I was so excited to complete a race in my hometown of Pittsburgh. It really is a scenic race taking place right in the heart of the city. Parking was super easy on a Saturday morning and packet pick up was a smooth process as well. Since I did my packet pick up on race morning I perused the expo after the race. It was small but well organized.
I was lucky enough to have my mom and sisters attend in addition to my husband so there was no shortage of race pics. Plus one of my favorite things about this course was that it was very spectator friendly. Usually I only see my husband (who attends all my races) when I get on my bike and when I get off but for this course I saw him and the rest of my family 4-5 times on the bike. I also saw them multiple times on the run as it wraps through part of the city.
One disappointing part of race day was that the swim was canceled. As a triathlete who has completed many open water swim both in races and training I was sad it was canceled but completely understanding. Some other participant were not very understanding which makes me upset. It really is about the safety of the participants– tri directors are just as letdown as the athletes when the swim cannot take place, months of planning goes into race day on their end in addition to our training. It sucks, but it happens, especially when the swim takes place in a river. In fact this is the 3rd tri I’ve done in a big city (in addition to Philly and DC) and it was the 3rd time the swim was canceled. I am apparently a jinx but I any time it rains during the week of the race there is a huge chance it will not be safe to swim in any city river.
Another thing worth noting is the weather… omg was it hot and humid. Another heatwave during one of my triathlons and I am not even sure which was worse. I believe the heat index was near 100 and the humidity near 80-90%. Pittsburgh Triathlon shared on it’s Facebook page to adjust expectations, be prepared not to PR, and drink plenty of water! Check, check, and check.
Onto the race….
Since there was no swim we started at our bikes in transition. This was a smaller triathlon, only about 160 people, so there was plenty of room in transition to rack your bike and spread out your belongings. Athletes were released by rack starting with the men and ending with the women.
The bike course goes over a bridge, past PNC Park, and out to the HOV lane. It was nice to be closed off completely from cars, but cool because you were literally biking on a highway, so fun.
The course was two loops- and the loop was one six mile hill up and a six mile hill down. Simple and well spread out, the course wasn’t very crowded.
I did really well on the uphill, climbing without much problem, and actually passing a decent amount of people. On the first descent I kind of messed up by just cruising down and not pedaling at all. Also I had left my bike in the small ring since I had just finished a large climb. Some of the people I passed climbing uphill sailed past me downhill until I figured out what I had to do to improve. I doubt I lost too much time here but it definitely does make a difference to go faster.
Once at the bottom of the hill you looped back near transition, made a turn around and took on the course one more time. Again no issues climbing for me and I remembered to get into the big ring and actually pedal down the hill, yay! This time I did more passing and only got passed by a couple of guys.
Parts of the bike course were shaded since it was so early but by the time we got to the run the sun was out in full force and you could really feel that humidity. WOOF.
Bike: 25 miles 1:28:00 ~17mph (a little slow for me but a hillier course than I’m used to)
I had a pretty quick transition (for once) and headed out to conquer the run. I was flying high on endurance for the first mile or two and tried to settle in a good pace but after the first 3 miles I was struggling with that heat. The course itself is perfect though- mostly flat except for a bridge
“hill”. It had amazing views of the city- skyscrapers, and the Point (a huge fountain at the center of the city where the 3 rivers meet), across the beautiful brides of Pittsburgh. It was really an enjoyable course to run with spectacular views.
My only complaint about the race would be that I wish there would’ve been cold water at aid stations. The water was warm so I felt like my body couldn’t really cool off. I resolved not to walk at all even if I was running super slow and feeling super thirsty since the warm water didn’t really quench my thirst.
Again the spectator friendly course really helps pump you up when you see family and friends. It gives you that extra boost to pick up the pace and go for it. I haven’t looked at my mile splits but I can assure you there were no negative splits.
Run: 6.2 miles (10k) 59:44 ~ 9:37 minutes/mile (OMG so slow- the slowest I have EVER run a 10k)
Yes so my bike time was fine and run time was terrible but I guess everyone else on the course was struggling as much as I was because I placed 2nd in my age group!!
2nd out of 9 in my age group 30-34 (since I turn 30 in two months I race in an older group)
19th out 55 women total
91st of 162 total participants (obviously it was a more male dominated field)
Overall time: 2:29:15 just made it under my goal of 2.5 hours. YAY!
I didn’t even look at my times or realize I had placed until after I got home and showered and ate L So I missed any sort of award ceremony but I’m excited to receive an age group prize in the mail! I was honestly shocked since it knew it wasn’t my best race but was super excited!
Overall it was a well-run race with a stunning course highlighting some of my favorite parts of the city- the rivers, the bridges, the skyline, and trails. I hope to come back next year and try to take 1st place in my age group!