Prepping For The Pittsburgh Half-Marathon

Achievement: #44. participate in a 5k half-marathon

Ladies and gentlemen, after months of preparation and weeks of anticipation, I am pleased to announce that at last, RACE WEEKEND IS HERE!!!

At the end of last year, when we were coming up with our new list and talking about goals, we decided we wanted to do a 5K race together. Neither of us is much of a runner (the last 5K I attempted to run left my arthritic hips such a mess that I couldn’t walk for several days after), so we agreed it was okay to walk the race, as long as we both did it and made it through the whole way.

Well. Apparently, that wasn’t good enough for over-achiever me, because I started reading online about the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon, and decided, we’ve done 5Ks before, let’s up the stakes and do a full 13.1 miles.

So, here we are, a few months later, and the night before the big event. It took a decent amount of finagling, as we decided we wanted to do the half-marathon during a month when we really couldn’t afford to pay for the half-marathon, and by the time the things in the way were paid off, the half-marathon was sold out. So, we had to find friends and strangers needing and willing to sell off their bibs, and finally, we were good to go (and yes, I made a note to myself to sign up earlier next year).

The race is tomorrow, May 15, but on the weekend of the marathon, there is a “Health and Wellness Expo” at the Convention Center. It’s the place you pick up your bib, shirt, and goodybag as well, so we headed down this afternoon to get ready.

And let me just say, if I wasn’t rambling on and on about my excitement for the half-marathon before this afternoon, I most certainly am now! Never have I ever accidentally wished away a weekend off like this, in anticipation of the moment we step over the starting line.

Marathon Expo
The expo was packed, and loud. All sorts of sports-related vendors come to this thing, offering discounts and demos for running shoes and gear, protein snacks, race memorabilia, and even running-friendly headphones. There was already some excitement in the air as we walked around to the different booths!

The process of getting all of your race-day gear is kind of confusing, we found out. Michael had done his bib transfer after the cut-off date, so while I was able to just walk up to the appropriate booth and pick up my bib, he had to go to Runner Services and do a full registration form, then get assigned a bib number. Then we had to get our t-shirts and our swag bag, all of which were in completely opposite ends of the convention center. It was a little crazy and not quite so organized, but exciting nonetheless.

Marathon Expo
I am absolutely in love with all the logos and gear for the Pittsburgh Marathon. As we all know, I’m crazy about this city, and so I was nuts over all these cool Pittsburgh logos (they were giving away posters that say “What’s tougher than steel? The last 6 miles.”).

Marathon Expo
Here I am with the second half of the ‘run the city of bridges’ sign. We get four bridges in the half tomorrow: the 16th Street, the West End, the Smithfield Street, and the Clemente.

Marathon Expo
Another great Pittsburgh sign, with some of the places, streets, and bridges we will pass in our travels.

Marathon Expo
And this was my favorite sign, the half-marathon ‘half crazy is still crazy’ sign! SO PUMPED!

Marathon Expo
Michael is not nearly as excited as me so far, but I am hoping that the accumulation of thousands of runner’s highs will get to him tomorrow in the first few miles.

Marathon Expo
And there will be truly thousands of people around us – all of the marathon events are sold out!!

Yesterday, to prepare for the race, Trainer Mike (my trainer at Club Julian, who I work out with faithfully each week!) and I did some cardio and upper body lifting, but tried to take it easy on lower body stuff. The whole time, we talked about the marathon, and what we are excited for or apprehensive about. And then, we finished off with 15 minutes of yoga to get our minds and spirits ready for Sunday! He is running the full marathon (because he is in wicked good shape and lives for this sort of thing), but I promised I am going to find him at the finish line. My weekly circuit workouts are the thing that has gotten me so excited for this marathon – for the first time since I was a dancer, I remember what the exercise adrenaline feels like!

Today, we are drinking loads of water, and having some pasta for dinner (I’ll be double-posting today, as we’re working in an Oakland restaurant for our carb loading), and generally trying to take it easy. We’re just twelve hours away from the start of the race, and I need this energy to spring back up at 4:30am when we’re waking up and getting ready!

Look for the results of our half-marathon tomorrow afternoon, and if you’re in Pittsburgh, get out on the streets and cheer your fellow Yinzers on!!!

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