Chris mentioned list week on Twitter that he was going to run a 10K on Thanksgiving and try to go deep in his "pain cave". I thought about how I'd been running and honestly missed running / riding / competing with Chris so I looked for and found a local 10K to run on Thanksgiving. I'd imagine that Thanksgiving is one of, if not the most popular day for 5K/10K races. Race directors love alliteration and what works better than "Turkey Trot"? **
Some failed suggesions:
Groundhog Day Gallop
Arbor Day Amble
Flag Day Flee
Columbus Day Canter
Moving on... Rather than give Active.com $3.50 for a their "convenience" fee I decided register on race day. I got up at 6am and was registered by 6:45. This left plenty of time for the 8am start. Time to sit in my car in the pissing rain listening to The Prodigy deciding what to wear. It was probably 50F and lightly raining by the time I went with just shorts and a short sleeve shirt. I Body Glided up and jogged down to the start by 7:50. I ate a Hammer Gel just before the race started which was probably a mistake. I should have taken it 20 min. before or not at all.
I didn't want to get caught up behind droves of slow joggers so I went right to the front of the starting area. I figured that I was a little too close to the front and would be in the way of a few faster runners at the start but surprisingly this wasn't the case. Also, to you casual runners who line up at the front of the start area with your iPods wearing a hoodie or big jacket: why? Sure it's a run for fun, but a few people are out there trying to run as fast as they can. Let them stand in the front.
The "Ready? Set. GO!" was given by the race director and the field was off. I took a quick start and was behind the 4 leaders for about the first half mile. I went out a little bit fast for the first mile and figured that I wouldn't be able to hold onto the pace for long so I had to slow down a little. There were a few small rises and falls on the first mile. At the mile one mark I hit the "lap" button on my Garmin and saw that I ran it in 6:08. I was shooting for a hair under 6:50 average miles.
My pace slowed down going into mile 2 which started with a slight downhill followed by a 1/4mi uphill. The hill was a real grind after the first mile and left me gasping as I reached the top. A few people passed me during the climb, including the eventual female winner. After the hill there was a long straight with a slight decline. I took the second mile in my slowest split: 7:11. We made a left turn and hit a couple of rollers. Nothing huge but big enough to slow down the pace quite a bit to the turn-around. My 3rd mile split was 7:03 and I was starting to feel a little better. My breathing wasn't as labored and mentally knowing that I was half finished felt good. I was hanging on somewhat.
The next mile was mostly the reverse of mile 3 meaning that there was more descending than ascending. The route went a slightly different way to keep us from running down the real grind hill from mile 2. I fared a little better on mile 4, taking 6:50 to finish it.
Mile 5 was again biased toward descending but began with a short hill that was harder than it looked. I grabbed some water at the water stop at the top of the hill which was a mistake. They had tiny bathroom-sized Dixie cups for water yet I managed to get the whole two ounces of water down my throat before I was ready and choked a little. I kept my pace up and finished mile 5 in 6:46.
The last 1.5 mi of the 10K course were also the finish for the 5K course so my last mile was spent trying to weave around the people walking or slowly plodding along on the 5K. I'm sure they could have planned this better so that the back (walkers) of the 5K race wasn't finishing when the top 10% of the 10K race was coming in. Despite this I convinced my legs and lungs to keep pushing and finished the last mile in 6:37.
According to my Garmin watch, the course was .2 miles short, or 6.01 miles. My time was 40:39 which would work out to a 41:57 10K if I extrapolated my last mile time for another .2 miles. Just under the 42 minutes I predicted. Given the rain and the hills, which were much more than I thought there would be, I did really well. It's good to know that I still have some speed in my legs. I think I could have gone harder today and avoided a few mistakes to take maybe 10 - 15 seconds off given my current shape but I'm very happy with the race.
AvS: 6:47 / mi.
Finishing place: ~15th out of several hundred. (2000 for the 5K/10K combined)
Oddly the splits add up to 40:35. I guess I lost a few fractions of a second in the calculations.
** Looking on active.com, there were 54 events with "Turkey Trot" in the title on 11/26/09 7 of them in Ohio (all different cities) which edged out Virginia with 6.