Race Recap: The Columbus Half Marathon Weekend, Including the Highlights Kids’ Run

This will be a long post as it covers the entire Columbus Marathon weekend, including the Highlights Kids’ Run.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

We dropped our dog off on the way into Columbus at All Tails R Waggin. I strongly recommend this place! We arrived in Columbus around 11:30 AM and had no trouble getting around road closures to find a parking spot close to North Bank Park where the Highlights Kids’ Race was being held. We hit the porta-potties lined up near the C-Corral before making our way into the park. We quickly found the registration booth, collected the boys’ nice backpacks filled with Highlights stuff, and went off to do the passport program they had set up with three different booths.

Our first stop was a bike safety booth where the kids got new, free bike helmets. We were so surprised and happy. The team at this booth worked hard to find a helmet that fit every kid that came to their booth. It was so amazing. Then we stopped at the firefighter booth to learn about fire safety… which my kids were pros at, obviously. Then there was also a water and health booth. They got a bunch of cute and useful free things (a new water bottle, some toys). I loved this aspect of the day because it gave the kids something to do while we waited in the cold wind. The wind was brutal on Saturday and everyone kept commenting that they hoped it died down for the race the next day.

My parents showed up as we waited in line for face painting. LittleBrother went with a pirate theme, complete with eye patch and mustache. He asked if he could wear it to school on Monday. BigBrother simply went with a mustache which he made dance around by wiggling his nose. My mother- and sister-in-law showed up with our nephew Noah before the parade of kids and families, which made for a great time.

Before the Race

With the Race Sign

The parade walked around the kids’ expo area and onto the race course where the kids would run. This was a little confusing and many parents felt uneasy leaving their kids with someone they didn’t know with no real understanding of how the races would be run or how we would retrieve our kids. The parents of the younger kids (3-5 age group) were especially wary. LittleBrother was also wary, asking me at this point if he had to do the kids’ race next year. I said he could do what he wanted next year. The gentleman in charge of the 6-8 age group reassured us and we gave the boys the best instructions we could… and we went and waited down the course from the starting line to watch them run. They did a loop and ran back to where they started.

The boys did great, both running stronger and faster than I had ever seen them run. (Pics of running here.) We quickly walked to the finish to find them and did so with ease. We waited with them while they got a banana and their medals.

Later in the day, LittleBrother asked if he could run the kids’ race again next year because he had so much fun. So despite everyone feeling a little anxious about the confusion, my two kids still enjoyed the race. I imagine we’ll do it again!

We then separated. My parents took the kids back to their hotel (they stayed at the Renaissance and had great customer service) while my husband and I went to the Expo at the Greater Columbus Convention Center which I always forget is gigantic. Having run Columbus last year and having looked at the map of the Expo prior to arrival, I knew that the packet pickup was upstairs. We walked straight to the back of the Expo, went up stairs, retrieved our race packets, and stopped at the Corral Solutions booth. Despite registering with the same goal time, they placed my husband in Corral C and me in Corral B. Our pace group was in Corral B. We explained this to the man at the booth, and he placed a B sticker over the C on my husband’s bib. We were at the booth less than two minutes. We picked up our shirts and goodie bags and hit the downstairs Expo.

EXPO!

My husband was in search of a pair of new shoes for his next pair of running shoes. While a bunch of knowledgeable people were there from Fleet Feet, Columbus Running, and other brand name shoes, no one brought a wide selection of wide shoes. My husband needs a shoe with a very wide toe box and struggles to find a shoe that fits properly. We learned that Mizuno Wave Riders may be his best bet, but they didn’t have his size in the right width. The search continues. I bought some shirts at the official store and checked out a few more booths before we decided to head on out.

ALL THE SHIRTS
I loved this Nike “Girls Gotta Run” shirt so much I bought the short sleeve and the sweatshirt.

