This was my first ever Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, since in years past I would normally be taking a break from training and opting to sleep in. When I found out that the prizes for the winners were delicious pies from a local bakery, I set my sights on this 5k cross country race.
Though I had spent a great deal of the time that I would have normally been training on the couch watching Netflix, and I had only run 6 times (this is being generous since most runs were under 30 minutes) in the weeks since Challenge FL, I knew I had not lost too much fitness. The only thing I was unsure of was my ability to run fast.
Not wanting to go alone, I recruited my sister and a few of my neighbors to go with me. With my crazy warm-up routine, i.e. a 10 minute jog and dynamic stretching, they told me I better win since I was being so intense. While my friends and family appreciate my passion, they do not fully understand my "you have to hate to lose more than you love to win," or "if you're not first, your last," mentality.
The race draws a big crowd, but most runners are there for the experience and not the competition. But Hopewell does have a tradition of talented runners, so the fastest racers are usually alumni who are running or ran in college. I lined up with some of the boys and girls from the high school cross country team I helped to coach. As I was strategizing with the boys on pacing and goal time, I looked around and saw a few fast looking woman. They were wearing spikes, and I began to feel regretful for opting to not wear mine; I decided it would not be wise since it had been over 6 years since I raced a 5k in spikes. Oh well, tri shoes would be just fine.
It was so fun lining up on a line painted on the grass, surrounded by lots of people, and many familiar faces. Before the horn blew one of the boys declared that we would go out no faster than 6:00/mile pace for the first mile, needless to say when the race began it was quickly apparent this plan went out the window. They took off and I followed, with one of the faster woman on my heels until the first mile, which I ran in 5:42. I moved up with two of the boys and by the second mile it was just myself and one of the seniors.
Before I knew it we were heading back around the lake to the finish line. The boy I was running with, Ethan Duer, said "let's bring it home." I looked back and saw the second place woman not too far behind so I tried to pick up the pace for the final stretch.
I was very happy with the final time of 18 minutes and 13 second, which is a top-five all-time personal best, and only the second fastest 5k I have run since college; though the other was on flat roads. About a month ago, I predicted that I was in shape to run a 5k in 18:20-18:30. I guess I know my body well, because I was nearly spot on.
It was such a blast running in the local turkey trot. It was another experience that embodies how much I adore my hometown. I loved being able to race alongside the high school athletes I have been coaching. It was so neat to be on the course with them, working together to run some fast times. I could not have done it without their help.
After I finished, I went to cheer on the people who were still running and spotted many of my high school friends and classmates. It was so great to catch up with them after to race. A few of my high school teammates came out to watch as well, and I am already plotting to get them to run next year.