Better late than never, right? That is definitely how it is for this race recap (and the next one to come). It’s actually been 3 weeks since the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend and I am just now getting to the race recaps from that weekend. I did a little time off from blogging after that race, so now it’s time to play catch up. Or maybe we can just say I’ve wanted to just sit back and really savor the amazingness of that weekend. Okay, either way, this is definitely an untimely race recap. Hopefully it’s been worth the wait.
Pittsburgh Marathon weekend actually started on Thursday night for me. The marathon staff hosted the bloggers at Wigle Whiskey for a meet and greet event. I knew most of the bloggers, but either way it was fun to still say hi and and have an excuse to drink whiskey. Kathleen was also coming in that night and a few of us had planned dinner together. After the bloggers event, I met up with Kathleen, Lauren, Mar & Kristi for an amazing dinner at Bakersfield and great kick off to one fabulous weekend.
Since I had Kathleen visiting, I actually took off on Friday to hit up the expo and have a little fun in the city with her. Well, I hit the expo, but didn’t make it to anything fun since I had life to catch up on. Since I was an official blogger, I had VIP access to the expo which meant I could get in right at 10am. Well, Kathleen felt bad about sneaking in, but finally I got her to go in with me. As I got all of my bibs and VIP gear she just stood around. She wouldn’t grab her stuff. She is way more patient than I am. I actually had to pick up some other bibs for friends, so it was nice to not have to wait in lines picking up everything. Finally just before 11am, there was a rush of people coming through and that is when Kathleen finally gave in and stood in line to get her own bib.
The Pittsburgh Marathon Expo is definitely one of my favorites. They always have good vendors, free giveaways and usually lots of races giving away entries. This year though it did not meet my typical expectations. The official merchandise wasn’t as good as last year’s, there were so many random vendors such as gutter people and hardly any free race giveaways. Boo. Either way, I went by every booth as to not miss anything and even won a box of rice. After we all had had our fix with the expo, a bunch of us headed to Milano’s for some pizza.
One of things Kathleen wanted to do was go to a Pirates game. When we were getting tickets she suggested a section and I had to politely decline. Back in Jun 2010, I was at a game and was beamed in the head with a line drive. It really messed me up and I still to this day have some issues. Well, needless to say, as much as I love Pirates games, I like to be in the “ball free” zone. I was thankful that she agreed and we actually ended up grabbing tickets with Kristi and Dee up in the Pittsburgh Baseball Club.
It was the perfect night for a baseball game and I think Kathleen really loved the stadium. I mean honestly, with the view from our seats, what was there not to love. The Pirates also decided to show up big and we had a great win against the Reds. We ended up leaving a little early and all decided to call it a night since all 4 of us were running the 5k in the morning.
Last year, the Pittsburgh Marathon finally added an official challenge if you ran the 5k and any race on Sunday. With this you got the Steel Challenge medal. For people like me who had done the 5k for the past 2 years, this was nice! I’ll never say no to extra bling. The plan for the 5k this year was to go super easy and just have fun. With Lauren running her first marathon the next day, we didn’t want to push too hard.
We decided to meet up with Lauren in the morning to head to the start line. Even though I knew the course, whenever I think of a race that starts on the North Shore, I always think it also ends there. Well finally that morning it hit me that we should maybe drive down so that we didn’t have to walk back up to my place since it was ending downtown. It ended up working out well as we easily got into a garage on the North Shore and had plenty of time to chit chat before the 5k race itself.
Since we were taking this race with stride, the morning of the race was very relaxed and spent chatting with friends and taking a fair amount of pictures. We had an informal meet up and even had a guest appearance by Django! I tried a few times to get my pictures with him, but he just wasn’t having it. Boo.
Finally with about 10 minutes to go before the starting gun went off, we headed into the corral area. One of the local running groups, Steel City Road Runners, did provide had pacers out there so we headed back toward the 12 minute guy. At this point it was myself, Lauren, Kathleen and Lynne that planned to stick together and just have as much fun as we could. I think for Kathleen she was just getting so excited to run over her first Pittsburgh bridge.
The race did not start on time and they were not announcing why as well. In fact a few of us were tweeting to the Pittsburgh Marathon and getting some answers on when it would start quicker than we were from the race announcer. Finally about 10 minutes after 8am we heard the gun go off and we made our way to the starting line. The plan was to run easy and take plenty of walk breaks.
Well, none of us set official run/walk pattern so we just started running. Finally about half mile in we all realized maybe we should walk a bit. This is really how it went for the entire 5k race. Funny enough it wasn’t Lauren pulling us back, but rather Kathleen who kept us on our walk breaks. If it wasn’t for her, I definitely think we would have run even more than we already were.
This particular 5k course is actually one of my favorites. It’s not completely flat, so it’s nice to get a small challenge in through the race. It goes from PNC Park, up into the Northside a bit and then back into town via the 7th Street bridge. You get flat, up and downs and a fair amount of crowd support. Since there are also some out/back sections of this race we also got to pass other runners like Kristi and Caitlin who we didn’t get to see before we started.
For the entire race, the 4 of us just gabbed and gabbed about everything. When we started coming back out of the Northside and getting ready to cross the 7th Street Bridge, Kathleen’s eyes just started getting bigger and bigger. Lauren and I saw George on the side cheering us on, so we ran over and grabbed a picture and then Kathleen started yelling, “get a picture of me on the bridge”. All of us were just laughing. She was just so happy to be running this bridge.
After crossing the bridge and hitting the downtown area, we had about 3/4 of a mile to go. We still tried to take it easy and do some walk breaks, but I think our gabbing also distracted us and we probably did not take as many as we should have. I think once we took the second to last turn on Wood Street, we didn’t take any more walk breaks. From there we had one last turn onto the Blvd of the Allies. As we turned we decided to go arms up for the finish and try to finish all 4 across. For the most part it worked out, but this one chick tried to get in front of me at the end and tried to ruin the picture. Grr. Luckily she ended up not ruining the picture.
Once we crossed the finish line and got our medals we met up with most of the rest of the group. We were going to grab breakfast, but I ended up pulling out as I actually had errands to do and needed to get food for the pasta dinner that night. Instead, Kathleen and I went to Eat ‘n Park for lunch and she got her beloved smiley cookies. After picking up supplies for our pasta dinner, her and I got to relax a bit at my place before the crew headed over.
I ended up having 11 people over for dinner. There was SO. MUCH. PASTA. I mean we could have eaten pasta for days. Oops! Kelsey actually brought this Raman noodles salad that was so good! I probably could have just put a spoon in the bowl and ate that all night. Everyone brought something and we really had a nice spread. We all chatted about life, our upcoming races and caught up on life. The running Ohana, no matter how often or not often you see them, always knows how to catch right back up when everyone is together.
Finally though, since it was going to be a very early Sunday, everyone headed out. However, as tradition, we got our Saturday night dinner group selfie.
I wasn’t letting onto this too much, but as I was pulling everything out for the marathon the next morning, I was pretty nervous as to how I would finish. With just having run the Hall of Fame Marathon 7 days earlier, I was still not sure how my body would hold up to get me to the finish line. At this point I had to try and push that all aside so I could focus on the big picture for Sunday which was be with Lauren all 26.2 miles as she conquered her first marathon. Finally around 10ish, I headed to bed and aimed to get about 6 hours of sleep. That 4:50am alarm was going to come mighty early. At this point we were 1 race down and the biggest one of the weekend still to come.
Official Finish Time:
198/280, F 30-34