We checked into our hotel, the Double Tree Downtown Columbus, and rested in our amazingly awesome room for a bit. Then we headed to dinner. I made reservations for our whole party at 5pm at Elevator Brewing. I made them early because: A) My four person family eats early anyway, B) all of the people in the city for the race, C) all of the people in the city for the OSU game that would be ending shortly that evening, D) race day eve requires early bedtime, so I wanted to eat and get back to our hotel. It started sprinkling on our walk there, and the wind was whipping around buildings.

Our dinners were amazing. LittleBrother picked the chorizo nachos for an appetizer which ended up being a delicious pick. I ordered the drunken mussels linguine which was the perfect portion size of pasta, a delicious taste, and didn’t have red sauce. I can’t eat red sauce the night before a race or it’s heartburn city while running. Our entire party, kids included, loved their meals. The building was amazing, and our waitress, Sam, treated us so well. BigBrother ordered on his own, and possibly flirted with Sam the waitress. All the same, both boys loved their root beers which were made at the restaurant.

Drunken Mussels Linguine
My dinner. OMGSOGOOD.

After dinner, the boys went to the hotel with my parents while my husband and I dodged rain drops on our way back to our hotel. We watched TV for a bit, took hot showers, and I dried my hair before taking Zzzquil at 8:30. I was asleep before 8:45.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The alarm went off at 5:00. I attempted to start the coffee, but the coffee pot in our room was broken. I muttered and grumbled and decided to quit. I drank water and had some BelVita honey bars while getting dressed. I did some last minute debating on what I was wearing. Should I wear the new long sleeve I bought just before race weekend or should I just trust my tank, shorts, and arm warmers would be enough? I decided to trust my gut, but felt pleased that I tossed my new running gloves in at the last minute. I also had a throwaway hoodie to wear down to the corrals while we waited.

Sadly, my husband couldn’t get the coffee pot to work either when he got up 15 minutes later. We grumbled, got dressed, and left our room around 6:00. The walk to North Bank Park didn’t take long at all. The signage wasn’t clear about where to enter corrals, but we eventually found the entrance to Corral B.

I’d show you a photo here, but MarathonFoto says my images aren’t ready to download even though they already took my money. That’s cool of them, isn’t it? Never again.

Groups of people were huddled around heaters just outside the corrals. We decided to just enter our corral and hang out for a bit. My husband stretched while I internally debated whether or not I should hit the porta-potties down the hill from A and B or not. I chose not to, but really started to doubt my decision as 7:00 rolled around. At 7:15 I took off my hoodie and tossed it over the fence. The corral was crowded enough at this point that I didn’t feel too chilly. My husband made a comment that he would bring a sweatshirt or hoodie to toss next year too—even though I mentioned it to him before hand this year. The lessons we learn. (All tossed clothing is collected by Goodwill and donated.)

The national anthem kicked everything off, and the fireworks were even better than last year. Soon we were off across the starting line and running our half marathon.

Mile 1

Oops. Too fast. If you look at every race I’ve ever run, my first mile is always too fast. I suppose the ability to NOT TO comes with time and experience, but I’m not there yet. It was very crowded and my husband and I kept bumping into each other. I was actually surprised we were running that fast, because it felt like we were going nowhere.Split: 9:11

Mile 2

Oops. Too fast. At the start of this mile, my husband pointed out that we took the first mile too fast. I shrugged and said, “It happens.” But we didn’t slow down much. The weather was glorious, we had warmed up, the sun was rising, and everything felt perfect. We were coming down a small grade at this point, so slowing down just didn’t happen. We saw our family at the Presbyterian church just before the two mile marker. I think they were surprised to see us so early because we saw them before they saw us. I was thrilled to see them. I took off my gloves before the end of mile 2, tucking them into the front of my Fuel Belt (causing a bruise before the end of the race). Split: 9:20

Us at Mile 2
I think my husband is one of those “look at this super happy attractive guy running a marathon” type people. Meanwhile, I’m just open-mouthed, catching flies.

