The City of Pittsburgh puts on four community 5k races through the summer and then a big 5k/10k race in September to finish off their series. I keep saying these five races should be called Tour de Burgh, but apparently no on in the Mayor’s office is listening to me. I have only run one of the community races before, which has been the Run Around the Square and I’ve run it twice. The last race, The Great Race, I have run 3 times. The 5k once and the 10k twice. Well, this year to help finish my 30 race quest, I plan on running all five races!
The first race in the unofficial Tour de Burgh series is the Greenfield Glide 5k in Schenley Park. Being the day after Decker’s Creek Half Marathon, I had no idea how it was going to go. I figured if I could stay in the 10:30’s I would be happy with it. When I had registered for this race, I also put myself in the Athena Division. For this 5k it was any women over 140lbs and willing to weigh to prove it. Well, let’s just say I am good in that department and have no problems weighing in on a scale. Bring it.
The night before the race, I talked Jeff into running the race and Kelsey and Charles were going to be there as well. We all arrived at Schenley Park pretty early to pick up our bibs. When I went to confirm my registration into the Athena Division, all I had to do was put my name on a piece of paper. I think the women just looked at me and was assured I was over 140lbs. Oh well. I noticed at the time there was only one other woman on the list, so maybe there was a chance to snag the Lady Athena award after all.
The course was described as a challenging and hilly course on mostly trails within the park. I had never been on the trails in this park, so I really had no clue what to expect. When I also was looking at the elevation of the course, I saw that the last mile was pretty much uphill. After all the downhill from Decker’s Creek, this was going to feel amazing on my legs.
The course started at the top of Schenley Overlook so the first mile was downhill. About 2 minutes into the race my legs already felt like legs. About a half mile into the race, we turned left to head onto the trails. We actually had a small part on grass and I could feel that my traction was not the best. As I was getting to the grass part I saw Charles head onto the trail and then right behind me was Kelsey. She screamed something like “Oh, Crap. I went too fast” and I saw her walking.
The trails we ran on were wide and I never had any issues passing people or people passing me. They were also very compact and no need for trail shoes (I didn’t even see anyone in them). For the most part this race was nice and shady so you never had the sun beating down on you. We also had a cool morning, which was a tremendous help.
The trail we ran on essentially went all away around the overlook so at one point around a mile and half in, we started to go uphill. For the most part the uphill wasn’t steep. I never actually had any issues with it, which was surprising! It was amazing at how many people were walking up the back half of the race though. It seemed like a steady uphill that just never felt like uphill.
I knew the last 1.1 miles or so was pretty much uphill and instead of feeling weak at this point, I actually felt pretty strong and even passed a fair amount of people. I only walked twice during the race and only on areas that I felt like I had no traction. One was a very loose sand part of the trail and the other a short grassy hill. I wasn’t taking chances to falling on my face.
As I came up the last quarter mile of the race I saw Jeff waiting for me. He ran with me the last portion of the race and kept pushing me to finish stronger. I think at one point just before the finish line I turned and looked at him and said “I am going as fast as my legs will take me”. That’s Jeff though.. always pushing me to go faster.
A few minutes later, Kelsey finished strong and then we met up with Charles who finished around 27 minutes. Since the roads were closed and we were stuck there, we decided to hang around the awards and the awesome 20+ item raffle drawing. After checking the initial results, we realized they had a decent looking BBQ going, so we got in line to eat burgers at 9:30am. Seemed like an awesome idea and it actually was!
Finally after the age group awards, they got to the Clydesdale and Athena award. The way the emcee explained this award is that we were “big people who could run fast” and he was jealous. Thanks, buddy, thanks a lot! I gladly accepted my award on stage while Jeff, Charles and Kelsey were cheering loudly.
Since we were still stuck up there, we waited for the raffle prizes. They were giving away a lot of great prizes like $500 REI gift card and a 42″ TV. Well neither of us won the big awards, but Charles did walk away with a $50 Eat ‘n Park gift card! I think that would cover about 6 dozen smiley cookies!!
The race was a great way to hang out with friends and of course I was stoked to win the ‘Lady Athena’ award! I completely embrace all that junk in the truck. The next City of Pittsburgh race, Riverview 5k, is Friday and there will be a great group of people also running that way. At this point though, I am 1/5th of the way through my Tour de Burgh.
Official finish time:
1/5, Lady Athena Division
15/28, 30-34 Females