Monday, May 2, 2016

Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend

The Pittsburgh Marathon weekend is by far my most favorite weekend of the year related to running. I have finished as a marathoner in 2009 and 2014, and as a half marathoner (with Brad for his first half!!) in 2015. This year I signed up for the Steel Challenge which included running the 5k on Saturday and either the half or full on Sunday (in my case the half).


On Friday after work Brad and I headed down to the expo at the convention center. I finally got to meet Elle! We follow eachother on Instagram (@ellej8200) and she was volunteering at bib pickup that day. After chatting a bit I picked up both bibs and browsed around the expo. I ended up buying some Hoka trail running shoes (nervous and excited about this purchase), tried AboutTime protein pancakes from a Pittsburgh based company (DELICIOUS!), shopped at Fresh Factory for Pittsburgh gear, and enjoyed all the amazing vendors that were there!

On Saturday the 5K started near the Pirates' ballpark which is conveniently 2 miles from where I live. I literally rolled out of bed less than an hour before the start and met up with Elle where we decided to run together. 
 We weren't trying to go crazy with pace to save our legs but we did end up running negative splits and I had an overall 5K time of 33:54. Afterwards we hung around the finish and saw lots of people we both follow through social media. I'm always running out of state and I never get to spend time with local runners so that was a lot of fun to connect with fellow Pittsburgh runners in person!

Sunday was half marathon day! I ran into my old neighbor Emily while waiting for the T to head into town. She was running her 3rd full marathon and killed it! Her uncle was running his 105TH marathon- can you even IMAGINE?! I met Elle outside of our corral to run together and her friend Alicia (they both run for Team RWB) also joined us. We took a few pre-race photos as it started to rain right before the start.

This race (like most of mine are), was all about having fun! It rained for the first few miles and then let up for the remainder of the race. One of the coolest parts of running the Pittsburgh Marathon and half is running over all the bridges and different neighborhoods. So much energy through the city with bands, fuel (beer!), and general crowd support. I saw my uncle in West End so we grabbed a photo and most of the on course port-a-potty lines were so long we decided to go in the woods. Hey, you do what you gotta do! 


We all were running with some sort of injury or nagging discomfort so it really helped to have us all motivating eachother at different points on the course. We finished in one piece and were super happy about that! 

After saying good-byes to Alicia, Elle and I picked up our Steel Challenge medal for completing 16.2 miles over the weekend.  

The finish line festival at Point State Park is really great. The vendors and booths circle the entire park so even if you didn't run you have plenty to eat and do. 

I'm already excited for next year and am contemplating tackling the full marathon again because I have really been missing the second part! Much thanks to Alicia and Elle for getting me through 13.1 miles with a smile on my face and for many of the pictures that appear on this post. You ladies ROCK!! 

Congrats to all of the runners who participated in any of the races this weekend. Pittsburgh is not an easy course to run! And Pittsburgh Marathon, you hold an incredibly special place in my heart. I'm 100% sure many others feel the exact same way. :)