Mile 3

More slight downhill grade. Feeling great. Saw a sign that said “No Walken Allowed” with a photo of Christopher Walken, and laughed out loud. At the point, the pack leaders were passing us on their loop back toward the city. Many of us made jokes that we were running that fast too. Did not slow down. Split: 9:12

Mile 4

I loved this section last year and loved it again this year. It’s just so gorgeous back in this area. Apparently gorgeous enough to continue speeding up. I took off my arm warmers before the end of mile 4, tucking them into the sides of my Fuel Belt. Split: 9:01

Mile 5 This mile started with a slight uphill. As we worked hard to get up it, we passed a wheelchair racer struggling to get up the hill. We cheered him on. His name was Brad and everyone around us cheered for him. I hope Brad did well. Once to the top of the hill, we came back down. Split: 9:04

Mile 6

Did not slow down. Split: 9:04

Mile 7

Ah, mile 7. It starts on a weird back section and begins a slow, steady but low grade uphill climb. It affected our pace a little, but we still felt really strong. Split: 9:32

Mile 8

I knew we were coming back up on where we would see our family again, but I didn’t know where. The hill was still affecting our pace, but I felt really great. I just kept running. Split: 9:43

Mile 9

We saw our family just after we crossed the 8 mile marker and that gave us a great boost, even though a guy ran into me as we saw my family and then is in between us in the second picture. It’s funny now; it wasn’t then. We felt strong. We looked good. All was well. Until just after when things started to not feel so great. Split: 9:24

CRASH INTO ME
Crashin’ into your side…

PHOTOBOMB
…photobombin’ your pictures.

Mile 10

After we passed Nationwide Children’s Hospital, one of the highlights of the whole race, The Suck started to settle in. It was at this point that I thought to myself, “Why on EARTH would I EVER do another FULL marathon? This is awful! This is no good!” My husband made his first complaint, that his hips were starting to hurt. I finally ate some Sport Beans which took forever to chew because of the cold temperatures. Pace took the first big hit. Split: 9:44

Mile 11

Down through German Village, I’ve got nothing. I was struggling to keep up with my husband, falling behind him and trailing him and then pushing back up to be next to him when I felt I could again. Another big pace hit. Split: 10:04

Mile 12

So, running from the beginning of mile 11 to the beginning of mile 12 is a low grade incline up High Street. They moved the Angel Mile to this mile, and I tried to focus on the groups of families on the side cheering for us—these families who have lost their children, their babies. I waved when I could, I said prayers for their hearts. And I really started to doubt whether I would get my PR or not. I started trying to do math in my head, but doing math while running and hitting your physical wall is nearly impossible. So I whined at my husband that I didn’t think I’d get it. I even told him to go ahead if he wanted. He gave me “the look” and we just kept running. Still not a great pace. Split: 10:01

Mile 13

There’s something about passing the mile 12 marker that makes you realize, “OH HEY! I CAN DO THIS!” So we sped back up. Splitting off from the marathon and turning left on Long Street was a great feeling. We passed our family down around a bend just before the finish which gave us a great boost as we pushed it to the end. Split: 9:25

There We Go!
There we go!

.42

My GPS had us running .42 instead of .1, which is likely attributed to turns being taken wide on occasion and back and forth from one side of the road to the other on occasion. We pushed and finished strong. I felt great as we crossed the finish line. Split: 8:38 pace

Time: 2:06:21 — a new Personal Record!
Pace for 13.1: 9:39 // Pace for 13.42: 9:25

My husband ended up with a finishing time of 2:06:22 and we figured out why. He wore his bib pinned across his stomach. I wore my bib pinned across my chest as I had my fuel belt strapped across my waist. In short: My boobs crossed the finish line before my husband’s stomach. That’s the most epic thing I’ve ever heard. Ever.

