So we show up and my wife is wearing her new cape…
The first thing we find out there is no bibs or chips. It is a fund raiser for the trail, so no problem there. Also, shirts cost $20. I skip buying one. Next, we find out it is not very well attended:
But is okay. So they group us up by predicted pace and I line up with the 9min group, my wife is back with the 13 min group.
They hand out maps – should have been a red-flag in retrospect. Ah well. We get started a few mins early and I start trying to find my pace. I am looking for 8:30-9 mins, which is where I hoping my marathon pace will end up. Groups break up, and I for a comfy spot between groupings. We head down by the river and see this need water feature:
Feeling pretty good so far. The “trail” is concrete along the river, but get to watch boats go by, and even a row team out for a workout. Stop to grab a picture of the river:
Still feeling good with my pace, but we are just now hitting the 1-mile point and the first turn on the route. Had a confusing sign, but a few of us bunched up, figured it out and then headed on. That was the LAST sign on the course for EIGHT MORE MILES. They actually expected to you follow the print out of the MapMyRun route. I have never been in that area before. I decide to stop taking pictures and start following a guy in orange that is going just a little slower than I want, but he seems to know the route. A lady starts following me and I do not have the heart to tell her that is a bad idea and just stick with the orange guy.
3 Miles in we hit the ONLY water stop. This is a 15k, and the ONLY water stop is at 3 miles. Orange guy stops and hangs there for a bit, I really did not want to stop, but I am totally lost now. So I stop. Another group catches up to us, and I start running with them. They are about 15 seconds slower than the orange guy, but he is still back at the water table so I stick with them. All hopes of any pace are long gone.
We run for a while, couple miles when the leader notices we are off course. Great, well at least there is like 7 or 10 of us in this group, lost in downtown Pittsburgh. The ladies leading the group figure out where we are and we work our way back to the unmarked race route. Eventually, the orange guy catches us and joins our pack. For a while all is good and we are knocking down miles just a bit on the slow side. Personally, I am still as lost as a ball in high grass.
The group spots a water fountain and stops to get a drink, but it is not working. Orange guy decides to keep running, so I follow him. That lady from earlier is still following me. She really has no clue how close she is to disaster!
Stick with orange guy and ops, big crane blocking the path and have to break out some parcore skills to get around it. We survive that some how and stay on course. Eventually, we are running down a road and I see other race groups all over, all coming from different directions at different times. I suspect no one actually found the course. Orange guy and I finally reach the finish (not sure what happened to the lady, think she joined one of the other lost packs of runners), and my watch reads 9.93 miles, I break off and run around to find another group of runners and run in with them to finish at 10.25 miles. No way I was stopping at 9.93
Now I am concerned. My wife is out there somewhere with our mutual friend and they are likely alone since the 13 min group was not exactly huge. Turns out orange guy wants to run more, was aiming for 20 miles today. He invites me to run with him, and I show him my wife’s location on Friend Finder (great app by the way) so we head out towards her at 8:40 pace. Finally at a good pace. Takes about 3 miles of cutting through the city to find her, but we do. Orange guy runs on and I join my wife to find out they were just as lost as the rest of the groups and even had a minor incident with a local druggie. So the three of us work our way back and eventually cross the finish line at around 10 1/2 miles for them, just over 15 for me.
Yeah, probably never ever going do that race again.