Bad Angel Rule #201

selfie-stick-ban-2-408x430No Selfie Sticks Allowed.

I saw my first selfie stick on the run at the start line of the Flying Pig Marathon. And I immediately wanted to take said selfie stick to beat the person holding it.

It’s obnoxious, it gets in everyone’s way, and it makes it virtually impossible for you to be conscious of your surroundings. Also, you look ridiculous. In fact, it’s a shame your selfie stick is not long enough to capture how stupid you look using a selfie stick.

Basically, you should never ever ever run with a selfie stick. Not during a training run, not during a race, NOT EVER.

“But, Adrea, what about … ?”

NO. NEVER. — Aidz

 

Runner Confessional #2

I don’t like bananas.

The snack buffet following pretty much every single race, no matter how big or small, prominently features bananas. They are a magical fruit for athletes, boasting oodles of potassium and magnesium and energy-filled carbs. They’re easily transportable and come in nature’s own handy little carrying case!

And I, like Ron Swanson, also happen to find them utterly disgusting.

The taste, the texture, the smell, all want to make me vomit.

Every year or so, I try eating one again, just to make sure I still don’t like them, and every time, I spit out the mushy bite almost instantly.

I’ve forced bananas into my diet via smoothies, masking their putridness with heavy amounts of protein powder, yogurt and berries. But that’s as good as it’s getting, folks. — Mags

Runner Confessional #1

I hate spring races.

I always do a spring race, but not because I love them. Let’s get real for a second. Racing isn’t always rainbows and unicorns, and here’s why racing in the spring isn’t my thing:  nose-running-spring-allergies-funny-ecard-z48

  1. Training in January and February sucks. I love cold weather running, but I hate dodging the ice and snow. If I must run on a treadmill, it will be for 30 minutes or less and this often (like, always) messes up my training schedule.
  2. Your body wants to hibernate, and you are asking it to migrate. Naturally we hold on to a little more body fat in the winter, and I think it’s harder to train. I feel sluggish and heavy, and I just want to curl up on the couch with a book. This is probably why we should train, but you know.
  3. Acclimating to the warm temps takes time, and spring races don’t care. You’ve been running comfortably in cold air, and then WHAM. You can’t breathe, and your face has a heartbeat. Racing before your body adjusts to the heat just plain hurts. But fall races are the opposite. You’ve worked your butt off in the heat and you get the cold crisp air to race in. It’s magical.
  4. Personally, it’s a challenging time of year. My husband is a soccer coach, and he’s gone basically from February until July. He was home this past weekend — for the first weekend in the last eight.
  5. Spring allergies blow. The experts say to stay indoors, but then, we’re back to the treadmill thing again. Nope.

So yes, I always do spring races, but I’m never really happy about it. That’s why I choose one where I can have fun with friends (like Nashville) to keep me motivated. I’ll be kicking and screaming from January until April, then I’ll be happy I did it. Because the one reason I do like spring races is that they get me into shape to start training for the fall — when the real magic happens. — Amie

I, Pacer

1195947_61860403Just as in marathon training itself, persistence paid off in my quest to become a marathon training pace group leader.

That’s right, friends. I have been officially selected as a pacer for summer marathon training with Chicago Endurance Sports.

It’s a volunteer gig (with a few small perks) that will require me to arise at ungodly early hours every Saturday for 20 weeks, but I couldn’t be more excited.

Before I found running, I spent most of my life playing team sports. Leadership came naturally to me, whether it was shouting how many outs and where the play was on the softball diamond or calling plays and rallying the team as the setter on the volleyball court. I’ve always been extremely vocal and team-oriented, and in fact, during my CES training last summer, I instinctively doled out cheers and high-fives to total strangers – sometimes to puzzled looks.

Through this blog, I share stories of my training and races, but it is also a forum to dispense advice while encouraging and inspiring others. Being able to connect with runners from around the world and help them – even if that help is just giving them a much-needed laugh — has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And I have found that motivating and inspiring others to achieve their goals can be even better than achieving my own goals.

