Archives for posts with tag: pittsburgh marathon


It is now a few hours after completing the 2017 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon so I decided to put down some thoughts.

I signed up back in October with the long term goal of easing back into marathon training but with injury and weather, my plans went a little awry. However, with the help of Coach Anna Tunnicliffe Tobias and my CrossFit training (#bradletes), I re-adjusted my 3 goals and met 2 of them. So thank you.

The race itself went according to my plan. I started at a good pace, the one I had originally hoped for but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to maintain it. My strategy was to run to the 16 mile mark and then switch over to walk/run for specific time intervals; which I did. I did managed to run all the way up the hill from the Birmingham Bridge into Oakland about which I was very pleased. There were support runners running up and back down the hill to help encourage us participants to make it to the top. Can’t imagine how many times they ran that hill. Ugh! God bless them.

That hill was one of the milestones in my head that I had to beat in order to be able to finish the run. As it went well, I ran through Oakland, Shadyside, Homewood etc with more confidence, knowing that if I stuck to my plan, I would finish.

The next milestone for me was the relay exchange at mile 22. I forget where it is located but I remember last year, when I ran the relay, watching the ‘full’ runners coming through there with their heads down and really struggling. I needed to run through there with my head high in order for me to make it.

I did. All was good with the world. Though I do have to admit, I was struggling just a little by then. Conscious thought: left foot, right foot, 1,2,3,4……. All the way to 100 and then start again.

I love the downhill finish into Pittsburgh. Knowing that there is considerable loss in elevation after the incline as we turn on to Liberty Ave is a great motivator to get up the hill. And let’s face it, by the time you get to that point, it is less distance to keep going than turning around and going back the way you just came.

The neighbourhoods did their thing and came out to cheer for us. It was cold but they stuck with it, even the little kids. Always tried to ‘high five’ them if I could. They get so excited, it makes me smile and smiling is good running therapy.

Homewood/N Braddock area was amazing. They were so full of energy and encouragement, it was impossible not to smile, wave to them, say thank you for turning out in the cold, offering their own water and chopped orange stations. Other areas did that too but the vibes that came from these people were wonderful. Thank you.

The other group I have to really give a ‘shout out’ too were the small group of supporters just before the 22 mile mark. They were offering chopped oranges but then things got real. They had popsicles. Such a good way to hydrate when the last thing you really want to do is drink. By that time, lifting one’s water bottle to one’s lips is quite an effort.

A few of ‘funnies’ that happened on the way.

The weather was such that when running with the wind and the sun was shining, it was really warm. So much so that I had to take off my long sleeved shirt. I had made it a T2 shirt by applying a car sticker to the front of it. So when I took it off, I tied it around my waist with the T2 sticker showing; runners coming up behind me could see it. I had just crested the Birmingham Bridge/Oakland hill when a girl (running the relay) ‘sprinted’ past me and commented, “A bit longer than a WOD but you can do it.” Again, made me smile.

A little further down the road I heard, “Hey, Jo” and a big smile from Libby Jones (one of our members) as she ran past me. Thanks Libby, I picked up my pace for a little bit.

One of my favourite running tunes is “Chariots of Fire” and blow me, as I ran down Highland towards Bryant, there it was playing full blast. And further down, I heard “Flash Gordon”(?) by Queen, another of my running songs.

I passed the 26mile marker and decided to look at my watch to see my elapsed time. I had, probably, just over half a mile to go, and my watch said 4:25: and some seconds. I was so close to my 2nd goal. Could I keep going to the finish? Running along Smithfield to the Boulevard of the Allies seemed to take an eternity. It just didn’t seem to get any closer until, boom, it was there. I turned the corner and there was the finish line. I tried so hard to push just that little bit harder. I crossed the line with 4:30 on the clock, which was all I wanted. Then I got emotional. But I always do. I walked down the finish chute, collected my finisher’s medal (what a weight), collected Dole fruit cups, a banana, a bottle of water and thanked as many volunteers as I could – many of them had been there since very early this morning.

I collected my bag of dry clothes, changed shoes (have two blisters) and then hit up Starbucks. Oh my goodness, coffee and banana nut bread (absolutely not Paleo) never tasted so good.

Caught the T back home – nearly got on the wrong train – and listened to a couple of guys complaining about how the marathon really wrecked their day because they had to take the T rather than drive into and out of town. Ho hum. It’s not like they didn’t get any warning.

And then Paul was there to give me a huge hug when I got out of the car. Thank you Paul for being patient with me by humoring me and my whims. Love you. Also got licked to death by Ebba and Bella.

I wasn’t fast enough to qualify for Boston but I hadn’t even thought about it until I got home. But that’s OK. Wasn’t a goal.

I had something to prove to myself with this race. I can still do it; maybe not as fast as I used to be able but I am a little older than I was back then. I don’t have to beat myself up by running countless miles just to run 26.2 miles. With my strength training, CrossFit training and cross-training along with limited running, I can do it.

And yes, I am wearing my Skins USA recovery tights! Feeling better already.

Thanks for reading. And I know it’s not really Boating with Dogs but we will be soon.



Highland Park reservoir monster

Sunday was a case of taking the boat back to the dock, packing up and driving home so that  David and Bekah could meet up our house to drive home. Paul and I went for a walk to the reservoir at Highland Park. Image It was a beautiful day. Sounds like the marathon downtown was a good race. The supporters and volunteers were amazing by all accounts. There was clean up crew on N. Highland Ave as we drove down to Home Depot.

Israel is joining the Syrian civil war. Oh boy.

Apparently, if you look skyward tonight, you should be able to see shooting stars (barring cloud cover). Dust from Halley’s Comet’s tail will enter the atmosphere causing the display. Don’t forget to make a wish.