The finisher’s chute was a bit disappointing as the medals were not ready when we crossed the finish line, though the explanation offered by Race Director Darris Blackford shows what an effort was made to get the medals there at all. We got our blankets and a handy sticker to keep sides taped together so they wouldn’t fall off. We then skipped our official finisher photos since we didn’t have our medals. We got water, chocolate milk, Gatorade, a banana, a cookie, a bagel, and a bag that contained chips, pretzels, and two granola bars. Our family texted us at this point to tell us they were under a tree next to the G-J family reunion flag. Once we figured out where the flags were, we located our family immediately.

We hugged and did all of the congratulatory stuff. Then, since we didn’t have our medals still, we sent the families back to the hotel since we didn’t know how long we would wait. We only waited about five more minutes before someone walked by with a medal. We asked her where to go and she pointed us in the direction and explained the process. We had to show our bibs and then were handed our medal, still in the plastic wrap. It was a little anti-climactic; there’s something about crossing the finish line and having a volunteer hang your medal over you head. It’s usually a very emotional moment. This process was void of emotion…

…so my husband and I made our own emotion. I unwrapped the one in my hand and hung it around my husband’s neck. I told him that I was so proud of him for all of his training and thanked him for helping me push through The Suck out on the course. He unwrapped mine and hung it around my neck, telling me he was more proud of me than I was of him—because we’re nothing if not competitive. We kissed. Even now I’m choking up thinking about the hours we put in, together and apart, to train for this race; how he agreed to run it with me as a present to me. I am so loved by and in love with him. So, no, it wasn’t your typical “get your race medal” experience, but we made it a special moment and I will remember it for the rest of my life.

Then we stopped a nice woman to take our picture. She laughed and said, “Goodness, you two are so photogenic.” I kind of wanted to kiss her with my sweat crusted face, but I figured she meant him more than me. Yep. She did. He’s so handsome.

OH HEY! WE DID IT!

We then made the easy and quick walk back to our hotel, showered, changed, and checked out of our hotel. The Double Tree gives you a parking voucher for their garage if you stay, so that was a nice little bonus to our weekend! We had no problems driving from our hotel to my parents’ as the course had opened back up (we checked out AT noon). We parked on Gay Street, walked to their hotel to get everyone, and then walked back to the Plantain Cafe for lunch. I ate a giant plate of fish tacos while everyone else ate amazing burrito bowls.

Then we packed up, got out of the city with absolutely no problem or road closure issue, picked up the dog, and were home by 3:00. We didn’t make the boys’ soccer game, but LittleBrother actually fell asleep on the way home. If you think about their weekend, they had more exercise than any soccer game ever, so it’s not really a loss on their part.

The question after a race is always, “Would you run it again?” Yes. Always yes with Columbus. Any confusion or unfortunate timing of things can’t overshadow the amazing event, the cause of raising money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the patient champions at every mile, the amazing course, and the AMAZING spectators. Even in the midst of the confusion, the social media team was active on their various channels, reassuring everyone that they would get their medal and celebrating people’s PRs and first time finishes. I love this team, this amazing race, and I will definitely be back again.

Today I’m not too bad off. I woke up with tight hips and achy knees, but already went on a one mile recovery shakeout run (8:53/pace!) and feel 100% better. I plan on stretching at various points in time today to continue to work the kinks out of my muscles. My husband and I have three weeks (or, rather, two weeks and six days) until the Pittsburgh EQT 10 Miler. We’re both in great shape thanks to this race, so we just need to maintain that until November 9th!

Thank you, Columbus, for another great race.

 

 

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Race Recap: The Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

#RunHomePGH Event

Well. I did it. I’m a marathoner.

I'm an Official Run Home Blogger

I have a Runner of Steel Pittsburgh Marathon medal to prove it. And some sore legs.

 

Pre-Race:

On Thursday I got to meet the other #RunHomePGH Bloggers, the Panera bloggers, and some elite runners—including the woman who would go on to win the marathon, Clara Mae Santucci. (She’s so super nice, you guys.) It was a great event at Tender Bar & Restaurant, which you should totally check out some time. Good food (even tasty vegan options, yo!).