(Speaking of my own goals … becoming a pacer WAS one of my goals for 2015. Hooray!)

It will be a chance to forge new bonds with other runners, who happen to be some of the best people on the planet.

Spending my summer as a pacer will give me a new challenge to focus on as I continue to recover from injury. I have a job to do — run 10:00 miles for each and every long run — and lots of people will be counting on me to do just that.

And as I help others train for a fall marathon — whether they’re first-timers or aiming for a time goal — I know I will help myself in ways that go far beyond the race itself. — Mags

Race Recap: Flying Pig Half Marathon 2015

When the alarm went off at 4:55 a.m., I was already awake. It was FLYING PIG MORNING, and I had been excited about it all week. The weather was shaping up to be absolutely beautiful, and as I slapped my running hat-turned-pig-head on my noggin, I was grinning from pig ear to pig ear.

I trained hard all winter in my quest to break the 2-hour half marathon barrier. My pace dropped, but the more I saw results, the less concerned I became with the actual number. I had begun to realize what I loved so much about running really had nothing to do with a specific finish time. So as I towed the line for my seventh Flying Pig Half Marathon, I was more concerned with having a good time than I was about running a good time.

WCPO_2015_Flying_Pig_2_1430671262368_17763431_ver1.0_640_480

FIRE POWER!

As we started the race with fireworks (a new and awesome addition to this year’s course), I couldn’t help but be pumped up. I just kept telling myself to rein it in, run my race and avoid reckless miles. I knew if I ran at my long run pace, I’d have a Pig PR, and I was thrilled at that prospect.

It had been a few years since I had run a big race like the Flying Pig, and I forgot just how much I enjoy the enormity and pomp of an event on a scale like this.

The first few miles of a half marathon are always exciting and shiny and new, and this year’s Pig was no exception. The city looked beautiful, the crowds cheered loudly, and I cruised comfortably through the first half of the race.

Then, I started up the Eden Park hill. Man, that thing is a beast. I knew going in that my pace would slow down during this two-mile climb, but I didn’t expect to slow down that much. Holy molasses.

As we came off the turn at the top of the hill, a pair of girls passed me. One girl said to the other, “Only four miles to go!” as she gave her partner a high-five. Well hey, when you put it THAT way … And just like that, the smile returned to my face and my feet found their rhythm again.

This lil' piggy went wee, wee, wee all the way home.

This lil’ piggy went wee, wee, wee all the way home.

I flew down the hill at mile 10, and as I churned into the final 5K of the race, I was feeling pretty gassed. Instead of turning on the after-burners and pushing for what would have been a really painful 5K, I elected to keep a steady pace and finish the race conservatively. I had another half marathon coming up in a few weeks, and I cared more about enjoying both race experiences than I did about an arbitrary finish time.

So I shuffled it in to the finish line. That last mile hurt. Bad. I wanted to enjoy every minute of the Flying Pig, and I managed to do that for about 12 miles. That last mile was a blur, and when I looked up and saw the finish line within reach, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I crossed the finish and felt the elated swell of pride that comes with every hard-earned race’s end. I grabbed my space blanket and medal and looked around with salt-encrusted contacts — and a huge smile on my face.

This was the first big race I had run without my phone (another of my running resolutions for the year). The time I thought I would miss it most — at the finish line, trying to locate friends and family — was the time I missed it the least. Instead of burying my nose in congratulatory texts, logging my virtual miles or snapping post-race pics, I was able to enjoy the after party and really be present in it. I saw hugs, happy tears and throngs of exhausted, exhilarated runners.

Where pigs fly.

Where pigs fly.

So that’s what I’ll take away from this Flying Pig Half Marathon. Truly immersing myself in a race and embracing the experience. When people ask me how it was, I merely respond that it was awesome … because it was! Besides, most of my feelings about this race are deeply personal and hard to explain in a one-sentence answer.

While I don’t know how to translate this race experience into water cooler talk, I do know one thing: I love Cincinnati, and I love it in a way I never thought I would as a transplant from Iowa. And the city never shines as brightly as she does on Flying Pig Sunday. — Aidz