Flat Running Buddy #2: Dad

Flat Running Buddy #2: Dad

As part of my fundraiser and half marathon training for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis, I’m creating Flat Running Buddies. What’s a Flat Running Buddy? It’s kind of like a Flat Stanley. You send me your picture, I go running with flat you, and then I post the story of our run here on my blog.

This Flat Running Buddy is about two weeks overdue. I took my Dad out the weekend before the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, but the steroids I’ve been on were causing severe headaches that made it tough to write. But now that they’re gone, I give you – training with Dad for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon and Chicago Half Marathon with Team Challenge.

I chose Dad to be my Flat Running Buddy for my final long training session before the Pittsburgh Half Marathon because Dad is always great about two things: encouraging me to do my best and telling me when to take some time off. In college, whenever I was feeling burnt out and wanted to skip class, I knew I could call Dad and he’d tell me to take my roommate Rachel out to do something fun instead of going to class. (But I made Dean’s List every semester, if I’d been bringing home C’s it would have been a different story.) Since I’d been sick and was on 35 mg of prednisone steroids at the time of this training, I knew that I wanted to walk at a 14 minute mile pace just to make sure I could finish the half marathon without getting picked up by the sweep vehicle. This would require both focus on my pace so as not to accidentally stroll and reminders to chill out and let myself slow down if necessary. I also had a special route that I wanted to take with Dad before the race.

We set out from my house at a power walk pace. In addition to Flat Running Dad, I had my route written down with street names and landmarks marking each of the 5.25 planned miles so that I could be sure of my pace. We started out going uphill, so I knew that the first mile might be the slowest, but I also knew that the Pittsburgh Half Marathon is a hilly course so tackling a big hill at minimum race pace was important. Up and up we went passing people walking their dogs at a far more leisurely walk. We hit mile one at exactly fourteen minutes. I didn’t want to lose any time so I didn’t stop to take a photo.

We kept right on going and hit a long flat stretch before heading slightly downhill. I was starting to feel like I wanted to run, to push myself as hard as I could, whatever the side effects. So when we hit Penn Avenue and 40th Street where we turned to go downhill on 40th to Butler, a long stretch of downhill, I broke into a run. We flew down the hill. My legs felt great, my brain felt great, and then suddenly, my stomach didn’t feel great. So about 3/4 of the way to Butler I went back to walking and decided no more trying to run that day. I would run the following Tuesday, as planned, not before. Still, we reached Butler Street, mile number two, two minutes ahead of pace. Dad and I were really proud of ourselves.


We continued our power walk down Butler Street towards the Strip. It was starting to get pretty hot out so I was glad I had a bottle of water. Before I knew it we were back on Penn Ave outside Engine House No. 25, a firehouse that has been converted to a winery, event space, and the Clemente Museum.


After this quick photo stop, we continued on down Penn Ave into the Strip District where we intended to meet up with the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and walk along the river. However, the trail was closed.


So off we went down Smallman where we had to weave between people strolling and eating, tempted all the while by delicious smells from such local favorites as Thin Man Sandwich Shop, Peace, Love, and Little Donuts, and Twenty-First Street Coffee and Tea. But we resisted temptation, kept going, and soon found ourselves passing the Heinz History Center and turning back towards the river and our originally planned route on the trail.


The detour meant that I was no longer sure whether I was on pace, but I was too busy enjoying the view to care.


We crossed the Rachel Carson Bridge to the North Side and the banners for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon brought a huge smile to my face.


And our finish line for the day was in sight.


I may have forgotten to keep pace and slowed to nearly a stroll as I took in the sunny day on the water, but we reached our finish line: PNC Park.


Here we are outside Right Field. I had to hold tight to Dad because it was very windy. We took a cool down stroll around the stadium and I forgot to check stop my watch so I could map our detour try to figure out how I did on time when I got home. So I just decided that I’d done a great job training and declared myself ready for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

Thanks for training with me Dad!! And for loving the Pittsburgh Pirates.




Do you want to be a Flat Running Buddy? Donate $50 to CCFA through my link and I’ll make you one! Donate here: http://www.active.com/donate/chicagoNATIONAL14/TCEHutton

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