Pittsburgh Great Race 5k Race Report

So first a word about good life decisions. I make them. Moving here has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, hands down. I’ve been here less than 3 weeks and I’ve already run two 5Ks and today I PR’d. For realsies.

So it started Wednesday night. Kristi needed to give up her spot in the Great Race 10k, and Lynn came home at the end of a long day and asked if I had any interest in doing a 5k or 10k this weekend. I said I’d be up for a 5k, but I’m not ready for a 10k yet. So we figure out the details of transferring the registration to my name, and the next day I drive over to Kristi’s to have her sign the form. Lynn turns it in on Friday and comes home with our ‘Swag Bags’. This is happening.

I get up at 5 this morning, change into my race gear–it was supposed to be chilly with a good chance of wet. So I’m layered to the hilt. Decide to abandon a layer in the car, which turned out to be a good call. Lynn and I took the 5k shuttle to the start and kill the better part of the hour until start time. The strategy–middle of the road over the start line, then shift left for passing and all that. My goal was to PR. My best 5k time was my first race, what feels like eons ago, and it was 39-something. I wanted to see 38 or better on the clock, that’s all I wanted.

We started off and it was clear to me straight off that I love Pittsburgh. I LOVE IT. I love running through this city. I LOVE IT. It’s gorgeous. It’s friendly. And it’s just so much fun to run in. So we started running. And the really fun part about huge races like this for admittedly slow, but improving, runners like myself is that you actually get to pass people. A lot of people. So we’re weaving and bobbing and working our way through the crowd. Lynn was an awesome pacer. I felt solid and steady. I didn’t want to walk or even slow down because there was someone running with me. First mile was a breeze once I warmed up, though I was definitely ready for the water stop at the halfway point. Walked the first water stop. Continued, mile two was a little rougher, a little slower, but we hung in there. I knew that we were 2 minutes behind clock time, so when I heard 27:15 at the two mile I knew I had it in me to PR. I could do 13. So we continued. Last water stop I didn’t want to walk, I wanted that PR so we jogged through. MISTAKE! (Imagine that being sung.) I got a stitch in my side shortly thereafter and had it not been for Lynn I would’ve walked. But I didn’t. I kept going. Kept running. Groaning every few steps, trying desperately to massage the ache in my side, but I kept moving. We kept bobbing and weaving and passing. And after what felt like the longest finish chute EVER (I swear the ones for the half marathons are shorter) there was the clock. We finished. Scanned our bibs to get our times (thank you fancy QR coded bibs! I seriously hope they do that for the half marathon next year). 38:14. BAM!! And that, my friends, is how you PR. (Did I mention that Lynn was an awesome pacer? Totally couldn’t have done it without her.) We got the requisite Smiley cookie (another great thing about running in the ‘burgh) and headed back to the car to change out of our sweaty stuff into warmer stuff, picked up post-race caffeine (Diet Mt. Dew for Ben and coffee for Lynn and I) then made our way back to the finish area to find Kristi and wait for Ben and Kristi’s friend Melissa to finish. Lynn and I were almost hit by the press truck (members of the press riding on a flatbed) and then it started to rain steadily harder and harder as we waited for Ben and Melissa.

I was cold and wet, but you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I had PR’d! I had Dunkin Donuts coffee in my hand! I was surrounded by friends and in a city I love. Life is good. 😀

And I’m thinking I have to do the 10k next year. 🙂

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