I am rarely out in the McKeesport/Elizabeth Township area - I think I might have been there once in the over 8 years I've lived here. So I really knew nothing about this section of the Mon/Yough Trail, which is a link in the Great Allegheny Passage. (If I had kept on running, I would have made it all the way to DC!)
This was an absolutely beautiful trail and perfect weather conditions for a run. Not too much wind, except for a little bit coming back, lots of sun, and relatively cool temperatures for how sunny it was.
Now, me? I wasn't really in peak condition for a run, let alone a race. Having been out the evening before, getting less sleep and more food and beverage than I would typically consume the night before a race, I knew going into this there would be no PR.
Instead, it was about like this:
- Mile 1: Holy cow it's beautiful out today.
- Mile 2-3: Wall. Help me. Why did I do this? Last night's dinner is in my mouth. Why did I do this? I have double digits left. Why did I do this?
- Miles 4-9: Well this isn't so bad. Feeling pretty good. Need more water stations. But this is enjoyable. Yes, I will mouth along the words to my music. Look at me go! I'm a runner! I passed the 2:30 pacer! Holy cow, will I actually PR in this?
- Mile 10: I need more water. Thirsty and face feels like salt monster from Star Trek's "The Man Trap."
- Miles 11-12: My legs. Oh my legs. Oh hi, Wall. Nice to see you again.
- Mile 13: Complete autopilot. No recollection of this mile whatsoever except for running by an 8 year old and yelling "you're doing awesome!"
Turns out, the 2:30 pacer didn't actually keep to a 2:30 pace. So, while that was some good fake motivation for awhile, I ended up really slowing down those last few miles and came in at 2:36:51. (My PR was at last year's Montour Trail Half Marathon - 2:28:18.) Also I didn't bring my own water and was relying on the water stations, which wasn't enough for me.
It was also my first race where I was entirely alone. No fellow runners and no cheerleaders. It worked out that way because it wasn't really a shining race moment, but it was also an accomplishment in that I pushed through poor prep the night before and finished.
I really am looking forward to the Pittsburgh Half in less than two weeks and hope to prep properly and break that PR. Carnegie 5K next weekend, too. So stay tuned!
(Also, remember that there's still time to donate to my Race for a Reason fund benefiting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. I'm just $5 away from $600 and I know I can break that mark in the next two weeks. If you haven't already donated, please consider getting me over that hump! Donate by clicking here, or read more about why I'm doing this from this post, here.)