It has been four days since the Pittsburgh Marathon and I cannot get off my runner’s high. The entire weekend was dedicated to the Marathon, so it will likely be hard to come down from this.
I mean, c’mon. Take a moment to go here and look at what this city is like during the Marathon (source: pittsburghmarathon.com).
Legit. We #lovepgh. Deeps.
But to my race [weekend] recap.
Our weekend started on Friday when we headed to the Expo. Hands down, this was the best decision we made. Last year, it was crammed, picked over, and ended poorly (with me going on a shopping binge out in McKnight). This year, it was open and easy to get around. We even had time to put in our shake out run, a 1.7 mile run from the Casino to the Convention Center, then a walk back.
My heart broke a ‘lil, however, because the booths weren’t as great as I remembered last year / my company (who is a sponsor of some of the race weekend events) didn’t have a booth / I wrote on a virtual board about what I #runfor (as did Greg). It got a bit real.
Those wouldn’t be the first tears I’d shed this weekend. Oh no.
Saturday, I volunteered with the Social Center (which meant I got to help out with the @pghmarathon Twitter handle). My duties were answering runner’s questions about the events, cheering on the runners in the 5k and Kid’s Marathon, and ensuring sponsor shout-outs were published. For instance, I was behind this sweet tweet.
So why was my heart broken? Well, I got to meet Cutch! My heart shouldn’t have been broken. But when my kids saw this photo of us, Evan got a ‘lil mad (“that’s not my daddy”). Ha!
Arianna was just mad I was with her boyfriend. Well then.
The entire day was incredible. It made me want to be able to do more of with social media and events, and of course made me love this city even more. Heart unbroken.
Sunday morning, it all came back. We were running late (which is usual when I am trying to get my man out the door). I really wanted to see my friend Steffani before she started her Half Marathon and also to cheer for Ryan (who was the first leg of our relay). We got downtown with what I swore was an okay amount of time…until we hit solid traffic at the North Shore exit. It was ok. We were going to the Ohio River Boulevard Exit. It was NOT okay. Duh. The West End Bridge closed early, which meant that we couldn’t get off that exit and directly to the Casino. 15 minutes of stress later, we pulled up to the Casino, ran through, and waited for the T. We were on the T for the National Anthem and Corral A starting. There’d be no seeing Steff or Ryan. There’d be no seeing Corral B, either.
The announcer asked the crowd who was a newbie and the tears fell. My heart broke because I really wanted to be in Corral C, waiting to run a Half. I really did. My broken heart. It didn’t get better as the rain started to fall, I got cold, and we watched C and D pass by without seeing Ryan or Steff.
After watching thousands of runners pass by, Greg and I headed to Fort Duquesne Boulevard to watch some more. I really wanted to see Ryan because I’m a planner and I really wanted to know that sending Greg over to Station Square happened at just the right time. We never saw Ryan pass us, and when runners from Corral D started to pass by, we decided it was time to get to our Relay Exchanges.
We took the T from Gateway to Steel Plaza where I took Greg’s long layers and left him to head to Station Square. I had to catch the shuttle to Mellon Park. We kissed goodbye and my butterflies started hard core.
Forty-five minutes later, I was at Mellon Park and struggling with RaceJoy (like everyone else) but found out that Lindsay was about halfway through her leg. (You can read her post about the day here, she’s super fast at this daily posting thing and I love her joy and reecap.) After a quick chat with Greg, two potty stops, and lots of jumping around to stay warm, I headed to the official exchange area.
When the announcer yelled out our bib number, I started to cry (again). Watching Greg run down the stretch of Fifth Avenue that had for so long been my home was an amazing feeling. Plus, we were running for the Heart Association and I swear to you I could see Uncle Byron pushing him toward me. Honest. He was so fast!
I handed him his medal and added a solid minute to our time because I hugged him, cried, and would not shut up. He had to tell me to move it, and move it I did.
As you can tell, my feet were already tired when I took over the relay at mile 15 point something. I had 7,000 steps in for the day at that point, and would log over 30,000 in the day. My feet hurt but I had some crazy speed.
The first half mile rushed by. I was at a 10:00/mile pace which is HUGE for me. Huge. Pace for mile one was 10:36. Not my fastest mile ever (10:14), but fast enough. The sun had come out, and I knew I needed to save myself for some good hills.
Somewhere in miles 2 – 4 during my favorite part of the relay (Homewood, yinz made me so HAPPY to run through your town), my toe started to throb and it would not stop. I watched my pace go up 30 seconds, another 30 and then steady off. I hurt, but I didn’t want to stop. I knew the toe I broke last year had rebroken, but I was not about to get a medic. No way. I was gonna finish this thing.
Technically, I was running two legs of the relay. This was a 6.1 and 4.7, so 10.8 miles. My watch logged 11.1. Let me say that I didn’t like the way the fourth exchange happened. I was forced to the left through the exchange, but then yelled at by volunteers for not stopping. I know that I am not the only runner who ran more than one leg. It irritated me, but pumped me up.
I’m not crazy about my pace in miles 2 to 10 because it was all over the 11 minute mile board. Not consistent, but there were hills. And mile 24 and 25 (my 9 and 10 miles) can bite me. Legit. I wanted to stop so much. 10 was my second slowest mile of the day and yet the levelest. Go figure. It was so close to the end.
Mile 10 to 11 made for a broken record for me. Runner’s high set in. It was a combination of looking for Greg in the crowd (he wasn’t there), being cheered on by spectators in the finish shoot, and getting ticked off at the “1/2 mile to go” sign that was a lie. I broke a personal record and logged a 9:54 mile! No idea I had that in me, but I sure did.
And compared to my 10 Miler pace in November (11:42), I *unofficially* put in 11:20/mile for my longest run since last year’s Half. It was also 1:57 per minute per mile faster than my Half pace. Record achieved.
Greg and I met up and tried to find the Heart Association’s tent. Unfortunately, no one was there when we arrived, but we took a photo anyhow.
I tried to avoid the Finish Line Festival because there were just too many people there, but we did walk through to cross the river back to the Casino. More tears and more falling in love with this city and my addiction (running).
Finishing among marathoners was super inspiring. I will do this one day, I will. Crazy, yes? More tears, broken bones, and more records to break.