So I awoke at 3:30AM on Sunday May 4th, 2014. My four alarms were not set to go off until 5AM. Guess I did not need all that back-up after all. I set the alarm on my iPad, iPhone, Alarm clock and my FitBit! HA!!! OCD at all!?!? When I woke up and remembered why I was up so early I was terrified. I was so terrified I would not finish. I did the training and was secure in that but I just kept thinking...I did not train hills...the hills are going to kill me. Then my mind started racing. I could blow it all off! I could lie and say I slept in or the alarm did not go off or I sprained my ankle. But then I thought of how I would feel...I had to at least try! Even if I failed, at least I tried!! All those months of training kicked in!!! I suited up!!!
I arrived downtown at about 5AM...as you can see from my photo below - one of the first - HA! This is my Corral (D). I am a very slow runner!
Very ironic that my Corral was situated right in front of this building! I have not had a drink in 17 years...LOL! If I had had a drink in the past 17 years, trust me, I would not have been running a marathon - ha ha!
It was getting a little later....took a little selfie...
This was about 6:30AM...Now we're filling up Corral D...
Called my sister and my nephew around 7AM from the Corral since it was my nephews birthday too that day! I have a tradition of singing happy birthday to everyone in my family on their birthdays. I tried his cell around 7AM and he did not have voice mail so I then tried her phone and told her I would call hm later. Then the little rain droplets began to fall so I put my iPhone in the baggie and that is why the pictures look soo dark!
Plastic bagged my phone due to rain...
The race started and I felt great!!! Running very strong and confident. I intended on getting a picture of every Mile marker. We left downtown Pittsburgh and ran right into the Strip District...here is picture of Mile 2...missed Mile 1, not sure how?!
I also missed Mile 3 marker which marked the start of running into what is known as the North Side of Pittsburgh. I heard someone say that it was on the corner of a bridge we ran over? I did get Mile 4
Then came this bridge! I loved the signs across the top of the bridges and decided I needed to run backwards and get a photo for you all!!!! At this point in time my phone rang. It was my nephew. Since it was his birthday and it was early enough in the run that I felt great - I answered and as I started singing happy birthday on the phone a few people running near me jumped closer and joined in! It was a great moment and I only wish I had their names or race numbers now! Thanks to you...you know who you were!
Then Mile 6 which was still the North Side
And Mile 7...heading into the West End...
And more of the West End at Mile 8...
This is where I remember seeing Ellen and Steve last year when I ran the half for the first time. They were so great with their signs for me so I took a picture of the empty spot! They had a baby two months ago and could not make it to spectate this year! Shout out - your bodies were absent but your spirit was not missed!!
After this mile I bumped into an amazing friend of mine, John Laukaitis. It was soooo awesome that he came out for me! I gave him a big hug and ran on! My friends rock!
This is headed down the South Side of Pittsburgh...I knew my family was up ahead somewhere!!
Then I hit the legendary (in my mind) split right before 11. The half marathoners go left and full marathoners go right. For the first time ever, I went right! Wow! I just kept thinking in my head - how could this not even be halfway yet? Am I really going to finish this race? Should I just go left and complete the half and give up on the full? It was a very serious debate in my head. And then I made that decision. After all the hard work and training, there's no way I was about to go left. I was moving forward with completing the full! And then, thank God, I saw my family! They were at the Double-wide Grille in the Southside right after the split!
Here are a few pics they got! Below are my adorable nieces the signs they made!!!
And they captured me running off. What you cannot see is that I just started sobbing...and could not stop!!! They are so amazing and positive and supportive!! I could not stop crying. I had to stop running and calm myself because I could not breath, cry and run all at the same time! HA
I somehow missed the 12 which began our way into Oakland but I got Mile 13 although it looks like 3...
And...as much as I hate to report this to you... this is when my phone died....mile 14 in Shadyside. Needless to say this is the last picture of the race :-(
Then I saw these cuties plus my brother and sister in law! My niece and brother started running next to me and he was awesome! He just kept telling me how great I was doing and how he was proud- again, pretty awesome family!! Awesome signs and kids, right!?!? Everything in me to NOT start crying again! These pictures are from my sister-in-laws facebook!
Look at my awesome cheering section?!?! Seriously, who could resist these faces?! Soooooo sweet! I HAD to run on!
At this point in the race my sweet friend Christie jumped out and said hi! I had started my walk and jog portion of the race and she jumped in a said let's go....she even jogged next to me for about 1/2 mile. The whole time she was telling me how awesome it was that I was completing my first full marathon and I was almost done! Then she hugged me and said she could not wait to hear about the finish!I swear, my family and friends got me through!!!
The rest of the miles were simply a blur...mixed in with some kind of pain from somewhere!
The rest of the towns we ran through were...
Mile 16-South Point Breeze
Mile 17 Homewood
Mile 18 Homewood
Mile 19 East Liberty
Mile 20 Highland Park - it was around this mile that everyone was saying "It is all downhill from here". I was so happy to hear that!!! I had not trained on any hills! I know, that was crazy of me! I did my training runs on the treadmill and the Montour Trail which is very flat compared to the city of Pittsburgh! HA - the hills were killing me! Well, anyway, they were NOT correct! It was not downhill! There were many hills left and many big hills left at that! I ran and walked almost the whole rest of the time!
Mile 21 Friendship - it was around this mile that the band that was playing started playing Gonna Fly Now from Rocky! WOW! Anyone that says that music odes not make a difference did not see me! I took off - I have no idea where that burst came from - HA!
Mile 22 Bloomfield
Mile 23 Bloomfield
Mile 24 Strip District
Mile 25 Strip District - it was around this mile that I met Tootsie. She was originally from Pittsburgh and moved to Philadelphia, PA. She came back to run the marathon for her bucket list too! She did not care about her time just finishing also! We chatted and ran and then chatted and speed-walked. It passed the time for the entire last two miles of the course! Thanks Goodness I ran into her!
Mile 26 Downtown
I finished with a time around 6:02:02 which came to a 13 something mile. I am so happy with that!! I truly did not think I was going to finish - everything hurt by then end!!! I am so proud of myself for setting this goal and sticking with it!! I now know I can do anything I set my mind to!
YEA!!!!!!! In closing, I did not get bit by the marathon bug! I do not EVER want to complete another! I am proud and I loved every second but will not do another. I am sticking with smaller races so I do not lose that joy of running ever again (I lost it about three months into training - I began dreading every run and hated every second of my training runs). I will do 5Ks and 10Ks and fun runs and MAYBE, just MAYBE, next year the half in Pittsburgh but never a full!
Thanks for all your supportive and kind comments over the past few months - you do not know how much you have helped me. And, to anyone that ever wrote a blog post about running or marathons, thanks for your information! I appreciated it and read it and used it! Thank you - Thank you - Thank you!!!!!!