5.07.2013

Pittsburgh Half-Marathon Recap

This is the photo taken at the end of the race and sent to Sara saying "we're finished!"
Distance: 13.1 miles.
Time: 2 hours, 31 minutes, 48 seconds.

A little (ok, a lot) slower than I wanted, but I finished and that is always my first goal, so I'll take it! I want to recap the race, but I want to be clear that I'm not complaining or making excuses. I'm proud of my time, when I think that just 1 year ago this very weekend I wasn't sure I could run more than 6 miles at a time and then I think about each of those 7.1 miles past that point that I ran Sunday I am still in amazement.

While I ran my first race distance of 13.1 miles in October, I feel like this was my first "real" half-marathon. Running a race with 30,000 people in it in a city 90 minutes away is way different than one with 250 in it in my back yard.

When we started, I couldn't figure out a way to get a good pace going. It took about 5 - 6 miles for the pack of people to really thin out where you could run your own pace and not have to worry too much about others around you. I was also very distracted by all of the things to look at and see - there were spectators lining the streets. It was awesome. Just an example of how I had trouble pacing myself at one point I looked down and was running faster than an 8 minute-mile. I realized how dangerous it was for me to keep up at the pace and slowed myself down. About a quarter mile later I looked down and was running about a 13 minute-mile. I realized that this was way too slow and it was no wonder I felt like I was walking. When my watched beeped that my first mile was 10:59, I admit, I was really upset. I knew to meet my goal time of 2:15:00, I had to keep under 10:14 miles. I was pretty proud of myself for shaking it off and just determining to run my race and not get hung-up on my finish time.

Near the mile 3 point fluid station, I took 2 cups of water and swallowed a Gu (it's a gel that is full of electrolytes and protein to help keep energy up) just like I always do in a race. Well, it didn't sit on my stomach well. Not. at. all. I thought I was gonna vomit. I didn't. However, the feeling persisted until the very end of the race. For approximately 10 miles I was nauseous. About mile 5 when I realized the nausea wasn't going away, I just tried to push it out of my mind. I succeeded for the most part. I did opt to not eat any more of my Gus, and just drank Gatorade and water at the fluid stops.

Crossing the 4th of 5 bridges, I was starting to struggle, but I new I'd see my Uncle (my cousin was also running) just past mile 7, and that was coming up. This gave me the motivation to keep going, and when I saw him, and another Uncle too!, as I turned a corner down a hill, I was overjoyed. I high-fived them both and I think that excitement carried me through to at least mile 9 or 10.

The last 3 miles - most which were uphill. Big hills. See:

The last 3 miles. Knowing I was getting close, knowing what I had to go up, knowing that I was not going to make my goal time of 2:15:00, and knowing that I was dangerously close to not beating my first half-marathon time, I was tempted to just ease up and finish comfortably. So tempted.

But I didn't. I ran up as much of those hills as I could, and I forced myself to move faster than I wanted down the hills. As I headed down the final slope to the finish line, I'd be lying if I said my thoughts didn't go to Boston. I'd only run 1/2 of what those runners had, and to imagine that joy turned to tragedy - it made me shudder. As I finished my race and crossed the finish line, I felt that accomplishment, that rush of doing what I used to think I couldn't do and I was grateful I'd opted to truly race the last 3 miles and not just coast in.

As I finally got a good drink of water and ate a banana, and quit running - even moving - my nausea slowly dissipated and I ate my Smiley Cookie:
(after 13.1 miles, I didn't care it had gluten in it. It's times like this I'm super grateful I just have an "intolerance" and one cookie once in a while won't bother me) and allowed myself to think back over the race and this is what I determined:

It wasn't the race I planned or wanted. But it was my race and I'm grateful for and proud of every step of it.

28 comments:

  1. Congratulations! Way to go!

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  2. This is so inspiring! Awesome job! Thanks for sharing the details. :)

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  3. I love your closing! If you substitute road/path/life for race, it's a great attitude and approach. I may have to borrow it. :)

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    1. I almost continued with a reflection as it related to infertility on that exact point! I figured I'd rambled on long enough, so I stopped. But yes, you are quite right. And please, borrow away :).

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  4. Congrats on your finish! Proud of you!

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  5. Yay for running your race well and finishing strong!

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  6. Wow, just... wow! You are totally an inspiration! Maybe... juuuuuust maybe I'll do one of those couch/running do-dads sometime soon...

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    1. There is plenty of time to be ready for a certain 5k in August. ;)

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  7. You are a total inspiration to those who think they can only go so far..ahem, that would be me! I freaking love your determination and how you finished strong!! Way to go :)

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  8. Way to go Rebecca! !!!!! Amazing job. And even feeling nauseous - ugh! And all those hills!!!! Incredible, no matter what your time :)

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  9. Congratulations and way to go!!! I am in awe of you!! :)

    And seriously... did you HAVE to post that smiley cookie? I MISS those!!!

    I told DH, on my deathbed I want a priest, an auntie anne's pretzel, a bread from Mancini's (you have had that bread in Pittsburgh, before right? It's the best italian bread ever), and a smiley cookie. I'm going out with gluten, haha. :)

    Congratulations again!!! :) :) :)

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    1. Oh yes - Mancini's is a regular on the table at any of my family's gatherings. Now, I just admire it from afar. We actually ran right past there as the Strip District was part of our route!

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  10. Congrats!! We have the same experience--my first half was a couple minutes under my goal, and my second was actually slower than the first--and about 12 minutes over my goal for that race. Well, there's always next time! ;)

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  11. 10 miles of nauseous running sounds miserable. Kudos for getting through it! Let me know if you decide to bottle your attitude and sell it, because I'm in line to buy it.

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  12. AWESOME! Congratulations! Good work!! Love the recap! (and BTW, I detest Gu...I tried it once with a big backpacking trip and it reminded me of --sorry--snot! So I can't imagine putting it in my mouth while running!!)

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    1. Haha! Gus are one of the few things I can stomach - I can't take anything that I have to chew. I usually don't have any problem with them, so I don't know what was going on.

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  13. You ROCK!! Ahhh....gels. Or as I say, sinus infections in your mouth :). And I lived in Pgh for a few years. How I miss the smiley face cookies.

    Congrats on a great time and finishing through nausea!!!

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  14. You are a superstar! Maybe we can do a race together one day, that is if I ever make it to 5K!

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  15. Such a great perspective. I'm a singer, but I've really committed to singing in the past two years or so. On Christmas morning, I sang this really difficult Bach aria at church. I had so much fun singing it and sharing the months of work I'd put into it, but it was tinged with sadness for me, because I would obviously rather have been too pregnant or too post-partum to sing.

    But I tried to grab on to the joy of that morning, because really it's all we can do. It sounds like you sucked the marrow out of that race. Congratulations!

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  16. So proud of you! You are an inspiration. :)

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  17. WOW!!! Way to go! I just ran a half mile and couldn't do it without walking, I'm that sad of a runner. You should be extremely proud!

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  18. I am SO impressed by you running the 13.1 miles!!! GREAT JOB!!!

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