Half Marathon #61
Weather - Blazingly hot and HUMID
We were originally trying to make the Pittsburgh half marathon our final state. Our friend B, who is also running all 50 states, had plans to run this as her first marathon. Unfortunately, she suffered an injury at RnR Phoenix and hasn't been able to run at all, much less a marathon. Regardless, this was going to be a perfect race for us since we have family in the area.
There is no such thing as a direct flight from Indy to Pittsburgh, so we had two super short flights with a 1.5 hour connection in Detroit. Both flights were uneventful. Our uncle picked us up in Pittsburgh, which meant we didn't have to deal with the crazy traffic or try to find our way around. He even took us around town a bit. This picture is the view from Mt. Washington, and actually one of the better pictures I think I've ever taken:
|Don't you just love squinty, wild hair pictures??|
There were some really cool statues all over the city:
We finally find the Wyndham and go in to get our stuff. Only. No one seems to have any clue about where the packet pick up is. The guy at the desk says that no room has been reserved. We ask a guy with volunteer stuff on his shirt, and even he seems to have no clue. Luckily after a few phone calls, we find out the lady is in the lobby. Where we just were. We didn't notice her since only about 2 dozen people had asked for late pickup, so she literally had one box of stuff with her. Phew. Time to eat! We parked the car at my uncle's house and then walked over to Squirrel Hill. We had some amazing Thai food at Bangkok Balcony:
Then we got some custard (oreo!) and a small coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Best night ever! By the time we got dropped off at the hotel, it was already just after 9:00. We were staying at a Double Tree, which ironically is the same hotel that we stayed at in 1998 when my cousin got married (only then it was a Mariott). Small world. Got a fresh cookie at check in and headed to our room. We were both in bed by 10:00, with an appointment to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the start line at 5:30. With all the emails we had received from the race about planning ahead so as to not get stuck in traffic, we had every intention of getting there (ridiculously) early.
Got up about 4:50. Got dressed in a hurry and we were downstairs by 5:20. I fueled for this race on diet coke and the cookie from last night. We'd find out later if that was smart or not. The bus left just a few minutes later. There was absolutely no traffic heading to the start, so we had about 1:45 to kill before the race started. It was a little chilly since the sun wasn't up yet, so we headed back over to the Wyndham to see if we would be able to hang out in the lobby. There was enough chaos that no one really noticed us, and even though it wasn't that much warmer in the lobby, it was better than being outside. We were able to use indoor plumbing and headed over to the start around 7:00. Lines were short so we used the port-o-potties one more time anyway.
The start was so unbelievably crowded. Even 20+ minutes early, we were barely able to get into our corral. We were in the very back, and we got jostled around a TON waiting for the race to start.
Course started out running through some narrow streets of downtown. It was cute! And luckily, the buildings helped to block out some of that BLAZING HOT SUN.
Part of the advertising for this race is that it runs over three bridges. (Which is odd, because we actually ran over five), and that it is "deceptively flat and fast." Well, it was "sorta" flat, although more on that later. By now, the sun was really beating down. There were not the billion aid stations like in Indy, they were about every 2 miles apart.
|The building to the right of the yellow beam in the middle is Heinz, where my uncle worked|
|Bridge 2 "Runner of Steel"|
I don't really remember much of the middle of the course, but here we are coming up on the fourth bridge, and in the bottom left corner is a girl I believe is Kim's doppelganger! We chased her for a good 8 miles and then lost her at an aid station. Never did figure out if we beat her or not!
The course never seemed to get less crowded. Look how many people are EVERYWHERE:
The marathon runners finally split off from the half marathoners around mile 10.5. Unfortunately, that did very little to ease the crowds on the course. Here we are heading for the final bridge, #5, heading in to the final two miles of the race.
Now I'm not sure how I missed it on the elevation profile, but there was a freaking CRAZY huge long hill from mile 11 to 12. I don't know how I managed to get up that damn thing without walking, but I did. And then, I was rewarded with pretty much a complete downhill from mile 12 until mile 13.
|That building in the middle is the prison. FANCY!|
Official time - 2:15:47
Official pace - 10:22
Official 10K - 1:05:03
Official 11.3 Mile - 1:57:31
Overall Place - 5945/12135
Gender Place - 2913/7439
Division Place - 526/1298
Garmin Time - 2:15:46
Garmin Distance - 13.20 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:17
Mile 1 - 9:47
Mile 2 - 9:59
Mile 3 - 10:41
Mile 4 - 10:36
Mile 5 - 10:25
Mile 6 - 10:08
Mile 7 - 10:37
Mile 8 - 10:25
Mile 9 - 9:50
Mile 10 - 10:32
Mile 11 - 10:30
Mile 12 - 11:09
Mile 13 - 9:06 (WHEEEE!)
Mile 13.1ish - 7:53 (Final kick at 6:07!!)
Even though the weather wasn't great, I really did enjoy the course. It was a bit more crowded than I normally like, but the scenery was nice and I did like all the crowd support and bands on the course. I'd maybe do this one again!
After the race, we caught the shuttle back to the hotel (we only had to wait about 15 minutes). After showering, our cousin picked us up and treated us to some Mexican food for lunch. I ate the biggest enchilada EVER. It was so good, it had spinach and (???) zucchini in it? Who knew that would be the best enchilada EVER. Anyway, we drove around town, walked around the mall for a bit, then it was time to head to the airport. Whirlwind trip like usual, but a lot of fun and I was glad to have the chance to see some of my extended family.
Security at the Pittsburgh airport was crazy busy (which is apparently unusual). Flight was delayed a bit, but we weren't supposed to land late. I include this picture because I was trying to check the local weather, and it put my location as "moon" - that's interesting.