Wednesday, June 15, 2016

2016 Race #10 - Pittsburgh Challenge: Half marathon

With the Stanley Cup parade happening in the city of Pittsburgh today, I feel it's only right to finish my long-overdue recap of the second half of my Runner of Steel challenge...

The second half of my Pittsburgh challenge would be the half marathon on Sunday morning (May 1). I love this race and how you get to go through a lot of different parts of the city, starting downtown, heading across the Allegheny River 3 times before spending some time on the North Shore, then heading across the Ohio River toward Mt. Washington and the South Side and then finally crossing the Monongahela River back to finish downtown. 

Since I did the 5k on Saturday, I headed to the same parking lot and hung out in my car for awhile before going to Market Square to drop of my bag and hit up the porta potties. The race starts at 7:30, but you have to be in your corral by 7:00 and some of the streets start closing several hours before that, so I got to the parking lot a little after 6:00 and had plenty of time to wander around and take a few pictures at PPG Place before I had to head to my corral.

The weather was very questionable as we headed into this race - I got updates throughout the day (and night) on Saturday as they were reviewing the forecast for potential thunderstorms Sunday morning, but it ended up being really good running weather. It was overcast and a little windy at the start, but in the 50's, so once I started running, I was very comfortable. The beginning of the race is always a little crowded, but that's to be expected when you have about 20,000 people running a race. Personally, the best part of this race is getting to see the best parts of Pittsburgh - going over 5 bridges and all 3 rivers in the half marathon is what keeps bringing me back to this race.

Bridge #1: 16th street bridge

Bridge #2: Andy Warhol Bridge

Looking over at Bridge #3: 7th street bridge

My favorite view of the race from bridge #4: West End Bridge

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture from bridge #5, the Birmingham Bridge... guess that just means I'll have to run this race again! After the race, I did take an obligatory medal photo with PNC Park in the background

I'm still working on how to make Garmin give me the stats that I want - since I use the intervals on my watch, all of my stats are listed by those intervals which really isn't helpful when trying to figure out how fast each mile was. I used to be able to manually pull out those numbers off the old Garmin website, but I haven't figured out a workaround since the new site went live. Regardless, my official time came in at 2:25:52 which is just about the time I took to run it 3 years ago. 

I really liked doing the challenge this year and the 2016 Steel Challenge medal is the one in the middle. Participants got bibs, shirts (short-sleeve for 5k and long-sleeve for half marathon / marathon) and medals for both races, plus the challenge medal after completing Sunday's race. It was a fairly long line to get the challenge medals, but they had two people checking off names and handing out medals to everyone, so it didn't actually take as long as it looked like it was going to. 

This year I made the decision to stay in Oakland and make a full weekend out of this trip and I definitely think that is the way to go - it was really nice to be able to have more than just 24 hours in the city and have a place to call home base as I wandered around the different areas. After this year's race, I'm definitely thinking about doing the full marathon again, even with the monster hill at mile 13! 


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