My Favorite Marathon.

Greetings from Connecticut!  I spent my whole day getting ready for tomorrow’s baby shower.  My mom and I spent the morning shopping for decorations, food, flowers, and other supplies.  Tonight was all about baking!  I can’t wait to show you guys all the delicious things I baked – I hope they turn out well!

As excited as I am to be here celebrating with my family this weekend, it feels a little strange to not be in Cincinnati fast asleep preparing for the Flying Pig Marathon!  It is my absolute favorite race, and I have run it the past three years in a row.  While I’m off showering my sister with food and love tomorrow, runners will be racing 26.2 miles through my favorite city!  So in the spirit of the Pig, I thought I’d take a little trip down race memory lane.

Flying Pig 2008 (4:36:32)

My very first marathon!  My best friend Lindsey and I trained for and ran our first marathon together.  To date it is still my favorite running memory, and I really believe what they say about “only running your first marathon once.”  It was such a special experience, and I remember that despite the pain, I had so much FUN every step of the way!

Adding to the fun was the fact that Lindsey and I were “Flying Pig Bloggers” for the local newspaper throughout our training.  It’s actually how I got started blogging, and led me to start my very first blog right after the race!  I am hoping to get Lindsey to run it with me again next year.  For all the details, here is the full recap of my first Flying Pig!

Flying Pig 2009 (3:50:59)

Same race, different runner.  I was stronger, I was leaner, I was ready.  Everyone told us not to do it, but Casey and I did it anyways – we signed up and trained to run the marathon just six days before our wedding.  Looking back, it was such a good decision, and I would do it again in an instant!

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My training for the Flying Pig ‘09 was completely different than for my first two marathons (I also ran Chicago in 2008).  I focused heavily on strength training, became a vegetarian, and gave up drinking – all of which resulted in a much leaner and healthier build.  I knew I was prepared to run fast, but I wasn’t quite sure how fast.  I ended up crushing my marathon PR by 46 minutes, finishing in 3:50:51.  It is still my fastest marathon to date, although I’m hoping to beat that time next year…

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It was also Casey’s fastest marathon (3:11:03), and such a wonderful way to go into our wedding week!  Here is the full race recap.

Flying Pig 2010 (4:51:03)

Oooooh the Pig of ’10 – a very mixed race of major highs and lows. I went into the race less than prepared, after a spring lung infection sidelined me from training for over a month.  I had a bad feeling about the race from the minute I woke up, and as the skies POURED rain at the starting line, I knew I was in for a very tough day.

I reached one of my all-time race lows when I thought about quitting at mile ten.  Running through thunderstorms and torrential rain for miles and miles was so physically exhausting, and I knew finishing the race would be really tough.  But then I reached one of my running highs at mile 12, when I suddenly saw Casey on the sidelines – waiting for me so that we could finish the miserable race together.

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Casey saved me from my own mental demons in that race, and forced me to finish strong and proud, even though it was very tough and slow.  What would have been miserable to do by myself, ended up being our first (and likely only) marathon run together – such a special memory that I will have forever!

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I also learned the lesson that if I ever wake up race day morning again to rain, I won’t run.  It was miserable and one of the toughest physical challenges I’ve had to date.  We finished an hour slower than the year before, having walked almost the entire last 8 miles in a downpour!  To read the rest, here’s the full recap.

The 2011 Flying Pig Marathon is tomorrow, and while of course I am thrilled to be pregnant instead of running a marathon this year, it feels strange to not be there lacing up at the starting line of my favorite race.  I have big plans to be back next year for my 5-year marathoning anniversary.  With the baby slated to come in October, I feel confident that I’ll be ready to tackle another Pig by May.

Good luck to all the runners tomorrow!  The weather is showing rain, and I am saying an extra prayer to the weather gods that there is not a repeat of last year…

Back tomorrow with baby shower fun!