Medal Monday: 2018 EQT 10 Miler

It wasn’t my intention to plan to run a half marathon and then follow it up with the EQT 10 Miler, but my head and heart felt it was something I could handle. And if you had asked me within the three hours after finishing yesterday’s EQT if I would ever do it again “back to back”, the answer would be been a solid no way. But now that I’ve let the feelings aside, that answer just might change! Read on to hear why the 2018 EQT 10 Miler was full of lessons and memories.

The Training

Pretty much all of my training for the 2018 EQT 10 Miler was my sixteen weeks spent training for the 2018 Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon, which I ran exactly two weeks before.

What should have happened? The plan was to reverse taper the week of vacation/post-half (2, 3, then 6.2 miles) then taper (3, 2, 2 miles) last week. Eating would have been as close to Keto as possible.

What really happened? I enjoyed life. I rested. I didn’t feel like I had run a half marathon in the days following MB, so instead of running, I enjoyed two full days in the sand and water with the kids and then realized I was sick with a cold. I kept resting. We went on an all-day date that involved two wineries. I felt like my lungs were shut but only took store brand day and night cold meds for four days. I ate glutens and trick or treat candy.

I came back to reality with a plan to eat Keto and run. There were two run days that were two miles each (and pretty fast for me, at that). Still feeling sick, I spent the 2 days before relaxing and making better food choices but it wasn’t enough to fix my enjoyment from the last 2 weeks. Life happens.

Race Day 2018 EQT 10 Miler

The day started out cold so my fans didn’t come along with me to the city. I didn’t put out my clothes the night before and take a “flat Becky” photo. I felt off of my game in general, but still tried to make it work. Things really went south when I was in line for the porta potties and I spotted my work team waiting together but then didn’t catch them after I was finished up in line. I always feel alone when in Corral D but really felt it after that – the reality that I am soon to be without the job I’ve known for the last two years started to sink in.  But that wouldn’t be the last time of the day…

We runners had to wait until about 8:20 to cross the start which was a major blessing to me – I had forgotten to take my inhaler! As cold as it was and as cruddy as I felt, I needed it, so taking it at 7:55 ended up an okay deal.

Being in Corral D, my hope was to keep the 11:30’s off in my eyesight and the 12:00’s behind me. Welp, I started behind the 13:00’s because of the jam packed way we were all in the Corral and figured this was just like everything else lately just going to be my own dang race. I got around the 13:00’s pretty soon after the start but still felt so slow. When I got to mile one, my app said I did it in an 11:23, but the 12:00’s were still nowhere in sight and I started to feel like an awful runner. The race clock said 15:19, so I didn’t know if I should trust my app or my gut – I had just run up two decent hills at a good pace was the reality.

In the West End, I climbed the hill alongside a kind gentleman who heard me let out a huge sigh at the top – “but we made it!” I said to his “I heard that!”. We laughed and talked about the hill then I pressed on like Lee Nails. This PR wasn’t going to happen if I was going to be chatty. Mile 2 across the West End Bridge was slower by about 10 seconds but I was still doing amazing considering where I’d started.

Running past the stadiums in Pittsburgh is pretty awesome, but one thing really stuck out – a dancing police officer by PNC Park! High fives! It felt like forever to get from 3 to 4, still at an okay pace but I was confused why I was slowing a little on the flats of this section. Time to cross the 2nd bridge (7th ave, right?) and I finally saw the 11:30’s and 12:00’s in the double back. I was nowhere close to them and decided this wasn’t going to be a PR race for me so just run for running.

By the time I climbed the hill to mile five, my lips were sore and my hands were back to freezing. I clung to a vaseline stick an aid gave me along the route for all of mile 5 to 6 then put the gloves back on. That climb up to six always kills my hips, but this year it wasn’t a stopper for me. I knew *MY* bridge, 16th Street, was waiting for me.

Crossing 16th Street Bridge might be where the wheels started to fall off. I don’t know how many more times I’ll get to run that bridge unless in a race. And the last two times I ran this, my family was waiting for me at the end of this bridge. They wouldn’t be there today. My heart was sinking fast.

Mile 7 to 8 were the end of me. During this mile, I glanced at my office and the tears came. I was finally letting reality set in and it set in hard. I was miserable and thought about just logging a DNF. It had nothing to do with the time and everything to do with my reality. Reality is that I am sad and scared and hurt and want to be sure I make the best choices for my family and I don’t feel the confidence to make one more decision. But in that moment, I decided to press on, again, for those kiddos waiting to wear my medal around the house.

Tears, walking, it continued in cycles until the mile nine marker. I knew I had to pull it together for the finish and ran that whole last mile like it was the last mile I’d ever get to run. The crowds were almost non-existent for those of us who take more than two hours to run our race and it fueled me to just keep moving even though it felt like no one was watching or cared.

Crossing the finish line at 2:03:26 hurt. Physically (my lungs, my hips, my knees) and emotionally. Going from an 11:58 at the five-mile mark to a 12:21 overall truly sucked, but I did it. I got out of bed when I didn’t have to and ran ten miles. I ran through pain and tears and ran although it felt so alone.

And when I got home? Those kiddos gave me some of the biggest hugs ever because they are so proud of their mama. And that feeling that they believe in me? That’s what counts and that is what is going to fuel me to my next race and the next chapter in our lives.

