I’m breaking this recap into several parts – I’m already pretty wordy and this doesn’t need to end up rivaling Ulysses.
The day before was pretty uneventful – quick shake out run, and a trip to the expo to get my bib, race shirt and VIP package that I won from the Pittsburgh Marathon back in January, then back home to nap, watch Miracle (one of my FAVORITE movies ever) and get my things for the race together.
I decided a while ago that I wanted to wear purple to honor (for lack of better word) my step-dad – it was one of his favorite colors and it’s the color for (among other things) pancreatic cancer awareness – the disease we lost him to last August. He also would have turned 65 this month, and I still just miss him terribly. The original plan was also to cut out one of his pictures and put it my shoe as another sort of silent tribute to him. After I got the picture I set it down on my bib without realizing it, went to get the tape and when I looked the picture fit so perfectly on the front that I had to leave it there.
Once my bib and tank were ready to go, I loaded up the kangaroo pouch, charged the iPod and Garmin and ate my pre-race dinner of ravioli and garlic bread. Desert was a slice of strawberry bar from Giant Eagle – delicious. I’d been hydrating like a champ all day, but had a small cup of decaffeinated green tea and one more glass of water before bed.
I woke up early (3AM) to start getting ready. I wanted to make sure I had ample time to get the system…moving, eat breakfast and get myself to the parking garage. Breakfast was my standard cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter and coffee. I started checking the weather report and it was already 50 degrees. If you remember, I’d been freaking out over the damn weather report and even though I said I felt confident about the race, deep down, I knew that this was going to pose a problem. I don’t mean to say that I had a bad attitude going into the day – totally opposite, in fact. I was still excited to run! I was looking forward to seeing my co-workers that would be out on the course cheering, looking forward to running the first half with Jen, and while I knew that a 4:50 finish time would be rough I was still very hopeful that I would get a PR. Didn’t matter if it was a 5:22 finish time…a PR’s a PR. I also wanted to get down to the race as early as possible; I was driving myself, and Tall One was going to come down later to see my finish. The last thing I needed was to get stuck in traffic or not be able to find a spot! I parked and started my walk over to the VIP area at the Westin. I will NEVER get tired of just how gorgeous this city is no matter what time of day.
I got to the hotel, got in line for the bathrooms right away (I can’t tell you how clutch real, flushing toilets and running water were) and then headed to upstairs to the VIP area – there were sections for the SCRR group and for people that purchased (or won!) a package through the race. There was a great spread of food set out, but I just wanted a glass of water to sip while I stretched and snacked on a Clif Bar that I brought from home. I found a quiet little corner to sit in to stretch, eat, and wait for Jen. We grabbed a pre-race picture and decided to head to our corral around 6:30 before they were closed at 6:45 and stopped for a quick picture from the race photographers.
We got to our corral, and decided to get in the port-o-potty line…just in case. Our line was the slooooooooooowest, and while we were waiting the National Anthem was sung, the wheelchair division was off and so were the elites! And we were still in line…6+ people back. I made friends with the guys in line behind us and forced one of them to get our picture taken to humor another race photographer. She asked another guy in line if she could take his picture and he was kind of rude and shitty to her. Then my new best friend in line behind me also declined (politely, though) and she looked like she might cry. I felt really bad so I guilt tripped him into taking a picture.
Our corral started moving forward and we realized we wouldn’t make the start. No biggie – there was no point in letting that get us worked up. So we start a corral back…big woop. Jen and I were both worried about starting out too fast, so maybe it was good to start further back so we didn’t get caught up in the crowds. However, when I read her recap I realized that starting 10+ minutes later meant that it was warmer when we started. That kind of ended up being a big woop. Our turn for the pottys FINALLY came and we made it in and out in record time, wished our new buddies good luck and made our way to the start. we took a few selfies and sent them to my friends…photobombed a few people in front of me taking selfies, took a deep breath and was ready to tackle 26.2 miles of the city.
Pt 2 will be posted in another day or so. Depending on how wordy I get, this may get stretched out to 3 parts. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.