Thoughts on Running Really Far

May 5, 2014

Before we get to far into this I just want to warn you… if you’re looking for a post filled with pretty images in picturesque light you are on the wrong page. Go elsewhere on this site right now. Most of these photos were taken with my phone while actively running. So no, they aren’t good. Most of them are blurry and of my forehead, but come on, I was running 13.1 miles. This is not a post about photography, this is a post about real life and running really far up hill.

One of the highlights of my year last year was running the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay. You might remember, I wrote about it here. I really enjoyed that experience for many reasons, one of them was that I had set a goal, trained, and accomplished it. It felt good to accomplish a concrete goal.

So this year I signed up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon thinking, “this will be great, concrete goals and deadlines help keep me accountable, and this is something I want to do for myself.” Next I purchased a 99 cent half marathon training app. I entered my race date and the number of times I wanted to run per week and the plan told me I had two weeks of pre-training before my real training began…

PERFECT, I didn’t actually want to start running anyways!

Over the next 4 months I went on running spurts. One week I did great and ran almost all of my training runs. Other weeks I skipped them all because I was to busy or it was to cold. Eventually I got to the part of the training where you need to run a significant distance once a week – 8, 10, 12 miles with shorter runs in between. I knew I couldn’t skip the long runs so I did them, but then I wouldn’t run for 5-7 days. I called it recovering. And as soon as recovering was done it was time for another long run, which I put off doing because I hadn’t done any of the shorter runs. Basically training didn’t go as well as I wanted, and I was disappointed because this was supposed to be something I was doing for myself.

In the last weeks leading up to the race I was confident I would finish, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be pretty. So I bought a new shirt for race day. 🙂

Pittsburgh_Marathon_photo-5On Sunday, May 4th I piled into corals with 30,000 athletic looking people and we all started running. I ran the first few miles with my friend Sara but bathroom breaks split us apart, and from mile 3 on I didn’t see anyone running that I knew. At mile 6 I saw Joe and my parents cheering for me which was a huge boost. Thank you!

I took this photo while running over the West End Bridge. I tried not to get my phone out all the time because I was amazed at all the people talking on their phones while running the marathon… seriously, just chatting about the weather! Note below: another guy taking a selfie behind me and a second guy talking on his phone.


Things were pretty good until mile 11 which is pretty much all up hill. I kept looking around for any familiar faces, I knew a bunch of other people running, but somehow I had seen none of them. I took this photo at the top of the hill at the beginning of mile 12. See that bridge way down there, I ran across it about 12 minutes ago.


The last mile was actually pretty great. You can see the finish line really far out which is very motivating. My official time was 2 hours and 44 minutes and a few seconds.


At the end of the day it was a good experience. Do I wish I had a faster time, sure. Am I surprised at my time considering my training record, no.

Like a lot of things in life you get out what you put in. I’m happy I did it, I’m pleasantly surprised at my lack of soreness today, and I got to eat all the pizza I wanted last night. I know mile 11 wasn’t my finest running, but I finished. I ran a half marathon, and I’m satisfied and happy with that.


Alright, carry on. I promise to return to pretty photo posts again soon.



A belated congrats! This is so impressive!!!

Thank you, Ali! I hope you are doing well! 🙂

Love this! And your honesty! I’m super impressed – I don’t think I would have gotten as far as downloading an app 😛

Aw, thanks Gabrielle! 🙂

So proud of you Cara. For writing a blog post, but mostly for finishing a half marathon! It was so fun to meet you last night :).

Thanks Breanna! It was great to meet you last night too! I look forward to getting to know you. 🙂

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cara Rufenacht Creative is Stephen Fry proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache