The gang after running the Never Give Up Ever 5K Turkey Trot 11-28-13
Up until this year we had never done a “Turkey Trot” fun run which traditionally falls on Thanksgiving morning or the holiday weekend. Last year I was recovering from the Philadelphia Marathon and the year before that I was injured. So being healthy and running this time of year has been quite the novelty!
After having recently run the Baystate Marathon back in October we have been running lower weekly mileages without any speedwork or intensity. This has been our time to rejuvenate and decompress after all the hard training for the Baystate Marathon. So it’s safe to say we haven’t been anywhere near our peak fitness levels. And that is OK. The body does need this time of year to rest and recover before the next training cycle.
Our running friends, Jess and Chris informed us they were planning on doing 5 different Turkey Trots around northern Vermont and asked if we were interested in running a few. Because I still have to be careful and mindful of my shin, we ended up doing one Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning and one the following Sunday. We didn’t race hard and that was not the point for us. Our only “goals” were to hang out with our running friends, meet other runners and enjoy the camaraderie that is inherent in small local running events. Previous to these Turkey Trots I have only signed up for races that I had planned on racing seriously. “If I’m not going to run fast then why bother” has always been my mentality regarding racing. Normally I only run a race to gain a personal record or achieve a goal after months of hard training and to push beyond my limits. I’ll admit I take racing very seriously . But this Thanksgiving holiday I discovered the joy of showing up at a local race completely relaxed and enjoying the whole experience of running with my friends and other like-minded people who also share our passion of running.
Never Give Up, Ever Turkey Trot, Richmond, Vermont 11-28-13
On Thanksgiving morning we awoke to about 5-6 inches of snow at our house and cold temps of around 15F. We drove about 12 minutes down to the Round Church in Richmond where the Turkey Trot 5K would begin at 8:30am. At 8:00am it was only about 17F and the roads were icy and snowy. I brought my Asics with screws, Icebugs with carbide studs and some rubbers that fit over my running shoes and have spikes. After warming up and testing the roads with our friends, I decided on the rubbers with the spikes which did the job but did make me feel slower. Trail shoes would have worked well but I didn’t bring mine.
My running coach instructed me to run hard but not all out. It was easy to obey her words of wisdom that morning. With the road conditions, cold temps, rubber with the spikes, and not feeling super fit, I really couldn’t get myself to move that fast. I was running with Jess, Jen and Sarah for the first mile and Jess reminded me that we met here a few years ago running a summer 5K on that very same road (Cochran Road). The road then became more snow packed on a small gradual hill and we ended up splitting up. I ran ahead and tried to see if I could move any faster.
I did manage to run the next couple miles faster, but I wasn’t in any mood to suffer. After a hard ending at Baystate, I just didn’t want to feel like that again for a long time. I did end up winning the women’s race but I wasn’t really racing. My overall pace was slower than the pace of the last half marathon I ran back in September. I was actually quite amused by that! This was my slowest 5K but it was also a lot of fun and I enjoyed the cold, snowy experience of being out there with Scott and our friends. Scott did well too but wasn’t really racing. He was just out there having fun. I won a $25 gift certificate to Fleet Feet Sports in Essex, VT which is cool! The best part was the social aspect and warm feeling of hanging out with all the brave souls who ventured out on quite a cold morning to run for a great cause! Runners rock!!
Turkey Lane Turkey Trot, Hinesburg, Vermont 12-1-13
On Sunday morning we had the pleasure of sleeping in because this Turkey Trot didn’t begin until 1:00pm. This 4.25 mile race benefited the Hinesburg Land Trust so it was another great reason to get out there and run. The weather that day was much more pleasant with temps almost reaching 40F. While the skies were overcast, it did feel like it might rain but we were lucky with dry conditions. The race is a loop of mostly hilly dirt roads and some paved roads as well. What made it tricky was the snow-packed dirt roads. While they were sanded I was still tentative about my running speeds, especially down the hills. We live on snowy dirt roads and are accustomed to this type of running, but I have never raced or run too fast on these road conditions. Again my coach told me to run hard but not too hard which was a blessing in disguise due to the roads.
The race started up a steep hill that topped out after 2/10 of a mile and then leveled out a bit. I ran this race much slower due to the hills and conditions. But I did manage to stay close behind Liz for most of the race. I had 9 miles to run that day and after a 3 mile warm up I was feeling great running at a nice tempo pace a little back from Liz. After about a mile and a half we turned onto Tyler Bridge Road which is paved. That took us down a long steep and fast descent. This was so much fun and I was enjoying the scenery and staying close enough behind Liz. The downhills continued to about 3.5 miles or so. We soon got back onto the snow-packed dirt roads and started to climb a bit . It was mostly gradual and nothing too steep. I was still feeling strong on the final 1.25 miles but reminded myself that I wasn’t racing and just enjoying my Sunday run. Liz kicked it in the last mile which is her style. I let her go and finished about 30 seconds or so behind her. I felt great the whole run and really enjoyed the experience. The course was beautiful and I got a productive tempo run done. I then did a nice 2 mile cool down run. Scott and Jess ran together and chatted the whole time and just enjoyed the run. They were not racing. And that is something we are going to do more often in the future! Sometimes a “race” is really just an excuse to get out and run with friends!
Kassie Enman who ran the Olympic Trials a couple years ago won the women’s race. Liz and I were a distant second and third. Kassie is a very inspiring elite athlete who happens to live in Huntington, VT. I was the fastest woman in my age group and won a $25 gift certificate to Lantman’s Market right in Hinesburg. We stopped in right after the race to get ourselves some vegan frozen pizza, wine and beer for a get-together with our friends that evening.
Overall it was a great experience to enjoy some local races with our running friends over the Thanksgiving Holiday. It was the best Thanksgiving we have had in a long time. And in-between our races we were able to enjoy some “mountain time” on our snowshoes in Bolton Valley’s beautiful Backcountry: