What a great race this was! Let me just say first… I was born a Steelers fan. My mom is originally from Pittsburgh & she brought my brother & I up to be diehard fans. Instead of white Christmas, we have black & gold Christmas. It’s just how it is in our family. So, living in the city that houses my favorite football team of all time is a dream come true.
This race started at 7:30am – which I was totally not looking forward to. I had posted to the Pro Bike + Run training group FB page to see if anyone else was running this race that I could meet up with to ensure I actually got my butt out of bed for it. My friend Katie was one of many responses so she & I decided to meet up in the morning.
Katie & I met up at packet pick up around 6:30a & we did the usual hit the bathroom & do a couple stretches thing. She ran a quick warm up while I waited by the start line. I saw a couple of people wearing Browns jerseys & one guy wore a Pats jersey. BLECH. Get a liiiife. Ya’ll aren’t welcome here. 😉
Katie & I parted a few minutes before 7:30 & lined up with our respective pacers. They were doing a wave start which was actually kind of nice since this is a really crowded race. I lined up between the 10 & 10:30 pacers. Ideally, I wanted to stick with the 10 minute pacer for the duration. The gun went off & we all gave it a go!
The first mile was painful, I’m not gonna lie. I didn’t warm up like Katie did (I don’t normally), & we all know that the first mile is a liar. I hated every minute & wasn’t sure if this was how my legs were going to feel the whole time. I hoped not.
By mile 2, I was feeling a lot better. I just needed to hold on to the same pace. It turns out I slowed down just a little during this mile, but I wasn’t feeling like I was struggling much. The course was pretty flat & while there was no crowd support, the volunteers were excellent & I thanked every cop out there watching the roads for us. I passed a guy wearing a full fireman’s uniform running & he was killing it. I thanked him for his service as I passed him.
As I said, the course was flat which I wasn’t expecting at all. I figured this was the typical North Shore race, but it wasn’t! I was thankful that it seemed I was able to hang on to my pace. The 10 minute pacer was really far ahead of me, but I was no where close to the 10:30 pacer as they were behind me. I was still hitting sub 10 minute paces, so I believe the 10 minute pacer just started out ahead of me from the beginning.
As I was running up towards Heinz Field, an older gentleman ran up next to me & said “This is the coolest part, we’re about to run through the chute” & I said yeah? I’m hoping to PR so I will make sure I take it all in. He wished me luck & kept going. Later on after I finished, he came up to me & asked me how I did. Runners are so nice!
As I rounded the corner into the chute, I had caught up to the 10 minute pacer. He had stopped & started motivating people right through. He was yelling to everyone how great they were doing & how this was it & to enjoy it. I kept thanking him. He did such a great job with that last little push. It got me to a 9 minute pace for that last little bit.
As I crossed the finish line along the field (SO COOL!!), I stopped my watch & it said 30:45. I started tearing up because per my watch, I had just PR’d by 30 seconds. WOW. I couldn’t believe it. I immediately started looking for Katie but they were ushering people up the stairs into the stands. I probably looked for Katie for almost 15 minutes. I decided to go inside & finally after another 15 minutes or so, found her!! She did AMAZING & ended up finishing 1st in her age group.
My official finish time was 30:42, a 9:52 avg pace. I couldn’t believe it. A sub 10 minute average pace!! That never happens. I was texting with my coach, Matt & he told me how I had finally gotten comfortable being uncomfortable. I had had a huge breakthrough. I agreed. A HUGE breakthrough! What a day. And to think that I almost skipped this race.
Katie & I hung around to stay for the award ceremony where I got to see her get announced as 1st place winner! It was so exciting to see. Together we both had a fantastic day & was so glad we chose to sign up for this race!
Did you participate in this race? How did it go? Did you run any races on Labor Day?