Hello readers! I hope my fellow Pittsburgh Marathon event participants are still riding that high from this past weekend! This year, for me, was a special one! I was one of the official bloggers for the marathon, so it was a lot of fun to be more involved than I have ever been as a participant for the last 7 years. I truly enjoyed my experience as a blogger and hope to have the opportunity next year! If I was able to inspire just one person to sign up for any of their races or help them cross the finish line, I’ve done my job!
A couple of weeks ago, I received an invitation for a VIP event: a party for the behind-the-scenes folks, elite runners, bloggers etc. It was held on Friday, the 4th, which was also the opening day of the GNC Live Well Pittsburgh Health & Fitness Expo! I took the day off from work, so I was able to head downtown early to listen in on the press conference and watch the ribbon cutting ceremony. The last time I was able to attend was in 2012!
After that was all said and done, I started making my necessary rounds throughout the expo before the general public was allowed inside.
It was VERY nice being able to grab everything I needed without waiting in any significant lines. I, for the 4th year, participated in the Steel Challenge, so between the multiple goodie bags, shirts, pint glasses/tumbler, I felt like I needed a suitcase to be able to maneuver around the various vendors. Once I got my life together, I did some shopping, chatted with friends and called it a day! I didn’t do too much damage to my wallet this year – 4RUN2 sweat shirt, 48.6 keychain, a runner of steel buff and a couple of magnets/stickers. I also got to pick up the shirt I won from Brag Swag on Instagram! I went home, but not for long, because I had to get ready and head back downtown for the VIP event.
For this event, I knew I couldn’t show up in my active-wear…as much as I wanted to. So, I chose to wear a black dress and made the stupid decision to put on heels. It wasn’t my brightest moment. However, I didn’t really have anything else to pair with my dress. After I parked my car and began making my way to the Westin Convention Center, I felt instant regret with my footwear. I made a rather sad attempt at speed walking just to get to my destination and find a chair!
When I arrived, I figured I was in the clear of embarrassing myself, but lo and behold, it’s me we’re talking about. Normally, when you see an elevator door open, you step inside and choose your floor. Nope. Not this elevator. There weren’t any buttons inside, and the gentleman next to me informed me that I was supposed to choose my floor on one of the numerous touchscreens located outside of the doors. The screen then displays the elevator number you’re supposed to board. Welp…I ended up on the 25th floor, and I had to be on the 3rd floor. Oops!
Once that ordeal was over, I was probably one of the first dozen or so people to arrive. I didn’t see any recognizable faces right away, so I grabbed a plate of pasta and some water. By the time I made my way through the line and sat down, I spotted one of the other official bloggers (Tony). Guests flowed in little by little, and I had the absolute pleasure of finally meeting Brandi (funnerrunner) in person after following her on Instagram. We all gathered around a big table after a few of the other bloggers arrived. It was wonderful being able to get to know one another on a more personal level. Let’s take Brandi for instance. She now resides in Georgia, but it turns out that her mom went to the same high school as my dad! Small world!
We took a few group photos, and then I bumped into Patrice Matamoros (P3R CEO/race director). It warms my heart that she always remembers who I am! I can’t possibly thank her enough for all she does for the running community year after year.
We talked for a little before she had to begin the round of speeches for the evening. After the multiple speakers (my favorite being elite runner and 9 time US national champion Aliphine Tuliamuk – VERY inspiring story), it wasn’t long after that I decided to call it a night and head home, keeping the long weekend ahead of me in the back of my mind. Walking back to my car, about a half mile away, was a real treat. It was more of a hobble because I gave myself 3 blisters before I ever laced up my shoes to run. *eye roll*
When I got home, I laid out my race day attire for the 5K the following morning and went to sleep. All in all, kickoff day for Pittsburgh Marathon weekend was a success! Stay tuned for my race recaps!