I ran my first ever Thanksgiving race today! It seems odd, given the fact turkey trots are so popular and the fact that I love running the morning of days I plan to eat a lot, but it’s true.
There are a few Thanksgiving races in the St. Louis area, but I chose The Hungry Turkey because it’s downtown and that’s most convenient for me.
Not convenient for me, the weather.
Maybe this is why I’ve avoided the trots all these years. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
I am the worst at dressing for cold weather runs. Running websites act like one shirt is fine so long as your ears and hands are covered, but I dress for cold weather runs like I pack–I keep adding things. I ended up with running capris and three shirts, plus gloves and this fantastic deer hat.
And still, I had to force myself out of my car when it was time to head to the start. I parked at my office, which is about a mile from where downtown races start, and ran to 16th and Market as a little warmup. I was trying to time it so I barely had to wait but I still had about ten minutes to stand there and get cold again.
They gave out coupons for free socks if you finished ahead of the turkey.
Looking at the arch while waiting to start is always awesome.
We started shortly after 7:30am. I had a super conservative goal of finishing under 30 minutes, but really just wanted to run at a comfortable pace dictated by my body.
Mile 1 was almost entirely east on Market toward the arch. I passed a lot of people and felt really good. I’ve never warmed up for a 5k before today, and I think it really helped my body be ready immediately. I wasn’t out of breath and I felt like I could go faster but wanted to save that for later miles.
Mile 2 took us to the left and over part of the Eads bridge. On the way there I saw a tiny dog off a leash and crossing the stream of runners. I wanted to pick him up and take him home but instead I kept going. They had a water stand before the bridge but I never drink during 5ks. Running on the bridge was cool. More specifically, it was absolutely freezing. Downtown St. Louis is always windy but on that bridge I felt like I was being slapped around by Mother Nature. It was also slushy, so I had to watch my footing, especially on the turnaround. It was around this point I picked up a running buddy. I tend to end up next to one person running almost exactly my pace each time I race. I use that person to keep my pace even, then later try to pass them.
Mile 3 was mostly heading back west on Market. My running buddy passed me on downhill portions but I caught her on the uphills. For someone who avoids hills like the plague during training runs, I tend to pass people on them in race situations. I knew I was running my fastest on the last mile and because it was a straightaway I could see the finish for a long time before I got there, so instead I focused on closer points in front of me. I tried to picture myself on the treadmill when I run really fast, and mentally zone out except for how my legs are moving and my lungs are breathing. I really needed that focus to keep my mind off my 5k nausea, the feeling like I’m going to puke that always happens to me near the end of 5ks if I’m really racing them. With about .10 to go, I passed my running buddy. I saw a small child and a man running with a small dog. I passed them. Then I finished!
That’s certainly under 30 minutes. I’m thrilled with my time, but I’m more thrilled with how I paced myself, something I often struggle with.
I think my treadmill progression runs really helped me with those negative splits. Oh, and even though I did not finish ahead of the turkey I still got handed a coupon for free running socks. Yay!
My Big River Running Training Team friend Ginny found me after I crossed the finish line. She placed 4th in her age group, which is a great accomplishment on such a windy course.
They had a pretty good selection of fuel, and of course I picked up one of each thing (I brought the gloves).
Then I remembered I planned to run the mile back to my car; a bit of a juggling act with all this stuff. The Powerade bottle was giant. So I stuffed the food in my shirt (another benefit of layers) and decided to walk back. That part of Market was a little icy so I didn’t love the idea of running it again anyway.
Hours later and I’m just starting to feel warm again. I have a little more relaxing to do and then it’s time for my next endurance event–the Thanksgiving buffet! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!