The Pittsburgh Metric

Pittsburgh Half-Marathon

The last time I ran the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon was in the first week of May, 2014. Almost exactly ten years ago. When I signed up for the 2024 edition of the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon, however, I didn’t plan for it to be a special ten-year anniversary thing. I just remembered it as an exceptionally well-organized race with significant crowd support along the majority of the course which wound its way through a particularly beautiful, interesting city. After the fact, though, I started to wonder if the ten-year anniversary thing might be a useful new metric for health: the Pittsburgh Metric, if you will.

Pittsburgh Half-Marathon

My friend Jason and I ran together for this race, just like we did ten years ago. We didn’t go particularly fast, finishing well behind the third member of our trio (Tyler) and almost exactly five minutes slower than our finishing time in 2014.

Pittsburgh Marathon Group Portrait

Still, we managed to run the whole thing, and I can honestly say our effort was respectable. For the small number of people who might actually care about the numbers, my time for the half-marathon was 1:51:29. In my division, I came in 61st out of 402 runners (top 15%). Among all men running the half-marathon, I was 1,025th out of 4,964 (top 21%). And from the total pool of half-marathon participants, I came in 1,405th out of 11,263 (top 12%).

It’s becoming more and more clear to me that I’m aging — and it’s very unlikely that I will be setting any further personal records in the half-marathon (or the mile, or the 5K, or the 10K, or the full marathon, for that matter). However: a more helpful metric might be to see how many Pittsburgh Half-Marathons I might be able to complete if I restrict myself to running one every ten years (or honestly, even if I were to try do it every year). It’s significant to note that my division this time (Men aged 45-49) numbered less than half the number of participants compared to the division that I ran in 2014 (Men aged 35-39). Aging just does that to people! Personally, I’m finding it harder to lose weight. My feet feel more achy during- and after events like these. My body is slowing down.

But I’m still running. If I can manage to keep running — at any pace — for another ten years, I think that’s a really meaningful metric. I cannot control all the different factors that might lead to accomplishing (or failing to accomplish) that goal. But I can take literal and figurative steps towards that goal day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, and year-by-year in the hopes of meeting the Pittsburgh Metric. So if anyone asks if I met my goals for the race this weekend, the answer is “Yes.”

This entry was posted in Health, Introspection, Middle Age, Recreation, Running, Sports, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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