Pittsburgh Must: Fogo de Chao

I was invited to a media opening night of Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh in exchange for sharing my experience. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh

Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh

Is there a better date night location for Greg and I than a Brazilian Steakhouse? The answer is nope. When I told him that I’d be treating him to dinner at an all-you-can-eat meat restaurant in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, he was all in.

Opening on Monday, April 23 at the Luminere building (Oliver and Smithfield Streets, Pittsburgh), Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh is going to attract many couples for date nights, families for celebrations, and groups for events. Fogo de Chao is a chain Brazilian steakhouse, but if I didn’t tell you that, you probably wouldn’t realize it when you first step into the building.

The Bar Experience

We actually arrived on time to an event, early even, which was perfect because it gave us a chance to enjoy the front of house bar. While I’m on a Keto lifestyle (hence my excitement for a night of meat), I couldn’t indulge in the custom cocktails even though I really wanted to give them a try.

Instead, I opted for a delicious red wine while Greg went for the Carmelized Pineapple Old Fashioned. I watched on as a bartender carmelized the pineapples and tried not to think about how amazing they’d be with the cane sugar.

There is a Happy Hour at the bar Monday to Friday from 4:30pm-6:30pm with Brazilian Bites and Beers, wines, and Brazilian inspired cocktails like the one Greg enjoyed.

The Service

Before I dive in to tell you about the food, I have to stop and tell you about the service. It was so good, we had to ask the Manager over to thank him for the experience. From the host station to the bartenders, to the wait staff and Gauchos, not one person disappointed us. They worked together as a team like magic.

I’ll let Greg describe it to you – “The operation is pretty fluid, seamless. Seems like the staff is operating in a hive mind fashion. So much going on at once but they impressively keep it together.”

Incredible. We’ve been to Brazilian steakhouses two other times (in Aruba and Myrtle Beach) but never felt this connected to the team that was there to make us happy at Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh. Once I told a gaucho how I liked my meat, they remembered. The gaucho with lamb knew not to ask me if I wanted it again after I told him I didn’t prefer the taste of lamb and would not like to try it – but he did remember to continue to visit Greg with the cuts of lamb. And another realized how much I loved the top sirloin and just kept bringing it on repeat. Amazing.

The Food

Dinner starts at the Market Table, a selection of fruits, veggies, salad, soup, and some cold cut meats and cheeses. It is modeled after the feasts that villages would have at harvest time, each family bringing to the table what they had grown and were proud of. I was particularly drawn to the different hot peppers and (no surprise) chorizo cuts. Bonus? EVERYTHING on the Market Table is gluten-free. 

Back at the table, a basket of rolls has arrived. Greg noted that they were light and fluffy – a little thicker than a croissant – but not so thick that you might fill up if you had one before the meat. He cautions you to take it easy on the Market Table and rolls and/or don’t eat all day before. Because when you turn your token green…

bring on the meats. (via Churrasco style service)

And by meats I mean 17 glorious cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. (There are seafood options, but we didn’t experience those in our preview.)  The Gauchos are quite vested in you enjoying it – and no surprise, as they are selecting it and part of the cooking process. They bring the rack of meat to the table and cut your choice of done-ness right in front of you.

Try not to be too anxious to use your tongs to grab the meat off and chow down while they are still there – I dare you. Or if you do, they’ll know how much you love it. (Someone might have had to be reminded to calm down her yinzer, we were on a fancy date, you know. That didn’t stop me from throwing up big praise hands more than once when I ate a cut of meat that I thoroughly enjoyed. No shame.)

This bacon wrapped chicken was worth waiting for! Our gaucho special made it for me!

The table also receives sharing sides – garlic mashed potatoes, polenta, and fried plantains. I can’t tell you how they were, but Greg made sure not a crumb was left behind. Two dipping sauces (one chimichurri, the other a delicious mystery to me) are also given.

When you are ready to “tap out” and have the meat take a break from coming to the table, turn the token red and the Gauchos will know you’re done (even if just “for now”).

After you’ve had your fill of food from the Market Table and Churrasco service, you can indulge in dessert (just ask your waitress) and/or coffee. I had to go with a coffee and yes, they had heavy whipping cream. Greg was tapped out, so I can’t tell you about the choices but I know from being nebby n’at they looked pretty darn amazing.

Will We Return?

Absolutely. I am already scheming a way to experience the brunch and another dinner. I want my parents to try it, and I think the kids would even enjoy (kids 6 and under eat free, seven to 12 are half price).

And of course I tried to scheme a way to change our carb-load pre-marathon dinner from the club to Fogo asked about the event spaces so I can convince my co-workers to come try for a future party. (There are three rooms, the biggest holds up to 100 guests, and you can enjoy the menu items and or get Churrasco service!)

Treat yourself and your family to this experience, it is absolutely a Pittsburgh must.

About Fogo de Chao

With 52 locations across the United States and others worldwide, Fogo de Chao has been around since 1972. If you are not lucky enough to be treated to the amazing service we experienced in Pittsburgh, add Fogo to your list of restaurants to look for while traveling (locate the nearest to you here).

Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh opens April 23 for seven days a week with lunch and dinner plus weekend brunch. Prices start at $15 for a lunch option (without churrasco experience) up to $48.95 for the experience described above. More details on this location available here.