PR’s, birthdays, and what’s next

So last weekend was Pittsburgh marathon weekend. Can’t believe it’s already been almost a full week. I participated in the Steel Challenge again, 5k on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday. The half marathon here is easily one of my favorite races to participate in, there’s a lot of crowd support, the course is beautiful (hello West End Bridge) and there’s something special and gritty about calling yourself a Runner of Steel.

If you remember I mentioned that I was running for the American Cancer Society again, our team dinner was on Friday and that itself was an emotional night. I think that kind of set the tone for the weekend, there was a lot of love in that room and I cried for a good bit of it. There are some truly amazing and special people out there who are running for loved ones and raising awareness.

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Last weekend was also my 26th birthday, May 5 to be exact. I’ve gotten into a tradition over the last few years to run on or near my birthday and this year the 5k fell on it. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate another year on Earth than to do what I love most. I started out with the 13 minute pacer because this was supposed to be a shakeout run, not to be raced. I wore a sticker on my shirt that said “It’s my birthday!!” and so many people walked up to be to tell me happy birthday and I was loving every minute of that attention. I ended up getting a course PR or 39:42, my second sub 40 5k this year, only 3 weeks apart from the last one. I got emotional at the finish, like I always do, because I realized I’m improving. Yay! That night I had dinner (and margaritas because Cinco de Mayo) with my parents and little sister to celebrate/carb load. Overall it was probably my best birthday yet.

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I didn’t sleep much saturday night because no matter how many races I do, I still get those pre race jitters. I got up pretty early because I needed to get downtown to take a team picture with the ACS, plus I kept having this dream that I would over sleep and miss the race. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to PR, my training didn’t go as planning thanks to the never-ending winter we had here. I have a really hard time running in the cold, and some days it would get so cold you couldn’t feel your legs or hands, so most of my runs were done inside. Luckily I was still lifting 3-4 days a week because I really felt like that played a huge role in sunday’s race. I started out with the 2:45 pacer since that was my goal, but she started out too fast for me so I fell behind. I had a lot of fun out there, I live on the course so most of my runs are course preview runs but something about race day makes it even more spectacular. And since I live on the course my dad brought Henrik out so I could stop and see him, that made my whole day.

Anyway, I ended up getting a PR. I finished in 2:54:59, last years time was 2:56:33, so not too much of an improvement but like I mentioned my training wasn’t really what I wanted it to be. In typical me fashion, I cried at the finish line. I was okay with not getting another big PR because this wasn’t my big race for the year, I’m running in the Napa to Sonoma half in July so that will be my big half marathon for the year.

So what’s next? Well, I’m currently taking the week off to rest and recover. The plan is to maintain mileage for the rest of May, so running 3-4 days a week but not really getting over 5-6 miles for a long run. I don’t want to burn myself out before the July race so my weekly mileage will be around 13-15 miles and I’ll be lifting 2-3 days a week, lifting played a huge role in last weekends activities so I’ll be including that for all training cycles from now on. Full marathon training will begin in July and I’ll be working with a coach again, I’m pretty excited about that and excited to get that PR I should have gotten last year.

 

Till next time..

P.S. Donations can still be made to my fundraising for the American Cancer Society. Please donate if you’re able to, I would really appreciate it!

https://www.crowdrise.com/acspitt2018/fundraiser/christinapier1

10 miler recap

First of all, I just have to say that I’m so happy this race was on Daylight Savings, that extra hour of sleep was a God send.

Alright back to what I came here to write about. Since I live in the city now getting to the start line entails walking to the T station to meet up with my parents near the start line. This was a nice warm up in addition to some dynamic warm ups. I found the group I wanted to start out with shortly before we started, the 13:00 Galloway pacer (run, walk, run). We started a few minutes late and it was pretty humid at the start. I stuck with the pacer until about mile 3-4, the group was just going to fast for me so I got into my own groove doing 90:30 run walk (90 secs run, 30 secs walk). That seemed to work really well for me.

Around mile 4.4, the exchange point for the relay, I got a text that said I was going at a 13:06 pace which is just amazing for me. As I got closer to mile 5 a woman in front of me tripped and fell so I stopped to give her a hand and make sure she was okay and then saw my parents cheering for me shortly after that. By the time I got to mile 7 it started raining, at first it was just a drizzle, then it started to get heavier. I hate running in the rain but it felt good at that point to cool down a little. I had done so many runs in the rain over the summer and I knew I only had a couple of miles left so I didn’t let it bother me.

I got to the 15k mark and I could hear the thunder as the rain started to get heavier which made me pick up the pace. I got to the final stretch and could see the finish line and one of my running group friends was cheering people on and it was so awesome to have people who already finished come back to keep the rest of the group motivated. I finished in 2:19:18 with a 13:56 average pace, my time last year was 2:27:40 so I got about an 8:22 minute PR. I’m always excited about a PR because it means I’m improving but this was especially important since I didn’t PR in Chicago after putting so much time and effort into that race. Today was a huge victory for my ego and I’m glad I could end the year on a high note.

One of the officers on the course said to me as I ran by her, “Keep going, you’re what makes Pittsburgh great!”

Congratulations to all the runners out there today, whether you ran in Pittsburgh with me, in NYC, Disney, etc. You’re all amazing. Keep going.

Till next time.