Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey Burnoff 5 Miler: race report

I had originally planned to do the Alexandria Turkey Trot since it starts in my front yard and covers my usual run routes.  After making the switch to the Philly Half, I wasn't sure if I'd be recovered by Thursday, so I didn't register.  I woke up Thursday morning and desperately wanted to run, but a short jog down the block revealed that I was still pretty sore.  So instead, we spectated, but the turkey trot itch was there.

I remembered Thursday evening that Amy had mentioned a 5 miler on Saturday up in Maryland.  Registration is ONLY available on-site, so I figured that if I was feeling good by that morning, we'd go up and I'd race.  I've never run a 5 miler before, and I've only run the 8K once (with a giant hangover), so I knew that no matter how the race turned out, it would be a PR.  I decided fairly ambiguously that I could probably come in somewhere around the 42-43 minute area without a lot of effort.  I spent Friday night discussing race strategy with my friends.


The website warned that parking was scarce and to get there early, so we did.  As it turned out, they were just trying to terrify everyone into doing exactly that, so I had time to visit the porta-potty 12 times and read my Harry Potter book before the race started.  I spent an equal amount of time stressing about what to wear and then it was time to go.
I lined up with Amy but lost her in the first shuffle of people.  Assuming she was ahead of me, I ducked and weaved trying to find her...only to have her come up behind me about a mile in.  After running the first 10 steps over the line, I realized that my body was still pretty tired and mentally readjusted my goal to 45:00 - 9 minute/miles is slightly more difficult than easy but definitely not race pace.  By the time Amy caught up with me, I was considering re-readjusting my goal to include walking and/or making someone pick me up and drive me back.  The course was far hillier than I would have expected for Maryland...
I decided, as I usually do in races, to manually lap my watch at the mile markers.  The first mile marker, though, came up REALLY early - there was just no way that I went out with an 8:15, even with some of those downhills.  The second mile seemed true and the third mile was as long as the first mile was short, so I didn't really have a good idea on my pace.  I just tried to maintain my effort level up and down all the rollers and not get passed by too many people dressed like turkeys.  The mile 4 marker is right before the last large hill, so any idea about kicking into the finish was gone.  When I rounded the corner and saw how close the line was, I realized that I could probably squeak in under 45 minutes, and that's what I did.
Unfortunately, I wasn't careful about starting or stopping my Garmin properly because we had shoe chips, but as it turned out, they forgot to lay down the mats at the start so only gun time was recorded.  However, as an experienced professional spectator who needs to know when to be ready for picture-taking, the poet recorded my official time.
As for the rest of the race, there was one well-manned water stop that you hit twice - roughly mile 2.3 and mile 3.9 - although I avoided it both times.  The post-race spread was amazing, especially for a race that was this inexpensive ($10), and the volunteers were fantastic.  
It's definitely a great race to burn off all that turkey and pie, especially if you choose the 2-loop 10 mile option, but not a PR course due to the elevation.  Hills are rude, especially when it's the first time you've run since you blew a hole in a half marathon.
However, it was a gorgeous day, I got to run with my partner in oft-injured-Dr. P-stalking crime, and I was able to shake off the race itch.  The last two races have really made me realize that I have a long way still left to go in fixing my form, as it collapsed pretty early in both.  I'm actually excited to return to a training schedule that has lots of easy running in it so I can keep chipping away at my injury-free life. But this week will still go down in history as the "I PRd twice in one week" week, but hopefully also the "I set 2 PRs that should be incredibly easy to beat" week.  


How was your Thanksgiving, friends?  Did you trot with turkeys or just eat your weight in pie? 

24 comments:

  1. I am glad you consulted our resident "bad ideas" expert for pacing advice.

    Though, I guess it got you 2 PRs in one week.

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  2. Sounds like a fun race, hills notwithstanding. You paced it fine to break 45 minutes. That's 9 minute miles, 40 minutes would have been 8 minute miles. that's my favorite distance to race, long enough to keep out the walkers that are scared of a 5k, and still short enough to push a fast pace and really "race" it.

