Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2017 Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6k Race Recap

Let's start this recap off with some truths. Friday and Saturday I left the house at 6:30am and got home after 11pm. I was exhausted. I have also been having some adult fun in the past few weeks. Nothing crazy, but more than I'm used to. I knew this race was going to be rough, but this is one of my favorite courses in Pittsburgh and I had to run it.

I was such a hot mess I didn't even take a flat runner picture.

Anyway, now that I set the scene for you. I got downtown close to 7:15. I left the house almost an hour before. It was a mess. I could have ran to the arena faster than it took me to drive. By the time I finally got parked I had to pick up my bib and shirt and do some warm up miles. I only made it a mile and a half before the announcer said "Five minutes until the start of the race"

The starting corral was packed. I ended up lining up at the 7:30 pacer but I knew I wouldn't stay there. It was already close to 70 degrees and boy was I sweating.

Thank goodness Crystal spotted me. Her energy is just what I needed. I was so tired I really didn't know what to expect. The anthem was sung and the gun went off. It was time to go.

I will say, there were a lot less people lined up in the wrong place in this race. There were close to 6,000 runners and I didn't have to worry about trampling a child.

The first mile is the flattest part of this course. I didn't want to go too fast because I know the last little bit is ROUGH. I stayed in the middle of the road and just ran my race. I got passed by the 7:30 pacer about a half mile in, which was fine. I was dripping sweat. This is awful.

I went across the first bridge (guys there are so many bridges in Pittsburgh I cannot name them all) and coasted. I had made the decision to pull it back after the one mile marker. I am marathon training, not short distance training.

Mile 1: 7:23.

Hmmmmm the 7:30 pacer passed me a longggggg time ago. Whatever.

I decided the rest of the race I was going to try to find a comfortable race pace. I was really hoping to hit marathon pace to just feel it. Okay great, new goal. I found a pace and it felt manageable. Yeah, I feel like I can run this pace for awhile!

Mile 2: 8:26

Okay, that's interesting but whatever, we are coasting.

On the next bridge (which I believe is the 10th Street Bridge) I saw a man in a kilt. He was SCREAMING at the 8:00 pacers, who were right beside me at this point. He was like "You guys can't pass me!" The pacer lady was like "well, then you might want to speed up." POINT PACER! I made sure to let her know she was awesome.

Anyway, out of the bridge there is an out and back. This is my favorite part because you can see the leaders. I saw an Instagram friend, Annette, earlier in the morning and I know she is quick. I started counting the female runners to let her know how she was doing. When I saw her I screamed FIVE!!! She was in fifth and I was so excited for her!

I also saw Crystal right before the turn around. I can't believe how much better I feel right now. This pace feels great!

Mile 3: 8:25

Yay consistency! Still not marathon pace, but it's something!

Heading back up I saw Sara pacing and Kelsey and Charles taking on the course. It is amazing how many friends I have made running. It really hit in the feels.

Getting in to the Armstrong Tunnel was something. No air movement and it is dark. Just stay focused. Almost done. Focus on breathing and staying consistent.

Out of the tunnel is a slight down hill then right back up. I knew I wasn't going to have my best time on the course, heck it probably wouldn't even be my second. I just wanted to finish strong.

Mile 4: 8:24

Seriously. This is kinda funny.

The finish is at the beginning of an uphill. I saw the huge inflatable finish line. I crossed the line. Gave Mario Lemieux a high five. Got some food and saw Crystal. I hadn't even looked at my time.

Finish time: 34:35.

No, not the real cup

Me, Crystal and Sara

I even got to see my friend Alexis!

Woof. That was rough. It was four minutes slower than the last time I ran this race. I knew it wasn't going to be good, time wise, but I am really proud of how consistent my paces ended up being. I only have one more race before the marathon, and I am hoping to have those kind of splits for the 10-miler.

Still, it is a fun race. I really love the course. I don't love the crowds. If they are not going to push the race start back, they need to open the lots earlier. Below is the course map and elevation chart for the Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6k.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good story and really said that its a sportman spirit. she no doubt enjoyed her race because she loves her it and plays with the joy which is the best part.