In my journey to get back to the fit mom I was in 2013-14, I set my goals to run again. It’s been about two years in the making, but I think I’m finally back as a distance runner (it only took two good, long races to make me feel that way). Today’s race was the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler, a fall favorite here in Pittsburgh.
As for documenting my training, it didn’t happen like it had for May’s Pittsburgh Half Marathon because life was pretty busy this fall. But if you’re following over on my Instagram (which you should be for mini blogs!), you’d see that I have been working really hard and had some really good runs the last few weeks (and had a lot of life sprinkled in between my training).
The first (and only other) time I ran the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler was its inaugural run in 2013. I was faster back then, but that pace is definitely not out of my reach for 2018! You see, I’m definitely feeling four years older and added two more kids to this family since then. But this mama is definitely back to her running game!
Friday at packet pickup, I felt on top of the world!
So how’d it go? Marvelous! I could sit here and tell you I was mad about my pace and that the wheels fell off like they did for the Half, but that wouldn’t be true. I think I was the proudest I’ve ever been of myself with the exception of the 2013 Pittsburgh Half Marathon (my first big race)! Add to this, I did it at day 5 of a sinus infection I’ve just been treating with Essential Oils and prayer as well as an achy right leg from some bumps that happened on Thursday and Saturday (I so should have bubble wrapped myself).
I opted to keep my phone off because ever since the last two updates, my Galaxy has been sucking battery life like there’s no tomorrow. Instead, I ran with my Fitbit (which is a must-have for my fitness journey and is available over on Amazon if I’ve inspired you to get moving) to keep a check on my heart rate and pace. Unfortunately, because of this, I don’t have my splits but I do have what my head and heart went through throughout.
EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler 2017
The day began at about 6, we woke up all the kids and loaded the van. The original plan was to walk from First Avenue Garage to Highmark Stadium, but the rain on our drive down changed that plan. Instead, Greg drove me as close to Station Square as he could then he back-tracked to park and head over to the Rachel Carson Bridge to cheer me on. I found my way to the corral, texted my boss to wish him luck and decided where to place myself for the best pace I could. Corral D was super empty, so I was worried I’d be right in front of the sweep vehicle!
Mile 1: This mile, basically straight up a hill then about half mile flat and another uphill through Carson Street felt so good. I’d positioned myself in front of the 11:00/mile pace group and kept them behind me for much of mile one. The 11:00/mile and 11:30/mile passed me just before the end of this mile, but my FitBit said I was doing basically 11:25.
Mile 2: West End. This is basically all uphill, too. That felt right and awesome, but I kept a back and forth with the 12:00/mile pace groups and knew my clock wasn’t quite right. I’d heard the 12:00 pace group yell “11:46” at mile one back behind me then 11:50-something at the end of mile 2 (again behind me), so I knew I was faster than I thought I could do this and happy.
Mile 3: West End Bridge, do I need to say more?
Mile 4: The climb up Western Avenue basically slowed things down a bit. I ended up walking the end of this mile for 30 seconds because that hill was biting me! I also realized how quiet the course was and it kinda bummed me out.
Mile 5: North Side // passing the Relay Exchange felt good – there’s a bit of downhill through here, so I upped my pace again and could see the 12:00/mile groups just ahead of me. I remembered passing the relay and thinking the exchange was way sooner than five miles (and it was).
Mile 6: Rachel Carson Bridge brought me to the first sight of my family. They were happy to see me twice around the Fort Duquesne Boulevard loop, and I was, too. Greg yelled that I was doing 12:12, and I shrugged, like oh well, no PR but I feel GREAT.
Mile 7: The hip started to feel awful. The hill up to East Ohio Street to the 16th Street Bridge was long and I walked a bit more than I like to admit. I stopped to stretch my hip and catch some breaths. The rest of the course was exactly what I’d trained on and my body knew it, but I was also scared I’d quit when I saw Greg and the kids again at the end of this mile. I stopped to high five my five hearts at the end of 16th Street Bridge and tell Greg I was in a bit of pain. But no pain, no gain.
Mile 8: Penn Avenue is my training grounds. I swore I’d have done better, but the rain started. There were also spectators and a lot of volunteers/medics in this section due to the switchback we did onto Smallman and Penn to get back to Liberty. I remember a biker almost hitting me during that switch and a police trying to stop them from being on the course with no avail. Oops!
Mile 9: I walked the first and last minutes of this mile. It is what it is. At that point, my hip was burning and I needed it. The rain started to come down and I was pretty much soaked. I love running in the rain, but not when I’m hurting! This flat stretch of Liberty seemed excruciatingly long, but I could see the mile 9 timer ahead!
Mile 10: I told myself to just run this thing and I did. My FitBit says around 11:30 to 11:04/mile when I was pushing it. I jumped into a puddle. I swore I saw a rainbow over the EQT building. I saw the family again but needed to put my head down and RUN. I couldn’t do the math as I crossed but I knew I beat my goal of under 13:00/mile and was ecstatic.
After the race, I grabbed my medal and heat sheet (so glad I did) and a banana (gosh, I’ve missed these with Keto, but I needed it for my sluggish legs as they started to cramp quickly). Some Gatorade (again, not Keto but my ear was ringing and I appreciated the sugar shock for a moment) and water then my bubbly from Barefoot over at BRGR. I didn’t even turn on my phone to meet up with Greg and the kids because I just wanted to do all the post-race things quickly…thunder was rolling and lightning started soon after!
We met up and took the T back to the van, Greg told me my pace and I basically didn’t care. I mean, I had some thoughts but those are all silly. Would it have been great to PR? Yes. Would it have been great to do a sub 2? Yes. Would it have been great to knock a whole minute off my Half pace? Yes. But you know what? For feeling like I did + the rain and weird November heat surge, this race was AMAZING and I’m sticking to it.
EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler Official Results
2:07:08 | 12:43/mile
What’s next? I haven’t decided yet. I’d love a Kittanning Turkey Trot, but we don’t have one and I really don’t feel up to driving downtown then home then to family Thanksgiving. I think I’ll keep running, do some 5-6 milers on weekends and be in really good shape for the 2018 Pittsburgh HALF Marathon (that bold is for those of you who think I am crazy and can actually pull off a full with four young kids, that day’s coming, but not next year!).