Last weekend, I ran my first 5K race in the form of a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. Our race course would start at the Chapel of the Snows, go up the road past the dorms, down to the transition from road to ice, out to the ice runway, and then back to the Chapel again.
Race volunteers out on the ice runway.
That morning, I hopped outside in my pajamas to see how warm it was. It seemed so warm that I planned on going with the bare minimum of layers. Luckily, I had time to change my mind and my clothes after I actually spent some time outside. Away from my dorm, the wind was gusting and putting the chill on anyone silly enough to run with only a few layers. However, that didn't stop a few people from running in shorts all the same.
Pre-race milling around in front of the Chapel of the Snows
I've never done a 5K and really didn't know what to expect. My goal was to be closer to 20 minutes than to 30. I usually train at 8 or 9 minute miles so I figured 24 minutes was a realistic goal. Unfortunately, none of the people I run with run that speed in a race so I had no idea who to follow to pace myself. I resolved to get in front so I didn't get stuck behind slow people and then just try to keep up and slow down as necessary.
At the starting line, I'm on the left side of the first or second row
Out of the blocks, I did alright. I stayed in the top 10. As we turned down the first hill, I surged to the front because I figured I might as well use the hill to my advantage. At this point, I was running in the top three which was kind of surprising. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to maintain it. As we each meandered horizontally down the course trying to find solid snow, I slowly slipped away to 6th place. Once there, we turned to come back and were running directly into an awful headwind. It made breathing hard, gave me 100% cotton mouth, and just generally made running stink.
I got passed by one more guy after the half way point. He continued to pull away to about 50 yds. After that, I held with him the entire way back to town though and clawed myself up behind him on the final hill to about 15 yards away and a quarter mile from the finish. At this point, I could no longer see the leader. I imagine he had turned the last two corners on his way to a 19:46 finish.
The winner in 19:46 or so...
The final haul to the finish was short, downhill, and with the wind. I was able to open up and finally pass that one guy back. That felt good. Sprinting felt good too. The only sprinting that I have been getting is an hour a week in ultimate. I might need to change that up. Anyway, my final surge put me across the line in 6th place at 20:50 (7ish minute miles) and an incredible urge to puke. I held it in though.
Me, about 10ft from the finish
I'm REALLY surprised with myself. I never would have thought that I would have run that fast. Another guy, who finished two spots behind me, said that he normally runs mid-18's so I might be able to expect the same off the ice. That would be incredibly fast to me. I always considered 2 miles in 12 minutes to be in shape when I was training for ultimate. However, I didn't use that as my gauge for the past three years and figured I was losing it. I just didn't test it so I don't know if I was capable of it or not. I have never done three miles in eighteen minutes. Who knows if I could back home anyway. It does make me wonder.
After I finished, I grabbed my Turkey Trot t-shirt that only the first 50 finishers got and cheered on my friends. That took a while because some people only went out as walkers.
When enough people finished up, I grabbed a radio and checkout with the firehouse to do my actual distance run for the weekend. I had 2 more hours to do so we did the race course again and then went over to Scott Base via Armitage Loop. 11 more miles in two hours. Not a fast pace, but it was tiring because it took so long and half the Armitage Loop was directly into that ridiculous head wind. Boo to that, but even more boos to the strained tendon or muscle in the outside arch of my left foot. I ran again the day after the Trot, but haven't run since. I guess I'm well rested, but I'd prefer to be running.
This weekend I'm hoping to run the Grand Slam which is every trail that we can do on base.