(For the pre-marathon reflection, go here.)
“And here comes our Corral D runners!” And with that, I stepped across the timing belt and started my first marathon.
We ran in the Strip District for awhile, then crossed the 7th and 9th Street bridges into and out of downtown. Here’s a cool shot of downtown juxtaposed with the bridge.
Then we crossed the West End bridge. Often, and especially in Pittsburgh, bridges are really hidden hills. Look at the incline on this crappy bridge.
Then we crossed into the West End, where the atmosphere was amazing. I took a picture of this translation of 1 Corinthians, which must have been a different translation than what I’m used to…but I liked it.
Then we ran into Station Square, which is near where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet. Here’s a cool shot of downtown from near Station Square.
Then we proceeded to run into South Side, which was another big party of onlookers and cheerers, and then we crossed my esteemed site of so many training runs and cinderwhippings, the Birmingham Bridge. Here’s one of the professional photos of me running this bridge. I hit a second (third? fourth? who knows?) wind on that bridge because I’ve trained it so.many.times. It was actually kind of emotional, knowing I had put in so much work over so many months to get myself to this day, and it was finally here.
This is where the half-marathoners separated from the relay runners and the full marathoners. There were so many signs indicating the split, and although I still felt good at that point, it was a little tempting to head the half route and call it a day! This picture is taken on the Birmingham Bridge – if you enlarge it, they make DARN sure you know you’re running the full route.
Then you run THE hill of the course into Oakland. I had pre-determined that I would not run any hills – if I was going to finish, I didn’t want to expend my energy on hills. So I walked the hill. True Runner, one of my favorite running stores, had volunteers/employees who would run the hill continuously with the marathoners – once they got to the top, they’d run back down and then run back up with someone else. THEY should get big medals! This is the view of Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning from the hill.
After running through Oakland, we hit Shadyside. I was particularly happy to hit this neighborhood because I had pre-arranged with running friend to exchange water and gels and whatnot. I was never happier to see happy smiling faces with snacks and cold water! I stuffed my face with a gel and a granola bar, poured water over my head, and then continued on my merry way through Point Breeze, then turning into Homewood.
Homewood is consistently voted the best neighborhood to run through on marathon day, and it didn’t disappoint. There are SO many people out cheering. I saw a woman had a sign that had the Bible verse that inspired this blog, so naturally I photographed it.
After Homewood, we turned into East Liberty. This is where I hit 20 miles, which was a huge moment for me. I had huge feelings of doubt because this was the furthest I had trained…but I knew I could keep going. At that point, I had actually felt worse in training than I did then. So then we ran through Friendship, into Bloomfield, and then down through Lawrenceville before completing the last few miles back in the Strip. In Lawrenceville, probably my most favorite picture taken of me running EVER happened!
I had alternated between Gu supplements and Gu chomps every 5 miles, and I took an extra one to get myself to the finish line. Plus, the last 4 miles were downhill, so that was a major win! I did NOT hit a wall, which I was pleased with…I was extremely nervous about that, and the supplements totally helped.
So…here is the moment I crossed the finish line, and my pose with my finisher’s medal!!!!!! The End. 😀