The Pittsburgh Marathon weekend is one of the highlight weekends of my year! It’s an action packed weekend full of friends, racing and making new memories. This year was shaping up to be no different. Even though I wasn’t running the original race I had planned to run, I still knew it would be a great weekend. On deck I had the expo on Friday followed by the VIP event and then the 5k and kids race on Saturday. That was all followed by the main events of the half marathon and running the first leg of my work’s relay team on Sunday.
If you’ve been a follower of my blog for some time, you know I love a good expo and Pittsburgh is one of my favorites. I headed down Friday afternoon and allotted myself 3 hours to explore and check out all of the booths. I think I actually did it in that time as well. It did seem a little light on the total number of vendors this year, but they were still great. After the expo fun, I headed over to the Westin for the VIP event. As of the official Bloggers, I was invited and snagged Lauren as my date for the night
The VIP event is a great night to celebrate the marathon and more importantly, celebrate what the marathon means to the city. Being the 10th year running, it was an even more important year to celebrate all of the P3R staff for all of their hard work. You get a chance to see some of the elites who are racing as well. I was really hoping to meet Gwen Jorgensen but unfortunately she ended up not coming. So sad! I did however get to hang out with the other bloggers and enjoy a fun evening! Since Saturday was going to be the first long day of the weekend, I made sure all of my race stuff was pulled out and hit the hay as early as I could.
My Saturday morning alarm came early. With an 8am race start, I was up at 6am to get ready. I planned to head into downtown and park at the Sixth and Fort Duqusne lot and walk back over the north shore. This made more sense to me since the finish line was downtown and shorter distance to the car once I finished for the day. I was over to the start line by 7:05am and ready to go! We had planned a PRO Compression Ambassador meet up and it was great to see so many people. We all hung out until just before the start of the 5k and then headed into the corral.
This year’s course was different than last year’s so we started in the opposite direction. The cool thing about this is that since the hand cyclists started early, we actually got to see them go right by us. It was great to cheer them on before we even got going. At about 7 minutes after 8am, Lauren and I were across the start line and on our way for the first race of the weekend.
For the 5k, we didn’t have a set goal or how we would go after the race. We figured we would walk when we needed to and go from there. Sadly we didn’t do a lot of walking. We did walk up any uphill, which for this race was really going up the commons and up and over the 6th Street Bridge. Otherwise we did probably run more than we walked. Oops! We really just wanted to have fun out there. We both had been having pretty terrible springs in term of mileage, so knowing we had 17.1 miles on the books in two days seemed slightly daunting.
We definitely went a little fast finishing at an 11:20 pace, but we had fun. When we crossed the finish line we both looked at each other and I think wanted to pass out. It’s amazing how one’s fitness can dissipate from right under your nose. We grabbed our medals and other finish line goodies from the volunteers and headed over to Point State Park to meet others. We a had a little time to kill before we headed back over to the North Shore for the Kids Marathon.
I really liked the change in the 5k course this year. I know it was done due to the bridge being out on Ridge Ave, but it definitely made for a flatter course. Not by much though. I wouldn’t mind them keeping that course for future years. Honestly they might have to since there is no ETA on when that one bridge will ever be fixed. It was great to see so many spectators out there for the 5k as well! The City of Pittsburgh always shows up for this weekend, no matter what the weather is, and it shows out there on the streets. Even for a 5k race, the streets are always packed.
Finally around 9:45am, Lauren and I headed back to the North Shore to meet her family. For the second year in a row, we were going to run the Kids Marathon with her niece and nephew. We had a blast last year with this race but were certainly hoping going into this year’s race that we’d do less carrying and they’d do more running. Since they were not affiliated with a school, I think they were technically assigned to the last corral. After last year’s crazy start, Lauren and I decided we would just get into the first corral we came upon as we entered the parking lot. We ended up with corral 13 and there were no issues.
It took about 20 minutes once we got into the corral to get to the start line. Just as we crossed the start line, I looked up and there was JuJu Smith-Schuster cheering on all of the kids! The kids wanted nothing to do with him, but I of course grabbed a quick picture. However, unlike last year, they were interested in the Pierogies cheering on all of the kids. We started a little slow, but by the end of General Robinson, the kids were picking up to a run. It was great to see their smiles and how much fun they were having. It was was also interesting to see the difference in their running from the previous year. It was mostly Quinnlan running up and waiting for Dexter, but this year there was certainly some of the opposite.
I think their dad absolutely made them train in the off season because at times I didn’t feel that I could keep up. These old legs were not as quick as there little young ones. The best part of the race though is that Lauren and I didn’t carry them at all! I just think in general they were a little more excited about the race this year and were just more aware of everything. They did so great and I was so proud of them! While I might be their official aunt, they absolutely make me proud and feel so grateful I can be their adopted aunt and take part in events like this with them.
After the race, we all headed out to lunch for Lauren’s birthday. Upon arriving back at home I promptly took a 2 hour nap and felt so much better. Sunday was going to be another long day with a pretty early wake up call. I was still feeling pretty nervous for the half marathon, but was certainly planning to give it my all come race morning.
Official Finish Time:
181/347, Female 30-34