Monday, May 7, 2012

Pittsburgh Marathon - Part 2 (5.6.12)

I already wrote Part 1 with all the pre-race info.
At the start corrals A and B got to go together but I'm not sure there was any sort of delay before corral C got to start.   I didn't see any pacers in my Corral. I'm sure they were there.

Miles 1-5
The race started and we were off running and everyone was zooming. I even dialed it back and we were still going too fast.  At the first mile marker my Garmin already said 1.05. I know in a big race you don't run the tangents so your Garmin is higher than the race but it is not usually off by that far the first mile. Adrienne's Garmin said the same thing.  Adrienne, Mike, and I started running together. My other friends were in other corrals so we were not together. Mike is Adrienne's brother-in-law.

I stopped at all the water stops. I alternated between Gatorade and water. I didn't drink the full cup of Gatorade when I got that because I've learned Gatorade upsets my stomach and I didn't want to chance that.  My goal was 9:45 each mile and we were under that each of the first 5 miles. Well mile 3 we got it right at 9:45.  Mile 5 was far too fast. We were going over the bridges and there were lots of people cheering so I think that's how we picked it up without fully realizing it.  I feel like the first 5 miles were pretty flat. I'm was thinking how the race wasn't that bad and what were people complaining about Pittsburgh being a hilly Marathon.  During the first 5 miles, I knew basically where we were.

There were 2 fluid stations the first 5 miles. I thought there would be more but I guess they spread them out more at the beginning. I took water at one and Gatorade at the other.

My knee started hurting a little tiny bit at mile 3.

Adrienne and I both shared some news within the first 2 miles so it sure made those go quickly.

Miles 5-10
We ran to the west and into the West End. Now I wouldn't have known this if Adrienne didn't make a point to mention it and then I saw a sign labeling it. According to the map we ran on Carson Street even though I have no recollection of Carson street at all and that is a street I would know or so I thought.

My goal here was also 9:45 pace. I was fast again. Too fast.  Around mile 8, Mike went off to use the bathroom and run on his own so it was just Adrienne with me. But shortly thereafter we spotted Sarah. Once she caught up we realized we missed Ibrahim passing us up.  I was even on the lookout but there were just so many people.  She was going at a pretty good pace and stuck with us until she split off (which was past the 10 mile point). She was listening to her headphones so she stuck with us but didn't talk with us. It was a little motivating being all together.

There were 3 water stops in this part and I got Gatorade at 2 and water at 1. The thing was when I got Gatorade,  I didn't drink much of it and could tell it was upsetting my stomach. I knew I needed it though so I was torn.

At mile 9 my hip started hurting.  I didn't say anything hoping it would go away.  So at this point my hip hurt and my knee hurt plus I was starting to get stomach cramps after each fluid stop.  I was also starting to complain about the heat very early on. It was sunny already and felt pretty hot. I did not like that.

At the end of 10, I knew it would start to get tough or maybe I thought it would so it did. I didn't train as much as I wanted. I definitely didn't train the last 5 weeks. Two months ago I was more prepared.
Miles 10-15
Near the beginning of this the half marathon runners split off from the full marathoners. Adrienne had warned me that it would really thin out and it did. I really wished I was just doing a half because I was starting to feel like I couldn't sustain my pace.

We had a water stop and I took water and Gatorade.  Then we crossed the bridge and headed into Oakland. I only knew this because someone told me that the hill was coming and at a different time someone told me that the hill goes into Oakland.  At first the hill wasn't so bad.  Adrienne mentioned to me that she wouldn't talk to me during the climb. She referred to it as the climb.  I asked Adrienne how long the hill was and she said about a half mile. It felt longer than that. According to the master elevation chart it looks more like 2 miles. Maybe it was 1.5 on my Garmin elevation chart.

I really hated the sun by this point. I was miserable. I was miserable before most others were. I was already dumping water on my head. My face felt salty before the half marathon split.  I looked at my Garmin around the half spot and thought if I would have only trained as well as I had 1.5 months prior I would be able to keep up that pace and beat a 4:15 marathon. This could have probably motivated me but it did not. Each time I thought of it, I felt myself slowing down. I knew I wouldn't make it and if I don't make it by 10 seconds or don't make it by 10 minutes, it's all the same thing. {really it's not but I was not motivated}

Around 14.5 miles we walked. We walked for about 2 and a half minutes.  I had been wanting to walk but I didn't want to fall behind Adrienne and she wanted to walk and I was sure willing.   I thought about how I was glad Dave did not actually come downtown to watch me because he would have been miserable in the heat. I thought about how it was even hot for the spectators. I then thought about if other runners were concerned about the spectators having to suffer in the heat or if it was just me.

Adrienne and I were still thanking the volunteers and police officers as we passed them and we were still waving at spectators cheering us on. This meant we weren't dead yet.  I was getting miserable.  Adrienne and I were mostly beside each other but we were not talking so much by this point.

Miles 15-20
Adrienne and I caught back up to each other a couple times if we walked at different points but or if I walked longer at a water stop. One of the water stops had ice in cups and Adrienne got one of those and shared it with me. That ice was wonderful.

Adrienne and I split up at some point in the 16th mile. I'm not sure when. I actually thought she was probably ahead of me a little bit after we split up because I had walked.  I started walking more not because of necessity just yet but because I know I had what felt like a million miles to go in the direct sun and I hated that.
About 3 hours into the run, I decided the heat sucked so much I'd get out my phone and send some text messages about how awful it was. I texted more than one person and didn't even forward or group text. I typed the texts separately.

The more I got water at each water stop and the more I got gatorade the more my stomach got upset and the more I got side cramps. By the time it'd go away, there was another water stop.
Then 3 hours and 20 minutes into the race I sent more text messages.  Jen wasn't sure how she'd find me at the end and I told her I'd finish near 4:39. I was accounting for my 7 minute delay at for my chip time and was telling her gun time.  Now at the time I sent this I was struggling but still thought I had a small chance of finishing in 4:30. I just didn't want her to be waiting early so I added 2 minutes to my estimate.

I believe there was a table of people giving out beer by this point but it might have been later.  There were also 5 official water stops but then there were a few tables people randomly set up to hand out water. I loved them.  At some point during this stretch there was a fire hose hooked up to a fire hydrant spraying water across the road that you could run through to try to cool off. I ran from the left side of the road to the right side to get this.

With 8 miles left, I thought I had a small chance of finishing 4:30 and wondered if I should pick up the pace to try to get that time.

At one point we were in East Liberty. I know this because a lady kept yelling "Welcome to 'sliberty" and talking about how much we'd like it. Then she'd repeat. I enjoyed her Pittsburghese.

Mile 20-26.2
I asked myself a few times what Callie mentioned to me once.  Usually I ask myself if I'm running as fast as I can. Usually the answer is no and I speed up. Here the answer was No and it was followed by I don't care and then I'd walk or I'd slow my jog. I couldn't believe how little I cared.

Every now and then I'd think about my pace and how close I was to 4:30 and how I should push it but then less than a minute later I'd tell myself how I don't care and how I hate the sun.  I really wished I was running with someone else here to push me along or at least to have me stop telling myself how I didn't care.  That's why the 50k was good. I had people there and I didn't think about not caring.

At some point in here a guy from work was all of a sudden beside me telling me I was making Westinghouse proud. I made some comment about how I was dying so that doesn't make work proud. He ran with me about half a mile. He told me about how a couple blocks up we'd turn and there would be water. But I have no idea where this was.  He encouraged me along. It was kind of nice.   Then after that water that was a bit later I hear another person from Westinghouse cheer me on. He was slightly behind me and I recognized his voice. His motivation got me to pick up my speed. I think this was around 20.75 miles because that is when my pace seems to have improved but I could be wrong. 

My dad told me that someone he works with (and that I interned with) saw me and cheered me on but he didn't think I saw him or recognized him. I know most people cheered me on by reading the name on my bib and not because they knew me.  He said I looked beat. I was! I wanted the sun to go away. I wanted shade. It was awful. I really cannot emphasize enough how much I hated running in the direct sun for so long.

The last 6.2 miles were so long.   I thought for sure I wasn't going to meet the 4:30 goal but then at the 25 mile marker I was shocked. The marker seemed early but then I started thinking maybe my Garmin wouldn't have so much extra distance and then I could make it in 4:30.

Around 22 miles I passed Ibrahim. He was hobbling and he was talking to someone else about how he was in a lot of pain.

At mile 25 I tried to run fast and couldn't meet 10 min miles. Then I'd walk so my splits would be slower.  I really liked spectators the last 10 miles. They were very helpful. There were also large gaps of no people though.

I told myself at 25.5 miles I would pick up the pace to really push the last mile in.  Then between 25 and 25.5 it felt like an eternity so I decided to run fast starting at 25.75. That's what I did.

In the last 2-3 miles of the race I had to stop every half mile to stretch my hip. I only had to start stretching it every 18 or so miles so I did last longer than the 30k.  But the last mile of the race I even had to stop to stretch it. That was making me really mad. I just wanted to finish the stupid thing without having to go to the side of the road to get out of everyones way to stretch it out.

There were 5 water stops in this last stretch. There were at least 2 unofficial water stops. There were at least 3 fire hydrants set up with water to spray and 3 people were using the hoses from their houses to spray if we wanted to cool off.  I ran through them all. They only helped for a few seconds but at least they helped.  My clothes were soaked from running through all the water. I didn't have my phone in a ziplock so I was concerned it was going to be ruined. I checked on it a few times and it seemed OK.

My last 3 splits were 2:09, 2:00, and 2:06. I think I did a pretty good job speeding up there.  When running the 2:00 split, I thought the end was even closer because of where the 25 mile marker was.  I could see the finish and it was so far off. I just hoped I could keep it up.  I was glad the finish area was not as packed as it was during the Great Race. I was able to run by a ton of people by running on the left side of the road. For some reason most people stayed on the right. Well the last turn was a right turn so people probably tried to hug the curve there and stuck over there.  At one point in the last mile spectators were in the road and  cheering us on but they made the running path too narrow and I could not get around anyone. I figured I couldn't go faster anyway because the finish line was an eternity away but I wanted to be able to go my speed not theirs.  The last half mile or so I decided to care and thought I should have cared.

When my Garmin hit 26.2 I was under 4:30 but since I could not take the tangents I still had a bit to go.

I finished right around 4:32 with a clock time of 4:39:05 so I was really close telling Jen I'd be done at 4:39. See I'm even good when I'm running and miserable.
Things that I don't remember where they were
  • There was a kids Choir singing at some point before mile 8. I forget where but think it was in front of their academy or something. There were so many kids and seeing them united and singing got me a little emotional.
  • Mike saw two cops he knew and one of them was his partner for four years.
  • There were many bands playing but there were 2 instances were it caught me off guard that it was a live band and not the professionals.
  • At one point (on a straight part), there was a sign that said our training lasted longer than Kim Kardahsian's marriage. 
  • At numerous points while I was running, I'd notice things on the streets or street names and think how I had no idea where I was and I'd forget the mile marker when I was there and so my blog post wouldn't be nearly detailed enough.  This went through my head many times.
See Part 3 of after the finish.


  1. Good job, Colleen! I also had extra mileage pretty quickly on my Garmin. I just remember at mile 2 (their marker) I had 2.10 on my Garmin. It was so packed I couldn't hug the curves. But from that point on it was always about .10 ahead of where the mile markers were. My Garmin ended up saying 13.21 and I started it right at the start line. And the half marathon never thinned out, it was crazy the whole way!

    1. Thanks
      It's odd that all your extra mileage was right at the beginning and none the rest of the way. I also remember the half not thinning out but based on where I started 2 years ago, I didn't have to weave. I mean I passed people and people passed me but it wasn't bad for the weaving.

  2. I forgot to mention that I didn't play bonus seconds at all and only kind of thought about it when I needed 10 min miles to make my goal.

    Also maybe around mile 22 or so when I was struggling I started picking people off and my goal was to catch up to them and pass them but every person I picked, I caught up to them and passed them within seconds so I must have been picking all the wrong people or they were all deader than me. But I'd stop to stretch my hip and they'd go by again or probably did and I didn't notice.