The Runner's Reward

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend Recap

    It is finally time! After months of training in sub zero wind chills, freezing temperatures, and generally awful weather we made it to race weekend! It was a great weekend full of friends, running, and community.


    On Saturday I ran the 5k. The weather was nice and I felt great.  I started off with Kim, who was pacing the 10:00 group and ran the rest by feel shooting for a nice easy run. On this day nice and easy was a negative split shaving off 30 seconds per mile for the following two miles. It was a good, comfortable run.   

     Later in the day I met up with some of the Runderful crew for a shakeout 5k at Frick park.   I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to run with these guys for the first time! I was feeling a little rough, but happy enough with the opportunity and company.

    Frickin' Run!


    What a day! The Steel City Road Runners pre-race lounge at the Westin Hotel was posh and comfy. There was some light food as well. I avoided it as it was too close to race time and instead had water and a glass of OJ with a salt cap.

    Runderful Pre-Marathon
    Steel City Road Runners

    The Race

    I bumped up to Corral C at the expo and got to run the first 13-14 miles with John. John, Alyssa, and I ran many long runs together throughout training for this race and it was great we were able to run a good chunk of the race together.

    Early in this race I felt some sore spots and my groin felt on the borderline of cramping. This was all within the first 3 miles. And then the fog descended. I get this low energy, can't quite focus feeling sometimes early in a run . I'm not certain of what it is , but I have a few ideas. Anyway, the mental fog burned off by mile 6, but still I felt muscles wanting to spasm. I was concerned, but what else can you do but press on? At the Birmingham Bridge things started feeling good. The climb into Oakland was cake. At this point our average pace began increasing a little. (side note: I needed a bathroom since mile 1) At around mile 14 I decided to go for the PR. It only required modest increases in pace. Within a few seconds of parting with John I saw an open port-o-john and bee-lined in. 

    It took about 2 miles to catch back up to John and forge ahead towards Wilkinsburg. My pacing was fairly steady throughout the back miles through Homewood, Highland Park, and back into Shadyside. As I made it to the top of the final hill climb in Bloomfield my eyes welled up with tears. I felt tired, but good enough I wasn't concerned about the bonk and muscle spasms I had there last year. On target for a 4:15 I came down Liberty with a modest speed increase. At the bottom of the hill I felt the tired coming on and stopped to walk for a moment. I stopped right next to Ryan without realizing it! He had gone into calf spasms at mile 8 and still was forging ahead running and finally walking. We talked for a moment and I started off towards that PR with time to spare.

    Those open road, hot miles on Liberty were bad. I couldn't take the heat anymore and my body kept slowing. Once I hit the underpass and cool breeze I was able to pickup pace again, but it was too late. Or not. I started plowing on with as much as I could muster and at about 50 yards before the Boulevard of the Allies and the turn onto the final stretch I realized the PR was gone. I was burnt crisp after that effort and slowly made my way to the finish chute trying to muster a smile for the camera. The time to beat was 4:17:11 from Philly 2013 and I finished in 4:19:25, an improvement by over 30 seconds over last year's Pittsburgh Marathon.

    All things considered, I am very happy with the result and my performance.

    Mile 25

    Afterwards I felt like I might blackout and made my way to the crew and the SCRR tent to put my head down and rest after which there was great feasting and general awesomeness with some great people.Thank you Rundercrew and SCRR for an amazing day!

    Another marathon done with the next in 4 weeks time. 1/3 Marathon Maniacs qualifiers complete!!  I have fully come to terms with the fact I am probably a little masochistic.

    Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend in Pittsburgh and elsewhere. The heat and sun made for a hard fought race. You have all truly earned the title, Runner of Steel.

    Get all the bling!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! You did great for continuing to push even when it was tough very early on and then speeding up and pushing for a PR until the very end. A course PR is a huge accomplishment on such a hot, sunny day!