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Lessons Learned From the Pittsburgh Marathon

This morning I woke up with excitement. It was the morning of the Pittsburgh marathon and I was scheduled to run a relay leg. 

As I mentioned yesterday I was scheduled to run as part of a team with a group of guys that I had never met. They had registered as a "Mixed Team" and they needed a girl. I responded to an email sent to my old running group and committed to be that girl.

For the past few months I have thought about the race and worried that I might let my team down because I haven't had time to train like I would have wanted. This morning all of those worries manifested themselves as stomach problems. I now understand why all of those Port-a-Johns are along the race route! Fortunately for me, my relay leg started a couple of blocks from my house so I was not forced to use the Port-a-John. Thank God for that.  Otherwise I may have quit. I think that those things are the nastiest things known to man!

So, I went out to join the other relay team members waiting for their teammates. After a bit of confusion about where to pin my number I was ready to go. I even made friends with a girl who believed that her friend was going to get engaged at a relay exchange point.  I was really excited for that girl. Running + Romance + a Diamond. Does it get any better than that?! (I guess if he proposed I'll read about it in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette or see it on the WPXI news!)

After chatting a bit I started looking for my team member. I had witnessed some unfortunate exchanges where there was great confusion. I know that I needed to ensure that didn't happen on my exchange.  After all, I had only met my teammates via email and I was worried about running fast enough. At least I could make sure that we had a smooth exchange.

Eventually I saw my teammate running towards me. He was dressed as he described. He wore dark shorts, a red sweat band on his wrist and no shirt.  The first thing I thought was "Wow! He's hot!" Then he ran up to me, we did the exchange and he yelled, "Go girl! Go!" There's nothing like an instruction from a handsome man to get me motivated. Indeed, running with Andre makes me go faster every time!

So, I took off running super fast. About 200 yards into it I remembered that my leg was 3.5 miles and I needed to last the entire time. So I slowed down. Then I started thinking about my morning, my stomach troubles, breast pumping beforehand, pinning my number to my shirt, everything. I got anxious again that I might let my team down. 

Then something came over me. I realized that it was a sunny day in Pittsburgh and that there were people all around cheering for me. I realized that I hadn't been in a relay since I was in high school at Gates Chili.  How cool that I was doing it again, as a mom?! At that moment, I relaxed and decided to have fun. I yelled at the cheerleaders I passed. I slapped hands with a few soldier. And I swear I started to feel easier and I went faster. It was like the wind was at my back.

Even though I relaxed, I still ran as hard as I could and I came into my relay exchange area strong.   

I was proud of my performance and I earned my medal. And I think that my teammates were too. Our official time was 3:18 and we placed 53rd out of 894 relay teams.  I still don't know how fast I ran individually, but I do know that our team made a respectable showing.  For today, that was enough for me.

(Congrats to all of the other runners! I'd like to give a special shout out to Jennifer Wasco who crossed the half marathon off of her bucket list today. She's been doing some amazing things and she inspires me!)

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