My first race recap! The Pittsburgh Marathon was so pretty and so much fun. I had never run a race as big as this, so I wasn’t prepared for the all the excitement and action along the way. There were many people cheering and holding posters and runners all around me, so it was hard to feel alone. Pittsburgh is a beautiful city and getting to see all the different neighborhoods and cross several bridges was a great experience. Now onto the recap:
Due to circumstances beyond my control, the two nights before the race I wasn’t able to get more than five or six hours of sleep (something I wouldn’t recommend). I wasn’t feeling my most optimistic self, but there wasn’t much I could do, so I woke up that Sunday a little bit tired, but still feeling good. Randy and I left the house where we were staying at about 5:45 am and arrived near the starting line about 20 minutes later.
Boy, were there people everywhere! The starting corrals took up over three blocks and there 30,000 people in them total! There were people on all sides of me as far as the eye could see. We had to wait twenty minutes after the first wave went off, which was boring. I like running by myself because I can start running when I want to, not when someone else tells me to. I hate waiting. I made a few friends, though.
When we finally got underway, I tried to do what I had read was the right thing to do: start out slow for the first few miles and then gradually speed it up to my goal pace. That didn’t work for me. It was hard to make myself go slower at the beginning, but even harder to go faster when the time came. As a result, I started taking walk breaks early and it was difficult to start back running each time. So, needless to say, I didn’t finish in a personal best time.
I struggled with that realization as I was running, but I decided that I had two choices: I could finish in a worse time than I was hoping for and be upset about it and not enjoy the day, or I could finish the race and be happy that I finished. I chose the latter because I was able to remind myself that I don’t run for time, I run for me. Finishing a race this like is an accomplishment in itself, not just finishing it in a specific time.
The course wasn’t as hilly as the elevation chart had led me to believe, which was nice. We ran with the half marathoners for the first eleven miles before we split off; shortly after that came a bigger hill. Then around mile 20, we came into the campuses of Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, and Chatham, which were so pretty!
The finish line was a little bit frustrating because there was a big sign telling me that I had a half mile left, when really, it was closer to a mile, but I eventually got there! The medals were so cool, so that made almost five hours of running worth it. I met Randy outside the finish line corrals and we walked back to the car, which seemed like miles away. I got a good night’s sleep that night!
I’m so glad I did this race, and I can’t wait what other races there are in store for me. Looking forward to a couple of halfs this summer. Thanks for reading!