Race Recap: Pittsburgh Half-Marathon
Third time was a charm for Pittsburgh, if you count a charm as being sleep-deprived, poorly fueled, potentially still drunk and still getting your second fastest time (and PR-ing the Pittsburgh course, at least). I really want to experiment with what lack of preparation I can get away with in a race. This blog is called “Almost Getting it Together” for a reason, you know.
At about 2 a.m. Sunday morning when I rolled home, chugged a bottle of coconut water and re-checked my alarm for 5 a.m. I seriously considered just not waking up and running, but I’m also not someone to back down from a challenge. In my head I just envisioned how miserable 13 miles of hills would be as soon as that hangover set in around 8 a.m.
I woke up and forced myself to eat oatmeal and drink more coconut water. I started psyching myself up in my head, saying that it would be okay and I would have fun and that I had to be there for all my friends who I drug into this race with me or that were running the full. I also couldn’t look like a weakling who was going to let a few glasses of wine and potentially some tequila get in the way of a race.
The Pittsburgh Half-Marathon is seriously getting too crowded. I think this is my last year running the half, I have to run the full next year, or get to sub 8-minute miles in a half-marathon within the next year, because I cannot handle all of those people. They also should do a better job putting people in the corrals they should be in – if you are going to start walking in the first mile of a marathon, you have no business being in corral B.
The first mile I felt okay. I was weaving in and out (my feet hurt today and I finally figured out that was why) and ran an 8:42, which I did not expect for the number of people in my way. My second mile was a little faster and I was staying right around 8:30-minute miles for the first 10K or so and thought to myself, “you have a vague chance of PR-ing today”. I also forgot how hilly Pittsburgh is after telling everyone and their mother how it wasn’t bad until mile 11.
Around mile 8.5-9 I started to feel a little lonely. I was still in the pack but lost my friends and just needed a buddy. Low and behold my friend Lesley who was pacing the four-hour marathon group was right there. I was so excited so I jogged with her for a little bit and filled her in on my current situation, which was sleep-deprived and ill-prepared for a long run. Then I ran into my friend John who was in her pace group and had someone else to chat with for a while and then we all ended up going our separate ways. It was really nice to just stop thinking about running for a couple minutes.
I did in fact run with three gels and used all three. I also had nothing left in my tank for the last 5K and felt absolutely awful. I was trying to go faster and I just could not. I was getting passed but at the point I thought as long as I beat my time from Pittsburgh last year and/or get under two hours that I would be fine with it.
At the last mile, I knew I was going to beat my Pittsburgh record, as long as I didn’t drop dead first, which at this point, was a slight possibility. I crossed the finish line and knew I was somewhere in the 1:56 range and I just smiled, impressed with how irresponsible I was and how in the end, it didn’t even matter. I was happy because of my irresponsibility and I was happy because I ran my second-best half.
I was pretty wiped out yesterday but I was still happy I stuck around to see my friends after their races and before brunch. Everyone ran such an amazing time and I was so proud of all of them from finishing their first half or full marathon to breaking their PRs. Team Beer went to brunch and I came home and foam rolled and stretched like a responsible human being.
I would not recommend this plan of action as a training plan for any normal person but I’m also in pretty good shape endurance wise. I think I’ve been convinced to actually follow a training plan by Emily and Lesley to see where I can get my time. I’ve consistently been finishing in the top 10-15% lately so I’m curious as to what I can do if I actually push myself. I have another race on the docket this summer so I’m going to take a week or two and start the process again.
Chat with me:
Do you think I’m absolutely irresponsible and insane? Have you ever ran a race ill-prepared because you just didn’t care or something more fun then going to bed at 9 p.m. on a Saturday came along?