To celebrate the start of an awesome race weekend, I thought it would be fun to do a "5 Things Friday: The Pittsburgh Marathon Edition" to highlight the top 5 things that I am most looking forward to about this weekend. It was tough to narrow it down, but here we go.
I always talk about that what makes a race weekend truly amazing are the people. Well, this is weekend is no different at all! Over the past few years, I have made some of the best friends that I girl could ever ask for through running. While some of these people live local, some live in various parts of the country. I cannot even begin to tell you about each of the amazing people that I am going to get to be reunited with this weekend. These people are my running Ohana - the ones that if I ever needed anything, they are just a phone call away. There will be lots of hugs, squeals, and selfies and I cannot wait to hug each of their necks!
The official kickoff to the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend is the opening of the expo! Last year the expo definitely did not disappoint and I am sure this year will be no different. With a great layout and various vendors, there is a lot of different things to check out. Of course shopping is always one of my favorite things to do, so that is always a highlight of any expo for me.
Pittsburgh knows how to rock a race course! Last year I was suffering from a nasty sinus infection that struck me the night before the half marathon. Despite feeling like my head was about to explode, the smile never left my face that morning. The amount of course support along the way was great. It is always great to have someone there to give you a high-five or ringing cow bells for you just when you need it most.
The past two years, I have ran the UPMC 5K on Saturday leading up the half marathon on Sunday. The 5K is an awesome time to have a nice shakeout run if you are running one of the Sunday races, PLUS you will earn the Steel Challenge medal by running the 5K in conjunction with one of the races on Sunday. I absolutely LOVE the 5K course! In 2015, I just missed my PR be seconds and in 2016 I CRUSHED my 5K PR by 45 seconds. I totally had no intentions of attempting to PR - it just happened, but we will save that story for another time if you haven't heard it already.
Of course I love the bling, I mean, who doesn't love the feeling of some hard earned hardware draped around your neck at the finish line. Trust me when I say that the Pittsburgh Marathon knows how to do medals! Last year's bling was pretty awesome. It is simplistic in a way but speaks volumes about the city in the design engraved into it. The 5K has finisher medals along with a bonus medal for taking part in the Steel Challenge, so I am running to earn 3 beautiful medals.
What will they look like? We don't know! The medals are kept a secret until race weekend, so it is a really fun surprise to see. Make sure you take time to get your medal pictures after you cross the finish line - there are some pretty awesome photo ops for sure.