I decided a couple of days ago to run this 10k. The weather was looking nice and two of my buddies were running in it so they convinced me to do it. I figured I would do it and finally set my 10k PR. I finished, therefore, I set a PR! Woo hoo! LOL The race is somewhat small (only 203 10k runners, hence my 4th place AG finish, and had I run the 5k instead, I would have won my AG with my 3.1mi split - yeah, it was small) but it was a lot of fun. My daughter decided she wanted to come with me and I welcomed that since then she could tote my bag and take pictures, etc. I had to register before the race since online registration closed last week. They gave me my timing chip, then pointed me to a line where they were handing out the t-shirts. We stood in line for a couple of minutes. While in line, my daughter said "I wonder if they'll give me one." I said, "Hey, if they offer you one, take it." They asked for her size, so she got a shirt too. Needless to say, she was excited she came.
The race starts right in front of Heinz Field, where our beloved Steelers play, along the riverside trail, out to the 31st Street bridge, around the little island and back to the stadium via the trail. I know Twinkies was getting excited when I mentioned trail, but it's mostly paved with some hard packed areas so not really trail, trail.
I met up with my buddy from work at the starting line since I knew he'd be at the front (he took 6th - 34:25). I very briefly met his All-American friend that he ran with at college - he took first, I think, with a 30:29 (4:55 pace!). This is the same guy that won the Half I ran last month with a 1:07:xx, setting a new course record. Unbelievably fast...
After checking out the starting line and what it looked like from up there, I took my spot about 1/3 of the way back. The trail isn't super narrow at the start, but there were enough people that I was having to weave in and out and got stuck behind people for about 1/4-1/2 of a mile before things
started to loosen up. I looked at the Garmin at one point during that time and saw a 10:20 pace! CRAP! I was getting really antsy, and I could have started out farther up front, but I was worried I'd be one of those people who thought they were faster than they really were and I didn't need people cursing at me as they fought to get around me.
After getting out of the crowd and I could better pick my pace, I settled into a "fast" pace that I knew was faster than I could probably sustain the whole race, but what the heck, why not go for it. The first mile, I wasn't passed by anyone, but passed plenty. The next 4 miles, I got passed by 4 dudes and 2 chicks. I caught one dude and one chick by the end.
Paces: 8:11, 7:45, 8:06, 8:27, 8:25, 8:16, (.2) 7:34
I had thought that sub 50:00 was going to be tough, but possible. I fell apart a little there around mile 4 & 5 and lost a little focus which hurt me a little. The first mile was a little more tiring than it probably should have been fighting to get out of the crowds, but it did save me from going out way too fast. I'll have to check the Garmin once I plug it in and see what my pace was between the first 1/2 mile and the second 1/2 mile. I'm guessing I was close to a 7:30 the second half, maybe faster as I tried to make up for lost time. I was happy with my splits. I ran well, enjoyed the race, and even left myself a little room for another PR in a couple of months. :-) The race was well organized, the food at the end was pretty good, and best of all, it supported a good cause (the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Adoption Services). Plus, my daughter got a shirt! What more could I/we have asked for?
Just a bit of commentary: My buddy is one of the nicest guys I've ever
met. He's freakin' fast but is incredibly humble, and you'd never know
he was an elite runner from the way he acts and carries himself. He's a member of the elite
running team here in Pittsburgh, but yet he's always willing to go on
runs with me, give me pointers, he designed a marathon training program
that he teaches for our employees through our company's fitness center
(for everyone from first timers to experienced marathoners), and is
always very positive and encouraging. The guy is 25 and doesn't mind helping out a 39 year-old wanna be speedster.
On the flip side, and maybe it was just because the other guy didn't know me, his buddy that won looked me up and down and then just took off on a quick little warm up jog. I hope I didn't embarrass my buddy by coming up to him, but I knew he probably wouldn't stick around by the time I got in and as small as the race was, I didn't see him before then. I missed seeing him at the Half so I figured I'd at least say hello this time.
I know people come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities, but I hope that when I'm winning my AG and qualifying for Boston that I'll be half as humble and helpful to others as he is to me. Something to think about...