Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pittsburgh Great Race Recap

My favorite race distance is 10K. I love it. I usually only run one a year, and this year I was able to run The Great Race. Even though it was the day after Akron, I still felt confident that I could run a good time. I wanted to go sub-50.

The morning of the race, Joe drove the car full of us to the buses that would shuttle us to the start line. Matthew, Nathan, Gloria and I found Jeff and Lauren waiting in the bus line. Also in the bus line I met one of my new Flockmates, Cathryn.

The line to get on the bus
We are trying to have fun.
Gloria, my bus partner.

It took forever to get on the bus, even longer to get up to the start line. We had planned out the night before where we would all meet. I found Cathryn again and we chatted for a little. We found Lauren and MB and danced and chatted for most of the morning. 

The start line is in the middle of a neighborhood.

I decided to walk around before the start because we were there really early. The buses never stopped dropping off people. There were 10,000 people doing the 10K and most didn't feel it was important to get there early.

Doesn't do the crowd justice.

As I was walking around, I finally found Jen who is an elite runner for Oiselle. We have been chatting for months and I was so excited to finally meet her. She is the nicest human on the planet! Even though she was getting ready to place in the race, she still asked me how Akron went. I wished her the best and told her I would see her at the end.

EEK!! Finally getting to meet Jen!

From there I started to line up. Thankfully, I saw Carrie and had someone to start with. I knew she would finish much faster than I would, but it was so nice to see her.

We positioned ourselves relatively close to the start. I believe it only took a minute and a half to cross the start line. The race started on a downhill, but then immediately went back up. I am a terrible downhill runner so I knew this would be a test for me. I weaved a lot in the beginning. My time reflected it. Mile 1: 8:16.

Mile two is where I found my groove. I ended up being surrounded by men. Zero women around me. I felt very small but excited that I could hang with these guys. It was flat in the first little bit of the mile but then went to a huge downhill. My baby deer like downhill strides must have scared people away because I had a nice gap around me. Mile 2: 7:40.

Awesome, I made up some time.

Mile three started on Carnegie Mellon’s campus. This is about the point where the course turns into the Pittsburgh marathon course, just backwards. I know that it is a slight incline heading towards Pitt’s campus. Me, enjoying the uphills, continued into my groove. I saw a husband and wife running with a little girl. Could not have been more than four years old. She was screaming “I’m doing a great job!” I gave her a high five and told her she was! Mile 3: 7:59 with a 5K split of 24:58.

I knew right where I was at the start of mile four. It is the dreaded hill from the full marathon. Except this time, we got to go down it. Cue baby deer mode! It is really warm by this point. There is no breeze and the sun is just beating down. I knew I just had to do what I did in the first half of the course. Mile 4: 8:00.

Then it happened. I looked up and saw all the runners ahead of me. No big deal. Except that they were running up the same exact hill that CRUSHED me during the Pittsburgh half marathon in May. A nice four letter word came out of my mouth. I could feel myself slowing down. This hill is my nemesis. I powered up it, and noticed the 12 mile marker, still labeled from the race in May. Then I could hear the prisoners cheering for us as we passed the jail. Kinda creepy, not gonna lie. When my watch went off, I knew I had lost my goal time. Mile 5: 8:43.

It was pretty much all downhill from there. I didn't even care. I could start feeling my foot bothering me and I just felt deflated. I really just needed to finish. In my head I am telling myself that I am training for a marathon, not for speed right now and I’m doing a really good job, but then I’m really mad because I should be able to do this. The crowd is growing and its getting loud, I can see the park and know I am almost done. Mile 6: 7:46.

I rounded the turn to head to the finish line and there were so many people. It was a really great crowd. I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch, 50:29. Ugh, that stupid hill! 

When I finished I saw Carrie and Cathryn waiting for me so we could meet Jen and Kelsey and get some photos. Jen ended up placing second! She is just amazing!

Jen heading to the finish!
Cathryn, Carrie and I at the finish.
Cathryn, Carrie, Jen, Myself and Kelsey.

When I made it back to my huge group of friends, I quickly learned that more than half of them set a new PR. I was so upset I didn't  hit my goal that I kind of shutdown a little. I can be pretty hard on myself, but I should have been able to get a sub-50.

Our final Four Princesses and a Frog picture 
These people!

We all went to lunch after the race and said our goodbyes. It was so sad to see everyone go. I miss everyone so much already. Luckily, most will be coming back for marathon weekend in May and we will be seeing each other some other times through the year.

I do not plan on racing The Great Race again. I am a horrible downhill runner and the starting area was a complete disaster. Also, there were no medals at the finish and the shirt sizes were terrible. For such a big race, I would have expected a lot more.


  1. Nice job! I have never run two races like that back to back--it had to be tough. I am so afraid of face-planting on downhills. At the same time I hate hills!:) And no medals?!?!

  2. Steffany Smith RubelSeptember 30, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    NO BLING! Who puts on such a huge race with no medals!? Racing back to back days wasn't as bad as it could have been!

  3. Okay, I'm still stuck on the prisoners...why are there prisoners who can see you running and you can hear them cheering for you? HA! This is too much. I'm so excited that you met Jen - wow! Super fun! You're doing some amazing running, ma'am, so don't even let this bother you, especially after having just come off another race and then having wait around in that line, etc. Ugh. You did GREAT! I'm so excited for you!

  4. I hate that you were so bummed about your performance, but I think you did amazing. At some point you are going to go back and make that hill your bitch, just like some of those prison bitches yelling at you. There's a 5k course here in town that used to be my nemesis due to the rolling hills and the last mile being in full on sunlight. Now it is my PR course because I told myself I was stronger than a bunch of hills and the sun. You can do this!

  5. Steffany Smith RubelSeptember 30, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    We run past the jail!! Up the hill, but past it! It was so crazy. I really thought I was losing it at that point but I heard other people making comments!!

  6. Steffany Smith RubelSeptember 30, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    This is why you are my sister in running. I'm starting to let it go but it's so hard because I really wanted that sub-50. Eye on the prize though, marathon is coming!