The Connection Runners + [running]

#7 Flying Pig Marathon Cincinnati

Race # 7 is here, and I am excited - headed to Cincinnati for the Flying Pig Marathon. This race takes on special significance for a number of reasons, one being that I will officially be 40 and now in the 'Masters' division. That Pearl Jam 'Ten' CD I received for my birthday in 1991 is now half as old I am. Wow.

Anyway, Mrs. 12 marathons 12 months will be running in the relay with several colleagues, hopefully her chronic IT band holds up long enough for her to complete her 7.8 mile leg. And lastly, a big shout out to my good buddy Steve 'Silverado' Silverman - the deal-closing, saxaphone-playing, Michigan State Spartan alum has whipped himself up into fighting shape and will be running his 1st marathon and I will be side-by-side every step of the way as he completes 26.2.

So a little about this one: Runner's World called Flying Pig one of the 'Most Fun' marathons, and I have read mostly positive reviews about it. Runners and volunteers dress up like pigs - snouts and all - and I expect to hear a lot of oinks and 'soooooie pig' calls. I mean how can you not love a race that has a 'FINISH SWINE!' sign?

It starts at Paul Brown Stadium (home of the Cincinnati Bengals) and the first five miles are flat, then we will see an elevaton increase of about 500 ft. between miles 5-8 before cruising down a nice decline through 11 with a small hill at 11.5. Looks like we'll encounter more than a few rolling hills on the back half, but from 21 on it really flattens out. We also cross the Ohio River, run for a stretch in Kentucky, before crossing back over again, so I am looking forward to the urban, then bucolic, waterfront tour of the city. The marathon finishes near The Great American Ballpark, home of the Reds.

Running alongside a friend as a 'pacer' is a unique role for me, but I enjoy running with others so this will undoubtedly be a terrific experience. Since we will be running his pace I won't feel the pressure that I sometimes (well, OK, always) put on myself so this will add to my enjoyment. Silverado followed the Hal Higdon 18 week marathon regimen (something I did as well for Sugarloaf last year) so he is prepared. He is looking for a sub 4:20 finish (9:55 min/mile pace) - but I have a sneaky feeling we might do a bit better than that. We shall see.