I headed home to this place this weekend…
…to wear an outfit like this…
…and eat food like this.
It was marathon weekend in Pittsburgh and I couldn’t wait to go back and cheer on my friends. I knew SO many people who were running and after spectating last year (when I was hurt), I knew it would be fun to go back and watch again! I don’t know why I didn’t sign up…but at the last minute, I found a bib and I was officially running another half marathon! The first time I ran a half marathon in 2013, I was SO nervous and I put SO much pressure on myself to finish in a certain amount of time. Yesterday, I knew my morning routine…I knew what to do when I got to the race…and I knew that even though I was prepared to run 13.1 miles, I didn’t REALLY train for 13.1 miles this spring. I trained for the 10-miler that I ran with my friends three weeks ago. So I have done a lot of running…but I wasn’t ever working towards 13.1. So going into yesterday’s race, I tried to take the pressure off of myself and just run for fun.
I started the day with my favorite pre-race breakfast of peanut butter banana toast…
…and got to the starting corrals right at 6:50. The gun went off at 7 AM. Oops! I didn’t mind arriving then because I don’t like standing around to wait. Pre-race nerves kick in and I end up in the world’s longest line with other people who also think they have to pee at the last minute;) So the only bad thing about my (sort of) late arrival was the corrals were PACKED. And since you enter from the back and work your way forward, it was kind of a struggle to get to Corral C, which is where my friend’s bib was registered. Luckily there was a girl in front of me who took charge and led the way!
I didn’t take many pictures while I was running…but Pittsburgh is known for its bridges, and this is the first one we crossed at 16th Street in The Strip District. Here is what I remember from the race:
Mile 1: So many people. Lots of bobbing and weaving to find my stride. I don’t like when groups of people spread out across the street because then you can’t get past them!
Miles 2-4: Enjoying the crowd support and nice weather. I threw my sweatshirt right at the start line because I didn’t need it! I also started messing with my belt here because I wanted to turn my music on and put my phone in the pocket. Sadly, because I just got a new belt, I couldn’t figure out how to make it tighter and my phone made the belt so heavy…which means it bounced up and down while I was running. No thank you! I ended up holding my phone the whole race, but that was okay because when I run on a normal day I am usually holding my phone (I don’t like arm bands).
Mile 5: First Gu. Unfortunately it was chocolate because I couldn’t find a second salted caramel flavor at the store this weekend. Chocolate Gu is a little too sweet for me, I think. I was excited for the next water station!
Miles 6-9: If you saw me towards the end of these miles, I would have told you I wanted to quit. I thought I was going to see my mom in this stretch and I didn’t see her at the spot I thought she would be at! I also started picturing everything that was coming instead of the mile I was in and I just got cranky. Ha!
Mile 10: Free gummy worms. Usual part of a half marathon…
Miles 11-12: All. the. hills. The Birmingham Bridge is the last bridge you cross and it feels SO hard. This is also the spot where the half marathon and marathon split, so as we turned left to go to the finish line, we were relieved…and stuck with another hill. The end of this race is a slow incline until you are basically at the finish line and then it’s flat! I saw some of the chefs from Duquesne standing on the edge of campus and shouted “Let’s Go Dukes!” and they all started cheering. 🙂
Miles 12-13.1: I definitely played the same song on repeat because it’s loud and mean and helped me go fast!
If you would like someone to pace you anywhere from 8:32-9:54, call me. Consistency is obviously my middle name. 😉 It’s funny because you can tell I was messing with my belt in mile 4…and then in mile 5 when I gave up and refocused on what I was doing, I ran so much faster!
My number one fans were at the finish line. 🙂 I finished in 2:05 which is definitely not my fastest half marathon, but I’ll take it knowing I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been! I have a completely different perspective about races now than I did when I started racing…it’s just about celebrating what you can do on that day, in that moment. It’s not about “winning” or stressing yourself out…it’s about the atmosphere of a race. The atmosphere is AMAZING. Runners are excited, spectators are excited, everyone is happy and working hard…it’s very, very inspiring and it’s such an accomplishment no matter how many times you have crossed a finish line.
And then there are the little things. I may or may not run for the free food.
The finish line is right by Point State Park and there are a ton of vendors around selling food and other running goodies to us exhausted runners! I wanted to find my friends and see others finish the full marathon, so I took my time…got my medal engraved, drank a shake, and went to this wonderful place with foam rollers.
Lindsey also ran the half marathon…her fifth half! Pittsburgh is her favorite course ever.
Then I walked around some more and finally made my way over to mile 25 to find this girl. This was her second full marathon (because she’s nuts…I think I’m a one and done kind of girl) and she was SO. FAST. When I saw her at mile 25, I ran next to her for a little for encouragement…she set a 47 minute PR yesterday. She finished 47 minutes FASTER than she did last year! I am such a proud running friend. 🙂
My brother got me a bear and now my first Pittsburgh half marathon bear has a friend;)
And then I had to drive back to Maryland. Sigh. That was a long drive. It was so hard to sit for four hours! Luckily, my friend Kristen was in the car with me. She lives near me and is also from Pittsburgh so she was going home for the weekend to run too! The trip was so much more fun with someone to talk to the whole time! Especially yesterday when it was full of stories about running and racing. Something only a runner could appreciate!
Today, it’s back to reality and three more weeks of school. I think I can, I think I can…
Unrelated picture of my brother’s dog and his new blanket with a hood. Cutest thing ever. Hahaha
Happy Monday to YOU! What did you do this weekend?