Another year, another turkey trot! This will always be my favorite race of the year – I LOVE seeing so many familiar faces out there on the course and on the sidelines cheering each other on. I don’t know if it’s because I live in Troy but I can always feel the heightened energy in the air the morning of, and even the day before when they start lining up the porta potties and bleachers, ha! Regardless of my goals for this race, it’s always a good time.
Speaking of goals, this year I had a goal in mind but didn’t put too much pressure on myself because my running hasn’t been too consistent post marathon. It was hard finding my groove again, especially without the pressure of a coach and teammates. But I eventually made a plan (realistically for the last three weeks) on a print-off calendar from the Internet and tried to stick to it. My hip has still been a bother and if it was nagging, I didn’t go out. I did make sure to squeeze in a long run each week and a tiny bit of speed work in between rest, and also found a handful of people to run with to help me get out the door. Accountability is a wonderful thing.
Back to this goal: to beat my previous 10k PR (which was set on this course in 2013) of 54:35. That’s an 8:48 overall pace and I would have been happy with an 8:47 pace. I honestly thought breaking that even by a second per mile was going to be a long shot. Until I got out there.
Pre-race: A group of friends met downtown at our shop to stay warm/use the bathroom/stretch/and catch-up. I don’t think I’ve ever been this calm before a race, almost as if it was just going to be another Sunday long run. The temperature was perfect. We took a group photograph and Chris, Phil and I jogged the block or so over to the start. I wasn’t worried about a warm-up because I wasn’t worried about PRing; this was going to be a fun run regardless.
And we’re off! Mile 1: We had strategically lined up closer to the 8 minute mile sign to avoid dodging less people and it paid off; very little energy was spent zig zagging through a crowd. I love running over the bridge because you get to see the lead runners! I cheered on a couple that I knew but focused on finding a groove. Phil suggested I slow down and when my watch beeped the first time, I could see why: 8:21
Miles 2 + 3: I run the turkey trot course alllllll the time and it was easy for me to just get lost in the miles. I knew where I was, I knew how much further until we got to turn for home but I also knew that the paces that were clocking in were faster than my current 5K PR paces. I almost panicked for a hot moment and thought, “what the hell am I doing?!” I could still see Chris up ahead of us and was shocked that I kept him in sight. It was a goal of mine not to lose him, so forward I focused. 8:12, 8:08
Miles 4+ 5: I think during the fourth mile is when I first mentioned to Phil that I didn’t know if I could hold the pace much longer. I stayed silent and tried to get out of my head and focused on the runner in front of me. The fifth mile flew by and when I saw the clock at 40:xx, I was SHOCKED and knew I had to hold on for as long as I could. I knew I was going to PR even if I dropped to a 10 minute mile, but didn’t want to cross that finish line defeated. 8:01, 8:09
Mile 6 and then some: Held on I did! I slowed down when I needed to (up the ant hills ha!) and tried to sprint down River Street to the finish. I crossed that finish line with the biggest smile on my face, mostly in disbelief, put the medal around my neck and looked for the beau. I thought he had missed me because I came in minutes from what I had predicted, but he saw me finish and snapped a few photographs – he wasn’t prepared because of my early arrival! 8:07
That’s 3:44 shaved off of my previous 10k PR and an 8:11 pace overall! Pretty darn happy with this race and am pretty determined to break 50 minutes next year! So close! Ahhhh!