Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6K Recap

I am a huge hockey fan. My family has season tickets to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Last year, the team announced they would host a race to kick off the hockey season. Holding with tradition, they decided to have the race be a fun distance and honor one of the greatest players in the game, Mario Lemieux. Mario wore number 66, so the 6.6K was born.

Last year I was very much into my injury during this race. It was really warm for the beginning of October and I did not have a great race. My time was 36:52. All things considered, I was happy to have finished. 

This year, the course was changed to include two bridges and a tunnel. Really cool! Plus there is a medal, eat that Great Race, and a tech long sleeve shirt! The weather was also MUCH cooler. 

So I was running this race with Jeff, Carrie, Lauren, Gloria and my other friend Allison. Me, Jeff and Allison ran the race last year. It was a balmy 38 degrees at the start, and I was in my marathon gear to try to get a feel for how race day could be. The looks I got being out in a tank, shorts and arm warmers was quite the thing to see! 

The start line was a slight cluster, but aleast it was labeled by average pace. Iceburgh, the mascot was waving us all to the start. 


I found Carrie as I made my way to the corral and joined her

So much different than last week!

We chatted and tried to stay warm. We quickly went over the course said good luck and then started on our way! 

As soon as we started, we went into a downhill. Ugh. I guess I should mention I ran 15 miles the day before on rolling hills at marathon pace. Yeah, I felt that right away. I tried to stay in the middle of the street because city roads aren't the best and I saw someone fall. 

Out of the hill we ran in front of the arena and back down town. We ran towards Smithfield Street and our first bridge. The one mile mark was right before the bridge. Mile one split: 7:22. 

Holy crap, I'm fast. I can't hold this pace. Better yet, I really don't want to. 

Surprisingly, the Smithfield Street bridge is very flat. There were spectators out cheering us on. I'm already warm. So glad I went for the arm warmers instead of a long sleeve. Once off the bridge we turned onto Carson Street for a little bit. We took a back road on our way to the 10th Street Bridge. Mile Two Split: 7:50. 

Much MUCH better. 

There was some up and down through mile three. More up than down. Not many spectators at all, I feel quiet comfortable. Finally made the left onto the 10th Street bridge and experienced the usual uphill of a bridge. I was in a pack of people and they were splitting apart. Little did I know it was because there was a photographer in the middle of the bridge! The picture was awful, I will not share it. 

Right off the bridge I feel a tap on my shoulder, it's Jeff! He really wanted me to go, but I didn't have it in me. I was comfortable and wanted to stay that way. I saw Carrie, who had already hit the turnaround point at the mile split and screamed very loud for her. Mile three split: 8:03. 

Mile four started on an uphill and lead right into the Armstrong Tunnel. Fun fact, this was a first for me! I caught back up to Jeff and we ran the tunnel together. It was very warm in there. We made our way out and turned for the arena. The finish was on a nice sized hill, which I knew and was ready for. We saw the participants in the one mile family walk and they were cheering us on. I never saw the four mile marker because my eyes were fixated on the finish line. Mile four split: 8:13. 

Jeff had slightly pulled away from me, but I stayed close. I felt great climbing the hill, except when some dude cut me off and almost pushed me into the line of walkers finishing. Ugh. When I finally did finish, Mario was waiting for us at the finish line. I wished him a happy birthday and gave him a high-five. Final time: 32:49. 

Yes, that is an over four minutes PR! That big of a PR in a four mile race is huge! I placed 390 out of over 3,900 people. 102 female and 27th in my age group out of over 500! I was pumped! 


Allison, Jeff, Lauren, Me and Gloria

I even got to see my friend Alexis, who I haven't seen in almost two years! 

Alexis and I

We then traveled for victory pizza and had a great time chatting. 

I love this race. It's a fun distance and the organization really comes out to support the runners, unlike other races in Pittsburgh. I fully plan on running it again next year! 

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