I made my plans to do this race once again this year - booked my hotel and my flight - and then waited for May to come around so that I could do my 6th running of this great event.
Here's what greeted me at the airport as I headed toward the luggage claim area at the Cincinnati airport. How cool was this??
|Airport welcome committee for race participants! They had gift bags containing coupons,|
a local chocolatier's chocolate bar (yumm!), bottle of water.
I took a taxi to my hotel in downtown Cincinnati and luckily my room was available for an early check-in. After dropping my bags, I grabbed a cappuccino at the lobby Starbucks then walked across the street to the convention center and the massive race expo. Always fun, always crowded, always lots of great free stuff handed out by one of the corporate sponsors, P&G.
Race packets for Saturday's 5K race and Sunday's half marathon in my possession, I dropped those bags off in my room and headed back out to my favorite pre-race stop: Abby's Sweets Cupcakery. Three cupcakes now in my possession, it was time to go find a late lunch.
Saturday morning was the 5K race. I love doing this little "warm-up" race. It has a 10 AM start, so it's possible to sleep in, with enough time for a leisurely breakfast before walking down to the river front and the Reds Stadium to wait for the start. The weather was perfect, with cool, slightly overcast conditions. The route is easy and flat, always staying within the immediate downtown and stadiums vicinity and finishing on the other side of the Reds Stadium at what will be the marathon finish line the next day.
I collected my finisher medal then walked back toward the hotel, taking a route that brought me right by a Starbucks. Lots of other 5K runners had the same idea as the line snaked through the store. But it moved fairly quickly and I was eventually on my way back to the hotel where I showered, dressed, and then headed back out for a much-anticipated lunch at Skyline Chili restaurant.
|Oh my! My day is now complete!! A chili dog and a big bowl of Skyline Chili!!|
After lunch I wandered over to Fountain Square for the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. Lots of music, food vendors, and cool things like llamas, alpacas and a baby alpaca!!
A group of us had dinner Saturday night at Rock Bottom Brew Pub on Fountain Square, then it was time to get back to my room, lay my things out for the next day's race and relax and hydrate in preparation.
This race route never grows old!! The start line is an easy walk from the hotel, next to the football stadium. The corrals are well-organized and the wait was relatively short, since I waited to arrive until after the first corrals started. Temps were in the high 40's at the start and I wrapped myself in the space blanket I'd gotten the day before at the 5K race to stay warm while we waited for our corral to start.
And then we were starting. The route is so varied, with so many turns and so much to see, that the miles always seem to fly by. Across the big bridge into Kentucky, through downtown Covington. Across a little bridge over an inlet, and then across another big bridge back into Cincinnati OH. Then through downtown toward the beautiful Gilbert-Sinton Historic District and breathtakingly beautiful Eden park where the 3-mile long steep ascent up to the bluffs overlooking the river threaten to suck our energy. A few more miles of rolling hills and then a long 2-mile descent back into the downtown area. The finish line suddenly looms as we take a last turn toward the Reds baseball stadium.
|Flying Pig half marathon route, data from my GPS watch.|
|My 6th Flying Pig Half Marathon finisher medal. As always, its a really|
cool 3-D medal...3-D on both the front and the back!
I'll be back next year! In fact, I've already registered for next year's race! See you in Cincinnati in 2018!