It was a great day for running. Today was the Steelers 5K of which the great selling point is finishing in Heinz Field. Being a huge Steelers fan, I was all over this race. I woke up at 7 am and got myself ready. If you are interested in my times/finish you can read that here.
At me a Honey Stinger (side note, does anyone else think ‘Honey Stinger Don’t Care’ when they eat these? No….?No? Bueller?)
These things are good. Totally eating one of these this Saturday for the half marathon. I didn’t feel too full and wasn’t running on empty either for the race. I also drank a Starbucks espresso and cream and was out the door.
I don’t live incredibly far from the stadium, but I was worried about the parking. They had two lots open for free parking. When I got there Gold Lot 1 was full (as expected) but Gold Lot 2 was still open. In fact, I got primo parking in front of the porta potties!
I got there at about 7:45. The race was scheduled to begin at 9am so I had plenty of time to walk around and get loosened up. I actually sat in my car until 8am because I didn’t want to be walking too much.
My favorite part of it all was that you could actually walk into the stadium before the race began. Lots of people were taking advantage of that. There were plenty of cups of water being laid out, though honestly I was hoping for Gatorade. After all, the race was sponsored by them 🙂 Maybe I was just hoping a little too much. I wasn’t upset about it as it wasn’t super hot and I don’t even usually drink gatorade on shorter runs ….(whine whine whine…..bitch bitch bitch). I dunno, just strange I didn’t see any around I guess. Maybe I missed it?
ANYWAYS, I am pretty familiar with the race route because I’ve ran it many Saturdays before.
Lots of boats were lined up against the shore which was pretty neat when we started running. Lots of people cheering and a few confused folks.
Seriously, this is why I love running this trail.
I walked around a bit more and headed to the start around 8:45. There was a corral system which was different to me for a 5k. It was necessary since this is a narrow trail, well not insanely narrow but for the number of people running it was.
It was neat, though I do think some people got confused and went in the wrong ones. I got caught in a lot of bottlenecks and a lot of people walked without recognizing their surroundings. Oh well, you live and learn and you deal.
The race began shortly after 9 with the first wave starting then. I was in the 4th wave. I started towards the right outside and was kinda freaking out that I was going to fall into the river but that passed quickly. This was where I experienced the most problems oddly enough with people walking. I kept starting up and stopping and eventually passed enough people to get comfortable. The first water stop was at the first mile and there was plenty to go around. It even had ice which was nice! I ended up chewing it for a bit and that was a different experience …nice 🙂
As the path grew narrower after the first mile more and more people began to walk and more and more people began to slow down. It is inevitable and not much that people can do but just run and dodge. I felt I did a pretty good job. It was about 1.5 miles when the turnaround was and we ran back on an open road which was AMAAAAAAAAAAAZING.
From here on out I experienced no issues, other than I had to pee LIKE MAD. Holy crap did I have to pee like …it was not good. I saw several porta potties but was determined to not stop. Come on, I’m not stopping TO PEE. Geez.
Anyways, there were several Army service men on the sides of the road blocking it off and it was cool to shake their hands and give them high fives. I’m sure they think runners are insane. We are putting our bodies through so much and yet we are so happy and giving handshakes and high fives!
When we crossed the 2nd mile mark is when we headed down the
ugh I can’t remember the name of this freaking road but it leads to Heinz Field road towards the stadium. No lie, this was incredibly motivational. Running down this stretch and seeing the end in your sight is awesome. I even heard a lot of runners saying that it was the main reason they kept running!
The end was great. Though, one peeve was that the Rib Fest is going on ….so when I ran through, I could smell the delicious ribs getting ready. Mmmmm….didn’t help I ran past a cart of Blue Moon either. Oh well, just keep running ….nothing to see here…..
The finish was awesome. Everything I thought it would be. I especially enjoyed the fact they had the runners on the jumbotron!
After the race they shooed people of the finish like normal. You could hang around on the field for photo ops and stuff, just weren’t really allowed to lay on the grass which I get (hello, this is for football).
From there you walked up the steps and they had food and refreshments in the Great Hall. I also had this finishers tag on my bib that I was supposed to give to someone in a finishers tent, but I had no idea where that was (or if it existed).
If there was a time I was confused, it was here. I was hungry and thirsty and wasn’t entirely sure where the lines began and ended for the food. They were set up at the concession stands, but there were two seperate lines. I ended up accidentally cutting some people, but I don’t even think they knew where they were in line either, lol. I grabbed some chocolate milk and a banana. There were oranges, cookies, ice cream and some kinda bread stuff. They also had water, sierra mist and pepsi. I high-tailed it out after grabbing my food though.
I believe they had door prizes and raffles (I saw some footballs, coolers and Steelers merch lined up) but I didn’t stay for that.
The only other thing is that they didn’t give out medals. At least, I don’t believe they did. I don’t really mind, though. The cost of this race is 15 bucks and a lot of the money goes to charity (including a scholarship to my alma mater, North Catholic). I don’t even really like medals, I would prefer a nice tech-tee or a jacket honestly.
All in all, it was a fun race. I will totally run it next year given the opportunity (and force Brian to as well) It was well put together and had a fun atmosphere. Plus, how can you say no to running in to Heinz Field? You can’t.