Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pittsburgh Turkey Trot

This morning I ran my second annual 5K Turkey Trot in Pittsburgh. I wore the same turkey costume as last year, one I had made years ago for Halloween for Robert. Last year many others said they'd return dressed as turkeys, but few did. There were some hats, but I think I had the only turkey tail.

Last year I finished just out of the medals for my age group and knew I could improve. (Honestly, I felt something stronger...something approximating "revenge". I know that sounds bad, but it's more like if they can do it, I can do it and then some.) However, just coming off of the marathon, I wasn't sure what I'd be able to produce. That's part of the fun of racing. You just don't know what you can do until that gun goes off, you start running, and you do the quick assessment of mind, body, and soul.

This was an out-and-back course so at the turnaround you get a sense of your place. Like the last 5K, I noticed it was predominantly men ahead of me, and not all that many of them, so I figured my pace was pretty good. I just locked in with a group and kept pressing. The 5Ks go so fast there's no point in checking pace on the watch, you just turn the screws, do what you can do, and let the chips fall. I concentrated on holding an aggressive pace, but staying mentally relaxed and economical in my stride.

I met quite a few fellow Hokies out there!

Dressed as a turkey, you get LOTS of support, which somewhat makes up for the loss of aerodynamics from the tail feathers. In fact, coming into the final mile, I told myself that no one wants to see the turkey peter out, I had to finish strong. After a short mental debate questioning how badly I wanted it, and whether I wanted to challenge the only other woman within my sights, I decided YES in fact I wanted it badly. I found another gear I wasn't sure I had and surged ahead of her. It paid off with a result I am very happy with!

Time: 21:15 (last year's time: 22:12)
Pace: 6:51
Placing: First in Master's Women
8th woman across the finish line

All results: