Yesterday I ran the Inaugural EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler. I had it slotted as part of my taper following last week’s final big long run in preparation for my marathon coming up in just a few short weeks, but it ended up turning into more than that for me, and I would classify it as my best race to date.
Now, the race itself had a lot to do with that. I was running with a large group while representing Fleet Feet Sports of Pittsburgh, which is a group that has helped me come a long way with my running this year. It was also an extremely well organized race, by the organizers of the Pittsburgh Marathon. It was also a very nice course that I was pretty familiar with, covering the south shore, north shore and downtown Pittsburgh. And the weather turned out great as well. Even though it was about 40-degrees at race time, it was bright and sunny for the race, and the cold was barely noticeable once I got going.
For me, though, the day was about how I ran the race. I went into the race without much in the way of expectations. Ideally, I had hoped to sneak in under 1:40:00 (a 10:00 min/mile pace), but it was also part of my marathon taper, so I knew I shouldn’t push it too much and figured to be closer to 1:50:00 (a 11:00 min/mile pace) if I was taking it easier. Regardless, I wanted to avoid pushing it too hard, and decided to just listen to my body as I went…but here’s how my watch tells the tale with my narratives.
- Mile 1 – 10:43 – Hmmm…maybe I’m going a little fast, since I started my watch a little bit before the starting line. But it’s feeling pretty easy, so I’ll just try to maintain the speed.
- Mile 2 – 10:27 – Over the first bridge and a fifth of the way there. Still don’t feel like I’m pushing it, so lets try to keep this going.
- Mile 3 – 10:27 – Pretty much the biggest climb on the course, and it feels like people are sliding back towards me on the hills. Still feeling pretty easy, though my shins are feeling sore, but I’ll work that out in the next few miles. I might have to give 1:40:00 a shot if I can keep like this through the next few miles.
- Mile 4 – 10:25 – Bridge #2 almost done. Still feeling really good.
- Mile 5 – 10:19 – Halfway there and I feel like I’m really just starting to loosen up. Let’s keep this train on the track and see where she stops.
- Mile 6 – 10:13 – Last bridge and it’s pretty much flat the rest of the way. Working to keep things steady and push it for the last few miles.
- Mile 7 – 9:51 – Mostly counting street numbers at this point as this part of the course is less scenic until we turn around towards downtown. Still, I’m steadily passing other runners and still have a bunch of energy.
- Mile 8 – 9:45 – Made the turn towards the home stretch…just trying not to really push it too early.
- Mile 9 – 9:44 – Almost hard to believe there is still another mile to the finish line downtown because it feels so close. One turn to go, and then I’m making a push to the finish line.
- Mile 10 – 8:31 – Made the hard push to the finish line (that last half mile seemed particularly long), and pretty confident that I got under 1:40:00 at this point. Totally stoked at the finish line and grabbing a space blanket to keep warm as I start to cool down, but feeling like I could almost bounce all the way home. What a great feeling race!
About 15 minutes later I checked my official time: 1:39:30! And that done while running negative splits for the entire race, which I have never done before. Too often I start out fast and suffer in the end, but not on this day!
This medal is going to hold a special place for me for a little while. Even though my focus has been on my marathon coming up in just a few short weeks, this really helped to show me how far I have come and what I can do!
I’ve got you in my sights, Thunder Road Marathon!