It’s been a while since my last post but that doesn’t mean I ever stopped wanderin’. I wanted to give you a quick recap on my 5K Turkey Trot before I tell you about what else I’ve been up to these past few weeks.
To sum it up, the measly 3.1 miles that made up the 5K Morris Township, NJ Turkey Trot kicked my butt. Seriously, my legs were sore for an entire WEEK following that race. How did that exactly happen and why was it so painful? I can’t be sure, but here is how the whole thing went down.
My sister Mary, Zach (Mary’s bf), and I arrived in Morristown, NJ at about 7:10AM to check in and pick up our race numbers. Not too many people were there at that point since the race started at 8:30AM but we weren’t sure how crowded it was going to be so we arrived bright and early. The weather was freezing out so once we checked in, we hustled back to the car to stay warm until it was closer to race time.
We finally pulled ourselves away from the warm, safe haven of the car when masses of people started walking towards the race grounds. Although it was a just a local NJ race, there were about 1,000 participants. Let me tell you, the lines for the port-a-potties were insane! This was probably my first mistake – instead of doing a warm up jog and stretching out prior to the race, I hopped up and down in line for the bathroom in the minutes leading up to the start. Not a good way to prep for a race, but when you gotta go, you gotta go!
Mary, Zach, and I wished each other good luck and went our separate ways to find our respective pace corrals. I am more of a glass-half-full type of girl, so I optimistically lined up in the 7 minute/mile group. Another mistake – I really had not been running much since Hurricane Sandy but I thought to myself, “Hey I just had a really long taper so I will probably have tons of energy and run very fast!” Not the case.
Finally, the Mayor of Morristown said a few short opening lines to welcome us to the town and wished us a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Soon enough we were off and I was sprinting at full speed along with the other runners around me. Without my Garmin watch that I mistakenly forgot back in my NYC apartment, I didn’t really know how fast I was running. I tried to pull in the reins a bit since there was a lot of road ahead of me and I was already out of breath.
The first mile was not too bad – pretty flat but lots of twists and turns since we were running through a residential neighborhood. It was fun to see some of the neighbors outside their houses cheering the runners on. Plus I needed all of the motivation I could get to keep running as fast as I was.
The second mile was where it started getting really rough. We were greeted with a super steep hill smack dab in the middle of the race with little reprieve in sight. Even though I was pushing with all of my might, it felt like I had practically slowed to a walking pace while muscling up the hill. This was NOT what I had signed up for! I think this was the part that completely destroyed my calf muscles for the next week – my body was just not used to running up such a steep incline.
And now, some photographic evidence of my painful 5K experience:
This is me completely out of breath and cringing after the uphill battle in mile 2. Ouch. The only reason I kept running was to get to get to that turkey dinner that awaited me back home.
The last mile was a mental test much more so than a physical one. All I kept thinking about was how great it would be to cross the finish line and walk off the pain I felt in my legs. The road seemed to stretch on forever although despite the pain, it was quite comical to watch some of the runners hobbling along wearing turkey hats, with the little bird claws swinging in the wind. Go turkeys, go!
The finish line finally came into view and although I was not feeling too great, I sprinted through the finish to the best of my ability. I looked up my final chip time online – instant results, gotta love them, and I finished with a pace of 7:23/mile with a total time of 22:56.5. While I was way off my goal time of 7:00/mile, I was still pretty happy with my results and now I have a benchmark for all of my future 5K races.
Everyone was happy when they crossed the finish line, after all we had some good food waiting for us at home. Although the 5K may have been embarrassingly difficult, it was fun to do something different on Thanksgiving morning instead of just pretending to help my mom cook (I’m still not very good at peeling potatoes). Who knows, maybe we started a little tradition of our own? I guess it depends on if I can convince my sister to run the race again next year…
The 5K Turkey Trot was a great way to kick off the weekend in a healthy way. While my calves were throbbing for the rest of the day at least my endorphin levels were through the roof. All in all, I’m just thankful I survived.