This weekend I ran the inaugural Pittsburgh EQT Ten Miler. My friend Emily, whose parents both enviably run as well, invited me to be part of their team challenge – Team Beer. I’m not really sure how Team Beer did overall, but everyone but me did a great job at drinking beer at brunch (I had one Full Pint White Lightening, the lightest beer on the table by far, but my all-time favorite beer.)
The course was ten miles of the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon – the worst three miles were thankfully cut off. I really like that course and no matter what, for some reason Pittsburgh races are my fastest/favorite, despite them being hilly (besides Montour).
Going into the race, I wanted to run 90 minutes flat. I told myself I wouldn’t hate myself (lie) if I ran in between 90 minutes and 100 minutes. Part of me is still not used to not sucking at distance – I always build a lot of extra time into my miles that I really don’t need.
I actually made it to Corral C – my first time ever not being in the last corral. Again – still confused at having a goal that involves time and doesn’t include not dying on the course. I saw the pace group for 9:00/miles ahead of where I started and thought I would try and stay with them (trying new things!). After about two minutes I felt like I was crawling and decided to ditch them – I have told myself at the end of the past several races to focus on MY race and not pacing off other people.
I had my normal crummy mile 4. I don’t know why my middle miles are always my worst. My normal average milage is 6 so I don’t know why my body just starts hating me at 4-6 every race. Luckily it went away and I didn’t feel awful again until mile 9 (my only plus-9:00 mile).
I’ve also started realizing what my body needs when it’s running. My legs are feeling heavy? Eat a gel. Feeling despondent? Probably dehydrated. It’s really making me happy that my hard work is actually paying off and I’m just continuing to improve.
The most interesting thing to me is what a different race it is in the upper half of the pack than the lower half. No one is walking. Everyone is a lot more serious. I don’t even what to think about what it’s like to be in the front.
It was really cold on race morning and I realized Saturday I had stupidly gotten rid of all my old ratty-cold weather running clothes since having a good job and living at home (and going to the running store with my dad) means I can
splurge on afford nice Lululemon and Nike tech gear. Rookie mistake. I sadly thought about all the cheap black gloves my mom used to buy for me during high school cross country season that I could throw out mid-race since we all had to match in the cold (all black everything). I found really nice cheap gloves at Target (what an oxymoron) for a cool $3 and already miss them (they were gone by the end of mile 3). I also donated my old go-to cold weather Aerie fit fleece and a faded Nike half-zip to the homeless during my run. So, moral of the story, keep your old cold weather running gear so you can throw it out mid-race.
Are you still reading this book of a post? Anyway, I ran 87:48 which was over two minutes under my goal time! Now if I can just do an entire half-marathon sub-9:00 I’ll be a happy girl. I finished in the top 25% of women, 33% of my division and 37% overall. Not too shabby. And a qualifying time to get me up to Corral B.
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How do you feel about running races? Love it? Hate it?