When it comes to running, I have this way of getting people to sign up for things they normally wouldn’t do by themselves. I’d like to think I inspire people to try things out of their comfort zone, but it’s probably purely the peer pressure. “Don’t be a wuss,” goes a long way in my circle of friends. I cannot take credit for the Pittsburgh marathon though. That was the work of my childhood best friend who moved there a couple years ago. She recently became a Doctor of Psychology and doing her voodoo mind magic, conned a visit from me through my love of running (love you Marissa).
The Running Bud: My partner in crime for the race was Marie, my best friend’s sister and in turn my “might-as-well-be” sister. She turned 40 this year and wanted to mark the occasion by running her first full marathon. How could I miss out?! Running 3 full marathons in less than half a year has never been on my list of things I wanted to accomplish. In fact, it sounds crazy. Crazy is unavoidable when you are given the opportunity to run with some of your favorite people on races important and meaningful to them. I was honored to be her running buddy. She has been one of my biggest Glam Runner supporters and of course was all in when I suggested we run in Star Wars costumes. Running enthusiast and fellow dork- YES!
The course: I did not go into the race with any expectations of the course or city. Any person I told I was running a marathon in Pittsburgh met me with blank stares. Even a woman at the race who lived 50 miles from the city looked confused when I told her I was from San Diego, “you flew out here to do this race?” I’m sure the perfect weather helped, but I cannot get over how awesome the course was. Old industrial buildings with fantastic architecture, neighborhood streets, several bridges crossing the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahlea rivers, and rolling hills (flat is sooooo boring), it was all very new and interesting for this west coast girl.
The support: Fuel stations and medical tents were sufficient and the volunteers were diverse and friendly. Since we weaved through neighborhoods, people parked their camping chairs on the side walks and cheered for EVERYONE who ran by. I probably gave out more high fives than I have at any other race. To see children’s faces light up as Marie and I ran by in our Star Wars outfits was the best. I played up to the crowd by doing my best robot impression to anyone who could tell which character I was. Every once in awhile Marie would do her best Wookie growl. Good times! Between miles 13 and 14 a fellow runner asked if I was having fun. When I responded with an “absolutely,” he told me I must be doing something wrong. “Why no sir, I couldn’t be doing it any better.”
The Finish: Our finish time was 5:17:43. Great first marathon finish time for Marie! The next day she wasn’t even walking funny, so in retrospect I think I could have pushed her a little harder. We had not done any training runs together so it was hard for me to gauge how I should pace her. I didn’t want her first full to be miserable. Marissa’s husband also did his first full coming in under 5 hours. Good job Ryan!!
Negatives: I could only think of one. The full marathon clothing selection was chinsy. There was only one cute shirt to pick from. I tossed my race shirt around mile 1.5. My long sleeved tech shirt use is limited in San Diego and I need to save room in my closet for stuff I’d actually wear.
Do Over / Recommendation Factor: Hell yes, I would recommend this race to anyone! If it wasn’t so far away for me I’d gladly do it again and spend more time in a city so rich in history. Great town, great race! Thank you Pittsburgh!