|I am so thankful for every moment we have together.|
I ran the Ridgewood Turkey Trot last year for the first time and loved it. That race was my first 8k, which is now my favorite distance to run. After last years race, I knew that I wanted to start a family tradition of running on Thanksgiving day and immediately began to look forward to this year's race.
Pre-Race Roller Coaster of Doubt and Fear:
|The Crowd Gathers|
Morning of the Race:
There were three three choices I made, which may have contributed to the results of the day:
- I changed to shoes from the pair of Saucony Triumph 8 size 15 wides that I had been running in since August to a pair of Saucony Triumph 8 size 15 regular that I bought for half price at the City of Oaks Expo. I knew that the new pair wasn't broken in but I was sure that the old pair was worn out, so I figured wearing the new pair would be the lesser of two evils.
- At the very last minute, I chose to wear my compression socks while running for the first time. I knew that the top portion of the sock where they feel tightest cut right across the portion of my calf that was giving me problems, so I thought that putting pressure on that point might help. The compressions socks felt weird by themselves, so I put on my Balega running sock over top of them. Around my feet felt like normal once I put my shoes on, so I wet with it.
- Since the starting line was less than I mile from our apartment, Hiroko and I rode our bike to the race, which I used as a warm up. After running to the Old Reliable Run as a warm up, I am hesitant to skip a warm up before a race if at all possible. I know most people will think that is just common sense, but sometimes . . . I am not too bright.
|Of course no race is complete without a Raiders Cap.|
Goals & The Start:
The race did a great job of organizing the field by pace and the street that we started on is really wide, so I could easily accommodate the large field. Also other
than the portion of the course that goes into the residential neighbors from the 1.5 mile mark to the 3 mile mark, I know this course like the back of my hand. And more importantly, I know just how to run it if my body will allow me. I lined up with 9 min to 11 min pace group and was feeling good as the race began. Unfortunately the only goal that I felt was realistic was to finish the race without injuring myself more. My back was a bit tender, but my legs felt alright. I had some tightness in my left Achilles and calf area, but it felt like the type that would go away once I began to run rather than get worse. At the last minute . . . and I mean the very last I thought to myself what pace would I need to hit if I wanted a PR. My last 8k PR was 44:40, so I knew I would have to maintain a pace under 9 minutes flat. Luckily, the first 1.7 miles are all down hill, but is then followed by 1.9 miles of up's and down's twist and turns, and then a two mile uphill incline two the finish line.
Systems Check and Refusing to Go to the Bank: I got to my place about 3 minutes before the start, so I didn't have time to freak out. I was still pretty happy from taking pictures with Hiroko and was getting caught up in the crowd. Negative splitting the course would be difficult given the uphill nature of the second half of the course, but I want to make sure my pacing was good, and avoid going out too fast. I also hope to avoid weaving around too much as well. However, the field looked like it was well organized at the start and I didn't think there would be too many people out of place at the start.
this strategy as nothing more than a fools folly. It just never works for me. I am always too tired at the end of the race and just fade too much. So, I decided to try to maintain an even pace over the first four miles of the race regardless of the lay of the land and then try to pick up the pace over the last mile. At least, that was the idea of what I would do if I didn't find myself hobbling along the side of the road by the end of the second mile.
|Pictures from the Start|
|Here I am Feeling pretty good!|
|Everyone seems to be enjoying a good pre-turkey run!|
|Everyone enjoyed these guys!|
Feeling More Comfortable & Getting Hopeful --
My first split was right where I wanted it. I felt like I was in control and wasn't getting caught up in things. My legs were still feeling good and breathing felt comfortable. I past through the first water stop without giving it a thought then hit the first up hill at the 1.8 mile mark and was able to keep my pace where I wanted it. After completing the initial down hill, I knew that the rest of this race would be difficult. Last year, I was struggling by the second mile, but now I was doing well. More importantly, there was a world of difference between this run and the disaster of a run I had only two days earlier. At the end of this mile, my hopes of a good race were starting to grow and I made a concerted effort to maintain my pacing through the hills.
Miles 3 & 4:
some reason everything was beginning to fall into place for me. I knew that I had run the first two miles in under 9min., if I could hold my pace under 9 minutes, I would give myself a chance of a PR in the last mile. The problem was that mile three was a series of hills twisting through a neighborhood, and we eventually would come back onto Ridge road about a third of mile below where we had originally turned of it. The main issue was that third of a mile saw us cover the longest sustained incline of the course. I did my best to climb the hills in a steady controlled fashion. I wasn't paying any attention to the people around me. I wasn't wearing any music, and I know that people were talking all around me, but I was totally focused on the run, forced myself to push once I reached the top of the hill rather than rest, and didn't allow myself to get out of control on the down hill. I put all of my focus into maintain my pace. Mile three came in right where I needed it, and I hit mile four with nothing in mind except a PR.
|Discard What You Do Not Need!|
Mile 5 & The Finish:
|Hello New PR!|
Mile 1: 8:49
Mile 2: 8:48
Mile 3: 8:59
Mile 4: 8:59
Mile 5: 8:23
This was by far my best pacing effort and a great and wonderful way to end my 2011 race season!