#RunHomePGH Event

It was opening day of Little League on Saturday morning, so we stayed at home and watched our boys play baseball until 12:30pm. Then we drove two hours to drop the dog at The Farm and headed into the city. We waited in a small bit of traffic for the garage at the Convention Center but otherwise had no problems.

The expo was great. I always hate coming into the expo later on Saturday because things are often picked over, but I got what I came for: a 26.2 sticker with a bonus “Run Ohio” sticker and a “Yinz Run Like Jagoffs” t-shirt from Fresh Factory.

Expo Fun

We then checked into our hotel of choice, the Omni William Penn. We received excellent service, as always. We then went to the Tap Room for dinner. They offered a marathon special carb-loading dinner. I chose the whole wheat pasta with a buttery sauce, spinach, and portabella mushrooms. It came with a salad and grilled bread, and it was so delicious.

Thanks Omni William Penn!
A few bites into it. Just the right amount. Carb-loading doesn’t mean carb-stuffing-until-you-can’t-move. Also: The pickles were from my husband’s meal. He doesn’t eat them, so I always get to!

Then we went back to our room where my husband made signs, I tried on my new shirt…

YINZ RUN LIKE JAGOFFS

…and I had Zzzquil at 8:30, took a hot shower, and was asleep before 9:30.

 

Race Morning:

I woke up at 4:45 to stretch a bit and get moving. Our complimentary coffee (we’re Select Guest members) was delivered at 5:00 with bananas! I ate a bagel (that I brought from home) and a banana while drinking my one cup of coffee. I drank some more water while I got dressed. Then we were off to walk to the VIP area to drop off my stuff and wait in a warm, dry area until it was time to get to our corral. I found Missie, The Wheezy Runner, who was one of the Panera bloggers for the Marathon. We were in the same corral so we decided to stick together.

In the VIP Space with Missie and my Husband
Me and Missie, pre-run, and me with my Husband. The VIP waiting area was very warm, very awesome.

Getting to the corral was a test in patience as so many streets and areas were blocked off. I understand this is a trickle down effect from what happened in 2013, but it makes it a bit nerve-wracking when you can see your corral but cannot get to it and time is ticking down. Of note, there was no “shutting” of the corrals as originally stated as not everyone could even FIT in the areas they had marked off for the corrals. So the panic was really for nothing.

It started to sprinkle as we waited. I cried (this will become a theme) during the National Anthem and as we moved toward the start.

And then we were off!

 

Running

Mile 1: It became evident I was going to have to stop to use a porta-potty pretty early in. I’m kind of upset about this, and you’ll see why shortly. I wish I had hit one of the last porta-potties prior to the corrals after we used the one inside the VIP waiting area, but the lines were insane prior to the start. I’d had a nightmare that I used a porta-potty at the last minute and when I came out, everyone was gone. I just wanted to get to the corral. Also, it rained lightly during this mile. I didn’t mind because Natasha Bedingfield reminded me to “feel the rain on my skin.” And so I did. I smiled big.

Mile 2: We stopped at 1.7 to wait in the porta-potty line. Only about 4-5 deep in each line, so we figured no big deal. This is where everything went wrong. A very tall man in front of me looked woozy. He put his hands on his knees. He was paler than a ghost. I knew he was going down before he went down… and he went down HARD. He had abrasions on his face from the sidewalk. At one point, we were concerned he was going to seize. We called for a medic, and other runners attended to him by lifting his feet and keeping him alert. They closed that porta-potty line, so I hopped back in with Missie and we waited together while EMTs were on their way. We stood still for 10 minutes. I chose not to pause my RunKeeper because I wanted an accurate recording of time and pace and events, as they happened. I said goodbye to any hopes of a decent pace or time finish and off we went. I wasn’t all that upset though as it was a very sobering reminder to listen to my body and take breaks when necessary.

Mile 3: Hey! Let’s run a bridge!

