Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pittsburgh Runners: The Newbie, The Veteran, & The Elite

Good morning, friends! I've got an awesome treat for you today- three of my amazing running Ohana have graciously agreed to be featured on my blog as they are all running a race as part of Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend. Let me introduce these rock stars to you:

Lauren, aka "The Newbie," will be running her first half marathon in just a few days. 

Gloria, aka "The Veteran," had completed the Pittsburgh Half Marathon and many other races around the city. 

Nathan aka "The Elite," who will claim not be be elite but I say he is and it's my blog so there. :-) He also has a marathon PR of 3:30:13 so that makes him elite in my book. 

I sent them all a list of the same questions and this is what they had to say:

Why are you running Pittsburgh?
Lauren: Pittsburgh is my home! I knew that I wanted to run my first half here – it is a major milestone in my running journey and I want to do it with my hometown crowd.

Gloria: Pittsburgh is the closest city to where I currently live, so that means the closest half marathon race! But besides living near Pittsburgh, it is an awesome city to run in! This will be my second time running the half marathon in Pittsburgh which means redeeming myself from my first half marathon last year. 

Nathan: I have a goal to run a half marathon and marathon in every state, so it didn't take much convincing when my running Ohana asked me to join them for Pittsburgh marathon weekend when I meet up with them at the Akron marathon weekend.

Pittsburgh offers a half marathon, marathon, marathon relay and a 5k. How did you choose which distances you’d run during race weekend?
Lauren: In 2014, I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon 5K and it was my first (ever) race! I knew after that race that I loved running and set my sights on longer distances! I am running the 5K again this year, in addition to the half marathon. I am looking forward to earning my Steel Challenge medal and cheering on a friend as she runs her first race at the 5K.

Gloria: Last year, I started running not knowing how much I would fall in love with it. Last year my goal was to run a half marathon which I did in Pittsburgh last year. However, training did not go as plan but I still completed the miles of the half marathon but not with the time I wanted. So this year it’s all about redeeming myself from last year’s half marathon.

Nathan: I’ll be running the 5k and the marathon during race weekend. My thought for the 5k was that I’d be running a shake out run the day before the marathon anyways, so why not just use the 5k as my shake out run.

What are you most looking forward to about Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend?
Lauren: Being with my running friends! I’m also looking forward to seeing my family out there cheering me on (and celebrating my birthday with them - my birthday is 5/6).

Gloria: Definitely meeting up with the many running friends I was able to meet through Steff Rubel! I am also looking forward to the expo as well meeting new people in the corrals and on the course. Last year I met a sweet old lady in the corral I was in who had surgery on her arm two weeks prior. She told me her doctor told her not to run but she wasn’t going to miss it. She also told me not to worry that I would be able to get through the race and will be in love that I will be ready to run my next half right when I get my half marathon medal. She was right and was a huge role model through that race.

Nathan: I can’t wait to see my running Ohana again! They are an awesome group of people, and besides all the support they give each other they just make race weekends fun! Also, I’d be lying if i didn't say that I’m a little excited about escaping the FL heat, summer has already arrived here.

This one’s for the veteran Pittsburgh runner, Gloria: what advice do you have for folks who haven’t run this half or run in Pittsburgh before? 
Watch out for the Brimmingham Bridge, its literally a pain in the ass! JK, lol. But Pittsburgh is such a diverse city, you’ll experience the different neighborhoods as well as the people who live there. Give high fives to the people you see! They will have smiles on their faces which makes you smile and keeps you going towards the finish line. Also, enjoy the wonderful skyline and beautiful landmarks!

Question for the newbie, Lauren: why did you choose to train for a half marathon?
I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon 5K as my first race last year, and have since run several  5Ks, 10Ks, and a 15K. A half marathon is the next logical step! 

Heres one for the elite, Nathan: how do you train for elevation and hills like Pittsburgh while living in a relatively flat area?
Bridges, overpasses, and parking garages are great man made elevation obstacles. Another good option is sand, even though that’s a little harder to find in Orlando. The challenge of running in sand is sort of like having a flat hill.

