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Flying Pig 2014

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Flying Pig 2014

Post  pigoo on Tue May 06, 2014 1:51 pm

Hey there folks...this is Nick from Cincinanti.  I've not been very active at 365 Runners for a while...but thought that I would stop by...see what's up with the threads...and post a race report.

Ran the Flying Pig again this year (I think that this is my 6th or 7th time).  Being that I'm getting a year older each year (duh...aren't we all). Wink  But when you are an older runner (past running prime)...we all know how we are looking for ANY sort of hidden training "gem" that maybe we have over-looked that may somehow add some "spark" to our racing efforts.

Thus...I REALLY tried some different things in the past 12 months (prior to the 2014 Flying Pig).  One of them being more "quality miles"...meaning fast tempo runs in the 30-40 minute range to improve lactic acid threshold, aerobic capacity, etc (did these once/week for the past year).  And just to be more mentally comfortable/confident running at faster paces as the years stack up. Wink 

Stick with me...I'm mentioning this for a reason. Very Happy   It was this sort of training that lead me to believe that I would have a shot at besting my Flying Pig Marathon PR of 2:49:22.

A couple days prior to race day (and even the day before)...weather was predicted to be 49F and partly cloudy at the start.  So I was thinking...pretty good starting conditions...would be nice if it was a little cooler...but not bad.  I was healthy ...fairly well trained...injury free...and the weather seemed to be cooperating! Very Happy   Everything seemed almost perfect.  Well unfortunately (somewhere out of the blue)...starting race temps were 61F instead of 49F. Mad But I was confident that the temps when I finished (hopefully) will not have climbed too far.

I won't bore everyone with too many race details...but maybe some of you heard about how around mile 4+ the top 50 runners (minus a handful of the male leaders) in the race ran off-course by about .4 to .5 of a mile (myself included)! Crying or Very sad  In this group of runners were the top female half-marathon and marathon folks...so we had the chase vehicles (cars & bicycles with us)...so I'm thinking that how in the heck did we go off course!  Reasons I'm thinking is the course wasn't marked properly (barriers & cones)...race personal/police weren't stationed at turns/bends on the course.  But lastly...the darn chase car & bicycle folks should know the course by heart...so how the heck did they let us go off course!!!

Anyway...as you can imagine...running .4 to .5 of a mile off-course is not going to help with finishing time goals.  At my pace at that time (about 6:15/mile)...we are talking about 2:30 to 3:00 minutes lost.  At this point (mile 4+)...I seriously thought about packing things in & calling it a day.  Since there was almost no way for me to make up that time (and my main race goal was my finishing time).  But I decided to stick with things...and see how it went.

My mimimum race goal was 2:49:59...but with the improved training over the past 12 months...I was really shooting for somewhere around 2:45 to 2:47.  Considering the time lost due to the off-course problem...I was doing fairly well until about mile 21 at meeting my minimum goal of 2:49:59.  Starting temps were 61F at the start...but by mile 21...temps had risen to close to 70F...with a lot of sun (you know how the sun makes things feel even warmer).  At mile 21 is when I fell off pace...and I think that the temps were finally taking their toll...even though I had been eating some sports beans along the way and drinking at every water stop.

Anyways...I ended up with:

- Finishing time of 2:51:37
- Finished in 14th place.  
- 1st in the 50-55 age group.
- 1st (I think) in the 50-55 age group fastest last mile  

The "fastest last mile challenge" (for folks that haven't heard of it)...is where the person in each age group with the fastest last mile (25.2 to 26.2)...wins an award as well.  For comparisions sake to last year for the final mile...this year I ran a 6:40 last mile (very slow for me)...last year I ran a 6:12 (6th fastest last mile overall).  Thus the impact of the heat this year.

Doing a little math...if it wasn't for the .4-.5 off course issue...subtract about 2.5-3.0 minutes from my finishing time...and it would have been around approx. 2:48:xx.  Maybe even better depending on the exact off course distance...and most likely...that deviation certainly had some impact on the "mental outlook" for the race (from around mile 4).

Ok well...still not a bad day. Thanks for reading. Very Happy 

- Nick
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  Jim Lentz on Tue May 06, 2014 2:17 pm

Great job on the race, Nick! The extra distance sure stank.
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  pigoo on Tue May 06, 2014 2:28 pm

@Jim Lentz wrote:Great job on the race, Nick! The extra distance sure stank.
Thanks Jim.  Yeah...the extra distance really did stink.  It was pretty disheartening to see some of the runners ahead of me (I'm talking guys that included the 3rd, 4th, 5th finishers in the race) making a u-turn to somehow get back on course.

In the 6-7 times that I've run the Flying Pig...I've never been able to run real close to 26.2 total distance.  Usually I end up with 26.4 to 26.5.  This year I made a SUPER extra effort to run as close as I could to the inside of every turn...and run tangents whenever there were "s-turns".  This probably did help...but because of the off-course thing...my Garmin said I ran 26.72 miles in 2:51:37.  

