Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8k: 11/25

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  This was my first attempt at an 8k (or 5 miler) race.  I did a 10k about 10 days ago, so I knew that I was ready for the distance but wasn't sure exactly how I wanted to run the course.  Luckily for me, my Thursday running group from Fleet Feet runs on most of this course, so I knew what to expect.  The difference was that I had run only portions of it at a time and not the whole course.  But, I really wasn't worried at all.  Since this was my first time at this distance, I just set out to enjoy myself and was hoping to finish in under 45 minutes.  The Ridgewood Turkey Trot is a big race with over 3,000 participants and is put on by Fleet Feet.  Another aspect of the race that I really like is that I starts a mile from my apartment.  Hiroko and I were able to ride our bicycles to the race! 

Trying to stay warm before the race.

It was kind of cold this morning compared to the way the weather has been over the last few days.  The low for the day was suppose to be around 55 degrees, but it felt colder than that this morning.  Maybe because I was riding my bicycle.  I just know that I felt really cold before the race.  There were suppose to be a competitive and non-competitive divisions with start times 5 mins. apart, but it seemed to me that the competitive group had a lot of non-competitive people mixed in with it, but it didn't present as much of a problem for me in this race as it has in others because the road we were running on was really wide, and since this was an 8k instead of a 5k, I wasn't worried about getting off to as quick a start.  Hiro didn't run this race, but I was able to meet up with several different people that I knew from my various running groups.  However, I lost everyone in the crowd and ended up running the race alone, which I didn't mind because with that many people I was doing good not to bump into people that weren't trying to run next to me. 


The first mile of the course was a long straight stretch with a mild decline.  I run this portion of the course as part of the Thursday running group and know it like the back of my hand, which helped me to keep my pace right where I wanted it.  Another thing that help was that my legs were so cold that they felt like concrete slabs.  The Free to Breathe 5k was a much colder morning, but I didn't feel it.  However, I felt the cold today.   I would really like to see what the temperature was on site this morning because if the was 55 degrees, I need to wear some big boy pants and toughen up.  The road through this portion of the race is a wide two lane road with a bicycle lane, so I didn't feel the need to do much weaving through the crowd, which was just awesome.

Just past the starting line, caught in mid wave.

The second mile continues the slow decline for the first 3/4 of the mile, then turns and the last 1/4 of the mile is a pretty steep decline.  I ran this portion alright considering my legs were still frozen solid.  I was actually feeling the a small shock wave up my leg with every step for this entire mile.  Each of these waves seemed to crash right into the bottom of my quads just above the knee.  It hurt but I didn't feel like my quads were burning, so I wasn't worried about cramping.  I just thought that my legs need to warm up and everything would be sorted out.

Around the third mile, we hit the hilly section of the course, which was also the portion of the course which I hadn't run before.  I had done some practice runs on the old course, but it had been changed this year, so this portion was totally new for me.  I handled the hills well, and my legs were starting to feel better.  It was around this time that my ego took a kick to the gut because I noticed two kids running ahead of me.  The boy was around 8 and the girl was maybe 10.  I am not sure if they had run the whole course or not, but it sure looked like it, and they were both putting some ground between me and them for most of the third mile. 

Mile 4 started at the end of the hilly section and went back up the road that we had run down, but we got back on the road a point farther down from where we had turned off, and I new that this section had a deceptively long slow incline that can become a killer because it is easy to not notice that you are running up hill.  I ran this the right way, but I was still trailing that 8 year old boy wearing a Capitol Area Soccer League shirt.  I was really missing legging it out with miss 1025 from the Old Reliable because even though, she beat me to the finish line, it wasn't like I was taking one step for every three of her's. At least I had manager to pass the 10 year old girl somewhere in the hilly portion of the course!  By now my legs were really starting to feel good.  The vibrations had stopped and could tell that the blood was circulating properly at last.  Mile 4 was by far the best yet. By the end of mile 4, I knew that I was gaining on the kid, but it was giving me mixed emotions because how can you feel proud of yourself for out running an 8 year old?

looking pretty rough after the finish. 
As mile 5 began, I finally passed the kid and tried to focus on running a strong finish.  I hoped to find someone to try to keep up with and use as motivation to push myself like miss 1025, but no one really presented themselves, so I just had to dig deep an motivate myself.  I was able to open my gate over the last half of the mile 5 and actually hit what I consider a sprint over the last .15th of a mile, which help both my ego and my time.  I was beat by the time I crossed the finish line and knew that my chip time would be under 45 minutes, which made me really happy.  My final time was 44:44, so I am pretty pleased with this race as a whole. Hiro couldn't get a picture of me crossing the finish line because her hand's were too cold to turn the camera on in time, but no matter.  After the race, I saw my co-worker Lisa and her daughter Annie-Lloyd.  Annie-Lloyd does Iron Man and ran today's race as part of her trip to Raleigh for Thanksgiving.  As we were talking, I asked her about Garmins, and she said that her's changed her life.  That is when her Husband said "yeah, you show it off more than your engagement ring."  She jokingly agreed and said she actually wears is more.  I thought you know that your an athlete when your Garmin ranks up there with your wedding rings!

Anyway, it was a great way to start the holiday!

8k official chip time 44:44


  1. I was wondering for the longest time how far an 8k is! That is an awesome time, and a PR. Great running!

    Glad you feel a little guilt about beating the kids, but really it's worse when you don't. And truthfully, in a few years those kids will be running circles around everybody!.

  2. I felt a little guilty, but like you said it is worse if they beat you. I wish that I enjoyed running when I was that age. I remember my mom taking me on a March of Dimes walk when I was a kid, and I hated evey step!