Well, I have let myself be talked into running the half again this year at the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 1st (for you newbie’s that’s 13.1 miles). When PA girl moved to Pittsburgh last year she decided to train for her first marathon, so of course Running Man and I wanted to show our support of her monumental decision by signing up for the half. Actually, it was Running Man who wanted to show his support by diving into the EXTREME world of running. I, on the other hand thought I would show my support in a completely different way…I was going to be really creative (of course!) and paint an amazing sign with balloons, steamers and a little glitter, maybe even toot a little air horn at them as they ran by my treasured spot by The Church Brew Works on race day.
However… One evening, over dinner with some of our best friends, (California Transplants) we got to talking about PA girl and her new adventure, marathon training. California Man is an amazing runner, he has run multiple marathons, (when I say multiple I mean in the double digits) he has run several 50 mile races, (I did not say he was crazy, but it is implied if you WANT to run for 50 miles, multiple times) 3 or 4 trail races….He runs, you get the picture. Anyway, the more he talked about the marathon, the more excited he got; how much fun it would be for us all to go; how cool of weekend it could be; how the atmosphere around marathons is electric and before you know it I said I would run the half as well. Did I mention it was over dinner, yep, so of course its’ implied that wine was involved .
Once I said I would run there was no ducking out of it so I started “training”. I already play tennis 3 days a week, so added 4 days of running and tried to ride my bike for at least 15-20 miles a couple of days of week. I didn’t start all that until late March, so of course I was no where near ready when race weekend arrived. By the time we got to Pittsburgh for the race I had only built my mileage up to 6 or 7 miles. I was going to be the only one of our group to not finish I just knew it. (I always walked a little during that mileage as well) But I was pleasantly surprised on race day, I felt excited (truth be told I was a little nervous and sick to my stomach) and the weather at the beginning of the race was a little cool, perfect for a sweaty person like me. The gun sounded and off we went. I was so busy the first 3 or 4 miles dodging around people who were walking, I didn’t even realize how far I’d run until I ran by the mile marker. After that, I knew I could do it, I just coasted along, walked when I needed to catch my breath and ran as much as I could. The course took us all over Pittsburgh, which is a beautiful city, but not nearly as big as you think. There were people with signs and smiling faces encouraging us to keep going and there were bands playing at certain mile markers. That upbeat atmosphere kept my feet moving, walking at times, but moving. The last mile was difficult (that is an understatement) because that’s when you start to run by huge crowds standing on the sidelines watching for their friends and family. (no way was I going to let them see me walking, peer pressure kills you know!!) As you get closer to the finish line there are multiple grandstands of people watching and cheering. I sucked it up and made myself run the last mile and could not believe it when I actually crossed the line. Wow, I had done it, I actually finished! I hadn’t been carried off by some hunky fireman or blew out my knee, or ran out of breath or… I don’t remember my time, Running Man will though. I’ll let you know in a later post but it wasn’t off the charts great, but I finished and that is all that mattered to me.
Our California Transplants were right, it was a really fun weekend. So, here we go again, we are all signed up this year’s race in May. This time around Running Man is going for the full, 26.2 miles, not me, the half is hard enough. I started my training this week so we will see if I am more prepared this time around. Stay tuned. 🙂