As an official blogger for the 2018 DICK’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, I received complimentary race admission and race gear for blogging about my training experience.
Last Sunday, I reached the finish line of my first half marathon! It was amazing, and it won’t be the last race I take on.
Now, if you had told me at the beginning of my training that I would be eager to run another half marathon, I would have laughed… hard! My goal was always just to finish and cross this item off my bucket list. But now, having run through Pittsburgh with thousands of runners and seeing the city like I’ve never seen it before, I’m ready to do it all over again. And dare I say, next year would I consider doing the full marathon?! It’s too early to say… but the thought has crossed my mind.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here’s a look at all of the fun from the 2018 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon race weekend.
Starting on Friday, Michelle, my training partner, and I headed down to the Race Expo at the Pittsburgh Convention Center. Not only did we get a chance to take a million photos — we were super excited to see the race arch — but we picked up our race bibs, shirts, and swag and toured the sponsor booths and exhibits.
As an official blogger for the 2018 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, we were also invited to attend the race weekend kick-off and VIP event. Let me tell you, it was quite the treat to be invited to this event with the elite runners. We were able to mingle with the top marathon runners and even met some new friends who offered us race advice to soothe our nerves for our first race.
I also got to meet some of the other official bloggers for the first time! What a cool experience to follow their training progress on their blogs and get to meet up with these folks at the VIP event. You can find info on each of the official bloggers on the Pittsburgh Marathon’s Website.
On Saturday, I mostly took it easy… oh, and I ate a lot of pasta. Yum, yum, yum. No complaints there.
And before I knew it, it was race day. Now, this was my first half marathon and you have to imagine how excited, nervous, scared, etc. I was. Any emotion you can think of, I probably embodied at some point. The last thing I wanted to be was stressed, however. That’s why we woke up at 4 am… yep, you read that right! Michelle spent the night for a little pre-race slumber party and at 4 am our alarms (reluctantly) went off.
We rolled out of bed, made a small breakfast, and made the trek down to Pittsburgh. But the good thing about waking up that early — you don’t have to rush! We found a nice church downtown which opened up its building to runners and we waited indoors until closer to race time. We also met up with some friends who were running the race, and before we knew it, we were finding our way to our corral and ready to start the race!
I thought 13.1 miles would take forever, and let me be honest, I did take my time, but with the city of Pittsburgh as my scenery, the miles flew by! If you ever get the chance, I encourage you to participate in the full or half marathon in Pittsburgh. It’s such a great way to see the Steel City and an experience you don’t want to miss.
I mean, when else do you get a chance to run across the West End and Birmingham Bridges? Okay, not the best part of the course, I know, but still cool!
Now on mile 11 or so of the race, I could practically see myself crossing the finish line. I was listening to some dynamic soundtrack music from my Soundtrack to My Run playlist (find it on the Pittsburgh Marathon’s blog here), I felt good, and I was ready to finish the last 2.1 miles! And that’s when I saw this sign… and I do mean a literal sign from above. Hello, Chipotle. I bet you can guess what I had for my post-race meal…
The last mile truly was full of feels. I think I teared up a couple times. Not because I was in pain or glad to be done, but simply because I was in awe that I had come this far and made it all this way. Legs, mind, and body were all working together and I felt incredibly proud of myself. I did it. I finished my first half marathon, and it truly was an amazing feeling.
Special thanks to our cheer squad for coming down in the rain to cheer us on!
13.1 miles? Piece of cake. 😉 Next year, I might just go for the full… stay tuned to find out!