25 November 2011

The Long and Short of a 5K Turkey Trot

I spent the better part of Wednesday thinking about Fred Duling and the incredible power of the human spirit. Of course, all this thinking was done as I ran errands, cared for children, hung out with my awesome 88-year old mother-in-law, did my meager share of Thanksgiving preparations, and stressed about strategized for my 5K Turkey Trot...among other things.

The 5K was in the forefront of my mind. The plan was to head up to Sonoma for what I'll call the 6th Annual Bartholomew Park Winery Thanksgiving Day 5K FunRun Turkey Trot because I don't know the official name or if it even has one!

Gee, XL, why on Earth would you drive an hour each way to run in an eentsy weentsy race with no swag whatsoever or even prizes?

This is why...

AM and me this Thursday...
I'm the nearly naked one...you can tell by the hair.

I found AM and her blog, Goals for the Week (now called Feet in Motion) last year when I started running and blogging. The 5th Annual version of this race was my first race, and AM was my first blogger meet-up :) Last year I finished the 5K in 28:52 and was all fired up because I had been expecting a time between 30 and 31 minutes. It was so fun, the people were super nice, and it was a beautiful setting. I vowed to return in 2011.

skip to the bottom if you want the short version...it's in blue italics all the way at the end

While temperatures were sub-freezing last year, this year the forecast called for pouring down rain *GROAN* My thoughts flashed on Fred Duling, I shut up and packed a Hefty bag, and set to creating a race plan. I had already planned on shooting the moon...'A' goal set at 23:52 (exactly 5 minutes faster than last year) and 'B' goal at 24 flat. My plan was to start slow (7:55 pace for the first half-mile) and bump the speed up every half-mile to be finishing off at 7:30 pace.

Enter stage left:  optimistic and persuasive friend

Uttering phrases like "go for it" and "what have you got to lose?" via chat, he convinced me to push the envelope. Go out at 7:30 pace and see how long I could hang on before imploding or exploding. "It's just a 5K" meaning I'd still be able to finish even if I blew myself out in the first mile.

Here's what happened...

I awoke way too early for my liking and was out the door by 7. It felt weird to be going off to a 5K race instead of a 2+ hour run. The rain was so light it was more of a heavy mist, and by the time I got to the venue, even the misting was intermittent. With temps hovering around 50ºF, conditions were my idea of perfection.

As I trotted around this beautiful place during my warm up, I remembered how last year I didn't warm up... I had been worried about completing just the 3.1 miles of the race! Once I felt loose, I hit the bathroom and stripped down to shorts and a tank. I set my Garmin to show just lap pace/time/distance, programmed the auto lap distance as one half mile, and put The Cure's Just Like Heaven on continuous loop on my iPod. I was ready.

The start felt awesome! Downhill + Adrenaline = 3:46.40 (7:33 pace) for the first half-mile no problem!

The road flattened out and I pushed a bit harder... 3:44.81 (7:30 pace) for the second half-mile.

Then there was a hill.

It was not a big hill, but it was a hill nonetheless. As I worked diligently to keep it fast, the numbers just kept creeping up. And then this guy pushing a stroller passed me. Going uphill. While having a conversation with the person next to him. The ensuing momentary demoralization allowed the pace to climb over 8 minutes per mile, and I finished the third half-mile in 4:00.37 (8:01 as my average pace).

Don't get distracted! Don't let the numbers get to you! Pay attention to the task at hand!

And I thought about Fred Duling and his daughter giving it their all in Philly. And I thought dream big. I rounded the next corner and floored it down the hill and back along the flat straightaway... fourth half-mile run in 3:42.61 (7:25 pace).

For the next half-mile, "keep it in the 30's" quickly segued into "stay in the 40's" which turned into "stay sub-8" and ultimately became "just keep moving forward." And there was this kid. He had flown off the start line with his dad, and I was now running next to them. The kid and I pulled away from the dad and ran together for the last mile. Our fifth half-mile was 3:59.45 (8 min mile pace).

As the kid and I began the final ascent, we were both fading but refusing to concede. He definitely had more gas in his tank, though. He would surge ahead and then walk until I pulled even and then surge again. Had I not been maxxing myself, this would probably have been super annoying. I kept trying to keep up with his surges. In my mind I was, but reality was not cooperating.

