Yesterday, I ran my fifth Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I’ve been running them since 2011. The only year I didn’t run the half marathon was in 2013 when I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon. It’s always a great time running the Pittsburgh Marathon. I think it’s one of the best events in the city. I’m always amazed by the amount of volunteers and supportors standing along the course. This year they were calling for rain and it seemed like it was going to hold off but right as the gun sounded the rain began. It was raining pretty hard for about the first six miles then it cleared up around the west end bridge. After that, it was a pretty perfect rest of the day, nice and cool. Even with the rain the course was still packed with bands, supportors, and volunteers. It’s pretty amazing and humbling to see all of those people supporting an event that I love.
This year, I tried a new strategy. I really focused on my pace, which is something I should have been doing every year, but it seems every year I fall victim to sprinting out the start. I forced myself to ran slower than I wanted. I kept a 8:30 min/mile pace for about 11 miles. Then I gave it my all towards the finish line. It worked out well. I didn’t set a new PR, I finished about a minute behind, but it was the strongest finish I think I’ve ever had at a half marathon or marathon. After mile 11, I sprinted the rest of the way to the finish line. I think all those five to six mile speed workouts paid off. I didn’t put in nearly enough miles but I think the speed, hill, and burpee based circuit workouts prepared my body for those 13.1 miles.
After every race I think about what could have been possible. It makes me want to find another half marathon event to run in the fall to see if I could set a new PR and break into the 1:30s. It’s possible. I could have done it during the year I ran the 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon so that means I can do it this year.