I’ve been participating in Pittsburgh Marathon weekend events since 2011, starting with the 5K. The following day, I spectated the marathon to support my friend who got me into running. I was so inspired that morning, I went home and ran 13.1 miles despite my prior distance record being 6 miles. As soon as registration opened, I signed up for my 1st full marathon (2012). I’ve completed the Pittsburgh Marathon a total of 4 times, and will run it again this upcoming May! This year, I’m lucky enough to have been chosen as one of their official bloggers! In honor of their 10th anniversary, I’m here to talk about 10 reasons to run the Pittsburgh Marathon!
…fight. Fight with everything you have.
I’m about to dig deep, get personal, and talk about my journey with Lyme Disease. Oh…where do I even begin? Four years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to talk about this without breaking into a million pieces. It has taken me quite some time to process everything. So here it goes…
How does someone go from running 2 full marathons and a 50 kilometer trail ultra within a 7 month time frame to barely being able to get through a regular day? A tick. A poppy-seed sized bug tried to steal my mind, body, and spirit. And my journey to finding a diagnosis was nothing short of heart wrenching.
On November 11, 2012, I ran the Marshall Mangler 50k. And just a month and a half before, I ran the Wineglass Marathon in 4:14:02, a 10 minute PR and still my true PR to this very day. I was at the fittest and happiest that I had ever been in my entire life.
I finished my first ultra in one piece…mostly. Aside from definite ITBS symptoms, hence the taping of my knee from another participant, I was okay. Prior to running the 50k, I had already made the decision to take 2 weeks off, and rightly so. I mean, I did just run 31+ miles over an 8 hour time frame. For a week following my race, I had stomach pain and nausea. This was no surprise to me because I usually have gastrointestinal distress when I run, so I chalked it up to that.
So, let’s talk about the half that almost killed my spirit.
I signed up for the RSD Half Marathon (directed by Team Brunazzi Events) for a couple of reasons.
1.) Close to home – 10 minute drive.
2.) Cheap price – roughly $45.
3.) I wanted another half under my belt – number 11.
Since running the Pittsburgh full on May 7th, my longest distance has been 8.5 miles. Therefore, I wasn’t what you would call “fully trained” despite running 26.2 miles a month before this half.
I convinced my best running friend (BRF), Ashley, into running this half as well (#peerpressure). She basically chose to run this race for the same reasons that I wanted to. Given how things went for the both of us, I feel bad for convincing her to sign up.
The race was scheduled for Sunday morning, June 11th. I kept stalking the weather like I normally do, and the predicted forecast called for a high of 90 degrees, mostly sunny…in other words, a death sentence.
And well…the WTForecast app was certainly trying to tell me something.
Sunday came around, and it was nice not having to wake up super duper early being that I had a very short drive to the start, as previously mentioned.
Hello! Do you have special people in your lives whom are expecting a baby? Do they also happen to be runners? Not sure what to get them? Well, you’re in luck! I’m here to show you something that I recently put together for 2 very close friends of mine! They absolutely adored it!
Top left: I purchased this adorable personalized race bib onesie from a seller on Etsy. The number I chose has meaning behind it. A while back, I asked dad-to-be what his favorite numbers were (didn’t say why I was asking), and then I combined them into one number.
Top right: Dad is a marathoner, so I had to purchase this onesie from Gone For A Run. They have the best gifts!
Bottom left: I also got this shirt from Gone For A Run! They had awesome deals at the time. Plus, what runner doesn’t love a fresh change of clothes?
Bottom right: Obviously, the most important thing a runner-to-be should own is a good pair of shoes! Saucony has the cutest little baby shoes!
Next, I thought about some important items that runners use and/or need. I then translated them into baby world, and here’s what I came up with!
Top left: Baby Blanket (HEAT SHEET after a race).
Top middle: Sunglasses (for those sunny runs and to keep bugs from flying into your eyes).
