Sorry, this is long! Feel free to skip to the end if you just want to know my finish time.
The race: the Prospect Park Track Club Turkey Trot, a 5-mile race in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, put on by my team, Prospect Park Track Club (PPTC) and timed by NYCRuns. This is my second year running it, and it is a fantastic race, with pies for the top finishers (spoiler alert: Not me). They always make an effort to have different race swag than the norm, since so many races give out T-shirts, and this was no exception, with a combo neckwarmer/hat this year. The weather was perfect this year, between 40 and 45 at the start. A little more windy than ideal, but after the weather that the Northeast has been dealing with lately, it's hardly worth mentioning, let alone complaining about.
My training: Not ideal for the marathon I was hoping to run this November, but quite good for a 5-mile race. Typically 2 speed workouts a week plus a long run, averaging just short of 40 miles a week for the year.
My goal: In August, I had run a 5K that was both very hilly and quite warm, and thanks to recent fitness gains, had managed to set a PR, with a 7:58 pace. Last year, I finished this same 5-mile turkey trot in 41:22-- a 8:21 pace. I felt that a goal somewhere between those two was reasonable, and even though I felt that 39:59 was definitely on the aggressive side (just under 8:00 pace), since breaking 40:00 was a possibility, I wanted to give it a shot.
Pre-race:I did what, for me, is a pretty standard warmup- half a mile jog, then some dynamic stretching (butt kicks, high knees, skipping) and then half a mile jog back to the start with some strides mixed in, getting up to race pace. I grabbed a water to take with the GU I had brought to take at the start line-- a habit that no doubt gets me laughed at, (ha ha, look who's taking a GU at the start of a 5-mile race!) but which I keep up because it seems to correlate strongly with me setting PRs.
The race had no corrals, and the previous year I had lined up way too far back (about halfway), so I tried to line up much closer to the start line this time. Even though this race is much smaller than many in my area, with a 2500 person cap it is still rather a large race, so I was a few rows back from the start when the gun went off. The first half mile was mainly passing people and getting passed. Almost immediately I felt bad. I had done a speed workout a couple days previous and I immediately felt a lingering tiredness in my glutes and quads. When I finally felt that I was in the clear enough to be running the pace I wanted to run, I was shocked to glance down at my watch and see an 8:04 pace. That was especially surprising since the first half mile had been uphill.
We take the first turn of the race-- a left, around the half mile point, at the crest of the hill. I take a wrong step and come down on the side of my foot, almost twisting my ankle. I cry out but I catch myself somehow, and manage to take a self-inventory while I keep running. Am I still upright? (Yes). Did I grab on to anyone unintentionally while I was nearly falling? (Apparently not). Does my ankle hurt? (Yes, but not enough that I can't run on it). Is it getting worse? (Apparently not). I decide to keep running on it, assuming that I will soon see whether I can continue on it or not. I manage to keep pace with the group I am running in, now picking up speed since we are going downhill. I am beyond shocked to pass the 1-mile marker in 7:37.
The second and third mile are mostly uphill, and I lose some speed though I am still trying to stay around or a little bit under 8:00 pace. My goal is to hit the 3-mile marker at around 24:00. The 3-mile marker is just after the highest point in the race, so it's 'all downhill from there', so to speak. I figure that if I can manage an 8:00 pace on the uphills, I can hold on to the pace on the downhills. Mile 2 goes by in 7:59, mile 3 in 8:05, and I hit the 3-mile market a little ahead of my goal.
Mile 4 is downhill again, and I pick up speed, running my fastest mile of the race, at 7:32. Fortunately my ankle pain has faded to nothing. Unfortunately, it has gotten to the place in the race that my breathing is extremely ragged, I am almost wheezing, and I am just telling myself to hold on, I am almost at the finish. A guy in a yellow jacket passes me. I tell myself to stay with him to the finish. I keep looking at my watch and I am getting slower and slower, I used up too much of my energy early in the race. I know I can meet my goal, though, as long as I keep pushing. We make the last turn of the race, people are passing me but I am keeping up with yellow jacket guy. I see the finish and I give it all I've got. I tell myself that I've got a decent kick, I can pass this guy. I outkick him and cross the finish line just a second or two before him.
Gun time: 39:42.Chip time: 39:23.
220 out of 2238 overall; don't know my AG place, just know that I was well out of contention for pie.
This was my first time under 40:00 for the distance, and a PR by nearly 2 minutes.
I am thrilled with the way this race went, particularly given that I wasn't feeling nearly 100% at the start. Even though this report isn't the November race report I was expecting to write (some of you may know that my goal race, the NYC marathon, was cancelled) I am still happy to be writing a race report I can be proud of, no matter the distance.
Up next: Front Runners New York LGBT Pride 5-mile 06/28 | NYRR Team Championships: Women (5M) 08/02
Goal race: NYCRUNS Haunted Island 10K 10/25
The pie was probably stale anyway. LOL
Congratulations on your PR.
*it's Bertha or me. My money is on me.*
not lazy, just tired
Pie or no pie, what a great race. Congratulations!
Not if it makes sense.
Awesome PR. Congratulations!
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
One of the biggest thrills I ever got as a runner was running five miles faster than 40:00. That was something they wanted us to be able to do in infantry school when I was in my early 20's and I never quite got there. When I did it at age 45, I was thrilled beyond belief. Congratulations on achieving something that probably puts you in the top 10% of all recreational runners.
Short term goal: 17:59 5K
Mid term goal: 2:54:59 marathon
Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life. (I started running at age 45).
Nice PR! 2 minutes? Way to go!
I was thrilled the day I could run 5 miles under 50 minutes. Doubt I'll ever be able to run 5 under 40. Congrats, again!
Great race and congrats on the PR! Also, congrats on not twisting your ankle in the middle of the race =]
2013 Goals: 1000 Miles | 5k: Sub 25 | HM: Sub 2:00 | 1 Race/Month
I'm sorry you missed your marathon, but you still did good in this race! Way to hang in there until the end. You should be really stoked about how well you placed. Congrats on the new 2 minute PR!
"We do not become the people who this world needs simply by turning our backs on anyone we don’t like, trust, or deem healthy enough to be in our presence. " ---- Shasta Nelson
Congratulations on the HUGE PR - almost 2 minutes?!?!?! That's big time!!! You ran a fantastic race. I am sorry that you missed out on running your marathon, but I am happy that you are in great enough shape to rack up a PR in a shorter race. Nice job!!!
Lori- Thank you! I heard the pies were good, actually, I'll just have to keep that as a goal for the future!
Damaris- Thank you!
Brad- Thank you! I am, to use your words, beyond thrilled at the result, and it's hard to believe that 'top 10%' (even qualifying it to only 'recreational runners') could even come close to applying to me. I still think of myself as being among 'the slow group' even though I am a lot faster than I used to be.
stupidlazydog- Thank you! My first 5-mile race was 54:33 and I never thought I would get under 50 minutes, much less 40! Believe in yourself and great things can happen
TennisKid- Thank you! I am very glad my ankle wasn't hurt! I would much rather have a PR than a DNF!
She Can- Thanks! I am happy for PRs no matter the distance.
runmomto3boys- Thank you! Yes, a short- race PR feels like a great consolation prize even though I wasn't able to run the marathon.