Let’s begin with the most important thing that happened all day.
Yesterday, as many of you know, was Cinco de Mayo. Or Cinco de Drinko. Or Eat All The Mexican Food Known To Man. There were many creative names being posted on Twitter! However, I did not participate in the day’s festivities in the usual way. Instead, I started here:
Yesterday morning, I ran my first half marathon!
If you know me at all, you know that I have been waiting for this day for MONTHS. When I signed up for the race in October, I literally wanted to run in it the next weekend. I could not believe that I had to wait seven whole months! Throughout that time, I went through many ups and downs with my training. I realized how hard it is to motivate yourself to run when it’s the holiday season and it’s freezing outside! Plus, the treadmill and I are not friends. See below:
I definitely feel as though I could have been better prepared in some respects. But I have to be honest with myself and say that training all summer to run a fall half marathon or full marathon would present its own challenges as well. I need to appreciate the hard work that I put forth in training and I needed to go out yesterday and TRUST MY TRAINING. Which is exactly what I did.
The Pittsburgh Marathon offers a half-marathon, marathon, or relay option to runners. Yesterday, 14,039 people were signed up to run the half marathon. WOAH! I started race preparation at the beginning of last week as I altered my daily workouts to begin tapering for the 13.1 miles I would soon run. On Friday and Saturday, there was a Health and Wellness Expo presented by GNC at the David Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh. There were free samples, running clothes and shoes for sale and ON sale, and lots of running enthusiasts! I want to hang out there every weekend. That’s where I got to pick up this beautiful item:
The race started at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning and all runners had to be in their assigned corral by 6:45 a.m. My mom and I stayed at my apartment in the city because it is 3 blocks from downtown! I woke up around 5:30 a.m. and prepared a nice breakfast of water, peanut butter toast, and a banana. All I had to do was get up and get dressed because I set everything out the night before so I wouldn’t forget ANYTHING.
By the time my mom and I made our way through the crowds and past the ridiculously long lines at the Porta Potty’s (which I unfortunately had to use), it was just about time to hop in my corral! I stepped behind the fence where all the runners were and quickly realized I was in Corral B. The race crew said that to get to corral C from where I was, I would have to push through the crowd. That did not sound like an appealing idea, so I just stayed put. After all, we were all going in the same direction!
My GOAL was to finish the half marathon in less than two hours. I wanted to stay with a solid 8:30 pace. I told myself 500 times over that I would not start out too fast. Alas, my friends, I began quickly. My first mile clocked in at 8 minutes. That wasn’t too bad, but I knew I needed to slow down. My second mile = 7:47. I almost tripped myself! What was I doing?! I fell into a groove after that and stayed between 8:15 and 8:45. That’s exactly what I wanted to do. The race began on Liberty Ave, went up into the Strip District, and then crossed a bridge into the North Side. I was really impressed with the number of water stations located throughout the course! I never once felt thirsty because another station always popped up. I made sure to at least take a sip every time I passed a station. The race directors put them there for a reason, right?!
Mile 8 was hard. I was in the West End, I hadn’t seen anyone from my family yet, and I was running by myself. (Disclaimer: I wanted to run by myself!) Someone had a sign that said, “Make Mile 8 your b*tch!” and I remember thinking to myself, “Oh dear God. This mile is not my bitch.” And it even included a downhill! It was then that I knew I needed my handy dandy Chocolate Gu. Which is also hands down the best flavor in case you never tried it. 😉
When we ran out of the West End, we hit East Carson Street. That was wonderland in my brain. I kept telling myself that when I got to East Carson Street, all I had to do was four miles. I run four miles all the time! It was the home stretch! I saw a few familiar faces here and then I finally saw my mom!
From there, I was in a great mood! My legs were definitely feeling all the miles I had just done but I ran into a family passing out gummy bears (props to the little girl who gave me a handful) and I started talking to a few of the people around me for motivation! My iPhone’s playlist STOPPED playing on the Birmingham Bridge which was so unexpected but I quickly got it restarted and kept up with the group around me. I’m not going to lie, as we ran up Forbes Avenue and approached the short street that would take us to the Boulevard of the Allies, I might have slowed my pace and dare I say, even WALKED, for about 15 steps. But as soon as I got that ridiculous behavior out of my system, I owned the rest of the course! I met a girl named Angela and a guy named John who I encouraged to keep going when they were starting to walk as well! I kept waiting for that “I-can-see-the-finish-line-look-at-all-my-energy” feeling that everyone says you get…but I did not get it. My legs were going at the pace I was going to finish at! And that pace was…
And that, my friends, is less than two hours. 🙂
Overall: 2,286 out of 14,039. Women: 1,026 out of 8,588.
It was a great day.