I don’t usually run a Thanksgiving 5K (or very many 5Ks at all, really) because they don’t fit in with my marathon training. This year, I had lots of time in my schedule and there are two Thanksgiving 5Ks in our area. The Pumpkin Pie 5K in Nazareth (which is actually on Thanksgiving) and the Bethlehem Turkey Trot (the Saturday after Thanksgiving). I couldn’t decide which one to do, so I decided it would be a fun challenge to do both. I’ve done both races in the past. While both are fun runs, neither are really PR courses. The race on Thanksgiving offers the chance to win a Pumpkin Pie (I can’t pass up a chance for free dessert), and the Turkey Trot has the better T-shirt (yep, I still love my race swag).They are short distance races, and there is a day to recover in between – why not? I figured the first would be my chance at a PR, and the second would be just a fun training run.
The day before Thanksgiving, it snowed. The race was still on, and I wanted to run it regardless. If the roads were slick and icy, well, I would slow down or walk if necessary. I considered not showing up, but I figured it would be a fun time regardless of the conditions and a great way to celebrate one of my favorite holidays. Although I always want to try for a PR, running on Thanksgiving isn’t about that. It’s a time to reflect on what you are thankful for. Some of the running-related things I’m thankful for is my health and the ability to be able to run, and for the friends I’ve made along the way. So while I always hope for the best, the time on the clock wasn’t the most important thing going on.
It was flurrying and cold as I pulled up to the race, and the snowfall from the day before made everything beautiful. Temps were still just hovering just above freezing, so the roads were just wet. My brother (runs often, but never really runs races) and I picked up our bibs and went inside the YMCA to stay warm. I was glad I decided to show up – so many friends were there and it was a great way to start off Thanksgiving. As the race began, I lined up at the front with some of my speedy friends and we were off. I went out way too fast (why would this race be any different?) but was able to hang on to a PR pace until the final mile. Somewhere during the second mile, my shoe became untied but I was not about to stop and tie it. I just focused on not tripping and on my pace. The third mile is mainly uphill (nothing steep, just some gradual inclines) and I slowed down a bit. It was enough for me to think I might not PR but get pretty close to it.
Much to my surprise, when I turned the corner, the time on the clock showed I would have a new 5K PR to be thankful for! I crossed the finish line in 19:26, fourth overall female and first in my age group – which also meant I won a pumpkin pie. Everyone that ran had really had a great race that day and enjoyed the event. It was my brother’s first 5K, and he ran 22:35. I was really proud of him and hope he signs up for another race soon.
Saturday’s Turkey Trot was another story. After the Thanksgiving 5K, my piraformis was aggravated. It’s been sore lately – particularly after racing (it hurt during and after the 10K I ran two weeks ago), but I thought I was in the clear because it felt fine during the first 5K. Afterwards was a different story. I did a little shakeout run on Friday and my legs felt tired and clumsy, and my piraformis was sore. I knew the Turkey Trot wouldn’t be pretty, but I went into it with the mindset that I wanted to run as hard as I could that day, and try to run even splits. I always positive split my 5Ks – big time.
I finished as the fourth overall female and second in my age group with a time of 20:20. I was bummed that I didn’t break 20 minutes – I knew a PR wasn’t happening, but I’d broken 20 in my last three 5Ks and wanted to keep that streak up. But I did run even splits, with every mile in the 6:30 range on somewhat tired legs (and a stomach full of rich, Thanksgiving food!) – so I still consider the race a success. Would I run back to back 5Ks like that again? Maybe. It certainly was a good challenge for a week where all I want to do is mow down junk food and sit on my couch! However, the first female was my friend Cassie, and she ran the Turkey Trot in 19:11! I was excited for her – it’s not an easy course and that is an incredible time.
And as for the holiday weekend itself, Thanksgiving is one of my favorites (It’s about food – how can it not be?) and my family and I had a blast cooking dinner. I forgot about the word “paleo” and went right for the deep fried turkey. It was our first time preparing it that way and it was amazing! It’s the furthest thing from healthy, but probably the most delicious turkey we’ve made. It’s been nice to have some time with lower mileage because it’s left more time for me to get in the spirit of the Christmas season without feeling rushed. In past years, I’ve had late season marathons and traveling that wore me down. I didn’t even realize what I was missing out on until I had the chance to enjoy it again this year. I had time to get my tree, finish Christmas shopping, and time to cuddle with my new little love bug, Newton:
And yes…he is named after the shoe 🙂 I can’t even take his cuteness. Hopefully, this weekend will include baking some Christmas cookies…if I can stand to put him down!