Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A turn of Speed: Turkey Trot 5k

About a month ago my family decided they wanted to do a 5k race on Thanksgiving.  We talked about which one we'd like to do, and settled on the Huntington Turkey Trot.

We were going to be in Southern WV for Thanksgiving at my Grandmothers, so it was an ideal distance away, and all the money raised went to a no kill animal shelter.

 Everyone was going to do it that was able: My Dad, Mom, Sister, Wife, Uncle, and I.

My Mom is coming off of 2 years of injury, my Dad a year.  I've run once in the last six weeks.  My sister and I did a 4 hour ride through the mountains (5000ft climbed in 40 miles) only 36 hours before the race, her longest ride ever, and the longest time out exercising at once.  My wife doesn't especially like to compete, and my Uncle doesn't run at all.  Because of all of this, we all decided that we had to make this really fun and less competitive.  No worrying about times or places- this was about family- matching homemade tie-dye t-shirts and all.

Left to Right: Jeanine Audet, Jerry Audet, Tim Audet,
Cheri Audet, Tony Audet, Gus Audet, Carly Audet

We got up pretty early and were at the race over 90 minutes before the start (we had to drive 2 cars).  I ate a Raw Rev bar on the way to the race and sipped on some Camelbak Elixir.  Getting there early was actually not a bad thing since there was only 2 TWO port-a-potties for 1100 people! My parents had picked up our race packets the night before so there really wasn't much to do.  And it was cold (low 30's).  So we sat in the car for a while doing nothing, just chatting.

30 minutes before the race I shed some clothing and went for a 20 minute warm-up.  I did it alone- Jeanine (sister), Carly (wife), and Tim (Uncle) said they'd rather just sit in the car.  My mom had already left for her warm-up, and I didn't know where my Dad was.

My warm-up was simple.  Go out and get sweaty.  My legs were still sore from the previous weekends cyclocross race, and I hadn't done anything the day before so I needed to make sure my muscles were warm- especially given the temperature.

The course is very flat and I ran about 1.2 miles out the course and turned around and came back.  On the way back I did some stints of "race pace"- not really knowing what race pace was I just targeted 6:45 mile pace.

By the time I got back and put my race shoes on, grabbed a Honey Stinger Gel, and shed my warm-up cloths I had about 10 minutes.

As we were all standing there a reporter from channel 13 news in Huntington approached us and asked for an interview!  We ended up making the news both on the website and on the 6 and 11 news.  They interviewed my father and I for the story.  You can find it here.  Unfortunately I can't find the video.

I said good luck to Carly, Jeanine, Tim and my Dad and my mother and I walked towards the front of the line.  The music was blaring and we were excited.

Oh yeah, did I mention I had a turkey carcass on my head?

Open your eyes and you'd run better
My mom wanted to duck into the group about 1/4 of the way back, but I told her she should just come to the front.  She's fast, and I knew she'd get stuck behind folks if she tried to start too far back.  No idea where the rest of the group lined up.

I started on the second line.  I could see there were some folks around me that shouldn't be, and certainly folks in front of me too, but I didn't care.  I'd rather not be on the front line at the gun.

I did some warm-up strides at the timer ticked down.  I decided to wear shorts, gloves, and a long sleeve shirt after my warm-up and I was pretty chilly.  In retrospect I think I could/should have worn tights and then a short sleeve shirt or maybe the long sleeve and no gloves.

At the gun I started conservatively, or what I felt was conservatively.  There were some folks way over their heads right from the get-go as usual, and I tried not to get suckered in.  It was clear that there was 1 guy that was going to put the hurt on everyone else, and besides that I was pretty much right in the thick of it at top 10.

But I glanced at my GPS and saw it said I was doing a 5:35 mile and I panicked   What the hell am I doing running a 5 anything mile!

So I decided to just settle in a bit.  No sense in trying to push- I had no idea if I'd even make it to the turn around at this rate.

But it did feel relatively easy.  I guess cyclocross has taught me how to really hurt, and this felt almost comfortable.

Until the turn around that is.  I was in 4th place at that point, and just tailing this college aged kid in front of me.  At the turn you had to go around a couple corners and then head back.  Although the course was pretty much flat, you did climb slightly all the way back - think 0.5% grade.  And when we started, the guy in front of me started to fade pretty quickly and I passed him in the first tenth of a mile after the turn.

Things were starting to fall a part a bit for me though.  Aerobically, I still felt ok.  Legs, ok.  Joints?  Not so much.  My right knee was starting to hurt pretty badly, and my left ankle felt AWFUL.

I continued to push, and as I traveled back, all the folks coming towards me started to cheer me on.  They liked my hat, which I constantly got remarks about.  It really helped me grit my teeth and just keep turning my feet over.

As I approached my sister coming the other way, she yelled "the guy in front of you is definitely in your age group!  Get him!".

Damn.  OK, just try and keep pushing.

I never even glanced at my GPS after that first 1/2 mile, but I felt like I was continuing to speed up.

I did reel him in a huge amount by the time I hit 1/2 mile to go.  But it was pretty clear he was still going to escape.  As I entered the long stretch of parking lot, my ankle was really bad.  I stopped trying to push, and just brought it home nice and fluid.

I crossed the line in a shocking 18:43, which is a 6:02 mile average (My GPS says 18:35 and 3.10 miles so not sure what happened there).  That's much better than I thought I'd do, and actually is better than a previous 5k I did in July in Morgantown (19:02) while actually still run training!  I got 3rd and 2nd beat me by 20 seconds- he was at least a minute ahead of me at the turn as I saw him and tried to calculate it roughly so I could see how much I had to chase him down.  So that's not so bad if I shut it down that much!

I immediately went back out on course to cheer on the rest of the family.  First, my Mom got 9th woman overall, and top in her age group at 22:19 (43rd out of everyone!).  Next was Dad with a surprising race as well at 25:45 (162nd).  Jeanine did an impressive 26:07 for 178th place.  Carly had a PR, despite this being her 2nd race ever and going out too hard AND running with our dog Gus, for a top 50% (520th) place.  Uncle Tim walked it, the furthest he's walked in sometime, to round out our group (not even last in his age group!).

By the time Tim crossed the line my ankle was KILLING me, and my knee wasn't good either.  And I was freezing.  I ate a banana, and drank some water- and got out of my awful race shoes which have since been thrown away...they had way too many miles on them and I should have got rid of them before Savageman.  Lesson learned.  Just hope I can get myself back to pain free by Saturday...haven't done anything since...

We hung around for the awards, which my Mom was the sole person in the group who got one, and then jumped in the cars and went home.  After that, we all had a great afternoon and evening over consuming of many delicious foods and beverages.  It was a really fun, and surprising, day!

Now if I could only get my knee to stop hurting....