Flying Pig Half Marathon: The Race

He almost beat me.

No joke.

My brother had trained for this race like a man on a mission so it was expected he’d finish and finish having met his goal, 2:30. But boy, he blew it, and us, away.

I recounted his weight loss journey here, and having lost 60 pounds leading up to race day really gave my brother newfound confidence. He could really see what he and his body were capable of doing.

I was excited to see him in person. He’d sent me numerous pictures but I wanted to see for myself what this new man looked like.

He was there at the airport with my sister waiting for me with a huge smile and as soon as I was close enough, gave me a giant bear hug that was much less bear than before 🙂

They were both hanging out with Flying Pig Volunteers who were welcoming travelers and we of course had to take picture:

The Welcoming Crew (these volunteers were great!)

The Welcoming Crew (these volunteers were great!)

My sister and I did not plan the twinsie half marathon shirts :)

My sister and I did not plan the twinsie half marathon shirts 🙂

I had flown into Cincinnati on Friday and that was planned as we figured we’d go to the Expo from there.

We walked around and really took our time–this was my brother’s first Expo after all 🙂 and took a few pictures after picking up our swag (which by the way, was pretty impressive!).

Three little piggies

Three little piggies

We drove back to Dayton, where my brother and sister live, and enjoyed the rest of our Friday and Saturday making sure we called it an early night.

Race morning, Sunday, we awoke bright and early as we had to drive back to Cincy. My brother-in-law was also running this race (and my sister was supposed to too, but she suffered an injury a few weeks prior 😦 )

The plan was for us to all start in the same corral and then do our thing. I loved this idea as I got to hang out with my brother pre-race and see him start. We chatted and talked a little about the race. My brother in law and sister gave us course details as they’d run the race several times before. My brother then announced that he felt he could beat his goal and really had a secret goal, a Goal A–2:20. He’s officially a runner now lol!

Corral Selfie!!

Corral Selfie!!

We heard the national anthem be played signifying the start of the race and we began moving closer and closer to the start. My brother was getting into race mode, getting his music set up and plugging in his ear phones.

This was really happening.

I was just kinda laying low, watching him, super emotional to see him do this. Really do this.

And as we approached the start line, I called his name to wish him luck….

All the emotions. All.

All the emotions. All.

…and I lost it. I started crying and I hugged him. We parted ways as soon as we crossed because I knew there was no way I’d keep it together.

I knew this was going to be a tough race (for me) because of the hills.

Whoa!

Whoa!

It was a crowded race too and the first few miles were spent navigating through people. I knew the hills would start soon after mile 5 and yup, they were as hard as I imagined them. I did my best to fight my way through them but my pace slowed considerably. I registered an 11:20something on one mile.

But I was having a blast. There was so much to see. So much crowd support. And even though the splits weren’t showing it, this was the fastest race in that it all seemed to happened so quickly. Before I knew it, I was at mile 10 going dooooown hill. It was a great final 3.1 and my splits showed it at 8:52, 8:50, and 8:40.

I crossed the finish line at 2:08:19 (9:48/mile) with my goal having been 2:05. I was pleased nonetheless because I had given it all I had on those hills and had really enjoyed myself the entire race.

I was collecting myself as I grabbed my medal when I heard my phone ring. I don’t ever run with my phone but did for this race as we would be using it as a way to meet up post race.

It was my brother telling me he was done!

But, but, but, I had just finished!

I quickly looked around as I was still in the finisher’s corral and sure enough, there he was! I ran to him and said, “Are you freaking kidding me?!!? You were right behind me!!!”

He had the. hugest. smile. Out of breath, he said, “Those hills had nothing on me!”

Official time: 2:10:36

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He was two minutes behind me! TWO! And look at that average pace!!!!!

I was in complete disbelief. I seriously cannot explain what I felt when I saw him and when I saw the time he had finished. I just couldn’t believe it. He knocked it out of the ballpark!

We took a post race pic as we moved out of the finisher’s corral:

Post Race Pic

But I wish I could have bought ALL the pics of him running during the race. He has a huge smile on all of them and there’s one where he’s next to this girl who is walking up a hill, and he’s charging up it with a look of fierce intensity. It’s freaking awesome.

There’s one of him giving the camera man thumbs up like the race ain’t no thing 🙂

And there’s another of him crossing the finish line with arms triumphantly in the air–you can hear his roar as he crosses.

He has so many good ones but there’s one of him and I juust when he finished–he’s still out of breath, I have a shocked look on my face, and we are both smiling like goofballs. I love it so much.

I think need it.

