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!
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.
Well. It’s been 2 weeks since race weekend…I should probably do a recap before my thoughts leave my brain. Lol.
Pittsburgh Marathon weekend. It’s something that I have participated in since 2011, whether it be spectating or running.
Here’s a brief rundown of my history with the Pittsburgh Marathon:
2011: Ran the 5k. Spectated the marathon. Made my decision to run the full.
2012: Ran the 5k and the full marathon (1st full).
2013: Dropped down and ran the 2nd leg of the relay (sick from Lyme). Then I coached my 1st time half marathoners. I was a certified running coach for the Steel City Road Runners at one point.
2014: Ran the 5k. First comeback race after initial treatment for Lyme.
2015: Ran the 5k and the full marathon (3rd full).
2016: Ran the 5k and the full marathon (4th full).
2017: Ran the 5k and the full marathon (6th full).
This weekend is my absolute favorite, and I truly look forward to it every single year. As long as my body allows it, I will participate in one way or another. It’s comparable to a holiday to me.
Months before, I requested Friday off from work so I would be able to enjoy the day in it’s entirety (as well as attempting to get some extra rest). I would’ve had major FOMO if I was working all day while knowing that the expo was going on. Haha! I was antsy all week long to begin with, and I’m sure that I was driving my coworkers nuts with all of my marathon talk.