For the past few years, my Thanksgiving has always started with a Turkey Trot. In fact, in 2011, this exact race was my first 5k! I signed up having only started running that month and I remember my only goal, okay, well 2 goals, were to not die and to not walk. I worked so hard for that race and I will never forget the feeling when I crossed the finish line. I was hooked from that point on. Since 2011 there was only one year I missed this race and that’s when I chickened out because it was “too cold” outside. This was before I had ever really done any winter running, so I clearly remember when the temperature read 15 degrees that morning (I believe in 2012?), I stayed in bed and ran on the treadmill instead. That was actually the first time I signed up for the 5 miler and I bailed.
When deciding on what to run this year, I decided to go for the 5 mile race. You actually have 3 options with this race. The 5k, the 5 miler or the double gobble which was both races. There was truly only 1 reason that I decided on the 5 mile race. I wanted an honest to God new PR for this year. The PRs that have been updated on my PR page have been from new distances. For once, I wanted to update the page with a time PR. I needed it.
Race morning was much warmer than it was that one year. I ended up wearing shorts and a long sleeve and honestly, I would have been fine with a short sleeve shirt. Since this race is just down on the North Shore, I left around 8:45am since the race start at 9:15am. Parking for this race is actually pretty easy. With your race registration, they open up several of the North Shore surface lots and garages that you get to park in for free. Since I was coming down from the Northside, I snuck in the back way into one of the main garages. Since it wasn’t spring weather warm, I decided to hang out in my car until about 9:08am and then walk over to the start line.
As I was getting to the start line, I looked up and saw George and several of the old men running guys (shhh, don’t tell them I said that). I had no idea they were all running the 5k but it was great to run into them! After a quick hello, I headed into the corrals. Based on my Tuesday night run, I decided to line up with the 10:30 pacer, start a little slow and take off around mile 3 if I had something left. Well, literally as I headed into the corral, there was Mar!! I knew she would be there, but I didn’t think I would run into her in the corrals. At the same time, we also thought we saw Kristy. Then at the same time, we both realized it was NOT Kristy, but her doppelganger. This was also after we both waved frantically at her and yelled hello.
Then just like that the race was on. I wanted to run smart for this race so that I had something left in the tank at the end. I knew based on Tuesday night’s run, I had some speed in my legs somehow, but I didn’t want to blow it in the first mile or so. I said hello to the 10:30 pacer and said I’d be following her for a few miles. There were 2 of them and they were so sweet and amazing. We chatted and just before mile 1, the 2nd pacer and I found ourselves slightly ahead of the other pacer and a few others sticking with her.
Crap. This is exactly what I wanted to avoid. I wanted to start slow and speed up. I went with it and let the other know I was still feeling okay but pacing was horrible sometimes and just didn’t want to get too fast. The course itself for this race was a good one. The only part I did not like was mile 4. You passed the finish line on your left, kept going around the stadium to a random turn around point and then headed back to the finish line. It’s just a nasty tease. I wish they would have taken us on Casino Drive or more downtown instead of this move. For the most part too it was a flat course. The hills on the course were just going over the 6th Street bridge twice.
When I was starting to go over the bridge into town, the lead male was coming over. It was a little time before the next one and it wasn’t until I was off the bridge that I saw the lead female. At this point I was still just settling into the race. I kept looking for Mar, Kristy and Dee, but I never saw them out there. As I hit the mile 3 point, I could feel myself starting to feel tired. By this point, I had not looked at my watch for pace. I figured I’d just listen to my body. As we did come into the 4th mile, I felt myself slow a little just before the bridge. I don’t know why and I don’t know if I actually slowed, but it just felt like it.
Once I hit the bottom of the bridge though, I felt the pick up happen. I still had over a mile to go, but knowing the finish line was near gave me a pep in my step. This is why I don’t like this part of the race, but luckily, it didn’t crush me all together. I was still with that 2nd pacer by this point. She was great staying with me for the race. Then as we hit the turn around area, I saw her fade back and told me that I had it and get that PR. Part of me felt bad, but I was so thankful for her sticking with me up to this point!
After the turn around point I had 3 turns left. I broke it down into about quarter mile segments. I also saw the 10 minute pacer up ahead and asked myself if maybe I could even pass her. I didn’t think it would happen, but sure enough with about .35 left, I passed her! At this point I had only 1 turn left and once you made that turn it was a quick sprint to the finish.
Once I finished and saw my watch, I knew I crushed my PR!! My previous PR was 53:33 and I had posted a new one almost 4 minutes faster. I was stoked. I really did not think I had any type of speed in my legs at this time. I quickly found Kristy, Dee and Mar. It ended up that Kristy snagged 3rd place in her age group, so we all hung around to get her award. We had no idea what the award was. I joked with her it would be a turkey. Well, sure enough she got a turkey — it was just a paper version though!
Needless to say, this race was an excellent way to start my Thanksgiving! Honestly it was the only great thing about my Thanksgiving. I loved seeing friends and being able to get that PR meant everything to me. I finally could update the page with a legit new PR! This race certainly holds a special place in my heart and maybe next year, I’ll go crazy and do the double gobble!
Official Finish Time:
85/144, F 30-34