It was a close call this morning as to whether or not I would be wearing my running skirt or not for the Sweet Sprint 3k – the reticence was only partly down to going out in it again in front of a whole bunch of new people in a new place where I knew nobody; it was also due to the potential for rain. Earlier in the week, during a club track workout, the rain had come down hard and I found that the running skirt soaked up that rain and really got quite heavy and was clinging to my legs causing slight discomfort. My shorts don’t seem to get so heavy in the rain (although they cling just as much, the weight seems to make enough of a difference).
It looked like the rain was going to hold off so I went for it. In some ways I think it helped that I was wearing it; being the sort of person who does not easily talk to strangers it forced me to smile at everyone and generally be more forthcoming in conversation, although I pretty much just tagged on to two women who happened to arrive around the same time as me (too early really, but not knowing the area and being worried about getting lost – those Pittsburgh roads are confusing – I wanted to make sure I left myself plenty of time).
The registration area was at the finish line, and although a shuttle bus was provided to the start, I wanted to get some miles in as I hadn’t run since Tuesday, so I took a leisurely run to the start. It was still way too early and a few people had turned up at the start to register on the day – they weren’t too happy to hear that registration was at the finish line, but they spoke to a couple of people setting up at the start and I’m guessing they got shuttled down to the finish to register, as they were gone after I had run a bit more.
As it was getting close to the start time it became clear that it wasn’t going to start on time – no information was given out, but it wasn’t really a problem as it was clear they were waiting for shuttles from the start, and then for people to finish using the one porta potty (I still prefer the British “portaloo”).
There were apparently around 100 runners, and when I first heard this I wondered if that meant I would be in with a good chance of at least an age group win, but looking around, there seemed to be some fast looking people so I wasn’t so sure by the time the start came around.
Before the start was a nice speech about the race, the sponsors and the proceeds that would be going to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and then it was go time. It was a fast start, and quite a few people seemed to get ahead right away but as we got further through some dropped back. At about halfway a few people got ahead of me. I was able to stick with two of them and about half a mile later actually got ahead of them again, and stayed ahead to the finish.
It was my first race at less than 5k distance and it was a case of going out fast and hanging on as long as possible. My time was 11:18.7 and I was in 8th place overall (I’d had the impression that there were more ahead of me than that, so I suppose I misjudged, or perhaps I passed more than I remember). The winner ran it in 9:24. I narrowly missed out on the age group win, with the 7th place person also being in the 35-39 age group, just about 7 seconds ahead of me. Full Results.
The finish line party was pretty good with some decent music from a local band called Mace Ballard, plenty of cupcakes and cookies, and even a raffle of gift baskets from a variety of stores.
Overall, a very nice way to spend the morning.