Sunday, April 20, 2014

Pittsburgh Pirates 5K Home Run Recap

I normally wouldn't write a recap for a 5K, but this was something special.  Saturday I participated in the Pittsburgh Pirates 5K Home Run. 

My friend, Gloria, asked me a few weeks ago to sign up for this race. It's two weeks until my next half, I thought I could use it as a modified track workout. Sure! What the heck! 

I woke up Saturday morning and could not believe how cold it was! It was about 40 degrees, which is my in between temp. I decided to wear shorts and a long sleeve shirt. 

I made it downtown and found the last open spot in one of the free lots! That should have been my first sign for an awesome day. 

The start line was right next to PNC Park, on the Roberto Clemente Bridge. If you are not from the Pittsburgh area, this bridge is shut down every home game so people can walk over it to the park. It's pretty cool. 

I met up with Gloria and we started walking to the start. Another one of our friends was working one of the booths. We hung out with him for a bit and then made our way to the start. 

The start was "staggered" and please let me use that word lightly. There were over 5,000 people participating and it was crowded. I decided to start in the back of the 7-8 minute mile group. The 8-9 minute mile group was walked up right behind us by two volunteers. There was no break. The beginning of the race was VERY packed. I stood still right after I stepped on the chip start. It was a cluster. 

The race went out Federal Street, towards Route 28, and over to the Riverfront Trail. I spent most of the first mile weaving through people. Watch went off right before we got on the trail, 7:43. Good! 

The trail was very packed. This is about the point when people started walking. I am not normally the person to complain about it, but if you are starting in the 7-8 minute mile group, you should not be walking. I was getting annoyed. The lady in front of me would not get out of the way. The guys around me decided to push over some brush and waved me on. They could tell my frustration level. 

When the trail led back towards PNC Park there was about half of the race left. We ran to the Mr. Rodgers statue and made the turn back up to the park. Watch went off, 7:47. A little slower, but I knew exactly why. 

I was so happy to see a hill. It wasn't anything crazy, but it wasn't flat and I knew I could make up some time. Made it up the hill, and turned towards home plate. It was all flat back to PNC Park. I knew I had to try to pick it up. I was putting together a great race and I didn't want it to go to waste. 

At the turn into the tunnel of PNC Park I heard my watch go off, 7:35. It's time to sprint. I hit the clay dirt of the outfield and just went. I got cut off by someone and almost got pushed into the barrier splitting the outfield and dirt. I see home plate. I cross and stop my watch. 

There is no way. NO WAY! I just broke an almost two year 5K PR!!! I gave myself a little pat on the back and waited for Gloria to finish. She did really well too. 

Of course I went back and analyzed where I could have picked up those three seconds to be sub-24. The start, the annoying lady on the trail, the outfield - but what was the point. I BROKE MY PR!!! I ended up finishing 330 out of over 5,000 and 32 in my age group. It was all worth it. 

Would I do this race again, absolutely not. There were far too many people. If you are going to do a staggered start, actually stagger it. 

Plus, the amount of people that wore Steelers gear to a Pirates even blew my mind. (Sidenote: that is my absolute pet peeve about living in Pittsburgh)

Thank you so much for all the love all over social media guys! It means the world! 


  1. Congrats on the new PR!

    It's great to hear that they got the distance right this year. I haven't ran it, because I've heard that every year, the course is short. I ran the Steeler 5K, and it was really packed too, but they actually stagger the start.

    I TOTALLY agree about the Steeler crap at Pirate game thing. You can get a Pirate shirt in the Strip for $8 people!!!