Friday, May 11, 2018

2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon Race Recap


After a fun 5k, it was time to take on the Pittsburgh Half Marathon again. I haven't ran this race since 2014 and the course has changed since then. I was excited to finally get to run this race for the experience. I had a really great time during the marathon last year, but I am REALLY happy to not be running a full marathon.



This race wasn't really for me. It was for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. Thanks to all of you, we raised over $1,000. I cannot thank everyone enough for the amazing support for this cause. It means the world to me and Carrie.

The morning of the race there was still a very high chance of rain. I decided to wear as little clothing as possible. Which means, I was going to rock my crop top for the first time at the start of a half marathon. Get ready Pittsburgh, pale skinned me is taking over!

Sarah, Matthew, Montana and I headed downtown a little before 5:30am. We wanted to beat the road closures. We parked, headed to the Westin and parked it. I received VIP as part of the Pittsburgh Marathon Blogger program and that is where the pre race events were. I only really used it for bag check but the ladies were super sweet!



Since everyone was checking a bag we decided to leave for the corrals early. Montana and I were in corral B and just hung out. I had a total moment. I remembered back to my first marathon. I didn't know a single soul except my husband who would be at the finish line. Now, I'm seeing people I know left and right. It was pretty awesome.

It felt like it took forever to start and I just tried to relax. I had a plan. I would take the first 10k or so out fast and bank time. I know that this isn't really a tried and true method but I know this course. I know where I can make up time and where I would be giving some back. I said goodbye to Montana and started on my way!

3...2...1...GO!

It felt like steps after the start I heard someone scream my name in the crowd, it was my friend Natalie! She was running the relay and i just waved and smiled. I stayed with the 8:50 pacer for most of the first three miles. I didn't really look at my watch. It wasn't as crowded as years past.

I love the first bridge we cross in this race. It's the 16th Street Bridge and the crowds are always really fun. Plus, the course starts getting hilly after that.

Miles 1-3: 8:34 8:35 8:31

This year the Pittsburgh Marathon added in banners that said what neighborhood you were in. It really helped people from out of town know where they were and remember the fun parts! The North Side was alive that morning. I am also super warm at this point. There is zero air movement and it is humid. I could not be wearing any less clothing at this point. I also felt something weird on my right foot. I thought I maybe stepped in a little puddle. Kinda moist. Remember this.

Running on the North Shore was a lot of fun. If you are wondering who was woo-ing in the overpasses, it was me.I saw Elle around this time too. Again, a familiar face! It was time to head over to the West End. We were coming up to the 10k mark!

Miles 4-6: 8:12 8:18 8:19 - 10k split around 51 minutes

I noticed my watch was a little off from the overpasses, but my plan was to stay on the left hand side as much as possible. I took my salt tab at the 10k mark and instantly broke out in a cold sweat. It was amazing. I felt like we were climbing for an entire mile. I knew I would see Randy on the West End Bridge. The new theme of this race, run to a familiar face!

The West End Bridge was interesting. I had people stop to walk RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! Not once, but THREE TIMES! It was very frustrating. Please remember, if you are going to walk, move to the side and put your hand up. Please and thank you. Then I saw Randy. Gave him my yearly high five and moved along on my journey.

Kelsey found this somewhere and I love it!


On to the West End. Still staying on the left side and still sweaty. Gosh I am so freaking sweaty! Plus, the hardest part of the course is still coming. I have slowed down a lot knowing what was coming.

On to Carson Street, business is starting to pick up. This is the nice quiet part of the course, well at least in the past. The crowds have not stopped at all. I have never seen it happen in Pittsburgh in all the years I have done the race.

There was a relay exchange point around this area and I knew it was the last exchange area I would run through. Hubs and the rest of my friends were going to be near mile 10 and I knew I just had to make it to them. While I'm thinking this I hear someone yell to me. It;s my friend Amy! We were in high school marching band together and both live in Pittsburgh now. She was telling me how she was already expecting to be over two hours. I told her where we were at then and we both realized we were going to go under two hours!

Miles 7-10: 9:00 9:00 9:11 9:06 - 10 mile split 1:28

Yep, we are going sub-2! Actually, I'm running a pretty good race. My water bottle was driving me crazy. I took my car key out, put it in my back pocket and got ready to toss my water bottle to my husband. And then it happened. I saw Carrie! Seeing her as the first of my group of friends seems so right. I grabbed a jello shot. Tossed my water bottle and kept on my way.

I adore this picture!


Yes friends, I took a jello shot at almost mile 11 of a half marathon. The sugar was amazing. I quickly got back to the left side of the road because there was no doubt I was running a half marathon today.

The Birmingham Bridge was rough. Like were we ever going to stop going up? It really didn't feel like it. Then I remembered what up was like on the full marathon course and I just kept moving.

Off the bridge, there was one last uphill. This is the first time I have ran this part of course and I wasn't complaining! There was a group of men who came up next to me and yelled "Thank god that was the last up hill". I responded with "Bless your soul".

Alright folks, let's get this show to the finish line!

Downhill to the finish line was amazing. The crowds were starting to pick back up from the bridge that no one could access. People kept saying "You are almost done!" I yelled back I KNOW!!!

I could not stop smiling at this point. There was something really cold on my right foot. I didn't want to look. I had kinda realized I didn't step in a puddle. Coming up the final stretch I hear Natalie again! I waved and moved forward. I heard the PA announcer call me in (with my gold skirt and bow) and crossed the finish line of my 28th half marathon.



Finish time: 1:57.

When I stopped I looked down and noticed blood on the side of my shoe. I took some skin off a toe again and caused some pretty good bleeding. I went to the medic and got a band-aid. After I cleaned myself up I went back to VIP and got my bag and my layers.



I can't believe I ran another 1:57. I feel like that is my go to time at this point. I'm thrilled to have finished and had the experience I did. I ran this race the way I wanted to. I banked time and it actually worked!

Note the bloody sock lol!


I cannot thank all of the volunteers, spectators and emergency workers for putting on a great event. It was a really great experience. Probably one of the best I have had at this event. Below is the elevation chart to show some of the challenges from the day.


Disclaimer: I was provided entry to the Pittsburgh Half Marathon as part of Team Children's and fundraising for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.

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  2. Congrats on another 1:57 on a hot and humid day! I know you're racing in Cleveland today and I hope you have a great race today as well.

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