Usually, when I run a race, I go with a friend or know a bunch of other people who will be running it. There are people there to take pictures with beforehand and to rehash the course with after we cross the finish line. So it was a little strange on Thanksgiving morning when I woke up and got ready to drive myself to a Turkey Trot where I would know no one.
I think the best way to write this post is as a stream of consciousness since that’s basically how I experienced the race with no one to talk to!
Why is my bed at home so much harder to get up out of than my bed in the city? Even after 10 hours of sleep?
It’s definitely warm enough today for shorts but I’m going to go with long sleeves and bring lots of layers for the ride over and waiting around. I seem to have an excessive amount of things – arm warmers, a t-shirt just in case, headband, buff, two different pairs of gloves, spibelt, sweatpants, jacket…sheesh.
First things first, get this coffee doing its job. Now, to eat…oatmeal? Yogurt? Cereal? No - toast with peanut butter and half a banana with a drizzle of honey. Yes. And a handful of dry Special K for good measure.
I should really be stretching. I’ll do pigeon for 30 seconds on each side. There. All loosey goosey and ready to go, right hips?
This is so awesome, the race starts at 8:50 and I can leave my house at 8! Oh wow, are all these cars half a mile away parked on the curb for the race? I better take this first spot that I see and hope the packet pick-up isn’t too far away!
Hm, which layers do I keep on? Do I bring my bag? Do they have a bag check? They must have a bag check, right? Are all these people walking around bringing bags? I’m just going to bring my bag.
Jog jog jog, I have no idea where packet pickup is but I’m just going to follow these other runner-looking people and hope they have more of an idea of where they’re going than I do. It’s a really beautiful fall morning out.
Ah, an elementary school gym. Got my packet. Got my shirt. It’s very orange. Very.
“Do you have a bag check?”
Okay, jog jog jog back to the car. I have time? Right? I’ll just scope out where the start is on my way. Nice, a line of chalk on the ground. Very legit. Okay I’m halfway to my car but just realized I have absolutely nothing resembling a bib or tracking device of any kind…is this right? Do I need to go back to the gym? Okay, just drop your stuff off and get ready, THEN go back to the gym Lauren.
Shorts, Craft top, Spibelt, Buff.
Jog back to the gym.
“Do I need a bib?”
Okay, great. Starting line. Let’s do this. Let’s hold this street sign and swing my legs back and forth. Ah, that feels good.
Oh, those people over there just mentioned a hill. I have no idea what to expect from this course except that it’s going to be 5 miles.
There’s a lot of kids here who clearly run in college.
I just ran a 10K at a 7:18 pace so I should aim for my 5 mile pace to be less than that. Although my 5 mile PR is a 7:45 pace so either way, PR baby!
Okay people are getting ready to go. Countdown with zero megaphone, so small town.
Ayyy here we go! Nice and slow Lauren. Don’t chase after these people. You’ll get them later.
The sun is shining, it’s glorious, so many people went out way faster than me but I need to get myself situated.
1 mile. Splendid. 7:11 pace. Okay, that would be fabulous to keep, but as usual my second mile will probably be slower since I go out too damn fast. Oh, shit, that must be the hill up ahead.
That sucked. But hey, now we’re going downhill, weeeeee! Glorious! I love fall running!
How do I always end up alone? There’s never anyone near me.
I’m going to make it my goal to beat this girl in front of me eventually. But for now I will bide my time.
Oh my god there’s a mountain we are about to run up. What the hell?
Second mile, as I suspected, 7:26. Alright Lauren. You have 1 more mile to be semi-comfortable and then the last two you gotta kick it up.
Wait really another hill? Seriously? Ok, ok stop bitching, you’re good at hills. You got this.
That had to be the last hill right?
This is a pretty neighborhood.
3rd mile – 7:14. Okay, now drop that a little for the last 2 miles and you’re good to go.
Oh look my dentist’s office! So funny!
Not funny. ANOTHER giant hill! No. I don’t want to do this anymore.
How many more hills can there be?
Oh, would you look at that. Another hill.
Lauren you’re letting your mind get in the way. Just run up it.
No this really isn’t fun this course is ridiculous.
Lauren you’re not a quitter. Open up your stride you’re practically walk up this hill.
I want to walk. I’m not going to beat a 7:18 pace and I’m not even going to pass this girl in front of me and this is the stupidest course ever.
Everyone else is slowing down too. Do it. Go.
4th mile 7:52.
Well shit. Alright it’s one more mile just finish and get this over with.
You passed that girl and now there are two more in front of you. Do you think you can beat either of them?
Just kidding, here’s 5 more hills that I have to climb before I get to the finish line. Really? I’m never running this race again.
You shouldn’t say that Lauren – you should say, “I’m going to come back prepared and kick this race’s ass next year!”
Mmm nope, no interest in ever running this again.
Final kick to the finish anddddd done.
My watch never reached 5 miles – but my 4.93 mile PR is a 36:48:00 or 7:27/mile.
They handed me a green piece of paper with number 36 on it which I filled out with my name, age and hometown – THAT’S how they figured out the results.
I ended up coming in as the 7th female overall and 2nd in my age group – it was a super tiny local race, but it was still nice after being so miserable for those 37 minutes.
Really. My mental game was so not strong for this race, probably because I had ZERO warning for the hills I was going to face.
It DID make me finally listen to my body – which hasn’t been feeling 100%, hasn’t been digging long runs, and definitely wasn’t feeling hills – and I decided I wouldn’t run the half marathon next weekend while I’m in Austin.
Afterwards, I went up to the girl who had finished right in front of me and said thanks – I would have walked if she hadn’t been up ahead pushing me.
I just did some research using my Garmin and the 10K that I ran on Halloween on Randall's Island had an elevation gain of 18 feet over the course of 6 miles.
The Shoreham Turkey Trot’s elevation gain? 281 over 5 miles.
That put things into perspective, and I’m pretty proud of my race when all is said and done.
Gobble gobble. Hills for breakfast.