Recap: The Pittsburgh Half Marathon was full awesome!

It’s been exactly one week now, but I still cannot get the complete awesomeness that was the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh {Half} Marathon out of my mind.

I wasn’t going to do it because I now tend to focus on weight training vs. cardio.
I wasn’t going to do it because I just ran a 10 mile race two weeks ago.
I wasn’t going to do it because I no longer work for Dick’s Sporting Goods.

But in the end, I knew I would do it because I could it. A dethroned cardio queen, with sore legs, who was a former Dick’s employee…but this was in MY city, my home, my heart. And I vowed last year to come back and run this half. Whether or not I still run “this,” I was still going to run “THIS.”

I ran. I loved every second of it. I got my medal. And for you PR-crazy people out there, yes, I did that, too. But oh-so-importantly, I also earned the title, Runner of Steel.
pgh marathon 2013 medal half marathon
This is how it all went down {and up and down and all around–ohhh, those hills.} πŸ˜‰

My first adventure for this part of the weekend was to attend the expo on Friday, May 3.

pgh marathon expo line
I had to go pick up my packet, but as you may remember me tweeting, FBing, or talking about on here, I just really wanted to find The Fresh Factory at the expo and obtain a pair of RUNPGH shorts. Hence the reason I was waiting in line so early before it opened at 11 am.
pgh marathon expo
Once the doors opened, I burst right inside searching about. I had plenty of time to get that packet later! When there is a clothing item I want, I have a one track mind until it’s mine.

I went past a few booths, making mental notes to check them later, and then, BOOM–I saw my shorts!
pgh marathon expo fresh factory run pgh shorts
I think I like them because they sort of look 1970’s-ish. The kind of shorts you wear when you’re roller skating down the road rockin’ a hot pair of tube sock/knee-highs. Or yeah, running…that, too. I was a 70s baby first, so I’m sticking with that vision. Because I can often be found roller skating down the road in booty shorts wearing tube socks/knee-highs. πŸ˜€

Anyhow, I got my shorts before they ran out and two more tees. Hey, they had a deal, okay? And I’ve gotta represent, Pittsburgh, yo.
pgh marathon fresh factory clothes run pgh shirt shorts

I looked around at a lot of other booths before picking up my packet. Probably all of them–I stayed in there for at least two hours. Could. Not. Get. Enough. Expo!!!

I walked into the Dick’s main expo area and looked at all the merchandise.
pgh marathon shirts at expo 2
pgh marathon shirts at expo 3
pgh marathon shirts at expo
So many shirts! Now that I had progressed to the half mary, there were actually shirts to choose from, unlike last year when running the 5K. πŸ™ I didn’t get any of these, though. Again, I had already found the clothing I wanted and it was in my shopping bag.
Pghmarathon Dicks Sporting Goods RunFor 5.3.13
I moved further a head in the area and saw photographers. They offered to take your pic in front of a big backdrop while holding a sign stating what you “run for.” Cool. I obliged.

Behind that area, there was a huge wall full of names. I remembered this from last year! Only then, my name wasn’t on the wall, because again, it was only for the half and full mary runners. So this year, I went right over to it to search for my name.
pgh marathon names on wall

Found it!

pgh marathon name on wall

At this point, I decided to go get my packet. Better do it before I forgot, right?!
pgh marathon swag bag pgh marathon shirt 2013
It had tons of cool stuff in it and my shirt rocked. You can never go wrong with yellow in my book! I was also super happy to get this little backpack. Remember how I wanted one so badly last year? Haa, well, this finally made up for it. For now, it’s my new gym bag. πŸ˜€
pghmarathon success rice
Before I left, I also managed to win a box of Success Brown Rice at their booth–I spun the wheel and landed on the free rice spot–awesome! I also stopped at the GlaxoSmithKline booth and left my contact info to enter to win a $50 Zappos gift card. I NEVER win those things, but eh, why not give a shot. Soooo yeah, at work this past Friday, I got a call from a woman at GlaxoSmithKline and I won the $50 Zappos gift card. πŸ˜‰ Oh yes, more running shoes, here I come.

I finally managed to tear myself away from the expo and go home. That night, I decided to organize myself, get my race outfit ready and look at the course map one more time.
pgh marathon half marathon map
Eeegads. That looks like a lot of area to cover. Was I really supposed to run that?! And 5 bridges, to boot. My mother, Rest In Peace, would be so amazed. I used to have THE worst fear of bridges and would straight up throw a fit in the car as we drove over one. {Kind of hard to avoid in the Pittsburgh area!} And now, I’d be running over 5. Not even scurrrrred that I’d fall in the river. She’d be so proud! Happy Mother’s Day to you, Mommy!

