Pittsburgh Half Marathon Recap
(I apologize how late this review is coming, but better late than never, right?)
Back in November, I signed up to run the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Half Marathon as part of my company’s corporate team. Not only did it sound fun and I got corporate perks, but I was using it as part of my training for June’s Hatfield-McCoy Marathon.
Due to health and personal reasons, I had to drop out of the race. Instead, I transferred by bib over to Dave and he took the reins, training for his first ever half marathon in just under THREE weeks. He is not a regular runner, has never run more than 6 miles. He’s not even a weekly exerciser (and yet he’s thin and toned as the dickens which just isn’t fair). So this recap is of my first ever time spectating a race and of Dave’s journey to the finish line.
We woke up Sunday morning at the inglorious time of 4:30. Getting up this early and NOT having race nerves was actually kind of nice…but I was a bit nervous for Dave! He was a little nervous, but not too bad. Ate breakfast of peanut butter toast even though he never tried it before running. He basically did everything you aren’t supposed to do before a big race. No fueling plan. No eating plan. He carbo loaded with pasta at lunch Saturday, but that’s about it. We left the house a little bit after 5:30 and arrived by 6 at Pittsburgh’s North Shore and took the “subway” to the starting area downtown.
When we arrived downtown, we hopped in the porta john line, of which there were plenty. Dave dropped my Nathan water bottle on the floor of the bathroom, so he decided not to use it for the race. (Solid decision, in my opinion.)
The race organizers actually close the corral gate, which seems a little extreme to me, but I guess it keeps the runners in and, more importantly, the spectators and hopeful race bandits out.
Our friend Mike came along to cheer on Dave with me and he met us right outside the corral. We stood and chatted for a while until Dave’s corral was up and started the walk toward the starting line. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t watch him actually start because the fencing cut us off at the sidewalk about a block or so away.
Anyway, once he was out of sight, Mike and I began our walk to mile 5 where we would first find him. I made 2 posters for the race and was pretty excited to cheer. We got to the bridge where we would stand early enough to watch the elites go by!
It was crazy how the elite runners don’t look that fast. I know that sounds weird, but seriously, they just look like they’re running chill, whatever. So when the crowds of runners really started in they didn’t look faster either. Keeping in mind that they are all faster than me! They were just making it look so easy. 😉
And then we saw Dave! Decked out in the running clothes (and socks) I bought him and my purple Garmin watch I let him wear for the race. He looked like he was having fun and not struggling at all (which is good at mile 5!). We cheered and we cheered hard!
Once he passed, Mike and I made our way around downtown and the course, across (one of the many) bridges to Station Square and mile 9, where we hoped to see Dave next. We picked a spot right after the relay exchange and settled in, watching all sorts of runners go past, some in quirky get-up, trying to recognize people who were by Dave at mile 5.
My favorite outfit was this guy. He’s wearing a shirt that says, “Will run for Whiskey.” That’s my kind of runner!
We almost missed Dave at this point! He just came out of nowhere, looking cool and effortless. He gave me a big high five and continued on his way. We didn’t even get a picture.
While the morning started out pretty cool, I was wearing a tank top, tshirt, Under Armour zip-up, AND Dave’s sweatshirt he wore before running, by mid-morning it was sunny and warm (although still cold in the shade). It was a perfect day for the race! Most years it rains or is cold or hot, but this year the runners really lucked out!
Anyway, Mike and I made our way back over the bridge and headed toward the finish line, which was packed with people. We wiggled into a good spot and waited. We watched the elites finish and so many runners, keeping our eyes peeled for our runner. And then there he was!! Still smiling, still running strong!
I didn’t get a shot of him finishing because it was too far away, but I can’t even explain my excitement for Dave. I was- and still am- so proud. It was like I had finished the race with how much I was beaming.
Getting to the finisher area was a bit of an obstacle (please note, marathon organizers, there has to be a better way than scaling a wall!), but we got there and found him. He’d already eaten a whole bagel before he got through the finisher chute and was working on 2 bananas.
The best part? He really enjoyed the race!! He thought he’d hate it because he gets bored running after about 3-4 miles, but the crowds kept him exciting and it wasn’t as hard as he thought. Oh, and he gave Coach Jess some credit for teaching him how to pace (thank you, thank you very much). He said he’d ever run another, so he, Mike and I talked about signing up together next year. I’m holding you boys to it!
Overall, Dave finished in 2:07 and he beat my first half time…with less than 3 weeks of training under his belt! I’ll admit, I’m slightly jealous…but way more impressed.
We walked back to our car, got some victory shots in the parking lot, and headed over to Bruegger’s Bagels in Squirrel Hill for a celebration brunch. Then we dropped Mike off at his car and headed home to nap! It was an amazing day and I’m so proud of my husband!! Way to go, Dave! J