Miles to Health

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spirit of Pittsburgh Half Marathon

We got to Pittsburgh around 5pm Saturday and since we took my husband car that had no GPS finding the expo site was interesting, I haven't used map quest in so long so the printed information was like Greek to me, took 30 mins to find a location that was 0.8 miles from where we exited the highway. By the time we got there the expo was packing up, nothing big, probably a good thing since I really don't need anything. Pick up the race package which was a super size Dick's back with lots of goodies in it, went to REI to see if they had any good sale bought nothing and headed off to the hotel. We actually found the hotel quite easily, we it was about 15 mins from the start so perfect, went down to Applebees for dinner, nothing else really by the hotel, I had an open steak sandwich on sour dough bread, not sure it was a good pre race dinner but just didn't feel like pasta. Got back to the hotel, they have adjusted all the clocks and then I called down for a 5:30am wake up call.

I slept pretty good but woke up at 12:30, 3:30 and 5:00 just to check the time and went back to sleep quite easily, got the wake up call and finally got out of bed at 5:45am. I got ready wearing my Nike sport bra (the one that came apart at my last HM, was able to sew it back, it is extremely comfortable and no bounce with the girls) Under Armour Protect this House blue top, Aerie fit capri, Mizuno Inspire wave 5 and my I love my MBT sock guy socks. I was surprise when my husband got out of bed to drive me to the race site, didn't stay, but small baby steps, got a cup of coffee from the hotel lobby on the way out.

At the race site, went straight to the porta-potties, afterward stayed in the tunnel to stay warm and did some stretches and ate my Powerbar Harvest Energy Double Chocolate Crisp bar (absolutely love this thing) , went back outside and got a free t-shirt from the Med Express tent, found a seat, took off warmup clothes since it was now about 15 mins to start time, down a Gu Roctane Blueberry Pomegranate gel with water, and check in my package. The race start on the other side, so I check in my package so I can run to and around the start instead of coming back, by the time I finish warming up I had to pee really bad, but there was only 5 mins to start and no potty on this site, so decided to hold it and then we were off. I stayed between the 1:55 and 2:00 pace group but as we rounded the corner we came to the empty rolls of potty so I decided this was as good a time to stop, by the time I came out I was behind the 2:00 pace team so since I started before them I will have to finish before them to be under 2 hrs. So I started the chase to stay with the 2:00 pace team with the plan of getting ahead with 5k to go.

I missed the first water stop since it was on the right and I was on the far left and we continue on down on E. Carson street, the next water stop before mile 3 was on the left so I took water from there
(only 1/4 of a cup need more than that) , pace team didn't stop so had to speed up to keep them in site, we cross the first bridge (West End Bridge) unto Western Ave, the next water stop was between Western and Allegheny Ave since this was on the left, took water here too (again 1/4 of a cup) and again the pace team didn't stop or slow down. Finally caught up with the pace team at about mile 6.5 and stayed with them onto the 2nd bridge (31st Street Bridge) right at the top of the bridge was a water stop and now I really needed a good gulp of water because the Vanilla Bean Gu I took at mile 5 just didn't go down properly, so took one at the beginning and another at the end, again the pace team didn't stop and now I was really behind and would have to seriously pickup the pace to caught up let's not even talk of staying ahead.

I had the virtual partner on my Garmin set to finish in 1:58:00 and now was about 1/2 a mile behind. Once we got onto Liberty Ave, pass mile 8, I lost GPS on my Garmin, I looked at it and I had my hands on my knee at a dead stop, I remember saying to myself, "Come on that is not fair, I am too moving" but nothing happened I still have my hands on my knees, so now no Garmin to see how I was doing and no 2:00 pace team in sight. What to do? It never occurred to me to quit.

Chase down the 2:00 pace team, now I already noticed a pattern they were not stopping for water, they do yell out when they are coming onto a water stop and any of the leaders stop if they need to but the rest keep moving to stay on pace and the leader that stopped sprint ahead to caught up. This is a great strategic if your pace is faster than 2:00 but for people just getting to 2:00 pace this was hard, it would have been great if they were going at a 9:05ish pace to build in water stops and so the runners can keep even pacing.

Anyway the chase began, I access my body, nothing hurt, I was running hard but was fine, and so I chased, bypassing the water at 9, 10.5 and 12, really didn't need it because I drank really good at mile 8. At the mile 12 water stop, I was about 400ft from the pace team on Second Ave which means were coming to the last bridge, so the goal was catch them before the Hot Metal Bridge and as they were making the turn I caught them but then the bridge had a slight incline, and I was already very tired but was able to just hang on and finally pass them as we made the turn back to E. Carson.

As we made the turn to the finish, I was trying to remember how long it took me to get to the start, but for the life of me even though I looked at it couldn't remember, was it over 1 min or under. I could see the clock ahead and it was already at 2:00:XX so I raced as hard as I could to prevent it from rolling to 2:01:00. The clock read 2:00:48 when I finished and I was hoping that was good enough to finally get me under 2hrs. Picked up my medal, EAS shake, water and space blanket, went though the food line were they had different bars, pretzels, candy, Gatorade, trail mix then off to pickup my checked package and look for the family.

It was a very well organized race, water stop were congested but the volunteers did a good job keeping us moving but the tables were just no long enough, no problem with traffic, roads were completely closed with cops all around. Will definitely do again.

My original idea of staying between the 1:55 and 2:00 pace group was a good one because staying with the 2:00 pace team not knowing their strategic had me using more energy than needed. Should have taken my hand held like I originally planed.

This had really been a great racing season.

Official time:

Bib# 1990

Overall 1042/2062
Age group 41/129
Gun time 2:00:57
Chip time 1:59:48
Pace 9:09

Garmin is not accurate but that is the info anyway

Route:--Elev. Avg:741 ft
Location:Pittsburgh, PAElev. Gain:+3 ft
Time:06:31 AMDifficulty:3.4 / 5.0


41 F temp; 67% humidity

41 F heat index; winds W 3

Distance:12.57 miles

Speed:6.3 mph

Pace:9' 35 /miHeart Rate:162 bpm (Avg)
181 bpm (Peak)
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
Heart Rate (bpm)
Heart Rate Zones
In Zone
In Zone
Zone 5184 - 2040h 00m0% 0.00 mi
Zone 4163 - 1841h 21m67% 9.32 mi
Zone 3143 - 1630h 46m38% 5.14 mi
Zone 2122 - 1430h 02m1% 0.20 mi
Zone 1102 - 1220h 00m0% 0.03 mi
(none)out of range0h 00m0% 0.01 mi
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Heart
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 09+0' 345.9-0.4144+7 ft
29' 31-0' 046.3+0.0161+13 ft
39' 39+0' 046.2-0.1162+33 ft
49' 15-0' 206.5+0.2163-46 ft
59' 31-0' 046.3+0.0162-13 ft
68' 54-0' 416.7+0.5163+13 ft
78' 42-0' 536.9+0.6165-13 ft
89' 24-0' 116.4+0.1167+13 ft
98' 56-0' 396.7+0.4162+10 ft
109' 26-0' 096.4+0.1165-4 ft
118' 03-1' 327.5+1.2166-10 ft
1210' 17+0' 425.8-0.4166+13 ft
end8' 40-0' 556.9+0.7171-3 ft
Versus average of 9' 35 min/mile

Avg Speed
Avg HR


duchossois said...

First of all, congratulations! Based on your training, I was sure you could do it, but anything can happen in a race...and you did have some adversity to overcome. It's takes more that a Garmin on the fritz and some flaky pacers to keep you from your goal.

Tim Fitz said...

Great job! Way to go.