Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sac County Fair Turkey Trot RR

It's been a minute since I've posted - and I'll get to all of those reasons in another post, but for now, I'd like to tell you a tale about a small town turkey trot that took place in Sac City, Iowa. 
It was early for a vacation day. Like, 6:30 early and the race didn't even start until 8. But hey, we had a 45 minute drive, weren't exactly sure where the race start is or even how busy it would be. So, I set the alarm for the last possible minute where I wouldn't feel rushed. 
I had eaten way too much sugar the day before and my 33 year old stomach was not taking kindly to the glycosolytic assault. But, I get up, throw on tights, and SmartWool socks and my "Not Running Sucks" t-shirt and a half zip and a jacket and trudge downstairs to let Sir Jeff the Dog outside. 
Okay, okay, so I also threw on a sports bra. I figured that was a given. 
Brother Jimmie and I head north and west and find ourselves rolling into a parking lot with maybe a handful of cars around 7:30 AM. We go into pick up our packets, find people standing around staring at us (and probably trying to figure out if they know us). We are one of the few weirdos who actually take the time to warm up and I wonder if I have it in me to go for my PR. 
Then, we are lining up, and no one is willing to go anywhere near the front of the sparse pack. And by sparse, I mean, 20-odd runners. So, for the first time in my life (and probably the last time), I find myself at the start line of a race before it actually starts.
This is dangerous, because you are used to taking off at the same speed as others around you. When the others around you will end up finishing a good 4-7 minutes of ahead of you, they aren't the same speed. 
Just sayin'. 
On the upside, it gives a sweet action shot that even my PT would be proud of:

Polar Patty tells me I'm at a sub-8 pace, way too fast, so I slow down and let people pass me. Sigh. It's a terrible feeling to be passed, no matter how much you haven't actually been training to race a 5K. A woman, who may or may not be in my AG, passes me in wicked awesome tights and a neon jacket. 
Keep the neon jacket in sight, keep neon jacket in sight. My right ITB starts whining a big and I just hope that it's not a sign of something bad. It's one thing to have a bad race, it's quite another to have a bad race when there aren't many runners to make you anonymous. 
It takes me nearly the entire first mile to settle into a reasonable pace for me, and it ticks in at 9:32. Oh I would have loved for that to have been ideal. But it wasn't, so I keep at my slower pace of around 10mm and keep neon jacket in sight. 
To my surprise, the course is incredibly well-marked and there is even a photographer on the course. I think it's wicked awesome and hey, I'm running when last year I could barely walk, so I give him a thumbs up.
After a few turns, I notice neon jacket looking back to see where I am. I have no intention of passing her, because I really liked that I had someone to follow and I was really paranoid about getting lost, despite the fact that there was a sign at every single turn. Mile 2 ticks in at 10:03. Better. Smarter, at least. The ITB whining is gone and I try to keep myself somewhere between comfortable and uncomfortable. Like, if I slowed down just a little, it'd be a lovely jaunt on a cold morning, but that's not what 5Ks are for so we are just going to keep pushing. 
I slowly gain on neon jacket without really trying and when I get to her shoulder, ask if she wants to run together. I learn she has a leg cramp something awful and that's why she kept looking back. I run with her a little bit until she says she has to stop and stretch and I immediately find that running alone without a carrot is super hard. The last time I had to do this was my first half marathon, which is incidentally still my PR and still the worst time I ever had doing a half. 
I find a new carrot, someone who is far enough ahead that I lose them at every turn (there are a lot in this last little section). I tell myself to not try to chase him down because that's just stupid, but soon I'm crossing a bridge and see the finish/start and realize I'm just ready to be done. I cruise on in, see the clock is at 29: and change and know that I would not have broken 30 min in a 5K and suddenly I'm very annoyed about that. I immediately tell my brother, "I'm never going to break 30 minutes". He looks at me a little weird, because technically I did just run under 30 minutes, just not a full 5K. 
Mile 3: 9:45
Final time: 29:37, 3.03 miles
Predicted 5K time: 30:22
5K PR: 30:21 
Oh well. It was still good enough for 3rd overall female and 2nd in my age group. My brother also took 3rd overall and 1st in his AG. We celebrated with some selfies:

That's the World's Largest Popcorn Ball, in case you were wondering.
Later, as I'm chatting and tell someone where I'm from, I learn that one of the guys with whom I grew up was there, watching his wife run. So, we end up catching up and learning what he's been up to for the past, ya know, 20 years. That was fun. 

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