And if you ran today, congratulations.        Joanna

ImageIt has been just a fun day having David visit us on the boat. The day began with this amazing dawn. I love the dawn. Yes, sunsets are usually very beautiful too, but they are always at the end of the day. Dawn is a new beginning. A chance to start again. And because dawn happens so early, not so many people get to share it which makes it even more special.


A quiver of SUP boards.

We cruised around to the monument at Put-In-Bay and dropped the anchor again. By now it was blowing 23-25kts but that didn’t stop my intrepid duo from launching the SUP boards. This was after David learned to wash down the foredeck and anchor. ImageOff they went to discover new lands. Actually they went to find the lee shore to get out of the wind. ImagePaul was explaining to David about how to get back off the board and on to the swim platform, “Just go along side and step off”. But he missed. The water was 49F. He didn’t stay in long.

Had a rough ride back to Sandusky Bay with the waves and wind on the port bow and blowing up to 30kts in the gusts. David ended the day with a sunset paddle and I was going to post a pic of it but it is stuck in the ethernet somewhere.

Good luck to all runners taking part in the Pittsburgh marathon races tomorrow. And thank you to all the volunteers for sharing their Sunday with the runners.  Happy feet.   Joanna

ImageA good day today. At least for me. After trying to beat the rain yesterday, today was gloriously sunny. A little chilly but not much wind so just a couple of shirts and a pair of gloves, oh and tights, kept me warm on my run. Managed 15 miles today. iPod battery went flat at mile 10. Still had a steep hill to climb but I struggled on. It was a rather slow and definitely not pretty run but it is in the bag. I rather wish I was running Pittsburgh marathon in a couple of weeks but, Oh well.

If you are wondering why I have posted a picture of a pair of my running socks, it’s rather ironic. When I took off my shoes after my run, one of my socks had a hole in the toe so I threw it away. I have had an odd running sock lying around for weeks – just didn’t know what happened to its partner. So I thought, oh good, now I have two odd socks which make a new pair. As I was putting the laundry in the washing machine, I just happened to glance in the gap between the washer and the dryer and guess what was there – yep, the original missing sock. I now have an odd sock lying around. I thought it was funny; guess you had to be there.

Had just got in this afternoon, and dumped all my groceries bags in the kitchen when I got a text from a very good friend. She needed to escape her home for a while and was wondering if I was up for a walk. Thought she might need to offload but she told me to come prepared to talk. I think I am a fairly good listener but I know I am quite a good talker. And it was a beautiful evening for a walk. I hope she is feeling better.

A couple of other things; comments about TV advertisements. One of them really annoys me. Actually it makes my flesh crawl, a bit like scrapping nails down a chalkboard. It’s an advert for a foot support product. The guy at the end states, “Not only do I recommend the good feet support system ….” Now you’d think he’d finish with “…. I wear them too.” But no, he says, “…. I wear good feet arch supports.” It just grates. Ugh! The other advert is the latest GE one. Hugo Weaving, who plays Agent Smith in The Matrix, plays that character in the advert. Cut a long story short, he holds up a red and a blue lollipop at the end and asks an 11-12 year old boy, “Red or Blue?” The thing that makes me smile is that the kid is too young to probably even know what The Matrix is/was let alone understand the significance of the choice. The first movie, when the red and blue pills were offered, was released in 1999. Again, I guess you had to be there. Just my ramblings. 🙂

President George W Bush opened his library today. Looks like Syria used chemical weapons on the rebels. Is Obama going to commit the US to yet another war? According to the mother of the Boston marathon bombers, America stole her boys even though she sent them here. And now the father is going to be let into the country. Stupid.

Laundry needs attention.     Joanna

ImageNot yet anyway. I will lie down shortly. Have to after last night’s late night. However, the first set of tiles have been laid on the base of the shower. Yay! The big ones should start going up the wall tomorrow, I hope. Did have my first fall of my biking season yesterday. I didn’t fall off my bike. I was going to use the restroom in the cafe where we ate lunch and the floor was so slippery under my bike shoes that I just went down. It was like slipping on ice. No damage done though fortunately. Hopefully it will be the only fall of the season. What brought this back to mind is that I am watching the Paris-Roubiax cycling race – that’s the one that goes over all the cobble stones – and the riders keep falling off. I finished, finished my Advanced Piloting exam today. As I was checking it over I did manage to sort out a discrepancy in one part of the cruise which was good. I took the final boat curtain plans to the shop so hopefully we will see progress soon on that front too. Rode the three rivers today; such a beautiful day. Daffadowndillies were out in abundance; so were runners, all preparing for the Pittsburgh marathon/half/relay in 4 weeks. I actually felt comfortable enough with my recovery that I got my training schedule out again. Less than 7 weeks now but I think I will be OK. And just in case you thought I had made up ‘daffadowndillies’,

Daffadowndilly by A.A. Milne

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
“Winter is dead.”

The big news today, of course, is that Baroness Margaret Thatcher died today. She was an amazing Prime Minister; she was just the right person at the right time. It’s funny, I am reading a book about Sir Winston Churchill at the moment and the same was said about him. I was only 6 1/2 when he died but I remember the occasion when it was announced in the news. I didn’t really know that much about Churchill but as I lived through Maggie’s ‘reign of power’ I often felt that she and Churchill had a lot in common. They were right for their time but then tried to hang on too long. However, she was the last of her kind, unfortunately. I think the country(ies), UK and/or USA, would be better off if either country elected a leader with similar personality, courage and personality.

Image A great lady. May she rest in peace.     Joanna