Wednesday, May 7, 2014

48th place nacho helmet (aka QC's Flying Pig RRs)

Yeah, you know this crap is going to be long. I raced 35.5ish miles this past weekend and hung out with some of Loop Royalty along with Mr. QC. To say it was awesome would be an understatement.  Driving home was ridiculously #sadface.

Thursday, I was exhausted from an 8 day stretch with a huge sale over the weekend followed by helping assist a show house gala that our company was sponsoring. I schlepped stuff all over a mansion and then got to be the pretty door greeter girl:
I convinced my boss to let me leave early so I could finish baking, pack, and let my friend Megan come over and paint my nails. You know, priorities... I scrounged around and found some piggy sprinkles in my pantry for cupcake toppers.

When I was done playing in the frosting, Megan went to work:
Friday morning, Adam and I piled in Jake the Jeep at 6am and headed north. I had a one-woman dance party in the passenger seat.
The ride was pretty uneventful save for the dragon we saw in the mountains of Kentucky:
We arrived at the hotel around 1:30pm and managed to check into our room and drop off all the important stuff:
At that point, we decided to meet up with some of the gang downtown at Rock Bottom Brewery. Twentysixpointtwo (JJ), RunningPlaces, and Col. Cupcake were grabbing lunch and a few beers. Eventually, we parted ways so that they could get back to the hotel and check in and we could hit the expo. I didn't really have any issues at the expo and managed to swap out my shirts for the correct sizes. I have been ordering large shirts lately because if they aren't women's cut, I'd rather wear them for sleep shirts. The marathon shirt was women's cut, so I switched it for a medium and then Adam decided he like the 10K shirt, so we swapped it out too. Oh, and I got picture with the Charmin Bear (also known as the "Pooping Bear" in my house):
We came back to the hotel to basically drop off our gear and then head back downtown to go to the Reds game with RP and JJ. The weather was absolutely perfect. We sat around drinking beer and chatting before being smooshed in our seats.
4 beers into my day, I decided that I really needed a helmet full of nachos. I shared a little bit with Adam.
'Cause clearly this was the best 10K/5K fuel.... Bonus: I could later wear it on my head:
We hiked back to the car after some shenanigans outside the ballpark and watched the fireworks from the parking lot. When we got back to the hotel, a small crowd of Loopsters were hanging out in the lobby and we joined them for beer and baked goods. Mmmm, Peg's whoopie pies are TO DIE FOR!!

Eventually, we headed to bed.


Alarm clock soooooooo did not go off. Adam was awoken by my screeches of OH MY GAWD!!! After the quickest get-dressed-to-race ever, we were flying out the door with a bag of bagels, and apologizing profusely to our companions--RP, JJ, and RunninBrotha.

Ironically, we stood around for the next hour and 15 minutes waiting for the 10K to start. The only cool part about getting down there that early was that we literally walked right into Ryan Hall's warm up. He was just jogging down the street (albeit probably at 6 minute miles) getting ready to race. Whatever you think about the guy, it still was cool that he was going to be running the same "little" race as I was.

Except we weren't racing. Or something. RP and I do not claim to be great pacers after the epic fail in Shamrock. But Dave somehow still agreed to run with us. We found ourselves in the A corral...and very, very alone. Dave's son Connor, RunninBrotha, and SomeKraigGuy were up there with us, but it was pretty quiet. I kept thinking, um, I think we are in the wrong spot...

But then it was go time. SomeKraigGuy stayed with us for about the same time Dave did--Kraig dropped back and Dave surged forward. Then it was just RP and I running around Cincy like we weren't running a marathon tomorrow. At mile 5, we caught back up to Dave and while I made idle threats of tickling him or goosing him, we just smiled as we pulled up next to him.

He didn't appear to be happy to see us.
I kind of wish in some ways that I had been there to race the 10K and not be doing the 4-way challenge. I was the 37th female, 8th in my division. I don't want to be cocky because I wasn't jogging, but I wasn't giving it a full effort either. Anyway, here are the splits:
We collected our thousands of snacks and managed to find RunninBrotha at the finish.   I was munching on an oatmeal raisin cookie when we got pulled aside for a picture:
The group found SimplyTruly and Forwil had come with Kraig so we had a nice little chat while waiting for the 5K to start. JJ decided to "bandit" the 5K and walk with Kraig, RP, Mr. QC/Adam, and I.  It was a nice morning to walk with friends and I was happy that Adam was getting to be part of the fun too. He started to get tired at just past the 2 mile mark, but managed to finish in under an hour.

The group hung out in the park afterwards waiting to decide on lunch plans. I met Ron Swanson's Stache (Rob) and AlliKate and her DBF (yay Loopsters!). We ended up back at Rock Bottom Brewery again before naps/showers at the hotel.

#TeamEZ aka JJ, RP, and RunninBrotha met up to ride to Bangle's brother-in-law's house, but we had to take a stop at Party Town first. I would go back to Kentucky for Party Town. If you didn't go, you missed out.

Anyway, I digress. Bangle and Mrs. Bangle hooked up an amazing spread of pizza, pasta, and salad to feed the masses on a low-key evening. It was perfectly relaxed. N2RunningBad (Dean) made a surprise appearance which was a fun way to end the night.