What is your goal and/or goals for your race?
Lauren: This is a tough one. From the day I registered, I hoped to run a sub-2.5 hour half marathon. In January, I selected a training plan and added all the runs to my calendar. After that, my training went downhill and I faced one setback after another. While I've had a few great runs in the last few months, I've had a lot of not-great runs and I know at this point, my training is what it is and I just need to go out there and do my best.

On race day, I’m planning to stick with Chelsea (who is running her first full!) and Coach Jeff for the first ~12 miles and I hope they can help me keep a good pace and then take it from there. Regardless, I know I will have a new PR and new PDR! 

Gloria: I am hoping for 02:45:00 but anything below 02:50:34 will mean a new PR, also to meet new runners, and just enjoy the run!

Nathan: I’d love to walk away with a new PR, so that means I’m looking for a sub 3:30.

The most interesting running fact about me is….
Lauren: This is a tough one…I’m going to run a half in Alaska next month? 

Or….I have Crohn’s Disease and there were years of my life where I was too sick to even think about running. I am grateful to be able to do so now. 

Gloria: I hated running when I was younger, absolutely hated it. I don’t know if it was just because I didn't realize what pace meant or what but now I absolutely love running. 

Nathan: I like running in colder weather as much as the next runner, but I've grown up in FL and tend to get cold easily. Because of this, when it gets cold (read below 60°) you’ll most likely find me running in (at least) two pairs of socks.

What has been the most challenging part of your Pittsburgh training?
Lauren: As I mentioned before, my training plan hasn't gone according to plan and I've yet to have a week where I completed all of the scheduled runs. I've faced bed bugs (the bites caused my legs and feet to swell), illness, sub-zero temperatures, and a grueling travel schedule for work. But in contrast, I have an amazing and supportive group of running friends and family who have cheered me on from the start and their encouragement will carry me through on race day. 

Gloria: Getting my training in with work. I work as a technical director of a venue. We are busy 24/7 it seems but really busy from January to May so training around the 12 hour work day is a bit much. 

Nathan: Trying to incorporate elevation into my training runs.

On race day, what mantra/quote/inspirational thought will get you to the finish line?
Lauren: When I’m struggling through a run, I always think of Ben Comen. His ESPN feature is several years old, but it always puts things into perspective for me. 

I also read Haruki Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” a few months ago and really liked his mantra, “I’m not a human. I’m a piece of machinery. I don’t need to feel a thing. Just forge on ahead.” and have adapted it on many runs. 

Gloria: I usually think of how far I have come. I usually have different inspiration for each race. My last half marathon was in Columbus, OH. They had a child from children’s hospital and their story sponsor each mile... needless to say I was sobbing the entire race and my inspiration of getting to the finish line was to run for every child who was on the course who could not physically and for those throughout the world who can’t. I can’t wait to see what my inspiration on the course in Pittsburgh will be!

Nathan: A few of the things I’ll tell myself during a race are-
                    “There will come a day when I’m not able to do this, and today is not that day.”
                    “Get uncomfortable.”
I also think back on all the training that has gone into getting me to where I’m at, and just remind myself to have fun and enjoy the “victory lap."

So there you have it- three super cool runners that will be crushing goals this weekend in Pittsburgh! I hope you enjoyed meeting Lauren, Gloria, and Nathan. 

Don't forget, if you want to meet me and lots of new runner friends (these three included!), come to the meet-up/tweet-up Saturday morning at 7:30 am. 

Are you running Pittsburgh? If so, which race?


  1. GREAT Post! As a newbie I'm so excited to see all of these perspectives. GAME ON indeed!

    1. Good luck this weekend! It's going to be so much fun!

  2. Thanks for having me on your blog! I am looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend and kicking some half marathon butt!

    1. You are totally going to kick half marathon butt! Can't wait to see you either! :-)

    2. You're going to be AWESOME, Lauren!!! <3