The Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon was one of the best races I've ever participated. Everything about the race - expo, give-aways, pre-race entertainment, porta-potties, food and drink after the race - was great. The only two things that put a damper on the race were the weather - it started raining as we passed mile 1 and continued to rain the rest of the race - and the bomb scare. If you haven't heard/read about the bomb, take the time to read the news report. D and I were so close to the site where they blew the microwave up that we felt the ground shake. And we saw the bomb squad out on 11th Street with the robotic device going out to investigate the potential threat.
We arrived in Pittsburgh late Thursday night and went down to the expo on Friday afternoon. The expo was great. All participants received a long-sleeved race shirt, dry-fit socks, and some these little balls that absorb the stink from your shoes. I walked away from the expo with three pairs of socks. D and my friend, Becca, didn't want theirs. SCORE FOR ME! It was a good thing we got socks, too, because I left my race socks in DC. I also left my photo ID in DC. Luckily the kind race volunteers trusted me and broke the rules so I could get my race gear.
Race morning we arrived downtown EARLY. We had to beat the clock... all garages near the race start closed at 6am. That made for one early morning. Here are a few pictures of the sites around the startline before the sun came up (and please ignore the picture quality as they were taken with a cell phone).
This is the Pittsburgh History Center. I believe the Heinz sign used to be at Heinz Field where the Steelers play. Am I right about this?
And here are D and I. We're ready to race and hopeful that we'll be able to stick together for the whole race. I think we look pretty good considering it is 6:30am!
Our goals for the race were simple: finish under 2 hours, finish together, and have a good time.
I got a pace-band at the expo to serve to keep us on track for achieving our time goal. The pace-bands for the race were awesome.
Yes, that is a tatoo. It was my first-ever tatoo pace-band. I loved it. Simple to read and it stayed on the entire race (and days to come).
We were on pace to run a 1:52/1:53 until about mile 7. A potty break at mile 3.5 cost us about a minute, but I had to use the bathroom.
And speaking of bathrooms, the porta-potties along the course and at the start were AMAZING. They flushed. And the handle for the flush was on the floor. How smart is that? And I didn't use a porta-potty that was out of toiletpaper the entire race. AMAZING. From someone who hates all public restrooms and cannot stand porta-potties, I cannot say enough about how nice these bathrooms were. I was SO impressed.
Miles 7-10 were a little rough. The rain was getting annoying. I was tired. I realized I went out too fast. I was frustrated that D was running a couple of steps in front of me trying to help me pick up the pace. And I was hungry. D started telling me stupid jokes to help me along. My mood and pace picked up significantly after a BIG man wearing SUPER SHORT American flag shorts, which looked something like this:
passed us. D made some comment about saluting the flag. I laughed and somehow got back in the groove.
We crossed the finish line before the race clock hit 2 hours, which was awesome.
After the race we got Gatorade G3 (which was terrible), bagels, pretzels, Powerbars, and Eat 'n Park's Smiley cookies. We also got a free massage. SCORE!
It look us an extra long time to get home. I complained the whole way and was super mad at the race organizers for not thinking about getting people home after the race. It wasn't until two days later that I learned that it was the potential bomb that caused all of the problems.
Next time I won't be so quick to critique!
My parents had veggie pizza waiting for us at home after the race. It was perfect. And my grandma was there for a post-race visit, too.
It was a great day. Great race; great time; great running partner; just great, great, great.
Here's to more great races this year...