For 108 years, New Orleanians have been running the 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day - and like always, we joined in.
This race is usually a disaster for me. I either have a terrible race, or I get injured right after running it. Nevertheless, I doggedly persist in forcing this tradition on my long-suffering and darling husband, who really wants nothing more than a late wake-up, a cup of coffee, and a gigantic newspaper on Thanksgiving morning.
I was pleasantly surprised that I actually ended up with an ok race this year! I guess my expectations are now so low that almost anything pleases me.
We had neglected to pick up our packets early, so we showed up around 7:30 to find parking and pick up our shirts. That was pretty easy, but after running back to the car to drop our T-shirts off, we didn't have a lot of time for a bathroom run and a warm-up. I ended up getting in a mile easy warm up, but had no time for strides. I didn't feel like I needed a longer warm-up, because it was actually rather warm, although the skies were gray. It was blustery and humid, like a storm was coming, but it never did. It stayed warm, windy, and humid all day (the high was in the upper 70's. Boo. I want fall weather!).
I predicted my pace based on Tuesday's track workout. Assuming that I actually did run my reps at 5k pace, as I was supposed to, I used McMillan to predict a 5 mile time based on my slowest and fastest reps. I figured my slowest rep was the best indicator, and guessed I'd run about 7:05's. Maybe. If I could. I am feeling quite sluggish lately.
So, first mile was crowded like always, and I had trouble pacing (out of practice). Around a half mile in I realized that I was going too fast and slowed down to goal pace. But after that, the miles felt decently race-pace-ish at around 6:55. I wasn't working too hard, and I was staying pretty consistent, even with the variable wind (at times we had a nice tailwind; others, a rough headwind). During the last mile, I was smugly congratulating myself that I felt comfortable and was clearly speeding up since I was passing people - except my Garmin begs to differ; I slowed down. People around me must have just slowed, too. I ended up finishing the five-mile race in 34:40. It's off previous years, but by now I know that's just not my speed anymore. I was happy with my results.It was almost exactly what my fastest rep from Tuesday's track workout predicted.
My only concerns with my performance were:
1. I can feel my short, slow stride and I don't like it. I hope track helps with this. My limited hip extension has been plaguing me since surgery.
2. Slow last mile and no kick - that's bad. I have to work on that.
3. I had that finish-line nausea that I dislike so much in this race. Racing more helps with this.
For once, I'm feeling rather confident about my running. I have room to improve, but I feel okay, and I am ready to work for some improvements. Now I need to schedule some races in.