The post below is part of a series of posts about the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events for which I have been selected to be a 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon official blogger. I’ve received my race registration fee in exchange for promotion of the event. All opinions are 100% my own. This post also contains affiliate links.
This past weekend was truly a dream come true – so full of words and memories that I’ve split this post into three posts so I don’t completely bore you. This is part two of three in my weekend wrap-up.
2019 Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend: 5K
Saturday morning started out with the 5k. We were staying in the Omni William Penn (something I will definitely do again is stay downtown on race weekend and OWP is AMAZING), so I caught an early morning T over to the North Shore. Unfortunately, the bum knee made my walk across the street a bit slower than I’d hoped so I missed the T that would have made me make the #WeRunSocial photo opp by a mere minute. Gah!
I sipped on my Propel and ate a protein bar on the ride over – not my typical race day breakfast because we somehow forgot water for me to make my NUUN and I didn’t check to see if the hotel had a microwave for my sausage patties. The family had decided it wasn’t worth watching me get started and that they’d just see me at the finish line – great decision – so it was just me.
Since I’d tried to make the picture, I had a bit of extra time but this 5k crowd doesn’t play. The corrals were filling up and I could see the pacers were decently far ahead of where I was standing to get ready. I decided to jam in and instead of what I probably should have done (find Brandi and enjoy the 5k as a stroll), I found Victor and the 13:00/mile pace group. He was going to be doing a Galloway 30/30 split, so I decided to give it a try. I even met a new friend and ran some of the course with her.
While I’d never done the 30/30 split, I found myself feeling great while doing it. Heck, I was even sweaty in the cool of the morning in my tank top and Happy Puppies running shorts! I was getting a workout and my knee felt fine. There was a point where I thought we were going faster than 13:00/mile, but I was enjoying myself and didn’t want to focus on pace anyways…well, we did kick it up a bit on this course and I ended up “unofficially” setting a course PR because my 2018 time did not record correctly for some reason (I ran right beside the 13:00 pacer last year and my chip reads 58 seconds slower than her’s did) and we pulled off an official 12:45/mile this year! Woot! Take that, knee!
Now, because I like to be honest with you, I’ll tell you that I don’t love the back of the pack in this particular 5k. There are a lot of people who run this race as their keystone event of the weekend which is great, but I watched three people get pushed to the ground by other runners just not being careful. Runners, we have to be respectful of the others out there on the course! I had two rocks kicked at me (I know it’s by accident, but again, take care) and was shocked at the number of potholes we still had on the streets. But all in all, I finished safely and that’s what matters.
2019 Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend: The Kids Marathon
The family (aka, my biggest fans) was waiting for me at the Finish Line, so after we gathered my medal and banana, it was go time for the kids to make it over to the North Shore for their starting line. We took the T from Gateway and got the kids ready to go in their corral. Since all four kids ran it, we had to split up our runners into heats by age – the twins in Heat 7 and Bigs in Heat 8. We snapped a family photo and loved that our heats were in the middle of the heats this year – way less waiting than other years!
I was a bit nervous about how this was going to go. Ava has loved running and she was SO READY for weeks. Isla is a wild card – her training was one “run” on the trail that wasn’t more than step step rest. I had shown Ava where to go if she got lost at the end, but really wanted to try to keep up with her, even if it meant carrying Isla. Greg would be behind with Arianna and Evan if anything went wrong, so I just had to lean in and trust that God had this in control (as He does all things).
Those girls were READY, though! We spent a good amount of time high fiving the mascots and TJ Watt (mom fail for not getting photos) and then WE WERE OFF. Ava would run ahead then come back and check on Isla – it was too cute!
We were about halfway down the straight before the last turn when I heard, “Hi Mommy, bye Mommy” and Evan went shooting past us (having started five minutes behind us). Ava took off after him and they finished within seconds of each other. It kicked Isla into gear and we crossed the finish line just over 13:00 (even though the kids’ heats aren’t timed, I had my watch ready). Evan did it in just over 8 minutes – insane! We had our medals and I turned around and saw Ari and Greg – just a minute behind. I was so proud of those kids!
The Finish Line chute for the Kids Marathon is awesome – they get their water, bananas, fruit cups, and a goodie bag in addition to their medals. These little Runner of Steel moments are going to stick with my kids for years to come.
2019 Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend: The VIP Experience (part two of three)
Another perk of the Official Blogger program was getting the VIP experience which included a great way to experience the Expo. When it was time to pick up my packet/bib, everything was ready for me at a table right inside the door of the Expo. I didn’t have to wait in lines to get bibs, circle around the vendors to get my bag, or worry about dropping my shirt or those sacred pins while I was shopping. I opted to just visit the booth last after I took in the Expo. What a great perk!
(In my case, I needed to get bibs for the kids and two of my relay team, so I did have to go through the lines but they really were not awful. It just was a nice way to experience the Expo.)
And speaking of the Expo – I had such a great time there that I had to go twice!
There were plenty of booths to test out the different gels/waffles/gummies/hydration options that the Marathon’s Partners sell and I easily got hooked on Honey Stinger’s Cherry Blossom gummies which made it into my pocket on Sunday. So good and way less sugar than other energy gel cubes I’d been using!
I got to see my friends from Brag Swag who had some amazing Burgh Swag that was unique and could be made right on site – and of course I had to pick up a new shirt which you can see on my Medal Monday Instagram post. Speaking of friends, it was great to bump into Chelsea (both days), Amanda, Carla, and Conrad along the way, too!
I joked about “going broke” via IG story and I did spend some nice cash while there. The best spend, hands down, was on Pro Compression socks – three pairs for just a little more than one normally costs. I’ve tried others and heard that these were the ones to try but I just didn’t have the $ to spend. This was the weekend to do it, and I’m so glad I was able to. I wore my socks on Friday and Saturday evening after logging a lot of steps around the city and then again on Sunday on the car ride to vacation. SO WORTH IT. Greg also picked up a BEDGEAR pillow with our sleep expert from Levin’s (he happened to be the guy who sold us our bed at the home show in 2018) and he’s loved sleeping on it so far (I’m jelly, but there is a nice deal in the virtual goody bag that I might redeem).
So much more to cover, but for now it’s time to get back to the family. I know you’re waiting in suspense to hear how I feel about how things turned out for me on Sunday. Keep your eyes on this page for part three, coming soon!