Pittsburgh Marathon 2015 Blogger Event & 5K Recap

Wow. What a weekend! The Pittsburgh Half Marathon didn't go as I'd planned. I'll post my recap tomorrow but the gist is that, while I was prepared to kick ass, it was the sun and heat that kicked my ass. I didn't PR. Instead, I was seriously happy I just finished because I had many doubts that I would. I'm bummed but not too upset about it. I'm still really happy with my training, and I did the best I could in a really tough race--and have the sore legs to prove it! And overall, it was a really fun weekend. Here's a recap of the events leading up to the half.

Thursday: Blogger Event
Pittsburgh Marathon weekend kicked off with an event for bloggers at Wigle Whiskey in the Strip District on Thursday evening. Many elite runners attended too, including Clara Santucci, who won the female division, and Tyler McCandless, who was the top American finisher. It was a lot of fun. Talking with other runners about running is always fun!

I was happy to meet Nikki, the main person at the Pittsburgh Marathon I've talked to as a blogger, and others from the Pittsburgh Marathon. They all do such a great job, and their organization of this event was no exception. The bloggers were given goodie bags with a Brooks quarter-zip, a Dick's Sporting Goods gift card, and other little goodies. Thank you for a great event, Pittsburgh Marathon!

Nikki told me that Jeffrey Eggleston, who won the 2011 Pittsburgh Marathon, was vegan, so I introduced myself to him and ended up talking to him and Tyler McCandless. Jeffrey told me that he's actually no longer vegan. He said it's too hard to do when traveling, especially to Asian countries where the majority of food has fish in it. He said he has to bring so much with him as it is that it's too hard to also bring food. Tyler was running the full and the top contender to win, and Jeffrey was pacing another runner since he just raced a few weeks ago. As I was talking to them, it hit me that, Oh my God, these guys win marathons. Tyler was planning on finishing the full marathon in significantly less time than I planned to finish the half. In my rambling I told them what my target goal was, even as I was kicking myself for admitting how slow I am. But then I quickly added how much that was an improvement from my first half marathon. Jeffrey said something about how that's the great thing about running, how you can get better and see your time drop the more you run. How nice and supportive was that! They were really nice guys, and I'm happy I had the chance to meet them.

Tyler McCandless, top American finisher at the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon, me, and
Jeffrey Eggleston, winner of the 2011 Pittsburgh Marathon

I knew some of the bloggers there and met new people too. It was really awesome to talk to everyone. Are runners not the nicest people?!

Kim from This Runner's Fuel, Mar from Mar on the Run, and me
Below are all the bloggers. The only one I didn't get to meet is Melissa from the Wheezy Runner. From left: Melissa from The Wheezy Runner, Jen Bigham from The Local Elite, Mar from Mar on the Run, Kristy from Pittsburgh Runner, Chelsea from Pittsburgh City Girl, Kim from This Runner's Fuel, Jenna from Stop, Drop & Blog, and me. Not pictured was Heather from Fit 'n' Cookies.

A general shot of the event. Clara Santucci, top female finisher, is sitting down with a white shirt.
I wish I would have introduced myself, but there wasn't time to talk to everyone.

Friday: The Expo
I walked over to the expo at the Convention Center on Friday around lunch time. I was given a VIP package as a blogger, so I picked up my half marathon packet at the VIP booth and then my 5K packet at a separate booth. It wasn't too crowded, and lines weren't too long.

It might be hard to believe since I love shopping, but I don't really like expos. They remind me of flea markets, with everyone trying to sell you something. I did see Charlie Batch from the Steelers, but by the time I got out my camera to ask for a picture, he was gone. I walked around a bit hoping to see greyhounds, since Steel City Greyhounds has a cheering station on the full course, and they were at the expo last year. When I didn't immediately see them, I just headed out without even walking through the whole expo. I saw Shaun and signed the wall on the way out.

Sorry that all these pictures are so dark.

Packet pickup

It was a really large expo.

Saturday: The 5K
On Friday I posted about the strategy I used to sleep through the night, and it worked like a charm on Friday night. I actually woke up twice during the night and was able to fall back asleep both times.

It was very cool out--about 46, so I wore capris and the Brooks quarter-zip I got for being a blogger. It has the Pittsburgh Marathon logo on it.

I walked from my house to the start of the 5K near the Pirates stadium. Steff had organized a meetup, and so many people came! I was so excited to see and meet so many people--Mar, Chelsea, and Aimee (the other bloggers), Steff of course, Mel, Elisa, Lauren, Gloria, Brandi, Jeff, Nathan, Mike, Jen, Sarah, Haley...sorry if I forgot anyone!
Aimee from The Evolution of Ms. Amiee C., Chelsea from Pittsburgh City Girl,
Mar from Mar on the Run, and me

Everyone at the meetup. Great group!

Chelsea had told me she was running slowly with a friend, Jen, who was doing her first 5K, and I asked if I could tag along. It turned out that a big group of us planned to run very slowly--Mel, Chelsea, Lauren, Jen, Sarah, Aimee, and others. After the national anthem, there was a bit of a delay and then they started playing Journey's Don't Stop Believing--which we all started singing along to--and then we were off.

Mel, Chelsea, Lauren, and I kept together for about the first mile, then Mel and I continued on while Chelsea and Lauren held back. Mel also lives on the Northside and was doing the Pittsburgh Half Marathon as her first half and is signed up to do the Niagra Falls Marathon as her first full in the fall. She also does roller derby! It was fun running and chatting with her the whole race. I originally only planned to run two miles and walk one, but there was a 43-minute course time limit, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to meet it if I walked. So we just ran slowly at an easy pace.

The course goes through the Northside and then back into town.
Official results were a time of 36:32 for an 11:45 pace. Overall, it was a really fun race.

You got a short-sleeved tech tee that's the same design as the long-sleeved tech tee you got for the full or half marathon. When I first saw it, I was happy it was heathered. Some people were bothered that there were separate colors for women and men--pink for the ladies and green for the guys. But what really upset me about the design of the tees and medals this year is that they featured a bridge that is NOT one of the Pittsburgh bridges! The bridges are a huge course highlight, and I cannot believe they didn't use an image of a Pittsburgh bridge. There's a chance it could be the McKees Rocks bridge, but that's not in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, this detail made me really dislike the tees and medals from this year.
The 5K tech tee

The 5K medal

Look for my recap of the Pittsburgh Half Marathon tomorrow!

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