Although running in the summer can be trying, it’s the time when I love to run smaller, local races the most. There are so many around the Pittsburgh area that is for a good cause, such as the Run for Alex race I ran the first weekend of June. For most runners, it seems summer is for speed & for testing out that speed in local, fast races.
If you’re new to running or new to the area, one of the easiest ways to find local running events is by using Eventbrite. The best part is there are more than just running events on their website. If you have a local event coming up that you need to sell tickets for, Eventbrite makes it incredibly easy to get the word out using their sell tickets feature!
In hopes to inspire you guys to participate in more local events, or create one of your own, I wanted to tell you about my most memorable race… and why I love this sport so much.
I have only been running about 2 years, but I have already had some really great (and not so great) racing experiences. You would think I’d tell you about my first half marathon, or when I ran a half marathon in my hometown of Hershey, or when I got a new personal record in a 5k. But, those who know me may already know I’m going to tell you about this past Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I’ve told this story many times, & touched on it a bit in the race recap here, but I didn’t get to express my feelings as much as I wanted to.
In the weeks leading up to May 1st, I was excited. Raising almost $1,300 for the ALS Association & knowing I was running for an amazing charity was something I felt really good about. I put on the ALS singlet that morning & felt so proud to wear it. I just knew this was going to be a memorable experience regardless of how I did time-wise. I told myself I didn’t even care what my time was – just the fact that I was wearing this singlet with Mr. French’s name on my back was enough for me. If I could just bring awareness to one person about this terrible disease, my job would be done.
The race went incredibly well. I had a hell of a time running with my friend Jen, chugging mimosas & seeing my friends & coach along the course. After we climbed up Blvd of the Allies in mile 12, you started the descent down to the finish line. There are people EVERYWHERE. It’s at this point I usually start to get emotional. (I’m a sap, so what!) The finish line was so close. I kept saying to Jen, “We’re gonna do it, Jen! We’re gonna finish!” The pace starts to pick up, & I start getting goosebumps everywhere because I’m feeding off the electric energy of the crowd. Experience tip: finish strong. No matter how you’re feeling, no matter if you’re sore & stiff & so glad that it’s over, FINISH STRONG. You are completing something that most people will NEVER do. You are about to finish running 13.1 miles. Listen guys, non-runners don’t understand the feeling. But runners – I’m talking to you. You know what I mean. You know the feeling I’m talking about. I get so passionate about this feeling. Yes, we train for 18 weeks & sometimes those training runs are awful, but some of them are great. It is a grueling schedule. We eat, sleep, & breathe running. The race is our victory lap.
The Pittsburgh Half Marathon was the most memorable victory lap I’ve ever taken. It is something I will never forget for years to come. This city changed my life. Running changed my life. These runners changed my life.
Even if running isn’t your thing, or it’s not what you’re passionate about; find something to be just as passionate about. Let something change your life. I’m so glad running did.