2, this woman ran up to me and asked if I was Dave Mari. I couldn't help but laugh. I told her the story of how we met and the next thing I know, we're walking together the rest of the way.  Valerie had completed the Country Music Marathon the day before as well, so she was pretty beat. I'm glad I had her with me, because it made this brutal half marathon fun.  Thanks Valerie.
And there's Marathon Maniac Karen Wang! The funny thing is that at about our mile 4, an old Caucasian woman, a spectator, asked if we were married.  She seemed very happy to see us. When I said no, her smile disappeared and she abruptly walked away!  I'm really not sure what that was all about!
2:19:37 at the 6 mile mark?  Really? 

My new marathon buddy Valerie and I plugged through the rest of this half marathon.  There were a few people behind us, but we could clearly see the sag wagon.  Because of the rain, the blisters on my feet mutated and before I knew it, there were blisters on top of my blisters!  Nonetheless, with Valerie's cheerleading, I got through it and finished somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 hours and 45 minutes. When I crossed that finish line, the race volunteer handed me the marathon medal, but  I quickly declined it.  The 26.2 medal looked beautiful, but I did not earn it, so I accepted the 13.1 one.  I then limped back to my rental car and headed back to Madison, IN. Waiting there for me was my midwestern adopted family, who welcomed me home with a post race meal and party.  Seeing this bunch canceled out every disappointment that lingered in my mind for not being able to complete the double marathon weekend.

Thank you, Wickershams!

Am I bummed that I couldn't finish the full marathon?  Yes.  Do I regret dropping to half?  Not at all.  Reaching my goal of titanium is very important to me, but I'm not going to kill myself doing so.

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