The Flying Pig: Volunteers and the chance to earn a PR

Note: You’ll find my introductory blog about running the Flying Pig here, my thoughts on hill training and THE BEST PIG HAT EVER here, some reasons to include coffee and ankle warmers in your training here, tips re: how to “Dress for Success” here, a first look at the ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ shirts here, and an interview with a solar-powered flying pig who tweets here.


Greetings Flying Pig friends both current and future!

Wow, three weeks until race weekend. Where did the training time go?

Last long run before Flying Pig

Myself, some fellow Cincinnati-bound runners, and a few training partners, heading out for our last long run before the Flying Pig. We glow because it’s very early in the morning! We got an early start to our run to simulate the 6:30am race start time.

I saw a photo of the PR bell on Facebook this week. I’d love to be able to earn a personal record at the Flying Pig and ring it, as would most participants I’m sure. If I’m really honest with myself though, that might be a bit of a stretch this year. I’m just over a bad sinus cold which saw me skip one long training run and shorten another.

Will I let this minor setback stop me from trying my best, though? Absolutely not!

I think for most of us, following a training schedule to a tee is a bit unrealistic. I mean, life happens, right?

That’s why I’m so glad I was taught by my awesome running coach to set several goals for each race: a finish time I’d be thrilled with, one that is very doable, and a slower finish time that acknowledges I’m not completely in control, especially when it comes to factors like illness, injury and race day weather.

A PR was within reach when I ran a 30km training race recently, but I missed it by three seconds. Why? First, because it was a training race and I didn’t want to overdo it and risk injury before The Flying Pig. Second, because I simply couldn’t resist high-fiving all the cute kids lining the course and I wanted to be sure to thank every group of volunteers I came upon. Those were my race goals in this case, and I’m happy to say I achieved them.

Volunteers are integral to the success of any race. I hope to be able to thank as many volunteers as I can at the expo, while on the course, and at the finish line.

WKRP in Cincinnati

After a year of planning, it’s almost time for WKRP in Cincinnati to head to the Flying Pig, and we can’t wait!

I’m also acutely aware that there are many volunteers working behind the scenes before, during and after races who don’t come into contact with participants and may not get the personal thanks they deserve from us. To these individuals, and to any others I might miss, I send my most heartfelt thanks and respect. It’s because of you that so many individuals, myself and the rest of “WKPR from Cincinnati” included, will have the opportunity to participate in The Flying Pig race weekend, and perhaps ring that PR bell.

By the way, if you’re looking for some great motivation and tips before the race, make sure you’re following The Flying Pig on Twitter at @RunFlyingPig, and also on Facebook at!

Until next time…


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Flying Pig: I interview a pig on Twitter

Note: You’ll find my introductory blog about running the Flying Pig here, a discussion about hill training and THE BEST PIG HAT EVER here, some reasons to include coffee and ankle warmers in your training here, some tips on how to “Dress for Success” here, and a first look at the ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ shirts here.


Greetings Flying Pig friends both current and future!

2013 Army RunAs race weekend draws nearer and nearer, I hope your preparation continues to go well. I have a Twitter story to share with you about an account I follow that belongs to a pig.

Yes, you DID read that correctly.

The Twitter account belongs to a pig AND a dog, to be more specific – @Abbyandthepig. As their account states, Abby is “a long-haired anything but standard dachshund” and Pig is “a solar powered pig with wings.”

I recently got into a conversation with Pig on Twitter. Long story short, I mentioned The Flying Pig and before I knew it, I was conducting an interview with Pig to share with all of you.

Here’s how it went:

Q: Where do you live, Pig? Do you run? If so, ever considered Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati?

Q:  How many races have you run, Pig? What distances? Where?

Q:  Mud runs, of course! Have you met any other pigs on Twitter?

Q: That certainly seems to be the case, especially in Cincinnati! So you love cupcakes, what else?

Q: Have you got any race day advice for Flying Pig runners, Pig?

Q:  Let’s talk footwear, too. Are you a barefoot runner?

Q: Oh yes, hoof not foot, my apologies. How do you take care of your hooves so they’re race ready?

