This is my fourth year in a row running the Turkey Trot, seventh overall. It remains one of my favorite traditions on my favorite holiday, even though when I wake up at 6am, I wonder why I do this every year. This year was no different when I woke up and heard rain hitting my window.
I typically head to the race on my own because there will be 13,999 other people there and I always run into people I know. I park at the finish (point to point course) and take the buses to the start, where I spend about an hour killing time.
I wore a rain jacket and capris for this year’s race, but was certainly over dressed, which is usual for me at this race. I hate sitting around freezing, so I layer a bit too much. It didn’t end up raining so the jacket just held in all my body heat… Oof. But, really glad I picked up that steal at the packet pickup ($30 for Saucony Exo jacket).
I line up at the “elite” pace banners because nobody pays attention to whether they should go. It still took me 45 seconds to cross the start and I had to dodge walkers. My goal for the race was put forth a good effort to get a baseline for marathon training, I hoped that I could finish in under 45 minutes… Maybe 44:xx.
I somehow hit a perfectly executed negative split run, with more to give. Don’t get me wrong, it was a run in which I pushed myself but I could have gone under 40:30, I believe.
The first mile I ran perfect tangents, based on my watch lining up with course markers. My watch beeped at 8:40, which made me a little nervous. I felt good but tried to remain focused and relaxed. Miles 2 and 3 were both net uphill, but my pace kept lowering – 8:32 and 8:23, respectively.
At this point, I can see the downhill, so even though I know I have two miles to go, I can ultimately see the finish (except the final quarter mile or so, since it turns). My legs always pick it up here instinctively, so I just start rolling with it. The road always feels so wide open and I love to start passing people rapid fire. I finish mile 4 in 7:56 and hit Niagara Circle.
I end up getting passed by a girl slightly younger than I, with fancy leggings. She turned around and looked at me, and then I realized — it’s on. You know how you see one person and you make it your goal to beat them? I must have been that girl to her, so I made it mine to beat her. I sped up. I passed her. I tried to hold on, I felt the familiar lurch in my stomach. She passed me. I picked it up again. I knew I had only a quarter mile to go, I kept trying to catch her but my stomach was threatening to ruin my morning. So I let her go. She finished about 5 seconds ahead of me and I was fine with that. I closed out my final mile in 7:16. What?
It’s been a while since over had a race I’ve been proud of, without it being a PR, so I’m pretty excited to have this as a starting point to marathon training. Fitness is a funny thing; when you think you’ve lost it all, it’s right there for you, but when you think it’ll come back instantly, it doesn’t.