Just a warning! This recap is going to come in pieces. This is the first part and doesn’t even get me to the starting line.
Alarms when I am out of town are great. I have no problems waking to one. The problem the morning of the Pittsburgh Marathon was what side of the bed to get out on. I had slept in the same bed since Thursday night. My phone alarm – which I was afraid I wouldn’t hear as it was on the other side of the room, where the only outlet was, and a fan was going – went off and woke me up. I tried to get out of bed on the same side I would at home. No go! The bed is next to a wall on that side. UGH! Was that an omen?
Breakfast went off without a hitch. Coffee did what it is suppose to do and I had my oatmeal with flaxseed in it despite the 59F temps – the lowest morning temp since arriving in the City of Bridges. Got dressed and put anti-chafing stuff on and was ready to go. Get out to the car only to realize that little nose piece on my sunglasses – which I have been meaning to superglue – has fallen off again. We go to look for it as we don’t want the kitten eating it. No luck! We can’t find it so I go to plan B (already!?!) and wear my prescription glasses and the clip-ons that go with them. Now off to downtown. Two problems early on in the marathon day. Get them out of my way early, right?
My daughter lives in Pittsburgh. She got me very, very close to the start line. Due to the glasses issue, I was late for the prayer service so did not make it there. I was a bit bummed about that but Suz dropped me right in front of a line of porta-potties. No line. Luck is turning around. Piece of marathon advice number one: if you see a porta-potty pre-race with no line, go to the bathroom.
I headed towards the corrals. I was looking for Dave from Ohio (@mvnusid on Twitter). He was running the half and entered a sponsor giveaway I had retweeted a while back. He had said he would have on the same shirt as in his photo on Twitter and he is tall. I should be able to spot him as the crowds had not yet started to get really large yet. Walking down the street, I noticed the shirt before the person. I asked if he was Dave (maybe my daughter is right – she called me a twitter whore when we were at the expo). We chatted for a few minutes and then he headed to his corral and me to mine. Piece of marathon advice number two: Don’t count on meeting people at huge races. This was totally a fluke. We were just as likely to have missed each other as to have noticed one another when we were on the street.
Found the corral I was suppose to be in. Then, realized I should find the porta-potty again. I was walking around with most of a quart bottle of Gatorade (8 ounces or so were in my belt). I knew that near the corrals there would be a line so I had best get in it. I stood in line – talking about the race, talking about running, talking about home – for 35 minutes. Who thinks mirrors on the inside door of a porta-potty is a good idea? Granted I looked better prior to running than after, but still…
Back to the corral. I saw the 5:30 pace leader. I had spoken with Marcela at the expo on Friday afternoon.
Marie was not yet there. I was aiming to run with the 5:00 hour pace group. This was a huge stretch as it would cut 44 minutes off my time. I was pretty sure I was ready and thought it was definitely doable. Marie showed up with her hat and her sign with balloons on it. I was excited!! Marie talked about how she was going to walk a little after each mile and through water stations. I was definitely liking this plan.
Marie got to know a few of us but the group was much larger as we got going. There was a 20-something Pittsburgh resident that was running with the group. It was Christine’s birthday so we all sang “Happy Birthday!” All this fun and we hadn’t even started moving towards the start line, let alone started running.