Q: What’s your ideal running weather, Pig?

Q: This might be a sticky question, but can you share your thoughts about bacon?

Q:  Do you mind all the attention? How do you handle life in the public eye?

Q:   You’re every photogenic. What’s your secret to staying camera ready?

Q: Thanks so much for letting me interview you, Pig! As you know, I’ve been a fan for a while.

Q:  Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow The Flying Pig at @RunFlyingPig! You can also follow Pig at @AbbyAndThePig and myself at @PennyWalford.

Until next time…


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Flying Pig: The big reveal

Note: You’ll find my introductory blog about coming to Cincinnati to run the Flying Pig here, a discussion about hill training and THE BEST PIG HAT EVER here, some great reasons to include coffee and ankle warmers in your race training here, and some tips on how to “Dress for Success” here.


Greetings Flying Pig friends both current and future!

PennypighatSince deciding to run the Flying Pig Marathon, I’ve begun noticing pig-themed items everywhere!

Check out the beautiful hat I borrowed from a running pal. It’s a bit too warm and wooly for race day. At least, I hope it is. Has it ever snowed in Cincinnati in May?

Last month was the coldest February ever recorded where I live. I haven’t been checking Cincinnati temperatures regularly, but I know they can’t be too far off those here in Ontario.

My February cross-training involved a lot of snow shovelling, how about yours? So far, March is all about puddle jumping. I’m certainly not complaining, though. It appears the big thaw is finally here!

Okay, it’s time to deliver on a promise. Without further adieu, I present to you the official  team shirt of “WKRP in Cincinnati” (Waterloo Kanucks Run Pig). I’ll start with a detailed shot of the graphic on the back of our shirts:

Back logo

The official logo of “WKRP in Cincinnati”. Along with the names of those heading to Cincinnati, we’ve included many of our wonderful training partners and coaches. We couldn’t do it without them!














Now here’s a photo showing several of us sporting our new shirts at a recent gathering. (Yes, we’re aware that a few of us are wearing them backwards. We wanted to show off both sides.)

Several members of "WKRP in Cincinnati" show off our team shirts, and a few other items of pig-related paraphernalia we've been collecting.

Several members of “WKRP in Cincinnati” show off our team shirts, and a few of the many other items of pig-related paraphernalia we’ve been collecting for our trip.

Here’s a funny story about our shirts…

The ladies in our group range in age from 19 to the late 50s. 

When deciding on a group logo, we took it for granted that everyone had at least heard of the TV show “WKRP in Cincinnati”, even if they hadn’t grown up watching this sitcom like I had.

We were wrong.

A few weeks after deciding on a logo, a post appeared on our group Facebook page from our youngest member:

“Oh my gosh! I just figured out that WKRP in Cincinnati is a TV show,” she exclaimed. “Gonna be honest , I was incredibly confused why we were named that.”

We promptly proceeded to describe the main characters to her, deciding she most resembled the character Less Nessman, and suggested she search online for the infamous “flying turkey” episode.

Whenever a group of us get together to train, laughter isn’t far behind. I have many other funny stories to tell, but they’ll just have to wait.

We hope your training is going well, and send a huge advanced thank you to those folks volunteering for the event.

Until next time…


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

A vision about hindsight

Take a very close look at the picture below. Notice anything missing, perhaps?

missing lens

I lost a lens to my prescription reading glasses somewhere in the house almost a week ago, and still haven’t found it. There was a time when I could misplace these glasses for weeks on end and it wouldn’t matter. Lately, however, I need them all the time when I read or write. I’ll actually search the house for them before settling down to work.

At least one daughter was home sick every day last week. It really would’ve been beneficial to have that lost lens so I could read the fine print on their medication bottles. I tried wearing the glasses, closing my left eye and squinting with my right eye to read, but this got very tiring. In the end, I had to resort to the following:

magnifying glass

I refuse to believe I’m old enough to need a magnifying glass. I’m not even sure why I own one in the first place.

Denial aside, my new pair of prescription reading glasses should be ready any day now.

