Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Trot

Last Thanksgiving I was unable to participate in a turkey trot for the 1st time in quite a few years.  I was 3 days post-PRP injection in my right patella tendon.  Fast forward one year (and multiple races) later and I am back on the starting line of the Mattituck 5k Turkey Trot.  I met up with some friends down there and was looking forward to going all out.  I hadn't run a 5k in over a year.  It was funny to think that of all the races I did this year, a 5k wasn't one of them.

Bruce, Kristine, Vickie, Me (Scott was MIA for the photo)

I've been trying my best to put small goals into each workout or race. A few weeks ago I ran a 4 miler out in Lynbrook and set another PR. My focus for that race was to not letup for the last mile.  My first mile was the fastest and the last mile was my 2nd fastest.  I was pleased with how I held up (especially since I've done no real speed work in ages).

 Quite awkward looking as I'm going all out to the finish line
(photo courtesy of Jennifer C. - Lynbrook 4 Miler)

 Since I didn't win any hardware, I was trying to steal it ;-)
(photo courtesy of Jennifer C. - Lynbrook 4 Miler)

For the Turkey Trot, I wanted to go all out over the 3 miles and not letup again for the last mile.  I had my garmin GPS watch on, but I wasn't going to look at it.  Once again I was just going to race by feel and worry about the data later.

When the gun went off, I could feel my knee was stiff from standing around in the cold.  It took about 1/4 mile to loosen up and not be cranky. I could also feel I was running a hard pace, but one I figured I could maintain. One thing I forgot is that the Mattituck course is not flat - it's rolling.  I knew I was going to have to work a little harder than usual to maintain my pace.

I got through the 1st two miles feeling good and when I passed through the 2nd mile marker, I knew this was my chance to "go big or go home".  

This is all I thought about over the last mile

I kept a steady pace and knew the last 1/4 mile would be trouble so I had to make up some time in advance for the time I was going to lose going up a short, steep hill near the finish. Most people were running on the shoulder but I opted to run slightly out in the street to save time and my energy and not have to pass people or weave in and out. A straight line is the fastest line.
I made my last slight downhill and then came face to face with my nemesis - The Hill.  Now mind you, this was not a long, grinding hill.  It was very short and steep, but it's location made it difficult. I powered my way up it as best I could, but typical me, I stalled at the top instead of pushing harder (note to self - do some hill training this coming season). Once I got my bearings again, I bolted for the finish line.  I knew I was going to make my goal time, but I started to think about my 5k PR time.  For the life of me, I could not remember it.  Turns out I came up 3 seconds short of my PR.  Had this been a flatter course, or I pushed harder when cresting the hill, I would have broken it. That's what disappointed me the most.  My last mile was my fastest mile, but my happiness was dampened by being so close to a PR. I was searching for another flat 5k to do over the next week or two, but realized I need to keep my eye on the prize.  Specifically, this prize:

Photo Courtesy of Susie R-K.

I am doing the Star Wars Rebel Challenge in January in Disneyland.  It's a 10k on Saturday, then a Half Marathon on Sunday.  It'll be an interesting challenge to run back to back races, but I think it's very doable for me. The finishers medals alone will be worth it!