Mile 4: I started to have memories of running this exact route, but backward, when I ran the EQT 10 Miler in November. I tried not to think about how I hurt my foot during that race. I failed.

Mile 5: More bridges! At this point, I wondered where my husband was as he said he was going to be tracking me via the app and hit me at certain mile markers during the first half of the race. I didn’t see him at all, so I wondered if I was just in the zone and missing him or if something was up. (Something was up.)

Mile 6: Oh hey! 10K! SO HAPPY!

Mile 7: We crossed another bridge. I remembered my friend Jess told me her husband’s band was set up shortly after the 7-mile marker, and sure enough I saw her as we came under an overpass. I yelled for her and she saw me. Totally awesome.

Mile 8: West End Loop is actually one of my favorites to run. I don’t know why. The crowd was really great at the bottom of the hill in this section too.

Mile 9: Let’s run past Station Square and into the South Side! I laughed at all the times I came down to the South Side to drink as an early-20’s, non-health-caring, non-running person. Now I was running a marathon through the streets of my old partying grounds. So weird.

Mile 10: More South Side!

Mile 11: In the middle of mile 11, the half marathoners split off. The race route opened up and we faced no more crowding. It was really weird to watch them all make the turn to cross the bridge while we headed toward a little loop around to add more mileage. I was used to being the people who broke off, not the people who kept on keeping on. I choked up a little bit. Also: Let’s run across another bridge!

Mile 12: THE HILL. I had been dreading the run up the hill into Oakland absolutely every day of my training. And honestly? It wasn’t that bad. I ran when I could, walked a little, ran more, walked a little, and then ducked and shuffled up to the top. I didn’t hate it. I don’t want to do it again today, but I could run it again.

Mile 13: OMG! HALFWAY! FEEL ALL OF THE HAPPY! Then realize you have another 13.1 to go. Sigh and keep on trudging.

Mile 14: Nope. I got nothing.

Mile 15: Nada.

Mile 16: I remember thinking, “Well, this is the farthest I’ve run.” I choked up.

Mile 17: Rounded the corner after 16 and heard, “RUN JENNA RUN.” I cried when I saw Burgh Baby standing there with her daughter. I gently tackle hugged her because pregnant. The group of men in front of us yelled back, “BEST FEELING EVER, RIGHT?” And it was. And it was right when I needed it. I felt revived and started telling Missie all about my friend when I noticed Alexis tagging along on the sidewalk. I asked her if she wanted a hug too. “Yes! That’s what I’ve been waiting for.” I DIED. I hugged her. And cried more as I ran on.

OMG IT'S BURGHBABY AND KID
Best part about this photo: Alexis took it.

Mile 18: Shortly after the 17 mile marker, I saw a sign that I *thought* said Run Jenna Run. IT DID. It was Jennifer and two of her awesome kids. Jennifer got a sweaty tackle hug before I ran off again, with a huge smile on my face.

I AM SO HAPPY HERE!
I had a big, stupid smile on my face a lot of the race. Until I didn’t.

Mile 19: The sun started to come out from behind the clouds, and I started to fade. Missie made me promise to tell her if I was overheating. I nodded. I started to feel extra pain in my right hip and acknowledged that, yes, my feet felt awful. We discussed how we should have switched to new(er) shoes. The worst is that I had a pair of broken in Mizunos waiting (25 miles, all treadmill) but wasn’t sure if I should have switched or not. Answer: Always switch.

Mile 20: OMG! 20 MILES! I cried.

Mile 21: More oranges in this mile (which I forgot to mention in previous miles). Anyone with orange slices became my favorite. I would have made out with anyone giving me a cold orange slice. No lie. They all missed out.

Mile 22: I cried.

Mile 23: Three miles left, and we all broke down. By we all, I mean me and Missie and a group of about six other people around us. We grumbled about how bad our bodies felt and how awful running a marathon was and how we were never, ever doing this again, and this was the worst, and screw it, where’s the Sweep Bus, and OMG WHY IS THERE STILL A HALF HOUR LEFT TO RUN OF THIS STUPID RACE. Also, the sun was out and I was angry. And hungry. So probably hangry.

