I took the trolley down this year instead of driving which ended up being a very good idea! So much easier than dealing with a car! I left home around 5ish and arrived downtown around 6:30. Perfect! So the next two pictures are the start corral about 10 minutes before the official start at 7AM. My start was not until about 7:28 as it took that long to make it up to cross the starting line. So if you are following my pictures...then take 28 minutes off the clock in the pictures and you will have my time
And another sea of people...
The course start line was on Liberty and Garrison. We stayed on Liberty Avenue the whole first mile - here is a picture...remember that is not a 39 minute mile...LOL...subtract about 28 from that.
From this mile market we ran about another half mile down Liberty Avenue and then made a left onto 30th Street and then another quick left onto Penn Avenue (the Strip District). About 1/2 mile down Penn Avenue was the 2 Mile Marker and a water station - see the cups?!?!?
We stayed on Penn Avenue until we came to the 16th Street Bridge and there we made a right and ran across that bridge. I still cannot figure out how I missed the 3 Mile Marker - I think it was about halfway across the bridge or something because I never saw it but I noticed the 5 Kilometer sign when I came to the end of the bridge so I get that instead! HA HA
At the end of the bridge we made a left onto E Ohio Street and then a left on Cedar. At the end of Cedar we made a right on Stockton and a left on Anderson Street to prepare to cross the second bridge of the race which was the Rachel Carson Bridge. This was almost Mile Marker 4!! This is where I started feeling pretty good! Up to now I felt tight and was worried that my lack of training may just make me have to drop out and not finish at all!
This is everyone kinda smooshing to merge together to cross the Rachel Carson bridge!! You can see the bridge up ahead! I was amazing with the mass of people!!!
Andddd... Mile 4!! Right before we crossed the Rachel Carson bridge!
One more shot going across - I love the bridges!!! No matter what they tell you, the bridges are hills too! Next time I am soooo training hills!!!!!
At the end of the bridge we made a right onto Fort Duquesne Blvd and then a right to quickly cross back over the river on the Andy Warhol bridge!!! At the end of the bridge we went left onto the Parkway North (I have to interject here...it is so much fun to run on the roads in the city that you are used to driving on!! I think that is one of my favorite parts of running the Half-Marathon!) and then a right onto Federal Street. We merged to the right at the end of Federal and it turns into S. Commons which was, finally, Mile Marker 5!!!! And slightly uphill...
At the end of S. Commons we went left onto E. Commons. Then at the end made a left onto N. Commons and then another left onto W. Commons - so yes, just what you are thinking, we ran in a big circle (or box if you want to get technical - HA!). We then made a right onto Ridge and another right onto W Ohio with a quick left jaunt onto Brigton Street where we finally hit Mile 6!!
We then made a right onto N. Lincoln Avenue and a right onto Galveston Avenue and then a left onto Western Avenue. We followed Western Avenue a long way until it actually turns into the West End Bridge - after we crossed that I finally saw mile 7!!!!!
We were now headed to the West End (which I have to say was the best entertainment anywhere!) They always go out and make the runners feel so welcome!! Love this part of the city - seriously they were amazing with crowd support! We made a right onto Steuben Street and then a left on Wabash to loop back around to the city. We then made a left onto S. Main Street and stayed on that road for a loooooooooooooong time! We hit Mile 8 about a half mile down the road. Another hill...
S. Main then turned into Lincoln Highway and we merged right onto Lincoln Highway. Lincoln Highway then turns into W. Carson Street. After what felt like a long time on that road we hit Mile Marker 9!
Then I saw this guy! His name is John and he is a very dear, longtime friend of mine! He has come down for the past three years to show his support!!! He is so awesome and sweet!! He was in the same place two years ago for my first half and also last year for my first full!!! What a guy!!!
After the selfie, I continued down W. Carson Street until I saw Mile Marker 10!!! Only I did not see it!!!! It was the only one that escaped me totally!!! I swore I would get every flag and a missed that one so it gives me something to shoot for next year!!! RIGHT!??! So, after that unseen Mile Marker 10 we kept going down W.Carson Street until I did see Mile Marker 11 - how could I miss it?!?!? Love this guy!!!! I think he was going for 9-11 - get it? Do you see it?
After that we made a left to cross over on the Birmingham Bridge. At the end of this bridge is where the split happened this year (last year it was before the bridge). The half marathon people (ME) went left onto Fifth Avenue and those Marathoners went right for 14 more miles! WOWSA!!! After a short distance down Fifth Avenue we made a left onto Moultrie Street where I ran right into Mile Marker 12!!!!!! There was another water station here - YEA!!!!
We made a right on Forbes Avenue and then left onto Jumonville and then a right onto the Boulevard of the Allies!!! Now we all know we are in the homestretch!!! YEA YEA YEA! There is a long, slow uphill climb here that stinks (for people like me that do not "embrace the hill") and the rest is downhill into the city of Pittsburgh and the finish line! I stopped to the this photo!!!! Only 0.1 left!!!!!!!!!
And another closer!!! Look at those crowds!! How amazing are they!!! And the volunteers at the water and Gatorade stations and everywhere else - thank you!!!! Quick thank you to everyone that came out the races this weekend!!!! You guys rock and it's that atmosphere and vibrant crowd that keeps me wanting to run every year! Also, thanks to everyone that held out a "push here for power" sign - I swear they worked!
At the very end I had to turn backwards before I crossed the finish to get a quick shot of my amazing family!!!! They all live in other states and they all came in to see me finish the Half-Marathon! I could not ask for a more amazing and supportive family! How cute are they!?!?!?!?
This is my "I have crossed the finish line" selfie!!! Can not post every single flag throughout the race and not post the I crossed one, right?!?!? The Marathon did a great job of keeping the chutes for the runners cleared out...after you crossed the finish you were sent down the chute - first you got a water bottle, then your medal, and then a silver heat wrap, banana, Panera bagels, fruit cups, potato chips, smiley cookie (Eat n Park Restaurant trademark cookie) and finally a baggie to put it all in. Perfect ending!
After we walked around a little and cooled down; my parents took myself and my wonderful cheering section family out to lunch at Atria's near PNC for a celebratory luncheon! How sweet and awesome!!! This is the whole crew!!! So happy - what a great day! It's official - I have now completed one full marathon and two half's!!!!!!
I had to show this - my fitbit and the end shot of the end! Crazy number of calories and steps!! Yea me!
And last but not least...My little sister made me this medal holder! Isn't it awesome!! I have been using shadow boxes for each race but I love this!!! SSSOOOO crafty!! Thanks Susie-I love you!!
PS - Who else ran? What did you think? Were you hot? Did you PR? Did you see Mile Marker 3?!?!?!
PSS - Don't forget to enter my birthday giveaway for a #25 Starbucks gift card HERE! There is hardly anyone registered yet?