Hey look, a race report only three days after the race! Thank my parents. They got me a shiny new bluetooth keyboard for my iPad so I can type up blog posts anywhere, anytime. Also thank Lufthansa. They delayed the flight for an hour earlier today (really, yesterday at this point. Gotta love red-eye flights with 6 hour time changes.)
Turkey trotting aunties. As is becoming holiday tradition, we spent the week in the US at my brother’s house with him, his wife, and the three chaos engines otherwise known as my nephews, so by the time Thursday morning rolled around, we were so ready to run away for a few hours to find rational people who spend all their free time running (and/or biking and/or swimming, but definitely not cross fitting). Luckily for us, the chaos demons have decided that they don’t like just running so instead of a huge group of relatives, it was just me and the Wife, getting up early and heading out for the traditional Turkey Trot.
Also luckily for us, my sister in law, whose brother runs ultras, understand and found us a nice 5k only a few miles away for this year. This was perfect because I haven’t actually managed to run a stand-alone 5k at all this year and I was a bit curious. You see, in August, while still sick, I ran a 5k pr at the end of a sprint triathlon. So, despite the fact that I haven’t actually trained for speedwork at all this season, or really trained much at all since the marathon, I was kind of hopeful. This was a real local race with about a thousand runners and a real hometown feel to it, which was fun. It started at the local high school and they had the gym all set up for the race and at least half the people there were clearly associated with the school in some way. The cross-country coach was also the race organizer. As I was on line for the ladies room, I was behind a girl with an All-state cross country champion shirt on. For ladies room round two (yes, I get nervous enough even for local turkey trots to need at least 3 bathroom visits on race morning in the hour before the race), I saw the same girl again, remarked that she must be fast, and wished her luck. I saw her again at the awards ceremony when she got the first place plaque and pie because she won the race (well, first woman.)
So bathroom pitstop number 3 pretty much destroyed my chances for a real warmup and we were almost late to the start, but it was definitely the better choice. We milled around for about 15 minutes getting colder and colder (since I intended to go fast (that’s me-fast, not Kenyan fast or cross country state champs fast) I was only wearing a short sleeved shirt (my Skvörl shirt from Frankfurt) and needed to start moving. I pushed us as far forward as I could, at least ahead of most of the strollers and dogs and hoped that we’d start soon. Then we did. The complete lack of a timing mat clued me in to the fact that there would be no distinction between chip and gun time, but overall, I lost only 7 seconds to the traffic jam at the start. I was running just behind an older woman wearing a turkey on her head and decided to stick with her. The first mile went by fast. Faster than 8 minutes to be exact. They had a very helpful race clock at the one mile mark and my Garmin beeped at me exactly as I passed it, a first for me. Apparently, turkey lady runs nice tangents. We chatted a bit, but not as much as usual because I was actually running fast enough to not have the breath for conversations. We got to the weird lollipop turnaround at the halfway point and I realized that I hadn’t seen the front group yet which meant they were still only a few minutes ahead. Got to see all slow folks coming the other way, though. That was fun. Mile two and the race clock said exactly 16 minutes. I was on track to break the 8 minute/mile invisible ceiling and another PR. If only turkey lady would maintain a good pace. Then we caught her nephew who looked about 10 and ran with him for a while. There was an older guy ahead of me; white hair, windbreaker, baseball cap; exactly the kind of guy you see wandering around places like the Early-Bird Special at the local Old Country Buffet. Except I couldn’t catch him. So I contented myself with keeping him in sight.
The obnoxious hill at the end of the third mile was in sight and I was hurting, but not hurting-hurting, so I thanked Turkey-Lady and pushed up the hill. I could see the race clock and ran harder. Still didn’t catch the old guy but I made it in under 25 minutes, a marvelous Turkey PR for me. I finally ran a 5 k at a sub-8 minute pace and I was ecstatic. I figured out earlier this week (when I ran intervals about a minute a mile faster than usual due to a math error) that some of the pace limitations I assume are actually all in my head. I think that I can’t run 8 minute miles, so I can’t. But now I think I can, so I did!
Then the Wife (who’d insisted that she wasn’t feeling well and that she was just going to jog it) sprinted in to about a half-minute PR as well. Then she lost breakfast at the side of the road. Which proves several things: a) the Wife is actually more competitive than she thinks she is b) and faster, and c) you shouldn’t eat clementines right before a 5 k where you intend to run at race effort.
Anyway, we stayed for awards and the raffle. We didn’t win any of the raffles (not even the gift basket with the cookbook and the hideously weird turkey artwork that I wanted more than anything to give to my brother), but we did win a delicious blueberry pie for being the folks who’d travelled the farthest to get to the race. And I finally broke my streak of fourths in local races! I got a medal for third in my age group, which is a first for me. And there were almost 60 ladies in my age group! Also, Turkey Lady got second in her age group and the old guy also got 3rd in his, so I was in good company. In conclusion, yay 5k Turkey Trots, yay PIE!, and incidentally, my brother cooks a damn good turkey. No nephews were harmed in the writing of this race report.