Back at the hotel, I laid out my flat girl and actually got a little bit of sleep. 4:30 did come too early though and I had to force myself to eat a bagel. I was still groggy and somehow forgot to drink coffee??! Geez... can't take me anywhere.

Getting to the start/finish was easy again and we managed to take a few pictures before getting started:
JJ and I were pacing KEK to a sub-4 finish. The goal was to run around 9mm and try to just keep a consistent pace through the finish.

5,4,3,2,1.... and we're off!!

The first few miles I was kind of concerned about losing the ladies because there were a ton of runners. But wearing pig ears and a tutu has its' advantages in a crowd. The bridges were no surprise to me as I had just run them yesterday. Besides I felt a little better after I got my heart rate up.

We saw Mrs. Bangle just past the 3 mile mark--just as promised and she was the only one I spotted first out of the crowd:
KEK managed to pick out Dave almost every time! It was super uplifting every time. Spectators really are the best.

My favorite part of the course was going through downtown with tall buildings on either side and a long stretch of spectators yelling and screaming for nearly a mile. It was something to grasp mentally as we climbed the hills through mile 9. They weren't actually that bad... I just was expecting this:
And it was more like this:
Teach me to read an elevation map!! I'm going back to my "ignorance is bliss" ways.

But really, I kind of liked the uphills. I finally felt awake. Nothing like a couple hundred feet of elevation gain to get your eyes open. Besides, the view from the top was gorgeous. It wasn't quite Florence, Italy, but it was definitely purdy in a different way.

We split from the halfers and then I finally decided I could look for a Porta Potty that didn't have a line. I had been getting water at every stop since the weather was warmer. I finally spotted one without a line and sprinted ahead of JJ and KEK to buy myself some catch up time. It felt good to sprint a bit and I looked forward to chasing them back down.

Coming out of the Porta Potty, who pulls on the door at the same time??! KEK's friend Marie!!

I sprinted up to my piglets to tell KEK that Marie was right behind us. Woot!

Finally, I was feeling comfortable again and ready to rock out as pacer:
The miles into Mariemont were great. We ran into northernlass and hung out with her for a bit (yay Loopsters!) At one point, there was a dad-ish type guy that ran out in front of us doing the I'm-not-a-runner-but-I'll-run-for-you-run and excitedly yelling at a girl in front of us. You could see the glee in his eyes and I felt like I sucked into a Lifetime movie. It totally warmed my heart. I actually sprinted ahead a few steps to ask the girl if it was her dad. She nodded, full of emotion, and I dropped back with warm fuzzies all over.

Back to hanging out with my piggies, getting the crowd pumped, and eating/drinking everything I could find. Had a shot of beer. Ate oranges. Ate watermelon. High-fived kids, adults, and the "Power Up" posters.
Others have said it, the spectators were AH-mahzing. Totally worth going back to Cincy for even if the course was a bit tough.  The little old ladies sitting outside of the nursing homes were probably my favorite. One more day to share being alive together--yes, please!

I mean, who couldn't appreciate this at mile 20:
We were creeping in on our goal when the wind fell out of KEK's sails. I was trying to figure out what would motivate her in this situation. So I cheered, I yelled, I kept a few steps ahead trying to reel her in, and then I'd fall back to run alongside her. JJ had to pull me back a few times 'cause I kind of got excited when I came upon spectators that fueled my fire.

KEK had to walk a few times and we kept pushing her to move. I *might* have given her a gentle push on the shoulder to keep her moving forward.  And she'd keep going. I knew we were getting dangerously close to being just at 4 hours--eek!

I don't know if they saw it or not, but there was a guy holding a poster in the final miles that said "run for those that can't." It made me remember how lucky I am that I get to do this--to feel those exuberant emotions with each finish! Not everyone is so lucky...

I digress....

The 3 little piggies finally came into mile 25 and soon we smelled the finish line. As soon as the finish chute was clearly marked, KEK found a new gear. She was booking! I was like, whoa, I'm going to have to keep up. We kept hooping and hollering for the crowd all the way to the finish line.
At 4:00:43 on a hilly and hot course, we'll take it!! A shiny new PR for her and a heckuva lotta fun for JJ and I.

JJ scared us for a bit when she felt woozy after the race, but soon she was up and moving again. Whew! We ran into northernlass at the bag drop and compared race notes.
I picked up my 4-way swag, including a new tech tee to shield me from the sun:
Pretty happy that I came in 48th place in the 4-way challenge considering that I was fun-running/walking the whole weekend. Neat!
We met up with the other Loopsters in the park for beer, food, and impromptu dance parties:
It was fun hanging out with everyone and we relaxed until all the Loopsters had finished their races:
Adam said he felt like he shouldn't have been in this picture, but I told him that he did the 5K, so he did belong! Now he'll just have to do his 5K RR!

The rest of the day was great. Napping, dinner and drinks at Bar Louie, and a late-night pizza/beer party in the hotel lobby. I made lots of great new friends and was super sad when my little eyelids wouldn't stay open any longer.

I know I left out a ton of stuff... and met lots of cool Loopsters for the first time that I didn't shout out on my bloop. Y'all know who you are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

'Til the next one Loopsters...y'all are always in my heart!

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