I LOVE my local 5K Turkey Trot. I have no good reason to love it. It is so hilly and the start is annoying and it’s never going to be my best time. But it’s for a good cause (the running club at the local catholic school and the Boalsburg Military Museum), the people are fun, it’s close to home and it’s just become a tradition at this point.
This year though, we traveled over Thanksgiving for the first time in a long time. Because of that I couldn’t do the local Turkey Trot. Our plans were still changing up to the last minute, so I wasn’t ready to commit to another race since I wasn’t sure where I’d be on the morning of Thanksgiving. When we figured out that we’d be at my Mom’s house that morning I thought I would be overwhelmed by the wealth of Turkey Trot opportunities since she lives in a fairly large area. Turns out that people in Northeastern Pennsylvania don’t love their Turkey Trots like I thought they would. In searching my only option was a 5 miler race called Tim’s Turkey Trot. I wasn’t planning on doing 5 miles that day and I have been doing much shorter runs since I was working on a heart rate plan and running by time rather than distance. I hadn’t run more than 4 miles since I did the Wineglass Half in October. I thought that I would just run on my own in the morning before we got on the road. My husband, however, got it in his head that we were doing this race AND he was offering to run it with me. He’s much faster than me, so we generally don’t run together, so it was nice that we’d have an hour to chat uninterrupted by kids, get a head start on the calorie burn and get some exercise before we got stuck sitting in the car for a long time.
It was only about 5 minutes from my mom’s house, which was a nice bonus. When we got to the starting line, in Forty Fort PA, there were a lot of people doing race day registration. We hopped in line to sign up. Unfortunately we didn’t get shirts since we registered late, but since I rarely wear them anyway, I wasn’t all that disappointed.
The start of this race was ridiculous. It wasn’t that cold for a November morning, but it was cold enough that no one wanted to stand around longer than needed. For whatever reason though, 5 minutes after the race was scheduled to start the race director stood up and gave us a turn by turn of the ENTIRE course. The course, by the way, was well marked and manned by volunteers. It would have been tough to get lost. At this point the Hubs started making jokes about the directions since they used landmarks that neither of us knew. He kept talking about how we needed to “turn right at Jimmy’s house.” At least it kept me laughing to distract me from my frozen toes.
After the turn by turn directions, she then went into all the sponsors. I get it, they need to mention them, but at that point I was so cold, I just couldn’t care who they were. After that they played the national anthem. It was the longest version of the national anthem ever. In true NEPA style, they grabbed a mini flag from a small child and held it up. Parts of the crowd saluted and even yelled an un-ironic “Merica!” at the end. I’m not judging, it was just a very different vibe from races I’ve done elsewhere.
By this time I was so ready to just go. I was already nervous about running a longer distance and faster speed than I had attempted in months and I couldn’t feel my toes. Once the race started though, I quickly forgot all of that. It’s not the most scenic run, but it ran through neighborhoods that I haven’t seen for a while since I don’t live there anymore. We also had a few people yell funny things at us about “chasing the turkey” and s few racers chat briefly along the way. As weird as my hometown and surrounding area can be, the people are really nice and not afraid to chat with you.
The first half mile was fun since we were still joking about the pre race ceremonies and deciding which house must be Jimmy’s so that we knew to turn there. There we signs with distance every half mile and then there were also additional signs at what seemed to be quarter and three quarter spots that had sponsors on them. The volunteers were cheery and helpful and encouraging.
As for me, I had fun just spending some time chatting with Hubs and catching up on things. We’re both so busy with kids, work, friends, pets, and other things we don’t often have time to just chat. The pace was really easy for him, and felt moderate to me even though my HR at the end was really high. I didn’t feel like stopping at any point, which was one of my worries since I’ve not been running as far recently.
I had set a mental goal of finishing in under 1 hour, and I knew at mile 4 that it was very possible. I kept a good pace (for me) and finished in 57:51. There was beer at the end, but we just grabbed some water and headed home since we had a long day ahead of us. Overall it was a good race. We both said that we would do it again if we found ourselves in town on Thanksgiving day. We just wouldn’t be in a hurry to be outside right on time and maybe would bring wool socks.
As a side note, I love unplanned races. Signing up race day and just doing the run is always a less stressful process for me. I think I will do one or two more local races this year. There is a Rudolph Run 5K in a few weeks and then the Resolution Run 5k on New Years Ever. I haven’t signed up for either one yet, but hope that I can do them both. If nothing else, the Resolution Run has always been a fun way to end the running year and get in a few last miles. Plus a lot of friends do it so I can see them before and sometimes right after.
As a side note, it’s hard to believe that this year is almost over and that I’ll be training for my Spring races soon. The most exciting of those races is the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. Where I will get to run the first 9 miles with my good friend Loren who moved to Texas, but is coming back to do her first ever full marathon. I hope that having a goal of pacing her will help me be consistent with my training. I’m not aiming for a PR, but I want her to be able to run with me and run at whatever pace is comfortable for her.