Running Rufenachts conquer the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay

Let’s talk about exercising. My preferred form of exercise is swimming, but I’ve always wanted to be one of those cute running girls with brightly colored wicking tees and shinny running shoes. I also really enjoy watching the marathon each spring, and I get inspired by the seemingly normal people doing such an extraordinary thing.

This past Christmas, while sitting around with my cousins dreaming up ridiculous ways for us to hang out (even though we all live in different states), running a marathon relay together seemed like the perfect way to turn myself into one of those cute running girls, AND to get my cousins to visit Pittsburgh. Thus the Running Rufenachts were born!

We signed up for the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay, divided up the course, and started training. Over the next several months there were lots of texts back and forth about our training progress…

“So I just returned from the worst run ever! As in my husband had to pick me up half way through.”

“Haha… mine has to do that all the time.”

“It’s okay, I haven’t ran since Saturday…”

Needless to say, I was a little nervous we would not make it the full 26.2 miles, but Sunday, May 5th came and it was time to run, ready or not.

My section of the course was the third leg. It was 6.4 miles from Station Square to Mellon Park. Below is an elevation map of the course with my section highlighted in teal. I’m going to let you make your own judgments about who had the most difficult section of the course. 🙂

pittsburgh marathon photographer

Right. That’s why my race-day name was “The Ascender.”

Now let’s get to some race day footage. My cousin-in-law Christina had the fabulous idea of taking selfies (self portraits) at each mile marker. “Everyone does it” she told us.

False. Everyone does not do this, but we did.

Here are my 6.4 miles of selfies and a peek of what was going through my mind while running. Please note: these photos were all taken with my phone while running. They are not an accurate representation of my photography skills. 🙂 

pittsburgh marathon photo
pittsburgh-marathon2-photopittsburgh-marathon3-photo pittsburgh-marathon4-photo pittsburgh-marathon-photo

Okay so maybe the selfies were a fun idea… especially since now we have this SWEET collage put together by Christina.


Our time was 4:50 and a few seconds. Here we are at the finish line festival all happy that we didn’t get picked up by the sag wagon.

From left to right you see my cousin Jenna (“Bridge-IT”), aunt Barb (“G-ma Blitz”), myself (“The Ascender”), and Christina (“The CLOSER”). Christina ran the last two legs because we didn’t have a fifth member. She’s a rockstar.

pittsburgh marathon photo

After running the relay I have even more respect for everyone who runs marathons, the training and commitment necessary is incredible! The day after the race I had this conversation with my husband Joe:

Cara: “Do you think I could run a whole marathon?”
Joe: Makes a weird face and thinks for a second. “Yes.”
“Do I think you have the perseverance, drive and desire to do the training necessary for that to be a GOOD idea, no.”
“COULD you do it, yes.”
“Do I think you SHOULD do it, no.”
“Will I support if you decide to do it, yes.”
“Will I come visit you in the hospital afterwards, yes.”
“Do I promise not to make fun of you, no.”

Thanks, Joe. I’ll just stick with being a member of the Running Rufenachts.


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That hits the target dead cenetr! Great answer!

[…] 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, […]

Dude you rocked it and your ascension was certainly crazy. Let me know when the next marathon relay is and let’s hit it!

Love the “Running Rufenachts” – could we be the “Sprinting Shorts”? Not

YAY! You made it! I would so train for a marathon with you, maybe, at least a half…. once I start running and working out again…. tomorrow 🙂

I think a half is the farthest I would ever try. I don’t know if my knees would make it much more than that. 🙂

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