I've decided I am going to officially stop bitching about how crowded this run is. While it is nowhere near as crazy as the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, 6000 runners with a mass start is pretty crazy. However, every year I have run this course I have done really well. The last two times I have run it I have earned a 5k PR. This year with not much running other than the Mini-Mermaid Running Club I decided that the Turkey Trot would be purely for fun. No pressure of running a certain pace, just go out, have fun and feel good that you burned a couple hundred calories off before Thanksgiving dinner.
The kids helped me at packet pick-up so we could avoid the chaos on Thursday morning. These cuties got to sleep in Thursday morning since they spent the night at Grandma's. So come Thursday morning we begrudgingly got up out of bed and started to get ready. My husband said "How do I let you talk me into this stuff?" Actually, I'm not sure there was any talking, I think I just signed him up, and signed him up for the 10k while I was at it.
Once we arrived we made our way over to the start line and started to stretch. We started at about the same place we did last year which probably meant we were too far back, but since I wasn't racing it I wasn't worried about it. I reminded my husband to start out easy so that he didn't hit a wall later. With one last kiss we were off! Well, almost. We actually had to walk to the start line since it was so crowded, so like two minutes later we were off! Every year I am amazed by the amount of walkers we pass. Really, if you are walking a race you should not start at the front of the line. Also, if you are running with little kids, you should not start at the front either. I took this photo from the start line, but the larger mass was behind us.
Doesn't that look like it should be the 10 min mile pace start? I thought so, but I guess not, since we passed a ton of walkers at the start. Again, I wasn't worried about it since I was not racing. I had a strategy to just run easy and the shortest distance of the course to be sure I didn't run more than 3.1 miles. Last year I spent so much time and energy zig-zagging around people that I really wore myself out. I remembered Mary saying that in her last race she just tried to follow the center line of the street in order to run the straightest course. I thought this was a great plan and decided to follow it. The first mile was great, because of the crowds they kept me at a nice pace that was not too strenuous. I'd hang out until I felt I was able to make a nice easy pass. I felt good, I was comfortable and I was having fun! At the mile mark I looked down at my watch and was pleased with my pace, it was a little faster than what I thought I would run, but I was comfortable and didn't feel taxed. As we approached the turnaround point, I was on the inside and had to slow to a walk to get through the turnaround because it was so crowded. I actually witnessed a runner turn early to avoid the crowd. I have to admit I was kind of horrified. Even though I was out for a fun run, I still would not cut a course short. After that I was able to pick up the pace slightly, I watched lots of folks cutting in and out and using up lots of energy to navigate the crowd. At one point I got squeezed in by a double jogger on my left and a runner on my right. No worries, I backed off until I was able to make a pass that would not piss me off. So far so good, my plan was coming together nicely. As we passed through the aid station (which I skipped) I was amazed at how many people just threw their cups in the middle of the course, clearly no one even attempted to toss their cup to the right side. It was slightly like an obstacle course as I tried to not slip on about 900 cups. As I approached the 2 mile marker I peeked at my watch to see that I had run the last mile a little faster than the first. "Oh, that's nice I thought." I was feeling great and only had 1 more mile to go. It was at this point that I realized I was going to have a really nice run. I was running mostly based on feel and only looked at my watch when I would complete a lap (one mile). With one mile left I picked up the pace for what I knew would be a strong finish.
I crossed the finish line with like a bazillion other people but was super stoked with my time of 30:58. Considering that I wasn't trying to do anything special other than have fun, I was pretty excited about my seconded fastest 5k ever.
After that I waited to watch Scott finish the 10k in 45 minutes, he is such a show off :)
I'm looking forward to what should be a great season for me!