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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Getting my Mojo back, and a long overdue Turkey Trot Recap

First, People, I do believe the malaise that I had fallen victim to these weeks gone by has finally lifted. I went for a run last night, and it was good.

It was a treadmill run, sure, but I was able to set my speed and cruse, and even do some faster sprints towards the end. The most important part, though, was that I enjoyed the run. I didn't just tolerate it. It left me looking forward to my next run, and super excited about the 5k this weekend.

Now about the Turkey Trot....

I was super nervous in the morning leading up to this race. First, it started way later than any other race I've run - it had a 10am start time. Second, I would have to take a shuttle bus. This was only the second time I'd had to take a shuttle bus to the start of a race, and the first time I would be doing it alone. Third, it was a 4.4 mile race, and I had not been running a lot, or long distances, for a while. I had done one 4 mile run on the treadmill the week before to make sure I could, but I had not run on pavement in weeks.

I packed myself up and got myself to the shuttle busses early, around 8:45, to make sure I got on a bus and to the start line on time.

This is where I made mistake #1, I left my gloves in the car. (This is foreshadowing. Yes it is.)

Proof that it was snowing!
The shuttle bus ride was quick. Once we got to the "start area" I kinda wandered around, half looking for some friends who were going to be doing the 2.2 mile route. Eventually I settled on tucking myself in at the edge of the "warming tent." I noticed right around this point that it was snowing. I took a photograph for proof, and because I was bored, posted it to Facebook. This would be my first ever race run in falling snow.

Freezing before the race
I was starting to get cold at this point. Really cold. Cold enough that I pulled my brand new buff up over my nose to try to warm up. I was really glad that I bought that thing. About 9:30 I started wishing I had brought my gloves with me.

The crowd before the start
Right around 9:50 people started meandering over to the start line, and I meandered right along with them. Apparently there were two start lines, with the 2.2 mile start line a little up the road from where we were starting. This proved to be problematic as they had to push the start time back a bit as people took their time getting off the road. But eventually we were off.

The race started on a moderate down hill, which made for a very fast start. Unfortunately that down hill was followed by a moderately steep up hill almost immediately. So right off the bat, I had to push hard up a hill, while still at that "OMG I'M RACING" pumped up pace, and no where near warmed up. I could feel the cold in my lungs, and I know it affected the rest of my race. I tried pulling the buff up over my nose a few times, but I was breathing so hard from that uphill that it just got in the way too much, so I settled my pace down a bit and just worked on recovering.

The race was a big loop, and after I settled into my pace, I started having a good time. The snow was falling gently, and it was just a really cool atmosphere. At some point in the race, the two distances merged for a while. Which was kinda cool and also kinda annoying. All of a sudden there were a ton of people, mostly walkers, in the road, and I had to do a lot of rabbeting back and forth to get around them. It was cool though, because most of the people doing the 2.2 were dressed up for the occasion, and were all in very festive moods.

The 4.4ers split off again after a while, and the crowd got thinner again. I spent a good portion of this second "4.4 only" bit leapfrogging a couple, the tall man type person was wearing a t-shirt that read "Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran." I spent a lot of time thinking about how if he could get through that, I could get through 4 measly miles in the cold.

There were also a few firefighters running in full gear. They were from the Webster FD, which, in case anyone doesn't know was the department who lost two firefighters to a crazy ambush in 2012. It's also the department the younger brother of one of Hubs best friends. So I spent a lot of time thinking about that while I ran.

Let me tell you, this run was the perfect one to be doing on Thanksgiving. There were points when I was running that I was so thankful for so many things that I got a little choked up. When the snow was drifting down and i was just kinda cruising along, I thought about my Mom (who has Multiple Sclerosis and is wheelchair bound) and how lucky I am to be able to run.

We joined back up with the 2.2ers for the final leg into the park, where I had a few surprises. First was a big hill. Which was a bad surprise, but I managed to chug my way up it.

Then there was a downhill trail scramble. There were almost 5 thousand runners in this thing, and I was smack in mid pack, so around 2 thousand people had run down this hill before me. It was a muddy mess. I was doing ok, taking short, quick, light steps, when a real giant of a man went down, hard, right in front of me. I actually had to jump over him to avoid crashing down on top of him. I skidded to a stop and took a few steps back up the hill to make sure he was ok. He was, and was already getting up by the time I to up to him, so I turned back around and started down the final grassy stretch to the finish.

The crowd at the finish line was huge and really loud. I was able to kick my legs into a half sprint through the chute, and finish strong, despite the muddy conditions.

The crowds around the finish line
As I walked through the crowd I saw two of the firemen who had raced in full gear. I decided, in my race addled state, to thank them. I must have seemed like a crazy person walking up to them, holding out my hand and saying "I just wanted to say thank you." But it felt important to me that I do it. So yeah, I was that crazy person thanking random strangers.

The hardest part of this run, actually was afterwards, when I had to wait for a shuttle bus back to my car. It was a long, cold wait. I did however meet some really interesting people in line! This guy asked me about my hat, turns out his mom has MS as well. His dad was there running with him, turns out the guy was a Marine (well they both were), who was stationed with my Uncle for a while at Camp Lejeune . Weird small world sometimes!

New shoes officially christened!
Proof of the mud!

Overall it was a great race. Not my fastest, I averaged just over a 12 min/mile, but a solid effort. I was also able to do something I have never done before in a race, I was able to actually start passing people towards the end of the race, and give a final kick at the end. Knowing I wasn't completely spent after the race was a great feeling too. Even after standing in the shuttle bus line, I was able to do Thanksgiving dinner without needing a nap!

Kinda towards the back of the 4.4ers (the 2310), but I know I was ahead of a lot of the 2.2ers ^_~

1 comment:


    Love the race recap and love that you felt so happy during your run. Especially love that you are getting back in the groove. welcome back!