Saturday, November 21, 2009

Turkey Strut 5k race report

Training Log
Distance: 3.16 miles
Time: 24:29 (a 25 second PR!)
Average Pace: 7:44/minute

Food Log
Pre-run: bowl of Golden Grahams with a banana, small cup of coffee, water
Post-run: a clementine orange, blueberry bagel with cream cheese, hot chocolate
Lunch: 6 in turkey on wheat with american cheese, tomato, pickle, black olive, 1 snickerdoodle cookie, 1 bag cheetos, 20 oz. cherry Coke
Dinner: hamburger with cheese, tomato, chips & dip, corn, brownie with vanilla ice cream

The Turkey Strut 5k this morning was a great race for me. It is probably the last 5k I'll do this fall/winter, so it was nice to end the fall "racing" season on a good note!

At 8:00am, I drove to the registration area to pick up my shirt and number. I was pleasantly surprised with the shirt - it is a gray long sleeve number, with a simple design on the front (a turkey running) and it fits really well. I have a ton of race shirts, but very few fall into the category of cool design + good fit. After picking that up, I drove back home and did some last minute bathroom things, changed into my running stuff and then ran back to the site for a warm-up before the race. The route I normally take to the City/County park takes me 2 miles, but on my run I found a shortcut that took only a little over 1 mile, so that was a pretty good warm-up.

The weather was absolutely perfect - it was a clear and sunny day, with no wind, and it was somewhere in the low 40's when the race began. Chad and my friend Sarah and her baby Cora came out to cheer me on, which was so fun! We decided not to bring Emma at the last minute, because the ground was covered in dew, and since she is so low to the ground, we were afraid she would get wet and freeze out in the low temperatures. To make it up to her, I took her for a long walk at the park once we got home!

It is hard to say how many people were at the race, but I would say somewhere between 50-60, so it was a pretty small race. The course is hilly, but surprisingly fast. At the start, you run out of the park area and take an immediate downhill into a neighborhood. The course then takes you around and back through the neighborhood, combining a series of uphills and downhills. My strength definitley comes going up hills - I love going up hills! I put my head down, increase my leg turnover and really churn up them. But, I really need to work on my downhills, because I just haven't figured out how to best use them to my advantage. I have long legs, so I should be able to glide down them, but I haven't quite figured out how to do that yet.

From the beginning, I could tell that I was the 5th woman overall. My goal was to pass two of them, to get 3rd. There was a lady right behind me almost the entire race, and she really pushed me to go faster. I know I would not have set a PR if she hadn't been breathing down my neck! Eventually, we both passed two girls who dropped back to walk. But then the lady behind me passed me, so she was in 3rd and I was in 4th. This was around the 3k mark and I was really running out of steam. My goal at that point was to not let any one else pass me, and try as hard as I could to pass her in the final stretch.

I never did pass her, so I came in as 4th woman overall. It sucked to be so close to getting in the top 3, but I was still very proud of my PR and my overall placement! I was able to get 1st in my age group as well. After the race, I thanked the lady for pushing me so hard - I told her I got a 25 second PR because of her! She told me that I was really pushing her, too and she didn't think she would be able to pass me. That made me feel good that it worked out that way - we were both able to push each other to do better than we thought we each could do.

Running 5 days per week has really helped. I know I would have been slower in this race had it not been for my recent weeks of training. This race also solidified my decision to really start incorporating speed work into my training. I know it will make the difference for me in these smaller races, and will help with my overall marathon training.

I have some good pictures from the race that I'll put up in my next post!

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