Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh Marathon Expo’

Just a quick pre-race update as it is time for me to get a little rest and prepare for tomorrow’s race both mentally and physically.

The physical part is actually much easier for me at this point.  Stay off my feet, a little massage this afternoon, an hour or so of ice on those sore hips and shin area and we’ll be as good as we are going to be for tomorrow’s race. 

Mentally however, the day before the race can be tough.  Lots of sitting around, waiting for things to happen and some mild “obsessing” about tomorrow.  I find it therapeutic for me to pour over the course maps, think about the various challenges I will encounter, landmarks and where I can anticipate looking for Dawn, family and friends.

Looks like tomorrow the Clemente Bridge at the 10K point will be my best opportunity to see some loved ones along the course.  That will be a perfect spot as I may be able to swap out a water bottle for a fresh one if I’m lucky, grab a quick high-five or two and push on for the remaining 20 miles or 2 hour+ battle.

I should have a good feeling at that point as well regarding what kind of race we are capable of tomorrow.  Especially how much of a toll that Boston course took on our body.  It’s sure going to be interesting – but a lot of fun too.  I find myself facing a lot of the unknowns that I stared down in 2006 at my first marathon.  I have to admit I’m really looking forward to testing myself tomorrow.

But this morning it was time for a little fun at the expo.  I ran into two very special people on Saturday.  The first who I consider my “mentor” when it comes to marathoning Hal Higdon.  Hal was the author of the very first training plan, running book and web-site I ever consulted when preparing to become a marathoner.

Following his training plan he got me to the finish in my first marathon fighting off an IT Band injury in 3:58:08.

Two years later Hal coached me to my Boston Qualifying time of 3:17:43 at last year’s Pittsburgh Marathon.

Saturday he was kind enough to talk with me about my “double” this weekend and posed for a quick picture at the expo.

Joe & Hal Higdon - Pittsburgh Marathon

Meeting Bill Rogers was pretty special the day after Boston two weeks ago.  But I have to say – finally meeting Hal in person was a real treat.  Thank you Hal for everything I quite literally would never be here without you.

Moments later at an expo with more than 5,000 people milling around I felt a hand on my shoulder and it was young Brian Cass.  The young man whose story I shared with everyone here a few weeks ago.  Running his first ever half-marathon this weekend with Run 4 Dom proudly displayed on his Bib.

Brian is someone I have been happy to “mentor” myself this year as he tackled training for his first half-marathon.  Brian did all the hard work, I just checked in on him once in a while and passed along some of the lessons I learned the hard way.  But I can honestly say that I am so very proud of Brian and it will be an honor to race with him tomorrow.

When Brian reaches mile 12 tomorrow it will be extra special as not only will he be 1 mile away from his first half-marathon medal, running a distance he has never run before even in training.  But he will be running a mile that he sponsored himself as part of Run for Dom.  Thank you Brian for all that you have done for our cause and I can hardly wait to see you at the finish with that medal around your neck.

For those of you who are going to be at race day along the course I wanted to share a picture below of our “gear” for the day.

Pittsburgh Marathon Race Gear

We will be wearing royal blue Under Armour gear tomorrow and a white Boston Athletic Association ball cap if the weather forecast holds true and there is rain.  Dawn will be kind enough to wake up early with me and apply a reminder on both arms of who we are running for tomorrow.  So look for 4 DOM in Royal Blue swinging by on both arms.

My favorite bit of gear this year however is my Bib.  I’ve had some good ones over the years – but this one is pretty special.  You don’t have to look very hard to see what tomorrow is all about.  Just check out the graphic above the number.

If you are not able to make it to the race you can follow race progress by following me on Twitter.  The Pittsburgh Marathon is utilizing “Tweet My Time” this year, where my twitter account will automatically send out “tweets” with my progress from the course as I pass each checkpoint and the finish line.  All you have to do is logon to Twitter and follow me at:

This time tomorrow it will all be over.  It will be time to look back on the race, and really the last year to burn some mental images that will last a lifetime.  We’re not done yet, still another battle to be fought and a medal to be earned for Dom.  Fundraising continues until after the race – so if you’ve wanted to make a gift and just haven’t had the time yet, please do so as we’re closing in on the finish line.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me what’s next after Pittsburgh?  I keep responding that I really haven’t gotten that far yet.  May 2nd is the date we’ve been working toward and it’s always smart as a marathoner not to look too far ahead.

It is starting to become a bit more clear now as we sit here on the cusp of marathon number two.  Please know I’m not going anywhere nor is our hero Dom.  We both plan on being around for a long, long time.