Top right: Waffle Teether (carb loading is a common thing for distance runners).
Middle left: Boogie Wipes (to control those snot rockets).
Middle: Gerber Banana Puffs (we all know that runners love bananas – a staple at races).
Middle right: Baby Socks (next to shoes, socks are crucial).
Bottom left: Butt Paste (one word: chaffing).
Bottom middle: Baby Bottle (runners need to stay hydrated).
Bottom right: Rattles (celebrate every moment).
I put everything into a basket that can be reused (P is for their last name). And I purchased a custom running medal from eBay, which replaced the need for a bow or ribbon. I thought it would be a cute touch to the theme of the gift!
So, there you have it! A perfect gift for the little runner-to-be in your life!
Well…here we are approaching 1 month since race weekend. I’ve had plenty of time to process everything, so I’m going to do my best to recap my experience with this year’s events. I’ve done the Steel Challenge 3 years in a row, this one included. It consists of participating in the 5k on Saturday, and then running any of the events on Sunday (relay, half, or full). And for all 3 years, I’ve done both the 5k and full…a total of ‘29.3’ miles for the weekend. I use the mileage 29.3 miles loosely because that doesn’t include my failure to run the tangents, which adds at least a half of a mile or more to my total distance. Oops!
I always leave super early to get to races. I’d rather sit and wait for a while than worry about parking and getting wherever I need to be. Plus, I hate rushing. I need time to compose myself, use the bathroom 329 times, and warm up (or pretend to…). The 5k begins at the North Shore, which is great because parking is not an issue. I think I ended up arriving about 90 minutes before the start. The temperature was in the mid-upper 40s with rain. This was wonderful considering that just one week before, the temperature reached around 90 degrees. YUCK. The rain made it chilly, and I’m a big baby, so I stayed in the lobby of one of the parking garages until it was time to start. It’s fine once I start running, but I hate standing around in the cold. There were plenty of other runners waiting there as well.
I became sidetracked and got into the starting corral later than I had planned, forcing me to shimmy my way through the crowd to catch up to the 11:30 pacers. I use the 5k as a shakeout run, so I never run for speed. It’s a good time! The 11:30 pacers were a couple of my good friends from SCRR – Shelly and Sanchez! They are so fun and energetic! I spent the first mile or so laughing and smiling. Around the half way point, I sped up just a smidge. I started to get cold shortly after finishing, so I grabbed my medal and kept moving. I eventually bumped into a few people that I knew. I circled Point State Park with another SCRR member, and we briefly gawked over the little tikes doing the Toddler Trot. Just seeing them waddle around with their bib and medal made my heart melt. We took the T back to the North Shore, and then I went home to change before heading back out to get my hair braided for the marathon. I had some time to kill before my hair appointment, so I ran over to Panera Bread to grab some lunch. I had to carb load, so I shamelessly ordered a bread bowl filled with mac n’ cheese and a side of bread. After everything was all said and done, I went back home to get my gear ready for the marathon and to rest for the evening. I made a rather pathetic attempt at going to sleep early, knowing that I probably wouldn’t sleep a wink.
I woke up at 3:30 the next morning and began to get ready. I left my house around 4:30 to get downtown by 5. One of the best perks of being a member of SCRR are the pre-race accommodations for the Pittsburgh Marathon. We are lucky enough to have a warm place to sit, eat, and bask in the race day hype! For the past couple of years, the room has been at the Westin Convention Center. It’s awesome! They provide us with water, coffee, juice, bagels, etc. AND THERE ARE PRIVATE BATHROOMS! We also have our own gear check, which makes me feel more secure in leaving my drop bag.
It was amusing to see everyone’s toss away clothes, my friend Alyssa in particular. She wore a leopard print robe, and I just about died when I saw her!
It was a chilly morning, so it was necessary to wear extra layers before the start of the race. After we dropped off our bags, SCRR took a huge group photo, and then everyone started to make their way to their designated corrals.