Good gravy! I’ve had this in various draft forms since the day after the Pittsburgh Marathon, I just couldn’t get it together.
I was planning a BIG, exciting race recap after Pittsburgh, but I choked. On the writing, not the racing. I had way too much to say about the expo and the race, so I’d given up after one attempt at capturing all the “stuff” I wanted to share.
Now that almost three months (and another half marathon!) have gone by, it seems anticlimactic to try to write about it. Instead, I am going to share three lists of thirteen about the two half marathons I completed this year. Here’s the first.
Thirteen Things I Loved about the Pittsburgh Half Marathon:
- The Expo – Even when I am really nervous, I don’t typically shake, so I was surprised that I was literally quaking when Jessica and I walked in to get our race packets and check out the vendors. It was that exciting to me. The highlights were:
- Wearing my Every Mother Counts racing singlet – I was so proud to be wearing the EMC singlet I’d earned by raising over $500. It felt pretty badass to be out, as a team of one, representing something I believe in.
- My makeshift sleeves – I knew it would be cold in the morning, but I would race in my tank, regardless. So I determined I needed some sleeves. Ideally, I would have been these dealies from Oiselle, to match my EMC shirt: But they were $30, and I decided this with insufficient time to have them shipped to me. Instead, I went to Dick’s, where a very accommodating staff member helped me find a pair of black, youth compression socks. On clearance! For three American dollars, I had sleeves. I cut the toes out for my fingers and the heals for my thumbs. Perfect.
- The crowds and the signs – I loved the energy of the race, especially the inspiring and funny signs. My favorite: “Puke and Rally.” Perhaps because puking sounded like something that was a possibility for me at that moment.
- Making my goal time – sort of – I’d hoped to finish between 2:15 and 2:20, and my official time was 2:20:01. Ordinarily, I would have been all kinds of pissed off about that additional second. However, at 1:58 into the race, I looked at how fast (slow!) I was going and how far I had yet to run (~2 miles), and determined it was impossible for me to finish in 2:20. I got really upset – for about 10 seconds – but then thought, “Well, what am I going to do about it? Stop?” And just kept running. I managed a finish time I thought was impossible because….
- My mile splits – Are hilarious. I was trucking along in the 10:30 pace range, slowing down very slightly with each mile, through about mile 8, when I got tired. And freaked out because I’m not supposed to get tired until mile 10. But I kept it under 11:00 minutes per mile through mile 12, which includes “the hill.” Which I walked on. Even though I said I wouldn’t. So my mile 12 split was 11:52. But after I got over the hill, I decided I was getting this done. My thirteenth mile was my fastest mile by far (yeah, yeah, I know it’s downhill) at 9:42, and I ran the last tenth of a mile at a 9:11 pace. It felt good to finish strong.
- Making a “friend” at the finish – As I was grabbing a cheesey Panera something-something and a water, a woman came up and said, “Nice race.” My first thought was How does SHE know? But she explained: I’d passed her just before the finish and she was impressed with how fast I was going (this is all relative, you know!). And she decided to follow me. She told me that I helped “pull her in” to the finish! I love making race friends!
- Race photos – Got a few great snapshots with my friends, plus several of my official race photos turned out well. My mom was kind enough to spring for my official finish line pic.
- The race shirt – I LOVED the color of this year’s race shirt. I was particularly tickled that orange lettering accented the teal of the shirt and therefore went with my EMC orange tank. I painted my nails orange with teal ring fingers to go with the theme.
- My dedication list – Keeping track of my friends and family by each mile truly inspired me and kept me going. When I was running the miles dedicated to my friends in the race, I imagined either them pulling me along or me pulling them along (e.g., for my buddies who started the corral after mine). It made me feel like I was racing with them.
- This – What are the odds that Jessica & I would actually end up right beside each other in our respective corrals?!
- The medal – Enough said.
- The lines on the road – A weird item, yes? Nina gave me several race tips for the day, and one was to run down the lines on the road so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the pitch along the sides. Being a really compliant person, I ran down the lines of the road (with a little zig-zagging, of course). As much as I tried to take in the atmosphere of the race, what I remembered most at the end of the day, was staring down those yellow lines. Those yellow lines inspired the shadow box (my first!) I created from my race paraphernalia. Much effort was made to arrange the items in a way that still allowed the yellow lines in the middle to be seen: