Posts tagged with: outdoors

Pittsburgh Marathon 2014

On May 4, 2014, I ran my first half-marathon – the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I had been told by multiple people just how awesome this race was, so my expectations were high. The race managed to meet all of my expectations, and that was mostly due to all of the people who came out to cheer on and entertain the runners. Until I started running, I wouldn’t have believed that a few encouraging words could make such a difference, but they definitely do.

The church group singing in the West End (yellow shirts) was especially memorable, as well as some of the funny signs…my personal favorite was a drawing of Heisenberg from Breaking Bad with the word “RUN.” The few “Worst Parade Ever” signs also made me chuckle. A little girl on the sidelines stuck out her hand for a high-five when I was feeling miserable around mile 11. Stuff like that makes such a difference, and gives you the boost you need to keep going…because yeah, I definitely needed a boost!

The race was well organized and the aid stations and port-a-potties were plentiful. I appreciated the divide between gatorade and water at the aid stations – the volunteers made it very clear which was which, and the different colors of the cups was a very good idea.

There were times during the half when negative thoughts crept into my head and I wondered why anyone would voluntarily put themselves through this (let alone pay a hefty registration fee for it) but the feeling you get after you finish is worth the pain. I had a nice long walk back to my car (parked at the casino) and I think that helped. I so badly wanted to sit down, but I think it was good to shake out my legs.

Overall, I only really have 2 complains about the race. First, the super crowded race expo, which you were forced to attend to pick up your packet. It was so crowded that I could hardly breathe, and there were no signs telling you where packet pickup was. I asked a couple people and bib pickup and packet pickup were on 2 opposite sides of the convention center, forcing you to wade through the crowds and vendors. The other is the crowd at the finish line. Another case where I couldn’t move due to the crowds.There must be a better way to keep people flowing out of the finish line area. Can you tell I don’t like crowds?!

I’m very glad I did the race, and may even consider doing the half (the half was enough for me, no fulls anytime soon!) again next year. In the mean time, I’m signed up for two small local races this summer, a 5k and a 10k. Looking forward to those, they will seem like a vacation!

Here are some pictures from the race:

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After the race

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Wooo I’m finally done

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Proof!

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My friends, co-workers, and training buddies


Spring has Finally Sprung

After the worst winter in my memory, I am so thrilled that spring has finally sprung in Pittsburgh! This spring seems extra sweet due to the never-ending and severely cold winter we had. The grass seems neon green, and I’m noticing all kinds of cool birds that I never noticed before (maybe this is just me getting older?)…

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This is how my cat, Tux, celebrates the warmer weather.

So, what has been going on so far this spring? I have the Pittsburgh Half Marathon coming up this Sunday. I have been training for it, but not nearly as well as I anticipated. I didn’t quite make it the priority I thought I would. However, I did discover North Park a month or so ago, and that has been a great place to do some of my training. Two laps around the lake and my hips are shot, but the sense of accomplishment is worth it. It also helps to see all the other people out there dying running. I don’t feel as alone as I do when I run at Brady’s Run Park. During my runs at North Park, I totally scope out Over the Bar and envision myself sitting on the patio drinking a beer – it WILL happen!

Unless the Pittsburgh Half is amazing, I don’t plan on ever running long distance again. I am signed up for a couple 5ks and a 10k in the next month, and I’m looking forward to dialing down the distance.

I’ve had a couple new experiences so far this spring. I went to my first Barre class, at Pilates on 3rd in Beaver. It was awesome. Nothing like the experience of your gluteus maximus cramping up from overuse! I am the farthest thing from a delicate ballerina, but this class let me pretend, while simultaneously kicking my butt. I definitely plan on going back.  I also went on my first mountain bike ride. Thanks to my husband Tim for his patience with me, while I yelled things like “This is terrifying” and “This is not my idea of fun”. Let me just say that mountain biking is really scary, and also really physically taxing. I had to stop for breaks a LOT, and I am in good shape at the moment. It was tough! I think I greatly prefer riding on a paved path to riding on narrow, windy paths filled with tree roots, rocks, and mud. I’ll give it another try and maybe it won’t seem as bad, but my first time was an overwhelming experience.

We opened the pond for spring, and all 3 of our koi survived the winter! If they can survive that winter, I think they can survive any winter. However I’ve seen the neighborhood cat on the ledge of the pond eyeing up my fish – he better leave them alone! We found a stray cat in our garage, and it got itself stuck in the ceiling. A real life ceiling cat…poor thing. He was terrified and, uh, marked his territory in the ceiling. We spent a few hours trying to get the cat out, and finally did…but the other stench lingers on, far after the cat is gone! Hopefully Nature’s Miracle can perform a miracle here.

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Struck by Lightning vs Healthy Pine

Check out this set of pine trees in our back yard. The tree got struck by lightning last summer, and looked fine until very recently. It seemed to just die within the past week or so. So instead of buying the new cell phone I wanted, I will be spending that money to get this gigantic pine tree cut down before it falls on someone or something. Ah, the glamorous life of a homeowner.

Well, this post is already much longer than I had intended it to be. I want to talk about how things are going as a software engineer, now that I’ve been doing development for almost a year. I’ll have to make that a separate post because…enough already! Happy Spring!