This race was a bit of a whim. I had been training through the winter and I hadn't really had a race in mind, but I knew that I wanted to do something before the summer. The Pittsburgh Marathon in 2015 was a great race, and it hits at a perfect time of year in the early spring. Long story short, I didn't do a lot of special training for this race, I basically ran when I felt like it and kept myself busy through the winter knowing that I had a race to prepare for. Overall its a pretty easy way to prep for a race, winging it might just be my new race strategy! Really what I did was focus less on running and start to do more cross training in conjunction with my running. I had been a member of a crossfit gym and I think some of the strength work really paid off.
The coolest part about this race actually had nothing to do with my race at all. Before the expo I was looking around on the website and I found details about a Toddler Trot taking place during the festival at Point State Park. My two year old is an almost constant companion in the jogging stroller and we thought this year would be the perfect time for him to compete as well. For a quick and easy $10 he got an "official" race t-shirt, a finishers medal and a race number (just like Dad!). He had a blast but I think Kim and I had even more fun than he did!
Considering the lack of training on this race I think I fared pretty well. I PR'd for the half marathon distance which I was pretty happy about. My plan was to try to keep to 8:15 miles for the entire course. I did a really good job of it through the first 9 miles or so where the course stayed pretty flat around the rivers and downtown area. After mile 9, however, the course got a bit hilly and I slowed down to about 8:30 (with one really slow mile at a 9:30). My pace may have been a little quicker than it should have been with my slower splits in the second half, but with the pace I kept up in the beginning I was still really happy.
As always, I'm a fan of the race organization. The Marathon the year before and the Half this year were top notch for a smaller city race. The biggest upside too is the timing. These races force you to keep yourself training through the rough winter months so that you are prepared for your summer races. I will definitely be participating in the future!