Pittsburgh Half Marathon Recap with GNC

Running after giving birth wasn’t the most comfortable thing at first. I was nervous early on that I made a mistake accepting this challenge, but within a couple weeks, my doubts disappeared. 

I thrive on challenges and stick to plans if I have deadlines. A race is the best deadline to get in shape I can have. My deadline was this past Sunday and while this time around my training was significantly different, it existed nonetheless. 

Nick had a wedding in California so my mom flew with Tommy and I to Pittburgh on Friday.

I was nervous about logistics but it was much easier than I expected. Tommy was as I expected pretty good on the flight. He had a less than 5 minute upset episode that we fixed by changing his diaper – in the broken bathroom (!) – yes, American put us on a plane from BOS to PGH without a working toilet. 

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The forecast was supposed to be terrible but it turned out to be pretty good. I had dinner at Sienna Mercato with the GNC Race Team Friday night while my mom watched my baby. I got finally meet Maria Kang, another member of the GNC Race Team and also known as No Excuse Mom. She was running the full on Sunday!

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Saturday I spent the afternoon largely at the convention and sight seeing with my family. First, I did a No Bake Bites recipe at the booth at the GNC Health and Wellness Expo. It is one of my favorites and will be up on YouTube soon. 

Not due back until 2:30, my mom, Tommy and I explored the city, ending up at a beautiful park that overlooked the rivers and football stadium. 

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We ate lunch at a delicious taco place called Bakersfield where I indulged in a spicy margarita that was outstanding. The food was so good everywhere we went. Who knew Pittsburgh had such good restaurants.

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Later in the afternoon, I participated in a “Spin to Win” wheel with prizes featuring my book at the expo. It was more fun than expected thanks to perhaps my lunch “treat”. 

As for race day, I shared my experience in my newest video below. 

Here are the basics:

It was supposed to rain and the ponchos at the expo sold out quick! I prepared a make shift poncho using a hotel trash bag. I set my alarm for 5:15… PM! I woke up to Tommy at 5:45 AM wanting to nurse. I was supposed to be downstairs at 6 AM. My original plan was to get ready, nurse, pump, eat breakfast and meet the crew in the lobby. It was frantically cut short and really all I missed was a good breakfast. Instead I had a banana and part of an un-toasted plain bagel. 

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I used the porto potty right before the start and crossed the start as one of the last in my corral. The first couple miles were wet. It was warm though and I quickly realized the trash bag was going to be more uncomfortable than a little rain so I ditched it after 2 miles. My pace felt good, right around 9:30 min/mile. 

My training runs were all around 10 min/mile and the longest was 8.5 miles. 

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I honestly felt really good up until mile 8. It got challenging however quickly and I relied on my runners fuel. I then put on my playlist from the Boston Marathon and that fired me up and got me dancing. It was a dance party in my head up to the end of the race. For more details, watch the video above. 

What really got me excited to reach the finish line was thinking of Tommy. I kept smiling thinking of his cute little giggles. 

Overall, it was a great race with a beautiful course. I was surprised to see so many spectators at such an early race. There were over 30,000 runners who participated but it did not feel that way. I finished with a time a few seconds under 2:10 – 23 minutes slower than my PR, 10 minutes slower than my average half marathon time. I’m just proud that I finished. There were plenty of hills and I never walked!

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I am incredibly lucky to have a company like GNC who believed in me and invited me to take part in this journey. I honestly didn’t realize how much they catered to women like me with vegan protein powders, essential oils, organic snack bars and more. This campaign changed my opinion of what GNC has to offer and has quickly become my new go to stop for snacks when I’m out and about instead of a drug store. 

Start your own health journey and learn more about your supplement needs at the GNC learning center, including how much protein you really need and vitamin suggestions. You can also get more info on my journey to 13.1.

This post was sponsored by GNC. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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