I chilled on Saturday and tried to find my mojo all day. That basically entailed checking the @PghMarathon handle and #PghMarathon hashtag on Twitter to see what peeps were talking about. It calmed me down and excited me all at the same time. I was ready to run!!

I went to bed that night around 9:30pm and my alarm went off Sunday morning at 3:30am. Eeegads, again! Soooo early. But all the major roads in Pittsburgh {okay, not ALL, but the ones I’d need to use to get to my chosen parking garage with ease} were going to close at 5am. I was staying at my girlhood home, which is about 25 miles from Downtown Pitt. I instructed my sister that we’d need to leave at 4:15am SHARP to ensure arriving at the garage by 4:45am. Even though she and my Dad hadn’t gotten home from the casino {look how responsible I was by not going and staying home to sleep!} until 1am that morning, she was up and ready to roll. But to be safe, haha, I drove.

As soon as we got to the garage, I hopped out of the car and posed for a pic. Sissy wanted to post it on her FB page and I of course would need it for mine, too!
pgh marathon cherie runs this pre race_
I was Steelerific as any Steeltown-obsessed girl would be. πŸ˜€
pgh marathon pre race market square
We walked a few blocks to Market Square. There I would find the corral sign so I could look for my starting area. It was dark out, but the city looked so pretty all around!
pgh marathon corral chart
I found the sign, couldn’t really decipher it {I’m not just a slow runner, but a slow sign reader}, but a nice lady insisted that Corral E was “dahn there n’at” {I love Pittsburghese.}

Once I knew where I had to be, my sis and I hung out in Dunkin Donuts so she could get breakfast and I could get water to soak my heart rate monitor’s chest strap and go to the bathroom again. There was still about an hour and a half until the race start, but I foolishly thought this would be the last time I’d need to go to the bathroom. Grrrrrr. Not so.

I left my sister around 6:30am and made my way to my corral. The energy was awesome! Everyone looked pumped and ready to go.
pgh marathon pre race corral e
And cold. They looked cold. It wasn’t THAT cold until about 5 minutes before the start. That’s when I really started to freeze. I’m getting spoiled by living in North Carolina!

While I was waiting there, one of my FB blog page friends came over to say hi! That was so neat. I love meeting peeps in real life! So hey, David! After a few more minutes, they got ready to sing the National Anthem and then we were off!
pgh marathon pre race corral e 2
Okay, WE weren’t off yet. Corral E was last so I probably didn’t take off until about 20 minutes after the start. So after that, we were off!

I was doing pretty splendidly. Somewhere after Mile 2, I had to pee. Joy. I was like, “Okay, I can either go now while the port-o-potty lines were only 3 deep, or I could just run the whole thing and go afterwards.” I somehow thought I could wait until the end. ME, the chick that drinks a gallon of water a day and goes to the bathroom a good 30 times at least. So yeahhhh, I made the wrong call and just should have gone when the line was only 3 deep. Midway through, I guess around Mile 7ish, I HAD to go and couldn’t wait any longer. This ended up taking a good 8 minutes. Grrrrrrr.

I did at least manage to take a few pics as I was running. Slow runners got skills, yo!!
pgh marathon during race runner of steel bridge

pgh marathon during race runners entering bridge

The spectators were awesome. Only in Pittsburgh during a race do I not worry when I see people starting to climb bridges. They’re there to cheer us on from up high!

There were also tons of local bands planning along the route. I of course had my earbuds in and blaring, but my fellow runners seemed to like the music!

I felt pretty good throughout the race. Right before Mile 11, I was like, goooood grief I’ve been running a while. But at least that was the first time I thought that. During my first race, I thought that after 1.5 miles, haha. I think somewhere near there, give or take, is where I saw the split–Half Marathoners Keep Left, Marathoners Keep Right. I wondered to myself, “Could I possibly have the energy to run an additional 13.1 miles?” Heck no. More power to yinz, and I happily turned left. πŸ˜€

I did run the whole time until it came to Mile 11/12ish. Right there was a big @$$ hill. I started to jog up it and was like, “Nope. Don’t be a hero, Cherie. You totally have permission to walk this hill and the world will not end if you do.” So I listened to myself and walked. It’s okay to do it! Look at me learning! And right here, let me say my heart goes out to fellow runner, 23-year-old Kyle Johnson who passed away after this hill near Mile 12. Awful, awful, awful!!! πŸ™

Not too long after Mile 12, I could see the finish line. I swear I wasn’t sure if it was the actual finish line or a mirage, but I started sprinting. I had a lot of power saved up and just gave it my all. I had been sprinting for what seem like 5 hours and the finish line was still off in the distance. Haha, I guess I cannot judge distances—it looked like it was RIGHT there! Oops. So I slowed my roll, and once I saw that it was actually really close and not just me thinking that it was close, I sprinted again.

I crossed the line and here were my results:
pghmarathon half results
But again, mind you, I did stop for the bathroom for 8 minutes, so here is what my actual time was according to MY official time keeper, my Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor.

pgh marathon polar ft 4 results

Not too shabby for me. πŸ™‚ My second half marathon has now been logged in the books!

I collected my medal and Smiley Cookie after I was done.
pgh marathon post race medal smiley cookie cherie runs this

Then of course, I had to compare my very first race {their 5K} from last May to this one via side by side pics.
pgh marathon 5k 2012 pgh marathon half 2013 comparison cherie runs this

I notice changes! But still a happy finisher – that remains the same!

My splits were as follows:
Mile 1 – 11:45
Mile 2 – 11:13
Mile 3 – 11:48
Mile 4 – 11:35
Mile 5 – 11:22
Mile 6 – 12:23
Mile 7 – 12:36
Mile 8 – 11:15
Mile 9 – 11:34
Mile 10 – 12:09
Mile 11 – 11:38
Mile 12 – 13:49
Mile 13 – 11:31
pgh marathon river behind rivers casino 2
pgh marathon river behind rivers casino
Again, so friggin’ fabulous of a day. I loved this race and I looooove my city. I’ll be back next year! For a half? A full? Who knows. I’ll just be happy to be there. It’s the City of Champions and running my race, my pace, my way, makes me one, too. πŸ˜€
runner of steel bridge pittsburgh

Anyone out there run this race? Wasn’t it the most gorgeous day ever? Planning on running it in 2014?

Comments 15

  • Thanks for the great recap!! I loved seeing all the pics. And congrats on your PR!! I absolutely love running the Pittsburgh half– I’ve done it three years in a row now and I have to say this year was my favorite all-around. The weather was perfect. The crowd support was amazing, especially in light of the unfortunate circumstances that occurred in the weeks before. I’ll be there next year but {maybe} shooting for the full distance. Maybe see you next year! =)
    Cristi Rae recently posted..Fit Friday MotivationMy Profile

    • Thanks Cristi!! I plan to make next year my third in a row! Haha, still must decide on which to do…Ohhhh that full scares me, haha! I still may only be half crazy. πŸ˜€

  • Congrats, Cherie! So fun to read other’s recaps of the Pittsburgh Half. I ran too and am so bummed I didn’t run into you! We really couldn’t have asked for a better day weather-wise. So proud of you!
    Liz recently posted..Longest Marathon EverMy Profile

  • Great job on the race! I ran the half in ’10 and it was my first big race. The expo is so cool at Pittsburgh!!! I love your shorts!
    Holly @ Pink-Runner.com recently posted..BodyPump Instructor Training!My Profile

  • Love the pictures! Might have to add this one to my list. Can you post what you wore with links to where you got the items next time? I love running stuff and your outfit ROCKS!
    Lynne recently posted..So I’ve been racing a little…My Profile

    • Thanks Lynne!! It’s one not to miss! I’ll do my best to post links…haha, I’m happy make time to write the darn thing, sometimes I just forget about that! πŸ˜‰

  • Glad to hear you had such a good time! I also notice differences between last year’s pic and this year’s. You’re doing great! πŸ™‚

  • Cherie, I loved the recap. You really seemed to totally enjoy this half! The splits were consistent too. Congrats on a great race and as usual, awesome pics! Cheers to PGH 2014…I know you will! #TeamCherie GenuineFeedback

  • I too was disappointed that I didn’t run into you somewhere. πŸ™

    This was my 3rd time running the full and it was one of my favorite races ever. Everything about the Pittsburgh marathon and half rocks. Can’t recommend it enough.

    My corral was so packed a lot of us couldn’t even get in. Which was fine, except that I couldn’t get to my pace group. I’ve never used one before but there was a specific goal I really wanted to meet. But so it goes. I just started running and did what felt right. Ended up beating my goal. Ran my fastest marathon yet and still managed to high five every little kid, thank my volunteers, give recognition to the bands – they are volunteering their time too – and interact with the spectators. Just a wonderful, wonderful race all around.

  • Nice job! Great recap and pics!
    Rene (@runrenerun) recently posted..Bike to Work DayMy Profile

  • Just came across your blog! Love the recap!! I ran as well and it was a perfect day. I’m from the ‘burgh – don’t live there anymore but family is still there. No-brainer for me to come back and run it. GREAT photos!
    Mar @ Mar on the Run! recently posted..Keep in the Sunlight…My Profile