Like many of you out there, I ran in a Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving weekend. Come to think of it, it was my first Turkey Trot ever… Huh. I was itching to update my short-distance PRs post-Twin Cities, and this was the perfect opportunity to stretch those sprinting muscles.
My goal for this race was 8-minute miles, but I wasn’t incredibly confident in hitting that. I wasn’t thinking, and signed up to donate blood the morning before the race, and it had left me pretty woozy and weak. My shake-out run the night before was a wimpy two miles that had left me awkwardly sweaty and wiped out. Oops.
The crowd was large enough that there were actually corrals (there were 2,100 runners in the 5k, and another 1,500 in the 10k!), and as I looked around at the hordes of small children milling around in Corral A, I was reminded that short-distance runs are dominated by runners that were barely old enough to drive to the race.
This was a family affair, as Penguin, Penguin’s mom, and Penguin’s cousin were all running the race as well. I had been looking forward to a 60-degree race all week, but Weather.com betrayed me, and race morning was a brisk 30-something. I decided to brave my shorts, singlet, and compression socks combo, but some gloves and sleeves would have made things much more comfortable.
Mere seconds before the gun went off, my watch was still syncing up. Screw it, I thought. Not wanting to risk running a good portion of the short race without any sort of timing mechanism, I switched over to the stopwatch function. While I wouldn’t have instant pacing, I would have a general idea of how fast I was going at every mile marker.
The first mile felt ROUGH. Things felt difficult, and I was sure that I was still just feeling sluggish from the blood donation. As I passed the first mile marker, I glanced down and saw that I had run a 7:20. OH. THAT’s why things hurt. At that point, I was willing to push to see how long I could hold it. I found out what it really meant when a runner said that they were holding on to a pace for dear life. I kept having to remind myself that this wasn’t supposed to feel good.
About 2/3 of the way into the second mile, Penguin’s uncle and family were camped out with a camera and encouragement. I was surprised to see them and let out a cheerful “Hey, guys!!” Big mistake. Somehow that one yell ripped the last vestiges of soul right out of me. I hit mile 2 and tried to do the math: 15:40 – 7:20 = 7:40ish? My brain was as frozen as my hands. I could feel my goal slipping away, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I was pushing all I could push, and it hurt.
I tried to do the math again. 15:40 + 7 = 23? Plus :30 seconds? Wait, ok. Well, wait. 8 x 3 is 24. So 24 is my goal? (This is the kind of painful 2nd grade calculations that were running through my head in the last 1/2 mile.) As the finish line popped into sight, I looked at my watch and saw the seconds creeping past my 24-minute goal. Frustrated, I don’t know that I’ve ever crossed the finish line on fumes like that. I finished in 24:30ish…in my head, that seemed to be an 8:10 pace. I hadn’t met my goal.
I walked through the chute, and thought about finding Penguin in his corral (his 10k started 30 min after the 5k start), but I didn’t want to miss his cousin finishing. Sharing the disappointing news would have to wait, I decided. We cheered Jess across her first finish line, and walked over to the middle of the 10k course to look for Penguin. His race involved a finishing-chute altercation, but he rocked it out, finishing 9th out of 1500 runners. NO BIG DEAL. It was a big day for the family: his mom won her age group, and Jess took more photogenic race photos than any other runner in the history of running.
Later, as we sat on the curb trying to determine whether we should stick around for the awards ceremony, I pulled out my phone to figure out my ACTUAL pace. In yet another example of how I can’t do mental calculations while engaged in physical activity, my handy calculator informed me that I had run 7:56s. I HAD hit my goal! Oh, and I’m an idiot.
I had secretly hoped that my time was good enough to net me an age group award (I boldly fake-declared that I would retire if it did), but I came in 8th. No fancy trophy for me, but I’m absolutely thrilled with the result. I’ve never been so uncomfortable during a race (as was reflected in the race photos), but it was well worth it to be able to update my personal records to reflect my hard work. I had cut more than 4 minutes off of my previous PR! I then proceeded to eat a thanksgiving dinner for every mile that I ran Thursday morning.
Next up is an 8k next weekend with Tiger Beat. Maybe this time I’ll make sure my watch is ready to go…
Did you run a Turkey Trot? Net a PR? Eat a lot of pie? Do tell!