Mile 24: After jamming seven pretzels in my mouth and gulping some more water at a fluid station, I saw Amanda and practically knocked her over with my sweaty hug. I cried.

I'm about to tackle Amanda!
No, really. I totally crashed right into her for a giant hug.

Mile 25: I decided I should get a Gatorade over a water at the 25.2 fluid station because I was feeling weak. I needed calories. And then I saw him: My husband. Finally. I pointed at him ala Babe Ruth but without a bat, gulped my Gatorade, threw my cup, and plowed into his chest. He said he never had a chance to get the signs up because I ran so quickly at him. I was so, so glad to see him. I cried into his chest. He pointed at the “1/2 mile left” sign and told me to go get it.

IMMA GO FINISH THIS RACE NOW
HERE I GO!

Mile 26: OF NOTE: THE 1/2 MILE SIGN WAS A LIE. #CAPSLOCKJENNA was not amused.

Mile 26.2: I cried. I cried the whole last stretch to the finish line. I cried when I crossed. I don’t know how I had water left to cry. But I cried. I cried when they put the medal over my head. I stopped crying for pictures. I cried when I took a banana and a Smiley Cookie. I stopped crying to take a selfie with Missie.

Best. Marathon. Partner. Ever.
I hope Missie wants me as a friend, because she’s got me now!

And then I found my husband. And cried more.

 

Post-Race:

We went to the VIP lounge so I could eat, drink a beer…

Yuengling, of course

…and get changed into non-sweaty clothes. We walked back to the garage outside the Omni, turned right on Grant, and got out of the city with absolutely no wait, no problem. We drove to my parents’ Farm, where I showered, took a short nap, and was treated to an awesome steak dinner. Then we drove home two hours, which made my hips angry. I cried at random points throughout the rest of the evening.

 

Today I’m feeling “it,” but “it” is less than I thought it might be—which is also what I thought yesterday. I didn’t experience leg cramps like I did after one 11 mile run and my 16-miler. My thighs do feel like dead weight and, oh my, my feet are so sore. I look back at my reaction in Mile 23 and sit here now and realize why people run more than one. I do believe that 13.1 is “my race,” especially with my desire to achieve work-life balance (which is impossible).

I am thankful—so thankful—for the love and support I had leading up to race day and while I was busy running all of the miles. As I read through the tweets while my husband drove us home, I cried. (I know, I know. It’s a theme.) I was shocked that so many of my friends, both in real life and in my computer, paid to track me. (RaceJoy will be refunding your purchase, by the way. Their system couldn’t handle the size of Pittsburgh’s marathon. This is the problem my husband had as referenced above.) I felt so loved and so cared for as I finished up the race and saw my Twitter had exploded, that I had 25 text messages waiting, that people were commenting on the auto-updates on Facebook, that calls had already started to come in. I am thankful that Missie and I chose to stick together, come sunshine or inhaler or sore feet or runners passing out in front of us; I’m not sure I could have kept going at that 23-mile point without knowing someone else was relying on me to keep pushing forward. I am so thankful for those friends of mine that came and cheered me on in the places I needed to be cheered on. I am most thankful for a husband who put up with my months of training, my early bedtimes, my whining, my general state of tired and sore; the man who tagged me with #myhero on Instagram when he shared the pic of me at mile 25. I couldn’t have done any of this without his love and support.

Love This Guy So Much

Would I do it again? Maybe. I definitely want to run the half in Pittsburgh, that I know—and quite possibly next year. And if I ever run another full marathon, years from now? It will be Pittsburgh. No other city is worth the amount of grueling training. My home will always be Pittsburgh and I will always want to #RunHomePGH. If I’m going to have to hobble around for days after a full marathon, I want to achieve it on the streets of my beloved city.