Well…here we are approaching 1 month since race weekend. I’ve had plenty of time to process everything, so I’m going to do my best to recap my experience with this year’s events. I’ve done the Steel Challenge 3 years in a row, this one included. It consists of participating in the 5k on Saturday, and then running any of the events on Sunday (relay, half, or full). And for all 3 years, I’ve done both the 5k and full…a total of ‘29.3’ miles for the weekend. I use the mileage 29.3 miles loosely because that doesn’t include my failure to run the tangents, which adds at least a half of a mile or more to my total distance. Oops!
I always leave super early to get to races. I’d rather sit and wait for a while than worry about parking and getting wherever I need to be. Plus, I hate rushing. I need time to compose myself, use the bathroom 329 times, and warm up (or pretend to…). The 5k begins at the North Shore, which is great because parking is not an issue. I think I ended up arriving about 90 minutes before the start. The temperature was in the mid-upper 40s with rain. This was wonderful considering that just one week before, the temperature reached around 90 degrees. YUCK. The rain made it chilly, and I’m a big baby, so I stayed in the lobby of one of the parking garages until it was time to start. It’s fine once I start running, but I hate standing around in the cold. There were plenty of other runners waiting there as well.
I became sidetracked and got into the starting corral later than I had planned, forcing me to shimmy my way through the crowd to catch up to the 11:30 pacers. I use the 5k as a shakeout run, so I never run for speed. It’s a good time! The 11:30 pacers were a couple of my good friends from SCRR – Shelly and Sanchez! They are so fun and energetic! I spent the first mile or so laughing and smiling. Around the half way point, I sped up just a smidge. I started to get cold shortly after finishing, so I grabbed my medal and kept moving. I eventually bumped into a few people that I knew. I circled Point State Park with another SCRR member, and we briefly gawked over the little tikes doing the Toddler Trot. Just seeing them waddle around with their bib and medal made my heart melt. We took the T back to the North Shore, and then I went home to change before heading back out to get my hair braided for the marathon. I had some time to kill before my hair appointment, so I ran over to Panera Bread to grab some lunch. I had to carb load, so I shamelessly ordered a bread bowl filled with mac n’ cheese and a side of bread. After everything was all said and done, I went back home to get my gear ready for the marathon and to rest for the evening. I made a rather pathetic attempt at going to sleep early, knowing that I probably wouldn’t sleep a wink.
I woke up at 3:30 the next morning and began to get ready. I left my house around 4:30 to get downtown by 5. One of the best perks of being a member of SCRR are the pre-race accommodations for the Pittsburgh Marathon. We are lucky enough to have a warm place to sit, eat, and bask in the race day hype! For the past couple of years, the room has been at the Westin Convention Center. It’s awesome! They provide us with water, coffee, juice, bagels, etc. AND THERE ARE PRIVATE BATHROOMS! We also have our own gear check, which makes me feel more secure in leaving my drop bag.
It was amusing to see everyone’s toss away clothes, my friend Alyssa in particular. She wore a leopard print robe, and I just about died when I saw her!
It was a chilly morning, so it was necessary to wear extra layers before the start of the race. After we dropped off our bags, SCRR took a huge group photo, and then everyone started to make their way to their designated corrals.