Friday, November 25, 2011

Walnut Creek Turkey Trot

This year both Scott and I signed up for the Turkey Trot, he however decided to attempt his first 10k while I stuck with the 5k. This way I would be back in time to catch a photo of him as he crossed the finish line pushing the girls.

A 5k PR has been pretty elusive for me. My last 5k PR was two years ago at this run (a different course) and since everyone I know PR'd that year we were pretty sure the course was short, so I never took it as a serious time that I would be able to beat. My runs lately have been getting speedier based on my workouts. My Sunday runs have been between 3.20 and 3.80 miles and the Mini-Mermaids left me with some speed work during the week and the hills I have added to my runs has helped with my overall strength and stamina. That being said, I was secretly hoping for a PR at the turkey trot. However, when we arrived and I saw that despite the rain all 4600 people showed up to run, I was doubting I would be able to get a PR after all.

We're lined up at the start of the 8 min mile marker here

We took our jackets off right before the start to stay dry as long as possible

We literally had to walk to the start line before we could actually start running. I was amazed that even though we started at the 8 min mile sign, we still had to pass walkers! I equate the run to the equivalent of the of the IMAZ Swim, at least that's what it felt like. I had to run with my elbows up high in defensive mode. At one point a woman in front of me tripped on a reflective marker in the road and I nearly crashed into her. I did my best to stay alert and tried to find a pace where I was comfortable and used minimal energy to dodge around all of the other runners who were running 3 wide. I felt pretty good and tried not to be too frustrated with all of the rookies on the course. I reminded myself that it was a Turkey Trot and to just have fun. So I continued to keep my eyes open and tried to not get knocked around too much. It started to feel a little better around the 1.5 mile point. But as we made our way through downtown Walnut Creek I found myself having to jump up on the sidewalk to get around all of those people running 3-4 wide. I was pissed again, I just used a lot of energy to do that and than to jump back down again once I made my way past all of these people. As I tried to settle back into a pace we were approaching an aid station, since I was already running the right side of the course I was in a good spot to grab a cup and keep going. As luck would have it some a**hole decided to cut across the entire course and stop right in front of me. I threw my hand out so I wouldn't run into him and said "are you kidding me?" That was the first of four tables with water, it was so totally unnecessary. I ran through to the second table grabbed water and ran through. As I passed the last of the tables the same a**hole thought it would be funny to throw water at my back and smirked as he ran past me. I can say that I was really close to having a Kyle Bush moment and really thought about tripping him, but than I reminded myself that it was Thanksgiving and to let it go. I had on running tights and two layers of shirts besides feeling it hit my back it really hadn't done me any harm.

As we approached two miles I was getting tired, I had been maintaining a low 10 minute mile and really thought about walking. And then I thought about spectating Ironman over the weekend and how hard those athletes pushed themselves, I thought about Molly and how she pulled out a 75 minute PR, and then I got over myself and kept running. A woman started running by my side and she had a really nice pace so I fell in line with her and we ran side by side and kept a really nice comfortable pace. That is until I got blocked out by other runners and lost her. As we were approaching the Ironhorse Trail I found her again and got back in line with her as we approached the only hill on the course, there were lots of people walking it. I put in low gear and trudged up the hill and lost my pace buddy. At this point we had to narrow back down to almost single file to get on the trail, great more congestion. I kept to the inside of the trail and maintained a steady pace. At this point the Ironhorse starts to warp. I was up and down, up and down over the bubbles in the pavement. I was committed to this side of the trail and honestly everyone else was trying to avoid it, so while it did a number on my stamina and ankles at least I wasn't bumping into people.

I was checking my garmin and trying to get an idea of where I was at and where I would finish. Mentally I had 31 minutes in my head. I couldn't remember what my time was from 2 years ago but I felt like I was going to be close and just needed to maintain my pace and not give up. As we got closer to the finish line I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get a PR as I was fast approaching 30 minutes, but I knew it would be a good day and that I should give it  my best. As we approached the 3 mile sign and the turn for the finish I kicked it into high gear and ran a 9 minute mile to the finish line.

Of course in true rookie fashion everyone stopped right at the finish line and I had to push my way through the crowd so that I wouldn't puke on them... hmm, maybe if I had just puked on them that would have taught them a lesson!

My time was 31:56 and much to my surprise my last 5k PR that I thought was so unreachable was 32:08! a 12 second PR!!! Holy crap!!! When I had 31 minutes in my head I thought I needed 31:00 and I didn't realize I needed anything in the 31 minute range! I spent all day yesterday on a high! I really have thought for the past two years that a 5k PR was really unattainable, and to get it on this crazy ass run with so many people was so awesome.

My average pace was 10:17 and each mile was pretty consistent with no more than a 10:25 mile. I finished 35/142 in my age group. It was an awesome day.

Scott did amazingly well also. He finished the 10k in 49:43 an 8:11 pace. Crazy considering he was pushing a 6 year old and 3 year old in the double stroller. He says he hit a wall at mile 5 and then remembered to take in a Gu, but he spent a lot of time hollering "on your left" to maneuver past the masses. Super proud of him for running his first 10k.

Sprinting to the finish line

They helped by yelling beep, beep for Dad

Happy to be done! Where's the pie??


  1. Woohoo for a PR!! Can you imagine what it would have been if you weren't so blocked in by othe rpeople?!!!! Next time!

  2. Amazing work M! I'm going to have to step up my game if I don't want you to leave me in the dust! :)