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Monday, November 27, 2017

The 110th Turkey Day race!

When I woke up Thanksgiving morning to low 50s weather, I knew I'd PR the 5 mile! As you might have noticed, my hard training with the Powermilers is paying off: I've been getting faster. Despite my qualms about a five mile race being too short for my current ability, given my marathon-trained body, I could almost guarantee a PR. My PR going into this race was a 33:30 from 2012; recent races predicted I could run 32:30. That's 6:30 pace, and I'd run two miles at that pace in the middle of a workout just this Tuesday, so I felt good about accomplishing that.

We arrived early enough to join the Powermilers' warm-up, glad that one of our group had picked up our packets on Tuesday so we could avoid those lines. After two miles, I was feeling warmed up (I was freezing when I arrived) and eager to start. For some reason, this year seemed super easy. The corrals weren't crowded, everyone was being civil, and I found an appropriate spot right away. I saw people I knew all around me - this is the 110th running of this race, and it's a big NOLA tradition - and I shook some hands and offered good luck. We sang the national anthem, then we were off (I mean, I sang. I always sing the anthem pre-race, even if it's just me warbling on by myself while other runners seem scandalized).
Photo by Powermiler spouse Jen at mile...3? 

This race is crowded at the start, but I was close enough to the front to avoid most pushing and bumping. The whole first mile was just about finding my pace and my place. I wanted to run a 6:35, then run 6:28ish for the rest to hit my goal. It was a breezy day, but not as bad as last week's long run of tornado misery, so I just lowered my head and plowed forward. The mile beeped before I even realized we were racing, honestly - 6:34. "Perfect," I thought, and we moved to a less-windy part of the course. By now the crowds were thinning, but this race is large enough that you're always in a pack, and I saw some of my teammates ahead of me. Mile two flashed by in 6:25. "That was because the wind was blocked; I'll lose some time in this next windy mile," I thought. But mile three was also done in a flash - another 6:25. By now I had passed two women, but otherwise I was mostly surrounded by guys, and except for some high schoolers burning out, we were mostly keeping pace. I grabbed a water and kept trucking. So far, except for some annoying and persistent stomach issues that had been present pre-race anyway, I felt...fine. Oddly fine. In fact, when mile four beeped at 6:24, I realized that I should be picking up the pace. I had now closed in on two of my teammates. We started nearing Tad Gormley Stadium for the track finish, and here's where I messed up: the course has always entered at one end and turned left for a 300m track finish. So, while I pushed past one teammate, I then held steady instead of pushing ahead. We were close to the stadium, and I was planning to SPRINT that track! Except. The course had changed, and I didn't know it. Instead of going left, we turned right, and suddenly I realized that I had under 100m for my finish! Boo! But I sprinted like a mad woman, and finished in 32:12 chip time - eighth woman and a huge PR. I didn't catch my teammate, but we crossed at the exact same moment. My final mile was a 6:17, so I ran a nice negative-split race (although probably should have started speeding up in mile four). My average pace was 6:27, which means I was able to beat my goal; it also means that I'm kind of close to start considering a sub-40 10k, which requires 6:26 pace.

The only bad part of the day was that, during my cool down, my Garmin touchscreen froze. And this time I think it's gone for good. I tried every trick I know, but the screen won't respond. I'm calling Garmin support today, but if they can't advise me, I am out of warranty and will need a new one. Luckily, I bought this one with my American Express, which doubles the warranty on electronics, so I will actually get my money back!


  1. Nice work on your PR! All of your hard work from training with the power milers is paying off! Way to go!

  2. Oooh, what a great result. And with negative splits! You are breaking all kinds of records lately. Congrats!