After having a crappy race day experience during my last marathon, I decided to sign up for a thanksgiving turkey trot 10k to give myself something to move on to. I wouldn’t call it a ‘redemption’ race since I really did nothing wrong before the marathon, I just wound up really sick and stressed out on race day and didn’t enjoy it. I wanted to have a race to spark the enjoyment again.
It was a hard transition trying to get some speed in after resting after the marathon, but I really enjoyed shorter yet faster runs. I also tried to keep my training light and enjoyable since that really was the goal. I had one good 10 mile training run that I picked up speed the entire time, but I haven’t run any longer than that since the marathon. It’s starting to get cold in Minnesota, so I did a mix of treadmill and outdoor runs during my training. Since treadmill runs usually aren’t accurate on time and don’t re-create race day conditions, I used the treadmill for a good burst of cardio, but worked on my speed mostly outdoors.
This race day felt very different than the marathon. I only trained for about a month, and obviously it wasn’t as big of a race. I actually have never run a 10K race, and my record 10k time was during the first half of the birdtown half marathon last year! I knew I had to keep a 7:30 pace to break my record, which would have been very achievable earlier this year but I was a little nervous keeping that speed after focusing on a marathon pace of 9:00 miles!
Originally race morning was supposed to be pretty warm for Minnesota (over 40 degrees) but ended up being in the mid-20’s. I grabbed an extra jacket and I was really glad I did once I got to the race! There were strong wind gusts coming of the lake and it was a lot colder than I expected.
The 10k was a pretty small group of runners, but it was nice to have a really open course. The course was familiar as I run around that lake all the time. The 10k was 2 laps and the 5k was one.
I started off feeling great for the first mile and was holding about a 7:20 pace (I mean the first mile is the easiest!). At mile 2 we hit the wind head on and I slowed to above 7:30. I knew I just needed to stay steady because the wind would be at my back once we circled the lake. I tried to zone out and run behind a few runners who were at a similar pace. I trend to overthink pace and it really helps me to just stick with someone and take breaks from thinking about it.
Mile 3 was faster as we made the first loop around the lake. It was hard passing the finish and knowing you had to do a second lap, but after a marathon, a 6 mile run seems like a cake walk!
Miles 4 & 5 were challenging once we faced the wind again. I started to get nervous I was losing speed and really tried to stay at that 7:30 time. When I felt good, I started passing the people in front of me (which is always fun!). I’m always so doubtful of myself, and tend to consider everyone ahead of me to be a ‘better’ runner. It feels like a victory when I’m trying to keep up with someone during a race, and end up strong enough to pass them and stay ahead of them until the end.
It was a little annoying that the second lap of the 10k ran into the slower people of the 5k. I spent a lot of time dodging groups of people and strollers. It’s wonderful people of all abilities participated, but I wish they would’ve made it clearer to them to leave room for the 10k runners to pass. It takes a lot of energy to bounce back and forth around people, especially at the end of a race.
The last curve of the lake started to hurt, but I could see the finish line in sight and was able to speed up. I got nervous the race was too short for a 10k because it seemed much closer than my watch was clocking. I didn’t wanna waste a PR pace on a short race, so I started mentally planning how I would keep running if I had to.
The race ended up being exactly the right distance, and I finished under my goal of 7:30 miles with a pace of 7:25! I honestly don’t think I pushed myself as hard as possible, but I achieved my goal and had a really great time doing it. I do think training for and running marathons has made me much more able to deal with being uncomfortable and keep pushing forward. A few years ago, the cold and wind would’ve totally thrown me off and messed up my race.
Another cool part of the race was that I got 1st place of 11 women in my age group, 5th out of 47 total women, and 14th out of 83 total runners! It wasn’t a huge race given there were quite a few other turkey trot races that day, but the results make me feel really good about my running and make me excited for things to come.
I don’t have other races planned since I prefer only doing a few quality races over racing super often. The plan for this winter is to enjoy running and cross training to hopefully minimize some of the injury issues I ran into this year!
Have you ever done a turkey trot or would it be the last thing you would ever do!?