Thursday, December 08, 2011

Turkey Trot Race Recap

This was the inaugural Turkey Trot 5K put on by my friend and the Mount Vernon Running Buddies on Thanksgiving morning. It was cold here, and I didn't know how to dress for the race - especially needing to dress over an hour before. So I went with tights and a semi-warm long-sleeve tech T, gloves and headband. That turned out to be too warm (of course). The wind was pretty chilly, but it was almost 40* by race time. This race was a free race benefiting Food for the Hungry, a local (Mt. Vernon) food bank. I figured it was a good cause and I still owed Dave one for running me in at Erie, so I made the trek up to Mt. Vernon.
Dave told me that I might be one of the faster runners there, so I paid close attention to the race instructions, especially directions. Thankfully Dave's dad led the pack on his bike, so I didn't get lost. Since I was the first one there, I got to sign in first, and I was given the "elite" bib number... #1! It wasn't really a "bib" per se; it was a nametag with a number printed on it. But I was #1.
After everyone had signed in and given their donations to Food for the Hungry and after about two miles of warm-up around campus, Dave gave some race instructions, took a group picture,  and lined us up at the start line.
The race started out with a mad sprint through campus. It was quickly clear who the competition was - two young guys sprinted to the front and pulled out to a sizable lead. I was already thinking "third isn't bad" when I realized that the one kid was not running steady; he was speeding up and slowing down. At that, I knew he was mine. I passed him around the mile mark, and he told me "good job." I told him to run smoothly, just keep going. The other guy was a cross-country-runner looking guy, and he was out in front by a bit. As we turned into the wind, I thought that I ought to let him take the wind for me. So I kicked it and caught up with him to draft. At first I don't think he realized I was there - he had his headphones on - and he turned and spat just as I was catching up to him... thanks a lot, buddy! As I picked up the pace, he started looking back... meaning I was in his head. So instead of drafting, I kicked past him, putting distance between us. I figured he was strong and he would keep up with me, but he didn't.
So after the 1 1/2 mile mark, I was out in front. It was hard to keep mentally in the race, but I determined not to look back. After all, the only race I have to run is what is in front of me! I kept concentrating on Dave's dad on the lead bike and kept going. When we went around a sharp corner, I snuck a look back and cross country guy was wayyyy back.
I tried to keep my concentration level high, not to think about how far back anybody might be, to keep my pace steady, and to only look forward. I kept pushing to keep up with Dave's dad on the lead bike (and he kept pulling away - amazing how much easier it is to go fast on a bike!), but that was what I needed from him. 
As we pulled back onto campus, nobody was close. Coming around one corner, my "bib" went flying off (I picked it up later on my cool-down run). I figured (correctly) that nobody would care. I had one spot where I was a little confused on the course, but it turned out OK, as I came around the corner and saw the finish line ahead of me.
I took this moment to look at my Garmin and I saw that a PR was in the realm of possibility, so I pushed as hard as I could to the finish line. Alas, I was one second off the PR, finishing in 19:28. 
Pretty much as soon as I finished, I turned around and ran the course in reverse direction as a cool down. I was so pumped up from the outright win that I probably could have run it three times. This was my first overall win since the 8th grade, and it felt good!


Melanie said...

congrats on your first win in many years! how exciting!!

Greg Strosaker said...

Congrats on the W Brian - I know what a great feeling that must have been!