Some of the other folks that I spoke with after the race with Garmin's (that were also effected by the off-course issue)...also said they ran around 26.7 miles.

- Nick
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  Jerry on Tue May 06, 2014 8:20 pm

lol! Geeze, Nick, you are over 50 now. See what happens when you don't come here often ...
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  pigoo on Tue May 06, 2014 9:57 pm

Ha ha Jerry...I know what you mean! Wink 

- Nick
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  pigoo on Tue May 06, 2014 10:04 pm

I forgot to mention that Ryan Hall was a special guest VIP at the Flying Pig this year.  He also ran in the Flying Pig 10k setting a new Flying Pig 10k record of 30:32.  I'm guessing he didn't go all out (only a 4:56/mile pace).  2nd place was 34:04.

- Nick
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  Mark B on Tue May 06, 2014 10:13 pm

Even with the detour, that's a solid race you ran. Speaks well to working in those lactate threshold runs. Nicely done!
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  JohnP on Tue May 06, 2014 10:34 pm

Great job Nick. I am very surprised that you guys could get off-course. I've done the Pig and it's a well-run course/race but then again, I run in the middle of the pack so it's not likely we will veer off course. Great job and way to keep your head in the race and do quite well.
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  Dave-O on Wed May 07, 2014 9:48 am

Completely unacceptable for the lead vehicles to go off course!!!!  Sorry to hear that Nick.  Congrats on a great race nonetheless, but that definitely cost you a chance a 2:48 or better. 

Glad to hear your training and running is still going strong!
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed May 07, 2014 10:50 am

Well that was a cluster!  But you dealt with it well. Nice time and congrats on the AG placement!
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  pigoo on Wed May 07, 2014 2:38 pm

Thanks a bunch guys! Very Happy 

Yes...the off-course fiasco was definitely the "high-light/low-light" of the race.  I know all you guys know the dedication all of us put into training for a marathon (or any race).  

All the MANY HOT HOT HOT Summer training days...and the COLD COLD COLD and snowy Winter training days...and just the number of workouts we would MUCH rather have stayed at home & vegetate on the couch.  But we "stayed strong"...and got out there and "just did it"!!!!  And "happy as a clam" when we were done! Very Happy  

We all know that many times it is difficult to get to the start line with :

- no or minimal weather issues
- no injuries
- reasonably well trained
- arrive at the start line healthy
- plus run a "smart" race (no fast starts/etc.)

This off-course thing happened somewhere after mile 4 & before mile 5.  So fairly early in the race.  Kind of still in the latter-portion of the race when we're still "warming up" and settling into our planned pace for most of the race.  So we are sort of busy focusing on these things...and less on the crowds, course entertainment, or any other non-race stuff.

I live in Cincinnati and have run "The Pig" 6-7 times...so some folks may be thinking...how the heck did this happen (or did I let this happen).

- I have lived in "Cincy" for about 10 years...so I'm not native to the area.
- I don't really get into downtown Cincy that often (the area where the off-course took place).
- The specific part of downtown Cincy where things happened is a very old industrial area (railroad tracks, old warehouse & industrial buildings, no restaurants, etc.).  So an area I'm even MORE unfamiliar with.
- Finally...the Pig course has been "tweaked" 2-3 times since 2006 when I first ran it.  And the "tweeking" has almost always happened in the section before mile 5/mile 6.  

For folks that have run the Pig before (or haven't or want to)...this is the area (miles 1-5) where you start near the baseball & football stadiums, cross a couple bridges over the Ohio river into & out of Kentucky, and run thru some of downtown Cincy.  The rest of the course (miles 6/7 thru 26.2 have mostly remained the same).  Their have been some finishing area tweaks.

- Finally...I was thinking...hey...maybe they tweaked the course again. Rolling Eyes 

I have my Garmin set to auto-lap every mile.  So it beeps at every mile...plus this allows me to look at my watch at any time...and know my exact current lap (current mile) pace...which comes in real handy! Smile 

So my watch (and a lot of other runners watches around me) "beep" at the mile 4 mark...but I'm not seeing any mile 4 marker or timer.  This is a straight section of the course (no turns)...so I'm thinking somebody messed up (race offical/volunteer)...and didn't get the mile 4 marker & timer setup yet (who knows).  The approx. place where I think that things went wrong was (sometime after the mile 4 point)...this is where two roads intersect (at a 90° angle)...with an underpass/overpass sort of situation.  This is where we should have gotten onto an off/on ramp from the one road to the other road.  This road is "7th Street".

Of course remember the situation.  This is a group of approx. 40-50 runners...strung out in small groups simply following the runners in front of us (who to us are leading the way).  And personally I'm not seeing any obvious road blocking barriers, orange cones, police officers, or race volunteers indicating the route of the course (a turn in the course).

