On Thanksgiving morning, I had my first ever Turkey Trot 5K to run. Being my first year running, I signed up for a lot of races. I wanted to experience all sorts of different types, in different cities, so I could find out things I liked or didn’t like about a race or location. I decided as part of this inaugural year of running that I’d sign up for the local holiday races: the Monster Dash, Turkey Trot and Jingle Bell Run (coming up on 12/8).
All week I was watching the weather to see what we could expect on race day. We had a nasty storm coming at us on Wednesday so I was hoping it wouldn’t shift and change to Thursday. Luckily, it stayed on schedule and while the weather wasn’t any fun to deal with on Wednesday, at least I didn’t have to run in it! Instead, we had reallllly cold temps and gusty winds, making it feel even colder. Bright and sunny though…bright. and. sunny. See that “feels like” temp? Yep. It felt like 22*.
Being that this would be the coldest race I’ve ever run in, I was concerned about how much to layer (or not). I ended up wearing my capri pants with my compression sleeves, which kept my legs warm other than the tiny slit on my ankles. On top, I opted to go with a tshirt underneath a pullover. Prior to warming up a few minutes before the race, I also had a jacket over that (which was great until I took it off!). I made sure I brought gloves and also a warm headband that covered my ears. Boy, was I thankful for those last 2 things!
Turns out I had planned it perfectly! I was so, so cold at the beginning, even while I was warming up, but by the finish I was pretty warm, almost hot. Poor Tara was numb by the time I finished. Guess that’s the price of being a professional sherpa.
I didn’t realize it when I signed up, but this course would be exactly the same as the course I ran in May as part of the Navigant Running Festival. And then someone at my job, that was also running the Turkey Trot, reminded me of how hilly it was! Oh man! I went in dreading it, but figured I would just go slow and steady. They were really good about getting us started right at 10am so that everyone could get to their family gatherings, which I certainly appreciated.
At the beginning is a short downhill, but then we go around the corner and over the highway and there it is: the first gigantic hill! So rough starting out that way, but it was a good confidence booster for me. Being that I hadn’t run in about 3 weeks due to my IT band, I figured I’d be walking early on. Surprisingly, I made it up that first hill by just taking it slow. I’m not gonna lie, it felt pretty good passing people that started out fast and couldn’t handle the hill.
A big bummer about this course is that it’s very industrial. We go by Interstate 95 and then lots of industrial buildings. We barely go through any residential neighborhoods, which could also be boring, but are still better than staring at brick warehouses and semi trucks. I definitely don’t think I’ll be signing up for any races on this course again anytime soon. I like races with at least partial nice views!
Once I got up that huge first hill, I kept my pace steady. Once I saw that first mile marker, I knew I’d gotten through the toughest part (for me, anyway). I though, hey, maybe I could run the whole race. Around mile 2, I had a pretty stiff calf, but it wasn’t painful so I kept going. I didn’t feel very fast, but I felt solid which made me really happy. What made me even happier was the big downhill toward the end that I knew was coming up, our reward for going up it at the beginning! I let my legs move a little quicker going down that hill and felt awesome.
It was around this time that Frankenstein appeared. I’ve nicknamed him this because of the way he runs and because he’s a really tall, square-headed dude. This man drives me insane!! I’ve probably done 5 or 6 races that he’s run in also and we must go pretty close in pace because he’s always near me. What drives me nuts about him is the fact that he will sprint (kind of) for maybe 50 feet, then stop and walk. I have no issue with the method if that’s what works for me, but what makes me cuckoo bunnies is the fact that when he stops to walk, he’ll do it DIRECTLY in front of someone running and that person is usually me. Ugh!
What brought me great joy is that at the bottom of that hill, right around the last corner, I saw him just ahead of me again. At the end of every race I run, I give it all I have left in the tank for that last 100 yards or so. This race being no different, I stepped on the gas and passed him…along with about 4 or 5 other people.
I felt so awesome and couldn’t wait to see my time. I stopped my Garmin at 34:58!! I couldn’t believe it!! My official chip time is listed at 34:59 so it was pretty spot on. This is a course PR of 1:42 from the other time I ran it in May (36:41) and my second fastest official 5K time overall!
I’m definitely paying for it today with soreness, but I like to blame it on all the driving we did visiting family and friends right after the race all day. I feel like a beginner runner again but it was well worth it!
Overall, a good race, but a crappy location. A plus at the start was being able to use indoor plumbing and being able to hang out inside the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center to stay warm prior to the race. This was also a negative because that meant around only 6 bathroom stalls for all the women to use which meant a long line. There also seemed to be some disorganization at the finish line on where to get water or a banana. They weren’t together and it was just set up really awkwardly. Other than that, no real big complaints to be had!