Tuesday, May 9, 2017

2017 Pittsburgh Half Marathon Recap

Hi everyone!  This weekend I was very lucky to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon (thanks to Meranda).  The Pittsburgh half is one of my favorite races, but in the past few years I've always been out of town (or out of the country) that weekend and had to miss it.  After getting a bib and having a disappointing race in Gettysburg, I decided to not go into this race with any goals in mind except to have as much fun as possible.  Spoiler alert- totally crushed that goal!

I work downtown, so I was able to stop by the expo on Friday during lunch with Jennifer.  Pickup was really easy but the expo was packed, so I pretty much grabbed it as quickly as possible and got out of there.  It's probably for the best because expos always tempt me to buy way too many things that I don't really need!

On Sunday morning, Dan and I picked up Jessie and headed downtown.  Parking was easy (and free!) at Rivers Casino, and we took the T (also free!) into town for the race start.  We got into our corral a little before the race started at 7:00, and ended up crossing the start line around 7:20.  Even though we were in corral B, the organizers randomly split up the four official corrals into smaller groups that started a few minutes apart, and we ended up in "corral B-2".


The race started and we took off.  It was a beautiful morning and perfect weather for a race (cloudy with temperatures in the upper 40's at the start) so we started out pretty quickly.  The first section of the race goes through the Strip District, then across the 16th Street Bridge into the Northside.  It's the flattest part of the race, so we had some speedy first few miles!


After running through the Northside, we headed around PNC Park and Heinz Field, then went across our second bridge (West End) to run through the West End and Station Square.  This is always the hardest section for me, because there are a lot of steep uphills and downhills.  Plus, crowd support and live bands kind of dies out near Station Square.  We took some walk breaks and I also started taking some fuel at this point (yay for Honey Stingers being the official fuel of the race!) and grabbed some gummies from a group of spectators!


Our third and final bridge was the Birmingham Bridge that took us back into town.  This is where the full marathon and half marathon split off, and also the longest hill of the race.


We climbed up and up and up until we made it to Fifth Avenue, where it was all pretty much downhill to the finish.  Once we got off the bridge, a group was handing out cups of beer, and Jessie and I both gladly accepted a cup.


The finish line was on the Blvd of the Allies and was PACKED full of people.  I never felt so happy and energetic at the end of a race, and I was just grinning from ear to ear.  This was my first race that I just ran for fun and with a friend, and it was seriously the best experience.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to have good races and do my best, so it felt great to have a fun race where time didn't matter. My mom, who's been to almost every race that I've run in my 18-year running career, even commented that she's never seen me look so happy during a race.  This was exactly what I needed and makes me really excited to keep working hard, and maybe add in a few more races just for fun ;)  Plus, the course changes this year made the race so much more fun, and I loved the fact that we ran by all of Pittsburgh's sports venues.  I loved it!



Can we talk about how gorgeous the medals are?  Pittsburgh always has fantastic designs, but this might be my favorite out of the 5 that I have from this race.


After the race, we stopped by Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse for free boozy milkshakes!  I've never been to any of the Wigle locations but everyone I know raves about them.  This location was so cute- there were benches outside, colorful decorations, a stage for outdoor performances, and games like Jenga and corn hole.  It's also dog friendly (one of the workers said enthusiastically that they are very dog friendly) so I know that we'll be back!


Overall it was such a fun day and I'm so glad that I got to spend it with one of my favorite running friends.  Pittsburgh is such a beautiful city and running it is the best way to see all of the fun neighborhoods.  If you're ever looking for a good half to do, make sure you do this one sometime soon!

Side note- since this is a race recap I feel like I should share the time!  We finished in 2:11:55.

Have you ever run a race for fun?
What's your favorite race course?
How was your weekend?

21 comments:

  1. Sometimes, the time doesn't matter! I am so glad that you had such a great time, plus now I am thinking that I might have to do this in the future!

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  2. I've run for fun a couple of times and I definitely think you picked the right course to do it! Will definitely be doing the half next year (maybe the full) so I'll be living in Pittsburgh :)

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  3. What a beautiful day for a race! Plus you can't go wrong with beer and a boozy milkshake.

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  4. Sounds like you had a great time! I have never really run a half for "fun" - I'm at the back of the pack even with a full effort, within about 15-20 minutes of course limits usually (most by me are about 3 hours or so), so if I slowed down to "fun" pace I might get swept, dang it!!

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    1. Maybe you could do it in a shorter race, like a 5k or 10k?

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  5. How fun! So glad you ladies had a good time, although I don't know if I could stomach a boozy milkshake after a long race!! Pittsburgh is such a great race, I'd love to come back some year...but just for the half next time :-)

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    1. Wigle didn't open until 11, so we did have a few hours before we had them! I can't eat anything after running so I definitely feel you on that.

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  6. I love what your mom said about seeing you so happy. What a great thing to feel while doing something like this! I love it. Congratulations to you two!

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  7. I looked through my race photos today and NONE seem to reflect me having fun. Which is a bummer. But I did. And now I'm also on a mission to recreate boozy milkshakes for our cookout party this summer.

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    1. If you need a taste tester holla atcha girl

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  8. So awesome that you both had a great experience! It sounds like it was exactly what you needed. Running for fun with friends is definitely my favorite type of race! I really love the medal from this year. The Wigle barrelhouse is right around the corner from my house. Unfortunately, I hate whiskey so never go there. But the courtyard is very cute!

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    1. They have lots of other spirits!! You should come with us sometime when they have live music and bring Django :)

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  9. I think my best race experiences are the ones where I don't put any pressure on myself and can just do my own thing without stressing about time goals. I mean, if I can't have fun during a race or a run, why am I doing it? Great job on your run and I love the medal! I ran the Indy Mini on Saturday - also with no goal other than to finish and enjoy the route - and I ended up with one of my best times! :)

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    1. Exactly! That's something I forget about a lot and need to get back to. Congrats on your great race!

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  10. A race for fun sounds like a great idea - especially with a friend! That medal is so cool too!

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  11. So great you got to run with Jessie! What a fun race!

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