Tuesday, March 15, 2016

6 Reasons to Run Local & Achilles Pittsburgh Race

I am a huge fan of traveling to races. I love to see new sights and experience different places. But sometimes, it's really nice to run a race at HOME. Home sweet wonderful home.

I haven't had much time to run in Pittsburgh lately because I'm either working weekends or traveling to an out-of-state race. I was so excited when this race popped up and I decided to register for the Achilles Hope and Possibility Race on April 9, 2016. 

Below I've listed 6 reasons to run local races, specifically this one:

1. Close to Home. Who doesn't love to sleep in their own bed and wake up to a normal routine? The Achilles Pittsburgh Race is located in North Park. Bonus: You don't have to fight traffic to get downtown or park. You might even live close enough that you could sleep in...winning!

2. Hometown Swag. I love race swag. T-shirts, medals, coupons! But honestly, a lot of races provide local coupons and if I'm from out of town I don't typically have time to use them when visiting. If your local race hands out a swag bag, you are more likely to use the items specific to your city because you live there. The Achilles Pittsburgh Race provides a t-shirt (guaranteed if you registered by March 13, 2016) and a cool medal if you sign up for the 5k/10k challenge! 

3. People you know. You're more likely to run into someone you know at a local race. Or you can more easily convince friends/family to join you...maybe even volunteer! The Achilles Pittsburgh Race provides volunteer opportunities and different race distances for every level, even beginners. They have a virtual race, 1 mile fun walk, 5k, 10k, and 5k/10k challenge. 

4. Familiar course. Sometimes you're lucky and a local race provides a course along your regular running route. The familiarity can help calm nerves and enjoy the course without any crazy surprises. The Achilles Pittsburgh Race is at the North Park Boathouse in Allison Park. Many people I know run the 5 mile loop around the park and may find comfort in having an idea about what the course will be like on race day. 
(5k and 10k course maps from www.achillespghrace.com)

5. Benefits local organizations. Hometown races may support local charities or organizations that are familiar to your city. The Achilles Pittsburgh Race benefits the Pittsburgh Chapter of Achilles International in support of athletes with disabilities and to increase awareness for adaptive sports.

6. Awards. Local races are typically much smaller so the chances to place higher in an age group or even WIN are greater than a well-known 5k or huge marathon. The Achilles Pittsburgh Race provides awards to the top 3 overall male and female finishers of both races and medals to the top three finishers of each age group. Participants who complete the 5k/10k challenge earn a finishers medal! 

So many great reasons to run a race in your town! If you'd like to run local, consider registering for The Achilles Pittsburgh Hope and Possibility Race on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 9am. Bring your family and friends and get outside! 

You can use the code 'JennRuns' for 10% off your registration on the website:

I will be out there running the challenge and I really hope to see some familiar faces on race day! 

Happy running!
Jenn :)

Monday, March 14, 2016

State #16 Arkansas: Little Rock Marathon

I honestly can't believe I'm writing about my 20th marathon. 11 years of running marathons and I made it to #20 in Arkansas!

I was beyond excited to have Brad and our dogs along for this trip. We made the 14 hour drive from Pittsburgh to Little Rock on Friday.  I think we lucked out with the best travel dogs ever. They slept most of the trip (we did not, haha). 

We left at 2:30am and got down to Little Rock in time for the expo and to get my race packet. If I wasn't so exhausted I would've stayed longer because they had sooo many great vendors to check out, but it just wasn't happening this trip. I loved how they decorated with this years slogan of "Game On". 

We checked into our hotel, grabbed showers & food and it was lights out! 

The next morning I made it to the starting line with a very energetic crowd. The starting line tossed these balloon dice into the crowd before the start and got everyone pumped!

I ended up running the 5k 12 seconds faster than the one in Alabama. Progress is progress! 

After the race Brad and I had Waffle House fir breakfast. If you've never had them and you're down south, GO! I've been eating there ever since I was little. 

My cousin goes to school about 45 minutes away from Little Rock so I picked her up so she could spend the rest of the weekend with us. We all took the dogs walking along the riverfront area which is so clean and beautiful. 

With my cousin Mckenna. 

We walked all over this neat bridge that has two levels. 

My little family.

We lucked out and found a dog friendly restaurant downtown so we had dinner on the patio of Dizzy's. 

After dinner we headed back to the room so I could go to bed early. People who travel with runners are pretty awesome. They put up with our crazy schedules of running to expos, early bedtimes, and talking nonstop running.

Now the marathon...lets just say we will keep this part pretty short. It was a scenic course, but it was so HARD. I'm sure I took over the legal limit of ibuprofen and if I never run a hill again in my life I will be happy. I now understand the reasoning behind the 8 hour time limit! I felt as though a toe in my right foot was going to crack in half and My right hip was inflamed the whole second half.

I met a reat nice runner, Melanie, and we finished the last 7-8 miles together. Thank goodness for her! When I crossed the finish line I found Brad and cried into his shoulder due to pain and relief. I got my finishers medal and another medal for running the 5k/marathon combo.

We met up with Mckenna. 

And took more pics.

Now this medal business. Little Rock does not disappoint with their race bling. This medal is HEAVY and the size of my head. When I got back to Pittsburgh I weighed it on my aunt's food scale. Over 2 pounds!

Even though I ran a terrible time (like my worst ever) I did enjoy my time in Little Rock. I had a bad race but most definitely would run this one again. I probably won't run a marathon 3 weeks before it again though :) Hooray for state 16! And congrats to all the runners that weekend!