Sunday, December 9, 2012

Turkey Weekend Race Reports

I like to race. More specifically, I like to sign up for events. They keep me motivated and entertained. Sometimes I race them, and sometimes I go out for fun. The Hellaween race was strictly for fun, so I'm not race reporting here. Turkey Weekend was another story.

First, Nitro Turkey on Thanksgiving morning. I signed up for the 5K (instead of the 10K) to run with Matt, but then Matt decided not to train. This means he would have to run-walk the 5K in deference to his testy IT band. I used this as an excuse to abandon him (are turkey trots supposed to be family events?) and go after my 5K PR. (I also had a friend at the event, but she was in the 10K.) I haven't run many 5Ks, and my fastest 5K time is actually during a half marathon this past March. I was pretty sure I wouldn't have to try too hard to beat it; however, short races are not my thing. I don't really like being that uncomfortable, even if it is only for something less than 30 minutes. In longer races you just kind of settle in and keep plowing foward, but in a short race, you kind of have to kill it.

The race was a bit hilly, about 200 feet of elevation gain, and I found it challenging. I think I had eaten or drunk too much before the race, because I could feel things bouncing around in my stomach most of the race, which is not too pleasant. Nevertheless, I plowed onward and finished in 25:45, or an 8'18" pace. Not as fast as I felt I should be able to do (based on pace prediction at least), but it was good enough for first place in my division. Turns out most good runners do the 10K instead, making that field much more tough to crack. So here's a tip for winning awards - sign up for short distances in local races. The race itself was very well run, nicely scenic, and had a smorgasbord of pumpkin pie and other delightful treats afterward, including hot chocolate with marshmallows. One could easily eat about 10 times as many calories as the 300 burned during a 5K.

I had also signed up for a race on Saturday of that same weekend, the Quarry Turkey 10K. Why, you might ask? I guess I was sucked in by the promise of a Double Turkey Mega Medal. Also we had no plans for the weekend, so why not race? Matt didn't plan to run this one, but luckily he came to spectate, because the parking lines were ludicrous! I had to abandon him in the car and walk to the start, and I still was only ready with about 10 minutes to spare. They ended up pushing all the races back 15 minutes, and Matt actually made it to the start. Here we are:

One might think that trying to PR two races in one weekend is not the brightest idea ever, but I thought it was fabulous. I had never actually run a 10K race before (shocking, I know), so anything I did would be a PR. I could just enjoy the scenery.

Nope. I went for it. I knew from my pace prediction charts that I should be able to run at about an 8'11" pace, so I tried to keep that up. It felt quite difficult. I kept looking down and seeing that I was running over 8'30" and internally chastising myself for not being able to run faster than half marathon pace in a 10K. So I kept pushing it. I spent the whole race being appalled at how tired I felt. Here I am, near the end, looking in pretty bad shape:

But then, I crossed the finish line, and low and behold, I finished in under 50 minutes: 49:42 to be exact, or an 8 minute mile. My Nike Plus was off by about 0.3 miles, which at this short a distance is enough to put the pace off by 24 seconds per mile, apparently. So my Nike Plus basically tricked me into running a super fast time for me. I wasn't struggling running at half marathon pace; I was struggling because I was running an 8 minute mile! My pace declined throughout the race, so I actually ran it very poorly. It worked out in the end, but I always need to remember to just go with my gut instead of trying to meet a pace. If I had started the race running by how I felt instead of by trying to hit 8'11" on my Nike Plus, I might have been able to get an even better time in the end. However, I should thank Nike Plus for tricking me. I think about calibrating it so my paces and mileage would be more exact, but it seemed to work out. Even if it doesn't tell me I set a 10K record because it thinks I only ran 5.9 miles. Anyhow, obviously I look super spent and relieved to be done at the end:

My rewards for the weekend. I finished 4th in my division for the Quarry Turkey 10K, just 20 seconds out of an age group medal. However, it was another great event despite the parking fiasco, and I will definitely consider Brazen Racing for future events as well.

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