It starts with a simple race but it hardly ever ends there. Humans are meant to move, meant to walk and run and be happy in movement. The blood flows to the body and mind to rejuvenate us from the sedentary life that society has given us. It doesn't have to be that way and it isn't for the thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people that tie up their running shoes on any given day. Once it happens, people are Oinked for Life!
The Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, just finishing its 18th running, always has a theme. Seeing the banner for this year's theme, what stood out was INKed for Life with a big "O" in front of it and a heart tattoo on the pig's butt.
I suspect the meaning is related more to the Flying Pig Festival, a myriad of races for the entire family including the canines of our lives. Once you run a Flying Pig event, like a tattoo, you are Oinked for Life and keep coming back year after year. Truly, it is one of the best running festivals in the country and having run the marathon three times, I can understand why.
However, being Oinked for Life extends well beyond Cincinnati for me. Just like a great, meaningful, well-done tattoo, running has a permanent place in my life. My body and mind are scarred from it, in a good way of course. They are scarred with memories and experiences that have transcended my world all that I hold close and dear to my heart.
Seeing others being oinked for life, even if it is the beginning pinch of a needle, is what motivates and rejuvenates each step I take, every morning run I do, each race I toe the line for and each finish line I cross. The Flying Pig has been that place where I have seen the grandkids, first Bree, then Jaxon and Korrey, take those first steps from start to finish in an active life, maybe even a running life and possibly even oinked for life. At the very least the memories of the Flying Pig Marathon will be etched onto their hearts, from the first 25 yards to possibly, someday, the marathon. Would it not be cool to have run every distance, done every event, including the Canine, in the Flying Pig? Truly, that would be OINKED FOR LIFE!
The excitement at this year's festival was seeing Becky and Cindy do the 5K together, mom and daughter running the streets of Cincinnati where they have lived and worked years past. I could see the nervous energy at the start but that is true of all of us who toe a starting line.
“The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
― John Bingham,
It takes courage to toe the line, no matter what distance one is running, because it puts you "out there" exposed to the world around you, to friends, family, strangers alike. Becky took the steps to prepare, to get to her best and to say, "I'm a runner. Today, at the Flying Pig, I am oinked for life and I will forever be in the results of the Flying Pig 5K, forever know what it is like to stand on the starting line and cross the finish swine (the name of the finish line in the Pig.)" My excitement was to see Becky and Cindy running together, from leading their "pig pen" down second street to high-fiving the kids on third and then arms raised finishing their first 5K together, and Becky's first race. These are the things that motivate me to continue running, to see these joyous occasions, the smiles, the determination, the effort of others in hopes of them being oinked.
Although I have now run the Flying Pig Marathon 3 consecutive years, it has never been about me, its been about exposing others to something (running and racing) that has molded my life and truly, has gotten me through life (the ultimate metaphor for life), something that I love and want to see others experience and potentially be oinked for life. It is about cherished memories.
My race wasn't great, which many aren't these days, a warm humid day, tired legs and an aging body but I still have my oink on and as long as I have the courage to start, I will get to the finish.
Congratulations Becky, Cindy, Jaxon, Korrey and Bree on your finishes and new found oinking!
|A family affair|
|I've done these two!|
|Becky's first 5K pickup|
|Piglet celebration balloons|
|...in 14 years I will run this...|
|92 marathons, 2,410.4 miles later - thanks Nada!|
|All in the family|
|Jenn, Calvin and Bree|
|Head and shoulders above the rest!|
|Hall of Famers!|
|Stretch it out ladies!|
Leading the Pig Pen
|High-5ing the 5K runners|
|Bree high-5ing momma and gMa|
|We could do another!|
|We are the champions! No time for losers!|
|Start of the piglets 4-5 year old 50 yard dash - Bree and me on the left middle.|
|Bree's third finishers medal!|
|I'm still runnin'|
|Stride of a champion!|
|Marathon mornin' Roebling Bridge|
|Starting line of the marathon and half|
|4 kids on logs|
|Oinked for Life|