Just the basics.

PITTSBURGH MARATHON 2012

WARNING: This blog entry is VERY lengthy and PICTURE HEAVY. You have been warned. That is all.

Hey all! I survived! I finished the Pittsburgh Marathon again!!

4:07:32

Obviously not my best time ever or my PR, but it was HOTT and I was just satisfied that I finished!!

Let’s start from the beginning shall we?

SATURDAY

I spent Saturday at first a Bridal Shower for a close friend with some of my best friends…

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Me and my BFF Sarah. We wore the exact same colors, and didn’t plan it.

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My other BFF Micah and her Momma.

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My gift…

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Baking goods inside a cake box! I credit my Mom for this ingenious idea, which everyone loved.

So after spending a few hours with my BFFs, I headed off to Alexis’ graduation Round 2!! Again, still so proud of my baby!! Here are some goodies from that ceremony!

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The bag Mike and I got her for her cruise and for graduating!!

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Love them.

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My beautiful family.

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Smile

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Seesters!

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Hahaha.

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I love this picture of our campus.

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Our school!

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She’s so happy!!

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She did it!!!

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I could not be more proud of her!!

And so after Alexis’ graduation, which ended at around 8:15 PM, we headed to Bravo for carb-loading!! I ate pizza because I thought that the pasta and some of the sauces would be too heavy on my stomach that late at night. My Mom literally asked the waitress for 3 more baskets of bread, letting them know that I needed to carb-load for the marathon.

Mike and I eventually got home at around 10:00, and were in bed by 10:30. A little late, but it was still OK.

SUNDAY

Sunday morning I woke up at 4:45 AM to get my coffee on, my peanut butter toast in, and my bathroom trips complete. Winking smile

It was a beautiful morning, with temperatures starting out at around 52 degrees. The perfect amount of “chill” in the air.

We headed over to my parent’s house (still sounds weird to me) and headed downtown at around 6:00AM. We stopped at the Marriot literally as soon as we got downtown because I had an EMERGENCY bathroom trip, you runners all know what I mean. After that we parked the car and headed down to the start where I was going to meet Kevin to run the first half with.

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SO MANY PEOPLE DOWNTOWN.

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Thousands.

So while waiting for Kevin, we decided to snap some pre-marathon pretty photos.

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Boy.

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Me and my biggest fan.

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Second biggest fan.

Then, because it was 7:20 and I was freaking out because we started in 10 minutes, I headed into my corral…”B”. Not sure how I ended up there but I’ll take it! Winking smile I was freaking out also because I hadn’t met up with Kevin yet and was afraid that I’d have to run the ENTIRE race by myself!!

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But thank the heavens, Kevin was there with like 2 minutes to spare!!

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Never been so happy to see this kid’s face.

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Total relief and all smiles now.

And then…WE WERE OFF!!

The first 7 or so miles just ticked away as me and Kevin ran together and chatted about everything in life. We tried to stick around 9:00 miles because I knew I would need the extra energy later as I could feel it getting warmer and warmer. One mile we actually got carried away and ran an 8:20. REALLY?! So after that I watched my Garmin like a hawk and kept a close eye on our pace.

As we headed into miles 9-10, it was getting hott. We were over on the South Side and quickly approaching seeing my parents. Kevin decided to back his pace off and I kept going and we split apart just like that. Around mile 10-11 I saw my parents…

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And was pissed because they didn’t have my bag with my power bar in it. Meaning I was going to have to wait to get something in my belly for fuel.

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My BFF Micah came to watch too!

So I passed them and tried to get myself to focus back on my pace as I was heading into Oakland and up the biggest hill of the race. I was distracted because I didn’t have fuel but I knew there would be GU somewhere. After getting over the hill and into Oakland, at the 12 mile mark, they were handing out GU and I grabbed a Blackberry one with caffeine and sucked that puppy down. It was delicious. A few mile later at around mile 15 I was feeling really good, in the sense that I was comfortable at my pace and got an energy boost.

By this time, the sun was up in full force and it was hott. Instead of drinking huge gulps at each water station, I grabbed 3 cups of water and dumped them on my head and hair. In the process I think I got my Shuffle too wet because it conveniently stopped working at this point. I ran the rest of the 11 miles without music.

I just kept trucking and tried to remain comfortable in my pace because I knew how hott it was getting. Everywhere around me, people who looked like they were in supreme marathon shape were walking and taking breaks, so I knew these were unusual weather conditions for this marathon. I eventually slowed my pace to around 9:15-9:30 and just relaxed to try and enjoy the race. And I did.

