Mesa 2011 Turkey Trot Race Report

Today was a day of meeting goals – although, do you ever wonder if your goals should be a little loftier?

When I decided to come visit my parents in Arizona for Thanksgiving, I immediately asked Mom if she wanted to participate in a Turkey Trot. Of course she did 🙂 So we registered for the Mesa 10K.

I’ve known for awhile my 10K PR is soft – I ran 45:16 at the 2011 BolderBoulder, but I was actually faster in the Rock and Roll Denver Half Marathon in October.

Obviously, my training has been going well and I’m feeling strong. Leading up to this race I had a few goals in mind. First, one of the qualifying standards for the Running Republic is a sub-43 10K. I decided I wanted to meet the qualification time at this distance as well. My more lofty goal was a 6:45 pace, which is just shy of 42 minutes. I honestly never even considered a ‘safe’ goal like “a PR”.

The forecast was for the 50s at race time, I swapped out clothes a couple times before deciding on LuLuLemon shorts, my Colorado Roller Derby tank and of course my Brooks Racers and swiftwick socks. I wore a sweatshirt and pants to the start to stay warm and cozy. I felt good: I tried to assess how my legs felt. They weren’t tight but also weren’t without feeling: I took that as a sign they were primed and ready to go. We got to the race about a half hour early, so I headed off on a warm-up jog and stretch.

Soon it was time to line up, and I headed on up pretty close to the front. The hazards of runs like Turkey Trots is that you get a lot of once-a-year runners who think they should line up at the front. I thought I did a reasonable job at starting ahead of anyone wearing cotton (a tell-tale sign), but I still had to dodge a bit once we were off!

The race did a good job at offering incentives: they had a costumed turkey who would run roughly a 45min race, and if you finished ahead of him, you got a certificate. Apparently there were also sub 35 and sub 40 certificates as well. The top 3 in each age group got medals, and the top finisher per age group got a turkey!

My last few training runs had lead me a bit leery of going out too fast and fading, so I just concentrated on keeping a comfortable yet somewhat aggressive pace. The first couple miles I just cruised along.

M1: 6:49
M2: 6:36
M3: 6:52

Once I got going, I felt I was doing a pretty good steady state run. Around mile 2.5 the course brought us back through the start again, and the subtle uphill. I didn’t know the exact elevation profile of the course but I was reasonably sure it was pretty flat.

It’s funny how these shorter distances feel. To hit 4 miles and be ~65% done! I had a couple guys pass me around mile 3 and 4 but it wasn’t the last time I’d see them (heh heh).

M4: 6:47
M5: 6:59

At the 5 mile marker, the clock read 8:45. I joked to the guy next to me that we’d set a new record. He asked what time I really had, I looked at my watch and it was 33:58. I reflected that I wasn’t sure I’d cover the 1.2 in 8 minutes and meet my sub-42 goal, but I still felt happy with my effort. But, it was also just over a mile to go and I felt the finish line pulling me in…

M6: 6:21
last .2: 5:30 pace

There was a nice downhill for the last full mile and I felt great as a cruised by people I’d been chasing for awhile. The very last .2 was annoying, with a sharp turn onto a gravel road and then another sharp turn up onto a grassy knoll: you actually had to brake to stay on the course! I felt great as I powered to the finish, and was VERY pleasantly surprised to see the clock!

Finish: 41:23
Pace: 6:40
AG: 3/271
Overall Women: 10/1549
Overall: 121/2946

I was very happy to have beat my goal, but of course I can’t help but wonder if I should have set a bit more aggressive goal and pushed harder. I know it’s good to finish strong, but I wonder if I should have pushed a bit more to see what my limits are. But, I guess that’s what I’m doing in training 🙂
I have one more race this year, a 5K next weekend. My current 5K PR pace is 6:52, so 12 seconds per mile slower than today. I’ll say it now: I want to run a ~6:30 pace and break 20 minutes. It won’t be easy, but I think it’s doable.