I fully expect that missing left lens to make a reappearance shortly thereafter.

Hindsight, I believe it’s called.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Flying Pig: How to dress for success

Note: You’ll find my introductory blog about coming to Cincinnati to run the Flying Pig here, a discussion about hill training and THE BEST PIG HAT EVER here, and some great reasons to include coffee and ankle warmers in your race training here.


Greetings Flying Pig friends both current and future!

When it comes to dressing for success, different situations demand different attire.

Dressing for success in freezing temperatures and gusting wind.

Dressing for success in freezing temperatures means wearing multiple layers of headwear to stay warm.

Surviving outdoor training runs during frigid temperatures, for example, requires warm base layers, windproof outer layers and headwear such as myself and fellow Cincinnati-bound runner Lisa sport in the photo at left.

Is it just us, or are others also finding that one run equals approximately one load of laundry these days?

After completing a long training run last Saturday, I decided to sideline myself on Sunday to cheer on runners in a local race. Dressing for success in this situation meant wearing winter boots, a toque and a warm parka while sipping coffee and ringing my beloved cowbell. It’s debatable whether the folks living in the house behind me appreciated the noise as much as the race participants did.

Dressing for success when cheering on a local race means wearing warm boots while toting coffee and a cowbell.

With coffee and cowbell in hand, I recently cheered on runners in a local race. Special thanks to  photographer Julie Schmidt from RunWaterloo for catching me in action.

I know how much I enjoy having folks cheer me on during a race, so it was nice to be able to turn the tables for these runners. Besides, it’s just not the same without a little cowbell, wouldn’t you agree?

Speaking of dressing for success, my fellow “WKRP in Cincinnati” ladies and I want to give back to the community we’re fortunate enough to be travelling to in May, so it will be our pleasure to help out Dress for Success Cincinnati, one of the official charities of The Flying Pig.

Among the many wonderful things this organization does is providing disadvantaged women with business attire to help them succeed in the workforce. We’re pleased to be bringing with us some gently used professional clothing and accessories for donation to the organization. I love how enthusiastic and appreciative the great folks at Dress for Success were when we informed them of our intentions, and can’t wait to meet this wonderful team and hear more about the vital work they do to help women succeed in both work and life.

Dress for Success will have a booth at the Flying Pig race expo. We’ll be dropping by to say hello, and hope you’ll consider doing the same. As well, we invite those of you who have the means to consider joining us in supporting this organization.

I have one last point to make about dressing for success. Our official “WKRP in Cincinnati” team shirts have finally arrived, and I hope to  share a group photo of us wearing them in the near future.

This little guy is dressed for success when it comes to flying along the course on race day.

This little guy is dressed for success when it comes to flying along the course on race day.

In the meantime, we’re REALLY hoping that come Flying Pig race weekend, the weather will be warm enough that we can shed our heavy winter training gear and  dress more like this little fellow to the left, whom we each received on a keychain along with our team shirts.

Oh, to be as cool and dressed for success as this hip little hog. I don’t mean running in my birthday suit, of course, but sporting the colour pink and some cool shades would be great. I can’t speak for the others, but personally I haven’t ruled out wearing wings, either.

Dare to dream, I always say. Anything is possible!

Until next time…


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Flying Pig: Coffee and Ankle Warmers

Note: You’ll find my introductory blog about the Flying Pig in Cincinnati here, and my second blog about hill training and THE BEST PIG HAT EVER here.

Greetings Flying Pig friends both current and future!


I’m really looking forward to running outside in shorts and a t-shirt again. How about you?

In just a little over 10 weeks, I’ll be heading to Cincinnati to experience the Flying Pig Marathon with a busload of fun-loving runners from Ontario, Canada. We collectively refer to ourselves as ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ (Waterloo Kanucks Run Pig), and soon we’ll have the training shirts to prove it. I can’t wait to show them to you!

Despite frigid temperatures and lots of falling snow, I’m happy to report that my training is on track. I hope the same is true for all of you who are preparing to run. 

It’s been a rough winter and I’ve been tempted to stay inside and skip a run on several occasions. However, I’ve learned that settling for a shorter, slower run in poor weather conditions is far better than not running at all, from both a physical and mental perspective.

Nothing beats the satisfaction of getting outside, toughing it out and putting in the miles. Okay, I’ll admit it. Coffee comes close, very close. 

To help keep me motivated, I’ve started postponing my morning coffee until my run is over. It’s a surefire way keep me going, and I’ve been known to randomly call out “Yeah, coffee time!” as I near the end of a long run. (I only do this when I’m running with others, not when I run alone, don’t worry.)

Our training runs are getting rather long, so if I’m a little cranky because I want coffee and we still have several miles to go, fellow Cincinnati-bound runner Janet helps me out by singing lullabies about coffee. (I don’t know if these are real songs or if she makes them up, but regardless they do the trick.) 


Showing off the wonderful ankle warmers hand-knit by fellow Cincinnati-bound runner Janet.

Not only can Janet tame even the crankiest caffeine-craving runner, she can also knit up a storm. In the photo to the left, check out the ankle warmers she has made for many of us.  

Our ankles don’t actually need warming, of course. We’re just trying to make a fashion statement, but that’s not to say the ankle warmers aren’t useful. By improving our visibility, they help alert drivers to our presence. They also make it easier for us to spot each other during heavy snowfall. 

Until next time…


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

A running comedy of errors

My afternoon run yesterday was a complete comedy of errors. Here’s why…

A lot of the women I run with live fairly close by, so it’s not uncommon to spot one of them when I’m out driving, or to pass one of them running in the opposite direction while I’m out for a jog.

Case in point, during yesterday’s run, one of these ladies honked at me as she drove past on her way home from work. Less than five minutes later, I spotted Stroller Girl, another running pal, as she ran through the intersection ahead of me pushing – what else – a stroller. She was going in the same direction I was headed, so I sprinted to try and catch up with her.

Even on the best of days, catching up with Stroller Girl would be quite a feat for me, let alone the fact that she had a head start. Still, I kept trying to catch her for a good kilometre before giving up.

When I posted the story in our Facebook group last night, I learned that another running pal had been out in the neighbourhood just before me. And…. here’s the kicker… yet another running pal had spotted me from behind and was running to catch up with me, but gave up when I sped up to catch up with Stroller Girl.

On the plus side, we all had a good speed workout.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Flying Pig: Hats and Hills

Note: If you missed my introductory blog about the Flying Pig in Cincinnati, you’ll find it here.


Greetings Flying Pig friends both current and future!

Hill training

It may look innocent enough, but further down this beautiful country road lies the infamous Horror Hill.

With less than 15 weeks to go until race day, my running friends and I are really starting to get pumped. For some in our group, the Flying Pig will mark a first marathon or half marathon. For me, it will be marathon number six.

Training is in full swing, and yesterday that meant hills. The country road in the photo to the left is considered one of the ultimate hill training grounds for runners living in my area. After a few miles of rolling hills, the road turns into a long, steep decline very aptly nicknamed Horror Hill. Going down is a breeze, but that’s certainly not the case on the return trip. Rarely do I make it up this beast without stopping, but I’m happy to report that on this latest attempt, I did.

Hill training

Hill training with two other “WKRP (Waterloo Kanucks Run Pig) in Cincinnati” ladies, Lissa (on left) and Lisa (on right).

Joining me on the hills yesterday were two other ladies heading to Cincinnati in May, Lissa and Lisa. To help our group differentiate between these two, we’ve nicknamed the gal on the left “Lissa Pink” since she’s always sporting pink running gear. Needless to say, we were quite surprised when she showed up yesterday in orange. Take a close look at her shoes, though.

I feel like I’m forgetting to tell you something… oh yes, the hat! How could I forget the hat! I promised last time that I’d show it to you, so check out the photo below. I’m betting a lot of you will be pink with envy.

When “WKRP (Waterloo Kanucks Run Pig) in Cincinnati” met earlier in January, the aforementioned Lisa presented fellow group member and trip organizer, Sandra, with a hand-knit pig hat that’s impossible to look at without smiling. Don’t you agree?

knitted pig hat

Is this hat awesome or what!? Our trip organizer and fellow group member, Sandra, sports the hand-knitted pig hat given to her by Lisa, pictured above.

I’d like to share a few more words about Sandra…

I’ve never met a more organized individual, nor anyone more generous and willing to find time in her already-busy schedule to plan our running trips. Sandra takes care of just about everything right down to the tiniest detail, including travel arrangements and training schedules. She’s also our biggest cheerleader.

We’re very fortunate to have Sandra among us. We refer to her as our queen bee, so it is with keen interest that we note there is a sister race to the Flying Pig called the Queen Bee. Coincidence? I think not.

When travelling, we bestow upon Sandra the honour of wearing a crown. Some very funny situations have arisen due to her forgetting she was wearing it in public places! There’s a very good reason why you should like Sandra as much as we do: coming to Cincinnati to run the Flying Pig was her idea!

Until next time…


PS – You’ll find me on Twitter at:



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Solutions for wet winter woes: the repurposed boot rack

Between my love of running outside in winter, my family’s love for skiing, and the fact we often have no choice but to venture out in even the harshest winter weather, stuff gets wet. Very wet. And if that stuff gets wet on the inside, it can be very hard to dry.

Hats, mitts, gloves, neck warmers, running shoes, boots and skates – I used to place these items directly onto heat vents around the house to dry. If the whole family had been out, that often meant every heat vent on our main floor was covered.

Some interesting facts to note:

  1.  If damp, smelly boots are placed directly onto a heat vent to dry, their smell can waft for quite a distance, sometimes filling an entire room.
  2. Heat vents covered by heavy objects essentially cease to become heat vents, as they do not emit much warm air.

Enter my most favourite present of all time, an inexpensive boot rack:

drying rack

This very inexpensive item is by far the best solution I’ve found for drying winter footwear, hats and gloves.

It may have been originally designed for storing long boots upside down so they don’t fold over and crease, but as soon as I spied this item I knew it was destined for an even greater purpose.

Notice that warm air can still flow into the room. Dampness inside gloves, mitts and footwear doesn’t stand a chance. Yet the air flow into smellier footwear isn’t strong enough to send odours wafting into the room.

This rack can even handle skates and ski boots if you balance their weight against a wall.

I can’t say enough about how much I love this rack, especially the fact that it’s priced under $20.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Flying Pig Marathon: WKRP in Cincinnati

*This post is the first in a series written for the 2015 Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. To find later posts, enter Flying Pig into the search box. 

Penny_WalfordGreetings Flying Pig friends both current and future!

I’m excited to be heading to Cincinnati in May to run the 2015 Flying Pig Marathon. Joining me are a busload of 22 other ladies from Ontario, Canada, along with one VERY brave husband.

Each spring, my running friends and I enjoy a girls’ weekend away to try a new race. (Clearly no one mentioned the phrase “girls’  weekend ” to the aforementioned husband before he signed on, poor guy.)

Two years ago, we ventured to Cleveland. Last year, we stayed in Canada for the 40th anniversary of the Ottawa Marathon. We’re happy to be heading back to Ohio for our 2015 trip, and I’m thrilled to be blogging on the group’s behalf.

We’ve officially nicknamed ourselves ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’. Check out our logo:

WKRP in Cincinnati

WKRP in Cincinnati

I’ve never been to Cincinnati, so I’m looking forward to literally hitting the ground running and taking in the sights along my 26.2 mile journey.

I know about the hills, by the way, and they don’t faze me in the least.  I’m looking forward to them in fact, since it’s pretty hilly along my local training routes too.

Judging from our past racing experiences, I anticipate having some pretty funny stories and selfies to share as the training weeks go by.

‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ recently converted a local running store into a pig pen for the evening so we could go over a few trip details, share our excitement and show off the finest in pig attire and paraphernalia.

I can’t wait to show you the pig hat a running pal knitted. A training run awaits, however, so it will have to wait until next time.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments