What happens at the Flying Pig……

…..makes you go weeee weee weeee all the way home.

Some months ago (I believe it was November) my training buddies and I decided we were going to run the marathon in Cincinnati. Why? Because we had fashioned ourselves to be “Team Bacon” because we always ended up talking about bacon during our training runs. So all of us signed up. I even had training shirts made up with our bacon names on the back. Crispy, Peameal, Squeezie, and of course Morningstar (I am a vegetarian, so I get to be vegetarian bacon). Over the next couple months life took some of us away from our training. Two baconators dropped to the half. Stubborn me stuck it out to the full. (Peameal also stuck it out). Now the kicker: Two weeks before the race I started getting pain in my left foot and ankle. Uncontrollable swelling and soreness sat me on my butt for a whole week with the marathon looming.

What’s a gal to do? RUN THE MARATHON OF COURSE! After all, I just thought it was tendonitis….[sarcastic laughter]

Off to Cincy I go. My boyfriend agreed to travel with me and run the half (there are many perks of having a runner boyfriend) so we arrived late Friday evening at the Millenium Hotel after battling awful traffic and rain all the way from Buffalo.

Up for the party the next morning, we headed off to the expo to meet the other bacon buddies and pick up the goodies. Of course we were greeted by adorable flying pigs.

Flying Piggies!

As for the expo itself, I was VERY impressed! I’ve done tons of races and been to many an expo, usually the only ones that impress me are the Rock and Roll series expos. For a local race, this expo was spectacular. P&G had a huge table were they were giving away TONS of free stuff. Full bottles of shampoo, as much dish soap as you can carry, personal care items, perfumes, toothbrushes, basically anything you could fit in your bag. There were plenty of other vendors as well, local shops and stores had big displays and free t-shirts. I made sure to visit the KT Tape booth and get my ankle taped by an expert. I thought my ankle pain was being caused by Peroneal Tendonitis (boy was I wrong!). I worked my way through the booths and got lots of goodies ending with the race premiums. A great shirt, duffle bag, and race poster! All very nice!

After the expo we got situated for tomorrow in our room and then headed over into Kentucky for a traditional pasta dinner. On the way back from dinner I managed to find the cutest flying pig! Queen Porktunia was definitely my favorite pig of all the ones we saw.

The Queen and I

After dinner, we watched some movies before crashing. I was starting to get really nervous about the race. I just kept reminding myself that if it hurt really bad I could just finish the half. The races start together, but split at about the 8.5 mile mark. I just figured I could take the half course if it was really bad.

Feeling great early on.

Well it started great.

I pumped up my playlist and stuck to my guns as far as a race plan went. I still had my pace-band on for my goal time, even though I knew it was a bit of a pipe-dream. I set my watches for 5-1 intervals. I hate talking such frequent walk breaks, especially that early, but figured walking early and often would save my ankle from swelling too much.

I felt pretty great through the first 10 miles. The hill that everyone kept talking about was not so bad. Honestly the view from the top was completely worth it. You could look down on the river and it was really cool looking. When the split came at the 8.5 mark, I felt like I could really finish this. I added another escape clause. Should I completely die, I could always stop at a relay exchange and bus back to the finish. But I doubted it would come to that. I was feeling fine.

But oh the day was heating up. The med tents changed the flags to yellow (meaning heat warnings) and the hills started coming fast and hard. The first “big hill” in the race was pretty gradual. These later hills were steep and tough on the legs and feet. Somewhere around 14-15 miles, my ankle started throbbing. The pain got really intense, really quickly. I had to stop and walk for a while. I was so caught up in my pain that I felt sick. I didn’t even really realize someone was talking to me. Somewhere between 16-18 a medical person had come up to me and started talking and lead me off the course to the med tent. Apparently because I wasn’t responding correctly and looked “a little green around the gills” they decided to remove me from the course. They sat me down, gave me water and took off my shoe when I spluttered out what was happening. My foot was about twice the size of the other one. About twenty minutes later, after I had started getting really agitated, they let me go back out on the course.

Within a mile my legs were cramping terribly from having sat down so long. My hands were starting to swell and I had stopped sweating. The extra bottle and a half of water I had drunk in the med tent had derailed my fueling. I had too much water and not enough salt. Panicked, I ate the rest of my e-load tablets and choked down my last endurolyte. It still wasn’t enough, but at least it got me sweating again. Somehow I made it up to the highway for the final stretch of 4 miles. Some angels were giving out cold towels. It was a miracle because it had gotten so hot. But I was still upright and moving. My run had turned into a long stroll pucntuated by a slow jog every now and again.

Run for the finish!

At times it felt like a death march. I was watching the time and quarter miles tick by on my trusty Garmin. All I kept thinking was “get me to the damn finish line”. Somewhere around 23-24 miles a medical person on a bike started riding next to me. He was asking me questions again. Was I okay? Did I need help? Did I need water? I said no more water and I would be okay in about 2 miles. At that point I had come to far to quit. I NEEDED that finish line. I needed to run across it no matter how much it hurt.

Coming down into the final stretch I started running. I just wanted to be done. Blowing past people watching and ending the race too I sprinted until I could see the banner. My boyfriend suddenly appeared at my side and ran in with me.  The medal and some salt. That’s all I wanted. I crossed the mats about 8 minutes slower than my last marathon effort. My first reaction was angry thoughts at the medical people. If I could only have those 20 minutes back! But they were just doing their jobs and I should be glad for it.

We walked back to the hotel room (we couldn’t find the shuttle) after getting all the food I could handle. The following shower was amazing. There is no feeling in the world like a shower after a marathon. You just kinda sit on the floor under the water and think “did I really just do that?”. Honestly, there is no way to describe it. It is a tired elation in your body that is probably only equaled by childbirth.

The only thing that made it better was the Pizza Hut pizza we had for dinner. Never did pizza taste so good.


After doing the smart thing and visiting a doctor, it has been discovered that I have two stress fractures in my left foot. One is a grade 2 in the first metatarsal, the second is a grade 3 in my ankle. I’m not allowed to even think about trying to run for 8-12 weeks. Any more running on it will cause severe damage to my ankle that is fixable only by surgery. I will find out early next week if I have to wear a boot or get a cast. In the meantime I am to stay off it and absolutely NOT RUN. Luckily the only race it appears I will be missing is the Toronto Women’s Half Marathon at the end of the month. But I think I am okay with that….. now I get to cheer on all my friends at the Buffalo Marathon from the comfort of a lawn chair with my boot up. Be on the lookout for me and my cow bell! Maybe I’ll even bring my flying pig with me…….


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