Ahhh, the Turkey Trot. The race that gives you permission to indulge in mass quantities of food for the rest of the day guilt-free. The race that is over in a handful of minutes rather than a handful of hours. The race that leaves your lungs burning, your legs wobbly, and your mind wondering "why am I doing this?" It's official - my body would prefer an Ironman over a 5k. With Ironman, you have an excuse to plod, go a little slower (I've been racing for 12 hours, you'd be plodding too at this point!) whereas a 5k is short, fast, and painful. There is sprinting involved. I hate sprinting. I suppose perceptions of distance and speed are relative, though. Back in high school, I would've rather run a 5k than do the mile in spring track. The mile is even more painful. So, give me longer, slower any day.
Anyway, on to the race report. When I found the Greater Derry Track Club Turkey Trot online, I pictured it being like the Turkey Trot I did in Amherst, NH two years ago - maybe 100 people, no timing chips, and no road closures. HA - this race had over 1300 runners, we ended up parking at least a half a mile from the start line (we were also running a bit late, big surprise). I was wondering how I would find Ashley and Tim, my best friend Erin's husband and brother, respectively, in the crowd. Fortunately, we ran into them as we went to grab our packets. We got our timing chips, pinned on our numbers, and got ready to line up with Ashley and Tim (for the record, there are advantages to 5ks when compared to Ironman - MUCH less prep time race morning, no worries of someone clawing off your timing chip in your swim, and no chafing).
I didn't have any time expectations for this race. I haven't done speedwork in weeks and I haven't done too much running since Ironman. I had a secret hope of going under 21, like I did during last year's turkey trot in California (20:25), but I didn't know what this course would be like. And I had no placing expectations either; Londonderry and Derry seem to breed ridiculously fast runners. My high school cross-country and track teams really never had a chance in meets with their high schools. I was preparing myself for a fast, competitive race- although I didn't have much competitive spirit in me that morning. Even though we had timing chips, there was only a mat for the finish line (more turkey trots than mats from timing system companies), so the race would be gun time. The start was crowded, but thinned out quickly, I didn't have to dodge too many people. It was mostly flat and downhill for the first mile, which was nice. I did the first mile in about 6:40 and felt okay (there was a voice in the back of my head wondering if I could keep that pace for another two miles - then another voice tried to shut the first voice up with a reminder that I've done 2x2 mile track workouts at a faster pace than this and was just fine). The second mile was, well, uphill. I'd heard chatter about a hill before the race, and was definitely less-than-thrilled when I saw it. And when I watched my average speed slow down by 15 seconds. Got to the top of the hill, and wished the finish line was not 1.5 miles away. I had stopped hoping for a PR or sub-21 the moment I saw the hill. Fortunately, the rest of the race was mostly flat or downhill, with one small uphill towards the end. The second mile was slower, definitely over 7 minutes. I just wanted to grit it out and get the race over with. I felt like I was moving so slowly and it was difficult to keep my pace under 7 minutes. Fortunately, the finish line come into view shortly thereafter and never have I been so glad a race was done. 5k's are PAINFUL!
According to the results, I finished in 21:18, with an average pace of 6:53. I finished 106th overall out of 1306 participants, I was 3rd in my age group out of 125 (20-29 age group), and 9th out of 630 women. With no time expectations, I am very pleased with how the race went. Tim did really well, setting a PR, and Ashley did great too. It was great to see them.
And now, the big news... Mark beat me in the race. I have now abdicated my throne of fastest Lauver at the 5k distance. He finished in 20:31. I have a feeling it won't be much longer until my reign at other distances will end as well :) Mark is a great runner, I am very happy for him.
The rest of Thanksgiving was GREAT! I got to see a bunch of great friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in quite awhile. I met my goddaughter Reagan Kylene for the very first time. She is my best friend Erin's daughter, she's two months old, and she's adorable and ABSOLUTELY perfect. Here's a picture of us - I love her! I saw Karen, Ed, Jonathan, and Lara a bit later. Then I saw Bethany and her girlfriend Carrie and their two adorable daughters, as well as Bethany's little sister Jillian. I grew up down the street from Bethany and Jill (who is about my brother's age) - we went on vacations together up to the lake, we had sleepovers, and spent so much time together during middle school. It was amazing to see her.
The rest of the day Mark and I spent time at home with my parents and had alot of great turkey, stuffing, and PIE!