Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend Recap

This past weekend was highly anticipated by so many Pittsburgh-ers, as well as thousands of other people coming from the 20 countries that were represented at the race.

Pittsburgh was never going to be “my race”. Raleigh was. And I had a great race at Raleigh. I knew no matter what, I’d finish this race, & that was going to be enough for me. I figured I’d finish around my usual 12 minute mile, about a 2:37, or last year’s 2:38.

I hit up the expo a total of 3 times. I took the BF over on our lunch break on Friday & I may have overwhelmed him a bit, but it was great letting him in on a little bit of my life. After work on Friday, I met up with my friend Jen for a real walk around & we both spent too much money.

Saturday morning was the 5k. A “We Run Social” meet-up was schedule for 7:30am & it was FREEZING & raining. It was so nice to catch up with a few of the girls I hadn’t seen since the last meet-up at Just a Short Run! I lined up with a few friends & we planned to take it easy. I lost a few of them when we went over a little bridge thing near CCAC campus – but Jen & I were able to stick together. We took it easy & we were SO glad it was only a 5k! It was just way too cold & we hoped that the weather wouldn’t be anything like that!

After the 5k, I went home & got a hot shower & took a nap until my BFF Rachael’s bus got in at 3:30pm. It was so good to see her. We hit up the expo so she could pick up her stuff & walked around. She’s never ran a race this big so I was excited to show off my city’s big event.

After the expo, we head over to park at the First Ave garage & took the T over to our hotel for the evening, the Wyndham. We had a great view of the Point!

We grabbed some dinner, stuffed ourselves full & came back to the hotel to watch the Pens game. Unfortunately, not a win.. & since then, they’ve forced a Game 7, which I can never watch because it makes me physically ill with nerves.

Sunday morning, the alarm went off around 5:40am. We all got an update from the race to layer up. Local weatherman was calling for 25 MPH wind gusts & real feel temp of 33. YIKES. For me: short, compression socks, ALS singlet, arm warmers, my mentor jacket & a hat. I ate my breakfast, a bagel + PB, around 6:30am, which ended up being too early… I found a few of the girls in the lobby & we waited until the last possible minute to head outside.

The race was supposed to start at 7am. There are 4 corrals, & I was in D, the last one. I knew that I probably wouldn’t cross the start line until 7:25 or so. This year, I didn’t cross the start line until 7:45!


The first half of the race went well. Spectators were great as always. The sun came out strong & I took my jacket off within the first mile. I swear I’m an oven when I run. Once we hit the West End & turned onto Carson St (miles 7-11 on the Birmingham bridge) the sun was getting a little relentless. I’m so sensitive to the sun & it was draining me.  Carson St is such a long stretch of nothing. At least until you get into Southside, so it was a struggle. I was falling apart pretty quickly. I hit the wall somewhere during this time & I literally thought I might not finish. Thank God for Rachael, if not for her continuing to run, I would have stopped & walked the remaining 3 miles. Truly – she is the only thing that kept me going & had me finish this race.




The last 2 miles were terrible. It felt like a death march. Coming down the finishing chute, I couldn’t even smile. I was just glad it was over. The medals were so beautiful this year – I loved that they put the incline on it. The BF was at the finish area waiting for me & I was so happy to see him. I had spent 2 hours + 44 minutes slogging through the city + all I wanted to do was give him a big hug!



Since I ran the 5k on Saturday & the half marathon on Sunday, I got a 3rd medal for completing the Steel Challenge! Such a great medal this year. Although this race didn’t turn out to be anything I’m happy about – I’ve finally moved on after a day or two of moping. Now that my long distance training is officially over (for now, but not forever), I can finally look forward to EFX, biking, & staying in 10k shape. Time to get strong!


5 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend Recap

  1. Jessie @ The Acquired Sass says:

    Usually I really enjoy SS, but this year I really felt how empty the first half of Carson Street was, and I agree, the sun was DEFINITELY out at that point. I should have worn shorts.

    I’m glad you’re movin’ on. So much cool stuff coming up, it’s just not worth your mental energy. Focus on Ragnar instead! Which I am SO EXCITED we get to experience, because it’s honestly the best, and I think we have a great team, and YAY!!!

    • Ciara says:

      you’re right! I am SO excited for Ragnar. I really want to embrace that entire weekend, because it’s gonna be a great experience!

  2. Rebecca Jo says:

    Death march… girl I know that feeling.
    You did it though! No moping allowed!!!!
    I’m just impressed you wore shorts in those temps 😉 haha
    I am in the same mindset right now – I’m concentrating on getting my 10K down better. Screw those 13.1 miles… for now 😉

    • Ciara says:

      I am an oven when I run, I swear! I wear shorts w/ compression socks a lot, especially if its in the 50s. That’s a great goal!!! I really enjoy 10ks…

  3. Jennifer @ Dashing in Style says:

    You’ve described my only experience running this race–feeling very hot, wheels falling off on Carson, wondering if I could actually finish, and the final miles a miserable death march. So I feel your pain! Races like this deserve a huge congrats for finishing! It’s also nice that you had a friend to run with and help you through the dark spots. Congrats on finishing and making it through winter training!

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