Only May and it has already been quite the epic sports year in the Kosakowski household. After the amazing adventure with Scott swimming at State there was no way I was going to miss cheering on another sibling of mine in her grand undertaking. This morning I got to see Sarah take down the Flying Pig.
Back in January, quite out of the blue (at least to me!) Sarah told us that she had decided to start training for the half-marathon in Cincinnati known as The Flying Pig. A little research turned up the fact that this is one of the most difficult marathons in the entire country due to the course structure. If you've ever been to southern Ohio you know we're talking endless hills. Imagine running it. 13.1 miles of running in the case of the half marathon. While I may have secretly wondered if she was operating with a full deck (though Lord knows I am not the one to judge that) there was no doubt in my mind that if Sarah made it to the actual race she would finish it. My amazing sister is fiercely determined once she sets out to do something and I knew if she meant to run a half-marathon she would do it! She has been plagued throughout her training by some issues with her knee but not once did she throw in the towel. Even when the girl she was supposed to be running it with decided not to run the event this year, Sarah stuck with it. Ridiculously proud older sister here, in case you missed that.
So yesterday my parents, Scott and I headed down to Cinci (side shout out to my amazing husband who not only watched the kiddos while I was gone but pretty much insisted that I go and be there to support Sarah) to be there for the very early race. We got to see the Alba Beauty Studio where Sarah works and then got to have dinner with her and hang out for a bit last night. The four of us then ventured to downtown for the race this morning. Scott and Dad scoped out a prime viewing location at the finish line while Mom and I set out to see if we could maybe find Sarah on the actual race course. We knew she had started somewhere around 6:40am and was hoping to finish the race in around a 2 hour and 15 minute time. We planted ourselves somewhere between mile marker 11 and 12 around 8:30 knowing she'd have to pass us at some point!
A side note, the City of Cincinnati should be so proud of the race they put on. There were tons of spectators cheering people on, the race helpers (who had on shirts that said "Grunt" I loved it and had to get a picture) did a fantastic job handing out water, gatorade and food to not only the runners but also the spectators and there were plenty of live music stations and "rally sow-el" locations to set a festive spirit. I thought the police and security did an amazing job and considering between the races yesterday and today they were expecting over 33,000 runners I thought they had everything organized extremely well. We had been worried about the crush of people, parking, etc but honestly, it all was very well done. Nice job, Cinci!!
So cut back to Mom and I hanging out, cheering people as they went past and keeping an eye out for a 5'2'' megastar in pink and black. We saw the 2:15 pace setter pass and knew she had to be getting close and suddenly, out of no where, my Mom yells "Go Sarah Kosakowski" No, she hadn't seen her but she was cheering for her anyway. I kid you not, as the words are leaving my Mom's mouth we see Sarah come over the top of a hill to run right past us! And she looked great! She was running AND smiling!
So while she went to finish the rest of the race Mom and I took a short-cut and tried to make it to the finish line in time. We saw Sarah again with less than a tenth of a mile left (she didn't see us this time and it was obvious she was in her zone. I even yelled "Cecil Fielder" (our way of letting her know it was us - did you know he's Prince Fielder's Dad??) half a dozen times but there were a lot of runners and other people at this point. My Dad and Scott did get to see her cross the line though at a time of 2:18:02. That's right, 13.1 miles in 2:18:02 for her first half-marathon ever where 1/2 the course is hills. My sister is a super star!
We were able to catch up with her afterward for awhile and given what she'd just done I thought she was holding up really well. (Crap, I'd like to look as good as she did after running just one mile) She stopped home for a shower, then we went to her restaurant, the Cock & Bull so she could have a beer (she so earned it!) and we could all grab some lunch before heading out of town. I am hoping that she is now home, icing her knee, cuddled up in bed with books, oreos and more beer :) I love you, Sees-ter and am so proud of you!
The triumphant runner with her medal
Giant inflatable pig courtesy of the downtown casino (and yes, family, if you zoom in I think I did manage to get the half-naked casino girls as well)
Loved the workers shirts, had to get a pic!