Greg and I sure earned our turkey on Thursday. We got up on a blustery morning (it was 19 degrees when we got in the truck) and headed downtown for the 23rd Annual Pittsburgh YMCA Turkey Trot.
Did I mention it was cold? We were dressed in layers, but it still burned when the wind hit.
And of course, I haven’t learned my lesson from the 10-Miler (just a few weeks ago) and bought bagels for race day, so again, we had to stop at the store and shop on Thanksgiving. Urgh. At least I stopped at a store in the chain I work for, so I didn’t feel as guilty.
Our drive downtown was smooth, barely anyone was out (on the way there, home, or up to my parents’ for Thanksgiving dinner…but the number of people out in the shopping hours? INSANE). If you didn’t know, the 31st Street Bridge is open again (PSA).
We sat in the parking garage and watched two women get accessorized although they were clearly running late for the 5k. The laughs helped us stay warm until we left for the starting line.
I asked that we start sort of near the front of the middle. My body was telling me I could push it today, that maybe I needed to in the cold. I figured this would give us a nice pace for the first mile or so, before any hills were introduced. This was a correct assumption. The fastest mile was mile 1 at 10:13. According to my records, I only hit 10:40 two other times – while 10 mile training and while Suzie and I ran in San Francisco. So what a shave off time! (Note, apparently I hit a portion of my 10-miler at 10:02 and a portion of TT at 10:08. I am looking at real miles for times here.)
As we crossed the Clemente Bridge, my right lung felt like it had collapsed. I was bent over to the right and feeling like I should just stop. It was not pretty, but I whined a bit then pushed on. Besides, the Boulevard hill was waiting for me. Urgh. Surprise, the fine race folks decided to give us a gift and we ran up to Market Square and made the turn a ‘lil sooner than I remembered last year, so the hill was nothing. Either that, or all the other runs made me stronger.
With a renewed strength, we finished the downtown loop and headed back to the North Shore. Greg was such a trooper. I asked if we could slow down (because we were both struggling to breathe), and he said no. His legs were at pace and he wasn’t sure what would happen if we slowed down. The next mile, mile 4, was brutal for us both. It was cold, and difficult, but our pace was 11:23 (it’s still very fresh in my mind of when that was my fastest pace). We carried on and pushed each other more than we each realized.
After mile four, we ran back around Heinz Field and to the Science Center for a turn around. There were not nearly as many people behind us as had been at the Boulevard, but there were still people behind us. The fast runners come out for this race, lemme tell you! A kid volunteer had given us fives at the first pass, we fived again on the second – huge motivator.
As we ran toward PNC, I told Greg I didn’t have it in me to do the usual “push it up” at the race end, I just wanted, NEEDED, to finish. I lied. Big time. Turning the corner at PNC Park, I pushed real hard and made sure I beat Greg across the finish line. (Official results, however, have him finishing before me. We’ve yet to master me winning even if he starts and ends behind me.) Looking at the clock, I was okay with the result. Sub 1-hour at 56:20 I think.
I always forget the clock time is more than my start. Official results showed 55:55 for our five miles, which is 11:11 per mile. Endomondo mapped it a ‘lil further and said we were a ‘lil faster:
I was happy for me, but over the moon for Greg. He doesn’t really get the opportunity to train. He attempted spin class with me earlier in the week and it didn’t go well on his body. He’s a southerner, so the cold is another challenge. But he pushed himself and me and made me so proud I cried. To have someone who loves and supports what I do with so much is a beautiful thing. And seeing his happiness over his best finish? Priceless.
Isn’t our city a beautiful one to run in?
If you’d like to read more of my running progression, check out these posts.