He finished about 10 feet ahead of me. I crossed the line in 24:01.

I was strollered. I was kidded (what do you call it when you're passed by a child?). I just missed my goal. I crashed and I burned.

And I had FUN. While I felt like I was dying at the end, rarely have I felt more alive. And for me, there is no better way to start a day of giving thanks than reveling in and testing the limits of this glorious thing that is Life.


and the short version....

I ran a 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Weather was cool and misty. Splits were as follows:

0.5 mile:  3:46.40  
1.0 mile:  3:44.81   
1.5 mile:  4:00.37
2.0 mile:  3:42.61
2.5 mile:  3:59.45
3.0 mile:  4:15.20
3.07 mile:  0:32.48

Finish time = 24:01



  1. great job pushing hard, even if you did get kidded, don't feel bad I did too yesterday. could. not. catch. the little guy.

    But yay for having fun and running your heart out :)

  2. You know I don't understand the numbers, but hey, I get the picture! Pfft, what's with numbers anyway, the most important thing was that you had FUN! And to me, you were still amazing, running that 5K!

    Couldn't help laughing about the hair and the uphill story-the guy with the stroller-though! Hahaha! So annoying when that happened!

  3. so awesome - even if you got kidded and strollered. I once follwed a couple, BOTH pushing jogging strollers for an entire marathon (seriously). I could not catch them to pass them...for 26 freakin miles.

    Love that you pushed it so hard and left it all out there!

  4. 24;01 is nothing to sneeze at. Contacts!

  5. Woot on a great turkey-day race report! I love your pix of the misty, Novembery vineyard.

  6. Awesome!! What a beautiful place to be too. Your time was fabulous, and you killed last year's time even if a few seconds kept you from the A goal. It happens. Just imagine what you'll do next year.... :)

    I got kidded and strollered yesterday too. But there was one kid who was just a few paces ahead of me the whole time who worked out to be a good pacer in the end. I'll take what I can get!

  7. Awesome time - who cares about being strollered or kidded? Love most of all that you had a blast doing it!

  8. Sounds fabulous to me! So glad you had a great time!

  9. I agree with Teamarcia, 24:01 doesn't stink. Awesome job.

  10. Gah. One second off your shoot the moon goal. But sooo awesome!! Those paces would be killing me for more than a mile, and you were kicking butt for 5K. You definitely rock.

  11. So happy to hear you had fun! I am only just dreaming of a sub-30 min 5K. Give me another year or two. :)

  12. Way to go! That is a fantastic time and I'm glad you are celebrating it. Isn't being passed by a stroller the worst! I just ran a 10K where a guy with a stroller won the whole thing.

  13. It sure feel great when you know you've given it all you've got! I pushed myself harder than I've ever pushed myself yesterday and I also felt so ALIVE even when I felt absolutely spent! What a great run!

  14. my dear friend: that is FAST
    wow I am so so impressed, really.

    yesterday at my race we had over 2000 runners...the one who came in 11th overall...was 8 yrs old.
    8 freaking yrs old.

  15. Nice time!! You beat me by far :). Congratulations.

    LOVE AM! I haven't heard from her in ages, though. Must stop by and visit her again soon. Glad you got to meet up with her - fun!!

  16. Dang, Runner! I can't even eat my dinner in 24:01 minutes. Thanks for sharing your triumph. I'd like to think I burned some calories vicariously just by reading.

  17. I wouldn't care who passed me if I could run as fast as you!

  18. What an amazing improvement from last year and fast time! Congrats!

  19. Nice job on the 24 minutes!! I've always thought AM seemed like a very cool chick.

  20. way to go way to go!!! Seriously...so proud of you and your kickass goal! You are getting so much faster so quickly.

  21. That's still a great time, only 1 second off your B goal! I was slightly mortified at a half marathon last year as a woman pushing a DOUBLE stroller with twins under the age of 1 finished several minutes ahead of me.

  22. wooooo ON FIRE XL! look at you! what an awesome pace! :)

  23. This is just awesome Marjorie!! Wow, you are really really getting so strong. I'm so excited to see what you will do!

  24. Somehow I missed this post, sounds like a great race! Great scenery indeed! Yea, Napa isn't too far from Sonoma!

    I probably won't be able to make that race you are doing to this month, good luck!


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