Pittsburgh Half Marathon Weekend

This weekend, I completed my first half marathon at the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

Because of the early morning start, we decided to head into town early and make a weekend out of it.

On Friday, we went to dinner at Atria’s, on the corner of PNC park near the Clemente Bridge. We were hoping to meet several friends who were running that weekend, but due to a variety of things, we only met up with one friend.

Fortunately with a 3 year old, there’s always enough interesting things to keep you entertained. After leaving dinner, we watched several party limo’s drop off couple’s out for their Prom. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures, but let’s just say the outfits have changed a lot since we graduated in 1995. A. Lot!

We did spend some time down by the river walking around the stadium, and had our own zoo-like adventure with the geese.

Saturday, we spent time picking up the race packet, and navigating the expo. Of course, all this did was make me debate whether I want to try the Vegas Marathon in December, or the Disney one in January. More on that later…

Since it was a family trip, and I didn’t want to monopolize the entire time with running events, we spent the afternoon at the Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival in Oakland. Fortunately the weather held off, and we were able to do most of the outdoor craft activities, bubble stations, and petting zoo.

After spending the rest of the day with my Aunt, Cousin, and her daughter, we went back to the hotel to rest up for an early wake up call.

Race Day!

After setting 3 cell phone alarms, the clock radio, and getting a wake up call, I woke up a half hour early at 4:30 am on my own. Yawn!

Since we were staying at Station Square, I got ready, had breakfast, and headed out to walk about a mile to the start line. It made for a good way to warm up, and left an hour for stretching, and standing in never ending bathroom lines. Good times.

I was hoping the weather would cooperate, and outside of the humidity, mid 60’s and drizzle made for good racing weather.

Before the race, my only goal was to finish under two hours. I knew I need to run a little over 9 minutes per mile to do this, and had done essentially that in an 8 mile race early this spring. Going into it with this plan helped, although I started out the first 5 miles a touch to fast at about 8:30 per mile. Not so fast that I couldn’t recover later, but if you look at my mile splits you can tell I slowed over the rolling section after the West End Bridge, and only sped up in the last mile.

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There were probably too many highlights to mention. I was able to see some friends who were volunteering just after mile 4, and found Christy and Aubrey cheering once I passed Station Square. Hearing “my daddy” sure helped push me through the South Side!

I ran this race WITHOUT music. Having bands along the course helped, and I think I’ve become a convert to racing without headphones. More on that in a later post probably.

All in, it was a great weekend, and awesome race. Here’s hoping my legs recover in time to run a respectable time in the Ogden Half Marathon on the 28th.

Friends Race Reports

Kelly – From Chasing Little Lion

Emily – From Feux de Foret

Deanna – From PRetty in Pittsburgh

Kellie – From Passive Architect

Related posts:

  1. 2011 Ogden Half Marathon
  2. 2010 Pittsburgh Great Race 10k
  • http://twitter.com/Pam_Wow Pam

     Great job, Russell. Under 2 hours in your first race is super impressive to this slow poke.   

    I’m a no-music runner, too.  I love the peace and focus I get without music.

  • http://www.russelldunkin.com Russell Dunkin

    Thanks Pam! I was happy with the result. Plus, starting in the B
    corral, I was able to see a “1” on the clock for the real time as well
    as the chip time.

    I’m not targeting under 2 for the Wheeling half – somewhere around 10
    minute miles will be fine given the quick turnaround and 2 miles of

  • http://deannaferrari.com/ Deanna Ferrari

    Agree with Pam – awesome time for your first half!!

    Good luck on the next one and take it easy ’til then!

  • http://www.russelldunkin.com Russell Dunkin

    Thanks Deanna! I figure I’ll fit in a 2-3 easy runs before next
    weekend but that’s about it.

  • Brian Gongaware

    Congratulations Russell on your first half marathon. It is a terrific accomplishment. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • http://www.russelldunkin.com Russell Dunkin

    Thanks Brian! I really enjoyed it, and running around Pittsburgh was
    great. Tell Joyce you need to join me in May 2012!

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