Saturday, December 7, 2013

(Tiger) Turkey Trots - 5k and Half Marathon Recaps!

I do a turkey trot every year, but this year I did TWO turkey trots - Edison Park (5k) and Schaumburg (half marathon).  And no, they were not on the same day.  I know most turkey trots are actually on Thanksgiving Day, as the Edison Park 5k was, but the Schaumburg race was held on Saturday morning.

Edison Park 5k

Catherine and I have an annual tradition to run the Edison Park Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving morning.  There have been years it is snowing and years it is pretty moderate temperature.  Luckily it was not snowing, but it sure was cold! I wish I could say the cold didn't deter us from our usual outfits - Bandit Turkey Tigers.

But sadly, we were only Turkey Tigers this year.  Well I guess technically we were bandits given that we didn't pay for the race.  We made the decision the night before the race to forgo the BANDIT singlets (our high school's old XC/Track singlets) so we could wear an extra layer.

The cold weather didn't seem to both Therese though. I met up with Catherine and Matt about half hour before the race and we did a 3 mile warm-up...for the 3.1 mile race. Just trying to get that mileage up! Then we found Therese and it was race time! We actually don't really race this run though; we use it as a nice conversational run. I think Therese had us at an average 8:08 pace. It definitely felt a lot easier this year than last year when I wasn't in nearly as good of shape.

After we finished, we walked backwards along the course to find their dad and then finished the last quarter mile or so with him.

Schaumburg Half Marathon

This is yet another race that made me think I am not mentally strong enough to be a runner.  All athletes need to be mentally strong, but running is a whole different ballgame.  There's so much more constant action and things to focus on in other sports.  When running a race, I pretty much am just thinking about how much it hurts the entire time.  I was much happier when I finished though and tried extra hard in the cold to make it seem so in this picture:

But anyways, besides the mental factor, this race wasn't too bad.  It took place at Busse Woods, which is where I ran this summer occasionally.  I parked in the remote lot and got shuttled to the start.  The course was pretty much the entire loop of 7.3 (previously 7.7, but now there is a new bridge over one of the roads so the loop is shorter and more hillier now since you have to go up and over the bridge) plus a few out and back segments through long parking lots to keep adding mileage.

At the suggestion of Pittsburgh Runner (Kristy) via Twitter a few days before the race, I decided to run the race "naked" aka without a watch. I was wearing clothes, trust me.  I did shed a few layers in the middle though.  Mom came to watch at one point around mile 5.5 and I gave her my headband and gloves. I was glad I had them to start with, but then they became unnecessary.

It's nice when Mom comes to races so she can take my picture so I don't have just a selfie.

I didn't really have expectations for this race and planned to use it as more of a training run to guarantee I got in a long run for the week.  So that worked out.  I decided to start with the 1:40 pace group and figured I'd stick with them as long as possible, which ended up being until I saw Mom and stopped for a few seconds to give her my headband and gloves and offer my words of how miserable I already am. I felt like I was sprinting to keep up with that 1:40 pace group.

So I broke off from them and was really just not having this race anymore.  Mentally done.  I really really really wanted to stop running.  My original goal was 1:45, so I was still on track but I wanted to make sure the 8 minute group wouldn't catch me.  But I also really wanted to stop and walk.  The problem is, when you're running a loop in the forest preserve and your mom left and your car is parked in a remote lot that you need to get to via the shuttle at the finish line...well, you get the point.  There wasn't really any way to stop, so I had to just get to the finish line as fast as possible.

That red blow up thing was the finish line..with my finger in front of the lens also.  It was cold but so so sunny!  So I couldn't even see my phone screen when I took this photo.  Anyways, I made it my goal to not let the 8 minute pace group catch up to me.  But lo and behold, they did.  Around mile 11.5.  Then around 12.5, they passed me.  I was really struggling that last mile.  But I only stopped to walk through the last 2 water stations (around miles 10 and that's how they caught me).

I finished in 1:45:55.  So it was right around what I wanted/expected.  But it sure was harder than that time should feel like for me.  My two halves during the Chicago Marathon were each faster than that.  But I fell a little off the running wagon, didn't have a best friend running with me, and it was darn cold.  So I'm OK with it and glad I didn't give in and start walking.

Something awesome about this race is the sweatshirt that I got for registering!  At first it seemed pretty light, but it is really comfy so that's all that matters.

Do you run with pace groups during a race?

Any turkey trot traditions?

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