The Turkey Trot was great this year.
I started out the day by participating in the 40th Annual Turkey Trot. I chose to run the 2.5 mile "fun run" instead of the "serious" 4.4 miler.
Considering I run 3 miles every day, I was more worked up than I anticipated. It probably had something to do with the OVER 4800 RUNNERS that were there!
I rode my bike over to the race since it was less than 2 miles away and since it was a beautiful day, I had a hard time convincing myself NOT to bike. I arrived just about an hour before my race.
I couldn't believe the number of people and the energy of the event! Several speakers setup for music and race announcements, tents for check in, dozens of port-a-potties, Race bag drop off, and crates of apples from the local orchard. Amazing. The MC was welcoming the runners and their families, and directing people to the correct starting lines. She also made sure to alert the runners that the finish line in the park was "a little muddy" and to be careful.
The 4.4 mile race began down the road from the 2.5 start line. Looking down at runners made me feel like I was staring down a charging army of Mordor...
I ran into a few people I know from work and from my past who were also running in the 2.5. It was exciting to see them, but I was slightly paralyzed and didn't converse as much as I wanted to: Partly because I assumed their body language was that of Cordiality. So it goes.
After the 4.4 participants ran by the 2.5 start line, the rest of the fun runners began to line up. There were several Pilgrims, indians, and Turkeys lined up: I even saw two Thanksgiving Dinner tables lined up! The announcer pumped up the crowd with primal grunts interspersed with directions on where to go: If you are running get in the road, otherwise get out of the road.
He screamed go, and everyone took off. Families hugged the right side to allow the "serious" (read 10-year-old kids) runners by. I started out fairly conservatively in the middle of the pack. shortly after the first turn, I realized I needed to pick up the pace just to get into stride with my daily rhythm.
Soon after that, I caught up with the serious squads who were all walking and breathing heavy. I smiled and gave a little chuckle towards their excitement and enthusiasm.
After another turn or two, the 2.5 milers merged with the 4.4 milers. As we approached the park, I recalled the earlier warning of a slightly muddy finish line. As we ran up past the tennis courts, I saw the wooded trail that led down to the finish line. As I started my decent, I noticed the lack of mud. "Well, this isn't too bad." I thought. The more interesting part of the hill was avoiding the roots and damp leaves.
Reaching the bridge I turned right towards the home stretch and glanced at the finish line: The ground before it was reflecting a bit of light...
.."slightly muddy" apparently means "One giant puddle that stretches about 200 feet out from the finish line." I initially tried to avoid the puddle, but soon realized there was no denying I was going to get wet...and muddy...very wet and muddy. I picked up the pace and began to sprint to the finish. I looked at the clock as I crossed the line. It read over 28 minutes, which seemed really wrong. Turns out, that was the 4.4 clock.
I paced around, drinking several glasses of water before starting the climb back up the hill to grab my bike. I got home, showered and got ready to spend the rest of the day with great family.
I checked the race site after getting home from dinner to see how I did: 19:03 and second in my Age Class! The first place in my age was about 16 minutes...so I've got some training to do for next year! And I do plan on running next year...maybe as a bowl of Mashed Potatoes...