Around mile 21, I saw my parents just before heading into the best part of the race – the downhill 2 miles through Bloomfield.

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By this time, I was soaked from continually throwing water on myself. My Dad said “you’re just around 4 hours” and I literally said, “It’s too hot, I don’t care, I’m just trying to finish.” And that’s the motto I followed. I didn’t give up or give into the heat, I just took it slow and kept telling myself “easy, easy, easy.” I knew I wasn’t going to PR that day and I was perfectly fine with that. I took another GU and mustered up the strength to fight on.

So I headed downhill for those 2 miles and by the end at mile 24 my legs were killing me. Mile 24 and 25 were hell quite literally. My mind was so ready to get through those miles but the downhill shot my legs. They hurt so bad. So I just pressed on and told myself I was so close to being done. That’s the only thing I don’t like about Pittsburgh; I love the downhill in Bloomfield because you SO look forward to it the entire race, but it kills your legs.

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Last 0.3 miles.

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Almost there and so happy.

Everyone told me that I looked really strong coming in to the finish and throughout the entire race and I’d have to say that I felt pretty much the same. I held my pace pretty consistently and never once felt like I was going to give up. I wanted to enjoy this race and run my own pace, and I did. Never before have I actually relaxed that much and just enjoyed the miles. This was probably my all-time favorite marathon out of the 4 that I have done so far.

It was great because I didn’t have any real goals, I just wanted to get through it and enjoy the scenery. With less stress to finish in a certain time, I fully enjoyed the marathon event. Of course a PR would have been nice but in that heat – NO WAY.

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DONE!

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Sweaty hugs for all!!

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Shoes off. Too much pain.

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Winking smile

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Oh yes.

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I got SO sunburned and my neck was SO itchy.

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So tasty.

After walking what felt like 5 miles back to my parents car, we headed out for some breakfast where all I wanted was some juicy fruit and a big glass of water and Diet Pepsi.

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Thumbs up for food!

I actually wanted Nutella Crepes at the Original Pancake house but they were out of Nutella. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN. I have 2 jars at my house right this second! Anyways, I got a chocolate chip waffle, 2 glasses of Diet Pepsi and a bowl of delicious fruit!

We got home at around 2:00PM, I took a shower, uploaded some of my pictures while Mike was passed out on the couch and then took an hour nap while Mike cut the grass. My parents came over and we put this up in our front yard…

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We had to show our support!

– – – – –

Needless to say I appreciate and love everyone who came out to support me on Sunday. It was one of the best races I’ve ever had (mentally) and I really did enjoy it. So thank you all!!

My Mom got me another charm to mark my 4th marathon…

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26.2

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Pittsburgh: May 6, 2012

These charms are great because I wear them as a necklace and everyone always asks me what 26.2 stands for. My mom has gotten me one for every single on of my marathons and I always wear them near marathon time and directly after. Smile

– – – – –

As for the past 2 days, I haven’t been terribly sore, but I have definitely been sore. It was slow going yesterday when I worked in the ED, although I saw a ton of patients! Today I plan on getting out and doing around 2 or maybe 3 miles to get things loosed up, but obviously, nice and slow.

If anyone is ever considering doing the Pittsburgh full, I would totally recommend it. Or even the half. It’s a great race and I will most definitely be doing it every year from now on…even just for fun!

4 thoughts on “PITTSBURGH MARATHON 2012”

  1. So I wrote this all in word so I could comment on each aspect without scrolling down. Yes-I’m that cool. Moving on.

    You and your friend look gorgeous at bridal shower and congrats again to your sister! I’m so jealous and I love her dress!

    The marathon sounded great. Heat really plays a factor in racing and I can only imagine how difficult the race was after mile 9-10. You took it out like a champion though! UGH-ipods are so temperamental. I got my iphone wet a month or so ago and it stopped working. Completely-then randomly it turned back on and all was good in the world.

    Having no goals is so optimal and you really came out strong. I think I will consider doing the half next year. I thought about doing it this year but that was a touch too many halves haha! 😉 Great job Nikki and I can’t wait to see what other running adventures you’ll do this spring/summer. Though-I still think you should get a dailymile. 😛

  2. Wooooo! I read this whole post and the whole thing made me smile. You really make me want to run Pittsburgh! Also, your mom looks SO familiar to me!

    Congrats on your marathon finish in the HEAT and congrats to your sister on her graduation! <333

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