So anyway...somewhat after mile 4 we approach this overpass/underpass area (where we should probably be transitioning onto "7th Street"...but we continue staight (go under the under pass).  I actually see the 7th street sign & think to myself..."Hmmm...I guess we don't run on 7th street this year...I guess they changed the course again."  And thus I follow everyone else.  Thus about .25 of a mile later...I see the folks ahead of me making a U-Turn...and I'm thinking "CRAP"...we're off-course!!!  

This includes a local guy who is from Cincinnati that I know.  He is a very distinctive looking (hard to miss) person.  He's actually a former Olympic Marathon Trials runner (so capable of running 2:21 or better at one time).  He's in his mid-40's now. So if he didn't see anything sort of course change...something must have been really wrong (he finished in 5th place this year in the marathon). 

So .25 miles later (about .4-.5 in total) we're back on 7th street...where we were supposed to be in the first place.

And like I mentioned in my report (and Dave-O mentioned as well)...for arguments sake...let's say nothing was actually wrong with the course.  In this lead race group of 40-50 runners...I know that we had (at least) the women's half-marathon leader & the women's marathon leader...each of which either had a "lead-car" or a "lead-bicycle".  These vehicle's should be operated by person's who know the course backward's and forwards...and should NOT have allowed us to go off course!

In all of my racing since 1977...I cannot remember ever going off-course like this in a race this size & reputation.  Some courses have been too-long...and some courses have been too-short...but I cannot remember running off-course like this.

For what it's worth...the next day I saw a very short/small online article written by a reporter for the local Cincy newspaper reporting on this off-course thing.  I wrote (e-mailed) to thank them for reporting on this (since I didn't want it to be "swept under the carpet").  And I explained my point of view what happened.  I haven't heard anything back from them.

Anyways...sorry for the long post.  Thought maybe some folks might be interested in some additional details.  Since this isn't the sort of thing that happens everyday in larger races.

Bottom line...one of those slightly rare situations where almost everything is in place for a super race performance (weather, no injuries, good training, smart race plan, healthy, etc.)...and a course management thing throws things off.  

Of course I'm sure things were corrected quickly...and the other 99% of runners in the race probably never even knew anything happened.  Hmmm...is this a "hazard" of running towards the front??Wink  I don't really think that it should.  I think that it has got to be a course management issue.

- Nick
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  ounce on Wed May 07, 2014 7:19 pm

Glad you're back.  I recognized the avatar.  Nice run and training, too!  Hope you can stay healthy.  But check in more often.
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  pigoo on Wed May 07, 2014 10:12 pm

@ounce wrote:But check in more often.
I sure will try! Very Happy 

- Nick
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  ounce on Thu May 08, 2014 10:31 am

@pigoo wrote:
@ounce wrote:But check in more often.
I sure will try! Very Happy 

- Nick

The Boards are having a special, this month.  The first member with a black dog as the avatar that hits 50 cumulative posts in May gets to post his 51st post absolutely free!
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  pigoo on Thu May 08, 2014 12:20 pm

@ounce wrote:
The Boards are having a special, this month.  The first member with a black dog as the avatar that hits 50 cumulative posts in May gets to post his 51st post absolutely free!
I'm gonna have to look into this! Wink
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  Jerry on Thu May 08, 2014 12:37 pm

For the record, I among maybe 10-15 others ran off couse in a local half marathon once, and ended up running 17 miles in 2:05. Pitty 11 miles on pace for 1:25.

Our similarity seems to be: we both were not in the lead pack, but seperated from the main crowd.

Go to Boston, Nick, that will never happen.  lol!
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  dot520 on Fri May 09, 2014 9:02 pm

Hey there, Nick!!  Good to see you!  That must have really dealt a blow to your whole mental being in those few minutes once you realized the mistake.  It's not the sort of thing you need to be dwelling on for the remainder of the 22 miles.  Congrats to you as you had that 2:4x:xx in the bag!
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  pigoo on Fri May 09, 2014 11:55 pm

@dot520 wrote:Hey there, Nick!!  Good to see you!  That must have really dealt a blow to your whole mental being in those few minutes once you realized the mistake.  It's not the sort of thing you need to be dwelling on for the remainder of the 22 miles.  Congrats to you as you had that 2:4x:xx in the bag!
Hey there Dot...great to hear from you as well!Smile

Yes...that course deviation was not something that we like to deal with (mentally) so early in a race.  Of course I don't know how easy it would have been to deal with if it happened the opposite way...around mile 22.Wink

For what its worth...I'm still rolling-rolling-rolling!WinkWink

- Nick
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  KBFitz on Sun May 11, 2014 8:14 am

This is just bizarre Nick. I am astonished that such a thing could happen in a longstanding race. Given the shock of the off-course detour and the additional distance, your finishing time is really outstanding. You've redefined what it means to keep you head in the game!
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Re: Flying Pig 2014

Post  Alex Kubacki on Tue May 13, 2014 2:40 pm

The marathon is about the last race you want them stearing you off course for extra distance. You handled it well. Great job out with that time.
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