Now, let's remember that I ran a half marathon last weekend and had a really rough training week last week. I knew I could run a decent 5k, but nothing spectacular. This would also be my first 5k down on the North Shore.
It was cold dark and windy, so a typical Pittsburgh day. The wind was very cold down by the river. Luckily the race organizers had heaters so we all could stay warm. Gloria decided to run the race with me, since she is getting ready for Pittsburgh in a few weeks.
It was an out and back course starting right by the Mr. Rogers statue. We would run up the trail to the Heinz lofts then turn around and come back. No hills, just straight running.
When it was time to start I just let my body dictate the pace. I knew I wouldn't be in it for a PR, but I still wanted to see where my fitness level was at. I knew instantly I went out too fast. After the crowd thinned out a little bit, I toned the pace down. I wasn't going to be able to hold a sub-8 pace for the whole race. There were also icy patches since it was about 22 degrees outside.
Mile one: 7:52
Mile two was hard. My lungs were burning from the cold breeze. Even though the wind was nothing compared to New Jersey, it was icy. I started easing into what I thought was a pace I should be at. When I looked at my watch it said 9:45. WAIT NO! TOO MUCH EASING OFF! Luckily this was at the turn around so I knew I only had a mile and a half to go. It was time to get serious.
Mile two: 8:46
When my watch went off for mile three I knew I had to move. There was a headwind at this point so moving was easier said than done. My eyes were watering. There were groups of walkers taking up the entire course that I had to weave in and out of. This was pretty miserable.
I was running with a teenage boy for most of the mile. He decided once we could see the finish line he was going to start to sprint (about a half mile away). You go right ahead buddy, I'm good right here.
Mile three: 8:34
When I was coming into the finish, I was all alone. Neat. I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch and didn't want to look. I knew I would be a little upset with my time.
Official time: 26:18
I finished 38th overall and third in my age group. While most people would be ecstatic with this, I was a little upset. It was an indication on how much work I have to do. I'm a good three minutes off of where I was for a 5k last year. But, in perspective, I'm proud of myself. I'm getting there. It's going to be hard to get back to where I was, but this race was a nice start.
It was such a fun atmosphere and Gloria even set a new 5k PR! I would love to do this race again next year. It is a really great cause and a quick race.