Strangely enough, I think this was my first Turkey Trot in North America. Last year I ran my first at McMurdo Station, Antarctica and came in 2nd due to an equipment oversight. I didn’t think I’d need YakTrax in Highland Park this year, so I was ready to rock it. And by ready, I mean not ready at all. I’ve been swimming all month and running some, but not nearly enough to run a solid 10K. Whatever, my 10K PR is pretty poor (37:07, ran the day after I won a 7K) so I should be able to at least better that, right?
Fly to Chicago Tuesday night. Wednesday has a 3500yd swim, a massage, and a track workout. One thing led to another and I end up doing my standard race week track workout (2×800 [2:38,2:39], 2×400 [1:19,1:19]) on a pitch black track at 6PM. In the middle of the workout I realize, yeah I usually do my race week speed on Wednesday, but that’s for a weekend race. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing speed work 14 hours before the gun goes off……. Keep on reading to see how that turns out.
Up at 6:15, on course by 7:00. It’s not warm out. Jess, Hillary, and reigning 60-64F champion (my mom) are all running the 5K at 7:30, so they go for a quick warm up and scurry over to their corrals (C, B, and A respectively). I go for a lengthly warm up, feeling good. Their gun goes off as I start to get ready and stretch out a bit. 10 minutes until I start and I see 5Kers start coming in, making me think “Man, I should have done that.” I do some drills and strides. Something was weird because anytime I got close to top speed, I start stumbling. Strange, but no time to worry. Headin’ to the corral.
The first corral is packed. Like I can’t weasel any closer than half way up to the line. WTF. Are there that many fast people running this race? (Seriously: I crossed the start 3 seconds after the gun, which is about how long it takes me to cross the line in a major marthon.) 8:00AM rolls around. Announcer says 4 more minutes. Great, I think, as my teeth start chattering. After the longest 4 minutes possibly ever, gun goes off. And I take my first step only to find my left Achilles hates me. Maybe I shouldn’t have done speed work 14 hours and 4 minutes earlier. Damnit.
I’m weaving through all those runners who started in front of me for the first few hundred meters downhill. After half a mile, I find myself in 7th. Roll through the first mile in 5:3X. Whoops. Didn’t mean to go that fast. Settle in at 5:50-5:55 over the course that can only be described as “Midwest roll-y” (short little rollers that look easier than they feel). Hit the 5K in 18:0X, good enough for 5th overall if I had run the 5K. Not blazing, but still can PR.
And around mile 4, realize that my tank is pretty much just empty. I’m still in 7th, but I can feel people catching up. I try to hold on. Hit mile 5. Still in 7th, but my splits are climbing. Mile 5.5 and there’s a group of 4 right behind me. One passes me. Then a second screams past me. Oh, he’s a high schooler. Of course he’s a high schooler. They enter these Turkey Trots en masse and have just finished XC season, so they’re in killer shape. So not fair. Anyway, the last half mile kicks up harder than the rest of the course and I hit it. At the 6 mile mark I turn around expecting to see the other two runners right behind me, only to find… a gigantic pick up truck? I guess they can’t be too close.
I half-heartedly kick at the 5K race’s 3 mile mark. There’s one intersection ~20m from the finish. I enter the intersection running probably ~5:30ish pace, when all of the sudden the cop directing traffic starts pointing and screaming at a car on the west side of the intersection. As I’m a stride away from the middle of the intersection, the cop hurriedly starts walking toward the car. Which is right in my path. I scream at him, shove him out of the way, and finish the race in 37:10 (5:59 pace). 2 seconds off my PR. But good for 9th out of 1473 runners and 3rd in my AG.
Since I didn’t PR, I can complain that I ran slowly, missed a PR cause a cop got in my way, and my Achilles hurt the whole time. But I really shouldn’t considering I was top 10 in a massive Turkey Trot that Runner’s World deemed one of the top in the country last year. And my first 5K of the race was good enough for top 5 in a race with over 2100 runners.
Some race notes:
- That high schooler that past me around 9K? Yeah, he came in 21st at the state meet this year. 14:46 for the (always fast) 3 miles at Detweiller Park.
- RAM Racing ran a pretty smooth race. Except it took ages for them to put results online.
- Hillary PR’d by over 4 minutes. In a 5K. Didn’t even know that was possible. She, once again, makes me look like a genius coach even though it has zero to do with me. Race recap here.
- Jess ran her first race. And killed it. Though she ran it about how fast she trains… until she realized the four minutes before she crossed the start didn’t count. Recap is here. But I want to add that she’s far and away the most photogenic runner I’ve ever seen. Even beats the guy who got famous for his ridiculously photogenic race picture. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
- My mom won her age group again. She’s now solidified herself as the 60-64F to beat on the North Shore I guess.
- My coach told me he was far more proud of me decking a cop than he was for my top 10 finish. Thanks, coach.
- I liked this Turkey Trot thing. Except I didn’t have time for a nap, so I was exhausted by the time dinner ended.