We arrived in Pittsburgh around mid-day on Saturday. Our hotel, the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, was nearly a mile from the expo. We headed downtown from our hotel as soon as we arrived. I had a stellar cheering section - my husband and my parents. As we neared the expo we realized just how huge this race was going to be. There were so many people, and the expo was packed. That being said it was the best expo I've ever seen. There were so many vendors, and despite the crowds everything was extremely well organized. I left with both my purse and race bag full of goodies and new race ideas to try. I also snagged a "Boston Strong" headband I decided to wear during the race the next morning.
|My parents and me with our chocolate milk mustaches from the expo|
Race morning came early as I woke up at 5:30. My husband and I walked over to the start. Security was tight due to the Boston bombing, and that made it seem a bit strange. I completely understand and appreciate the need for increased security, but it was weird not to have my husband near me at the start. The race started right on time. I was in Coral C, so it was a few minutes before we passed the start.
|The elite runners at the start|
|And me...several corrals later|
Around the 5k mark I realized I was going too fast. I forced myself to slow down and felt better when I saw my husband at mile 4. Unfortunately I had to make several bathroom breaks which never happens to me during a race (despite my Crohn's.) By the 10k I knew I had started off too strong, and I dialed it back significantly. While the race was not as hilly as I expected given Pittsburgh's terrain, there were several really long,slight inclines that were challenging. I saw my husband again at mile 9 and told him I was struggling. Seeing him helped keep me going.
|Looking for my husband at mile 4|
|Pushing through it at mile 9|
Whoever designed the end of the course - a significant down hill stretch in the last mile - is a genius. I would like to kiss him or her on the mouth. I was so pumped running downhill toward the finish. The marathon winner finished just a few minutes before I did, and the roar of the crowd was amazing. I can't say enough about this race's energy - just fantastic.
|The marathon winner. I love all the half marathon runners cheering him on.|
|I've got to be smiling after that downhill finish|
|Dunkin' Donuts...serious business.|