    I ran 7 thursday morning before stuffing myself stupid with turkey, and did a 5 mile tempo run last night in 36:06. Not too shabby.

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  3. I'm trying to figure out if a plane ticket to the DC area and a $10 entry fee is worth it for that post-race spread. Holy Cow!!!!!

    I am going to give this serious thought to add to the race schedule for next year. Fly straight from Arizona to DC and run this and then head home......perfect Thanksgiving 2012.

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  4. For next time on how to pace a 5 Miler: Go out as hard as you can and then hang on for dear life. Then apologize profusely to your legs for the next week. Its basically the same as a 5K or 10K in terms of pacing because its a speed distance. Ouchy my legs just hurt thinking about it...

    Awesome job with two PR's in one week! Sorry I couldnt be there to get any post bathroom video :(

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  5. Hah, hills ARE rude. I lived in MD during grad school and would've been happy to tell you that is it Not flat in most places. But hey, easy-to-beat-PR isn't a bad thing right now ;)

    I took my sister for our version of a "turkey trot" on thursday. We had a Luau on the schedule - so no turkey eating for us - and I decided we would run a 5K, for no real logical reason.

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  6. Agreed w/ Jon's comment - thats how I pace all of my 5K's and 5-milers.. Although I usually blow up something fierce, but thats neither here nor there ;) Nice work!

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  7. PRing twice in one week with both being beatable in the near future? Now that's a sweet pie with homemade decadent whipped heavy cream on top.

    Love the photos! BTW, your legs look HOT. And that Poet guy is a real keeper.

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  8. If I had known about the hills, I would have included getting picked up at mile 3 as part of the original plan :)

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  9. This part of Maryland is surprisingly hilly... trust me. I've always wanted to do the Turkey Burnoff but I'm never back in town in time. Sounds like a challenging course! I've done one of those low-key races (a trail race) in the past and been impressed with the volunteers and post-run spread too.

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  10. Thom really is world's best spectator. He can feel free to come manage splits and photos for my races too.

    Also, I think every race should have giant jars of PB at the finish.

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  11. Great job, Katie! That really is an impressive spread for a $10 race. You look freaking awesome, by the way.

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  12. Your partner in oft-injured-Dr. P-stalking crime agrees with every word of this race report. She is also stunned and gratified to see just how crappy that elevation profile looks. Thanks for a fun, if painful, day!

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  13. I seriously could not stop laughing through this recap... You are hilarious and I'm glad you had a great, if not rudely hilly, PR 5 M race!

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  14. I did some motor pacing out near my parents in laws house. Long straight roads with no one on them. I must say that drafting behind a car is handy.

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  15. That is a lot of bagels for $10.

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  16. Thats a huge pile of carbs! Excellent...

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  17. I hope you ate at least 15 bagels and a whole jar of PB. Hills burn a lot of calories.

    Congrats on the double PR week!

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  18. I think you're my hero.

    Great GREAT job in PRing twice in one week! And for learning the lessons you've shared with all us followers

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  19. 5 milers are stupid, maybe. A PR is a PR!

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  20. Great job girl. Hills are no joke seriously. You made me burn calories just thinking of that difference.

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  21. That's the best week ever. Way to go! I wish I'd known about this race. The Arlington Turkey Trot was fun, but by the weekend I could have used another race.

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  22. "For next time on how to pace a 5 Miler: Go out as hard as you can and then hang on for dear life. Then apologize profusely to your legs for the next week." - What Jon said. It is easier to ask your legs for forgiveness than for permission to run fast.

    Sometimes the small cheap races are the best run.

    Just think of the hills as getting more bang for your buck.

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  23. Love all the text message conversations! Congrats on a solid race post half marathon!

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  24. I'm sorry, did you run the hell out of a 5 mile race or a freakin' ROLLER COASTER? Mercy. If you raced here, you'd take another 10 minutes off...it's so flat here. Way to go lady!

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