Saturday, May 28, 2016

2016 Race #9 - Pittsburgh Challenge: 5k

My second challenge of the year kicked off with a Saturday morning 5k through downtown Pittsburgh. I headed to the expo on Friday afternoon to pick up my packets for both the 5k and the half marathon and then wandered around the expo for awhile. I had been looking forward to picking up some shirts from Fresh Factory since I had seen them at the 2014 expo, so I was really excited to see them there again. I haven't had a chance to wear my new running shirt yet, but I'm interested to see what the local reaction will be! My goal for this 5k was to race it like I wanted to race the Run! Ballantyne 5k which would be two weeks later since I would be competing against someone in that race... I wanted to see where I stood. 

There was virtually no elevation change for this race, with the course starting on the North Shore near PNC Park doing a little loop and then heading over the Andy Warhol Bridge toward downtown. There were a lot of participants in the race, with over 3,300 finishers. According to the announcer, there were over 10,000 people participating in the 5k and the 1-mile kids race that followed. They did have pace signs in the starting corral so that people could sort themselves into approximately the right order and I overestimated my pace a little bit, but I didn't have any issues with keeping up with or having to weave around too many people, so it worked out well.

  • Mile 1 - 8:31
  • Mile 2 - 8:28
  • Mile 3 - 8:19
Official time: 26:15

As I was crossing the bridge, I came up behind two boys, a teenager and one who was probably 7-8 years old. The younger one was participating in the kids marathon and my goal for the last quarter mile was just to try to keep up with them. I did pretty well until we hit the 3 mile mark and then they just took off! The race definitely hurt, but I felt really good about the effort I put in and I had kept my time virtually the same as my race in December, so I felt pretty good about my chances going into the Run! Ballantyne 5k.

The post-race party was held at Point State Park, the same place as it would be the next day, and I took advantage of the smaller crowd to get my picture taken with the Runner of Steel sign, sporting my Pittsburgh Penguins bike jersey, of course!

It took a little bit of effort to find the Eat 'n' Park cookies, which is one of the best perks of the races in Pittsburgh, but eventually I found the booth where they were giving out mini ones - they saved the full size cookies for Sunday. I also wandered down to the fountain at the point to take some fun pictures with my medal.

After the race, I headed back to Oakland where I was staying and wandered around the University of Pittsburgh camps for awhile. It was graduation weekend and I realized exactly 10 years earlier I had graduated from Pitt. Time sure does fly!

Cathedral of Learning


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