Before we headed back to the car, I made sure to take a solo pic of him:

My brother, the runner <3

My brother, the runner.

And the car ride home was him telling us his race story–how good he felt the entire way. How he started off with a steady pace the first 5 miles and then picked it up when the hills started, making sure he had enough energy to finish strong. He totally knew what he was doing.

All I could really say to him was, “You’re a natural.”

 

 

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Flying Pig Half Marathon: My Brother’s Weight Loss Journey

There’s quite a few things I feel the need to share with you so that you can fully grasp the magnitude of the race that was The Flying Pig 1/2 Marathon. If you recall, I signed up for this race for the sole purpose of seeing my brother run it.

I never, ever, ever, ever thought my brother would run a half marathon. It requires a lot of discipline, self-motivation, and commitment–all words I never associated with him.

My brother growing up was always in trouble. He was in trouble in school, at home, in his life and for as long as I can remember, he was always in some kind of mess.

It was difficult seeing my brother live his life this way but it was something we kinda just accepted. That was how he was.

He’d always been overweight, using food and alcohol as a means of comfort when there really wasn’t anything positive in his life. Eating and drinking made him happy. There were many times when I became concerned about his health; at 6’2, 300+ pounds, I knew there was no way he was healthy.

And then a few years ago, on his own, he began to change. He left behind old habits and found a good, steady job and was finally doing well. It was what we had all been waiting for. But it seemed maybe to cope and maybe even compensate for no longer having his previous vices, he turned to eating–even more. He visited me last Christmas and he was the heaviest I had ever seen him. He was happy–but it was difficult for him to move around, to get up off the couch, to walk short distances. I was worried when I saw him but it was another one of those things where I felt like even if I said something, it needed to come from him. He wouldn’t change if he didn’t want to change.

My brother's before pic

The “before” pic

I”m not sure if it was a combination of New Year’s, his birthday (it’s in early January), or something else all together, but he decided 2015 would be the year of change. It was finally coming from him. He signed up for a gym membership and began with walking on the treadmill and spending a few minutes on the elliptical. He’d send me a picture every few days of his workouts, “2 miles on the treadmill!” “30 minutes on the elliptical!” “I finally ran outside today!” and each text would make my day.

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He ran a 5k on St. Patrick’s day and was excited to gauge his progress (he’d run one last year–his first race–without any training). He blew us away killing his previous time and finishing with a 27:58!! Yes, you read that right. At that point, he had lost about 35 pounds and was proud of himself for how far he’d come. But he said he wasn’t finished.

With my sister after the 5k--they both PRd!

With my sister after the 5k–they both PRd!

Having done so well and maybe even perhaps still on his race high, he decided to sign up for the Flying Pig Half Marathon. I was so excited for him and knew having this goal would only help motivate him further.

But what he did next took me by complete surprise.

He got a training plan and committed himself to it entirely, sometimes even doing double workouts on days he was feeling good. He’d send me pictures of his mileage, “My first run over 5 miles!” “I did this all with the treadmill inclined!” He would send me post workout pics and on each one he’d have a huge smile, a proud workout done. He began sharing his journey on Facebook and his friends applauded his change–(that seemed to motivate him too, his friends seeing him do something positive for himself).

On of his double days

One of his double days

I remember showing my husband one of my brother’s pics and telling him how proud I was of my brother and how I wished I could be there to join him on his first half marathon. I rarely make it to Ohio as traveling with 2 small children isn’t exactly ideal both financially and mentally lol!

But my husband said, “You should be there!” and purchased a ticket for only me to go. He’d stay behind with our kids.

I was so grateful and so ridiculously excited that I would be able to witness firsthand and share that special day with my brother. At first, I wanted it to be a surprise and told my sister such as we planned out logistics. But as usual with surprises, they’re tough to keep and my brother soon knew that I would be there that day. He was so thankful and said that that would help him to train even harder knowing that I’d be there.

The day he ran his 10 miler, his first double digit run, I cried. I just couldn’t believe it. Who was this man who had transformed himself in such a short period of time? He was a dedicated, disciplined, motivated, definitely NOT lazy man who was working very hard to reach a goal. And doing it all on his own.

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This text. All the emotions.

He was ready. The day of the race he was 60 pounds lighter. Sixty. This was a different person toeing the start line. A completely different person.

And man, I couldn’t wait to see him cross the finish !!!

The "after" pic (for now :) )

And the “after” pic … (for now 🙂 )

Part II of my brother’s weightless journey to his first half marathon will be up soon. Let me just say, he crushed that race–I can’t wait to share it with you!! 

❤ , helly