Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Trot Saint Paul; Pace Report

It was my worst pacing performance of the season. My poor Garmin 205 has decided its battery is only going to last somewhere between an hour and two hours, so I prepared for the worst this morning. After bundling up for the chilly Thanksgiving morning, I put my Garmin on one wrist and my $8 Target watch on the other.

The Turkey Trot Saint Paul was in downtown Saint Paul (I'm guessing that's where they got the name), so we got up bright and early to drive downtown and pick up our race numbers in Upper Landing park. The packets included sweet shirts, and a pair of Turkey Trot Fitsoks. It was still dark, and I didn't see the pace team leader right away, so Laura and I went back to the car for about ten more minutes to warm up.

My neck is still sore from counter-balancing that giant sign for over six miles

After telling Laura goodbye, I jogged down to the pace team area, met my co-pacer Dave, and after saying hi to Sam, the pace team leader, I volunteered Dave and I to run from the finish to mile marker six to see how far it was from the end.

For those not familiar with the 10k, it's about 6.2 miles long, so, if my math is correct, the mile six marker should be about 0.2 miles from the finish. Dave and I ran to where people where setting up, and I stopped to talk to a volunteer. "Where's the finish going to be?" I asked.

"I think it's around here," he said, gesturing to some power cords. I hit the "lap" button on my Garmin, and Dave and I ran to find the six mile mark. We measured it at over 0.25, and after running back to Sam, he asked me to move the marker.

"No problem," I said, so I ran back to the six mile marker. This time the finish mat was set up, so I measured again on the Garmin, and it came up at over 0.3 miles. There was also a 5k, and the three mile marker was off by almost a tenth-of-a-mile (an eternity in a 5k), but unfortunately that mile marker was zip-tied to a tree.

The six-mile marker was not zip-tied to a tree; it was just staked in the ground. I pulled it up, but as soon as I did I began to wonder if I'd be able to get it staked back down. It's been cold, and the ground is frozen hard. I walked it toward the finish, but still had to place it farther from the finish than it needed to be. I felt like I needed to keep it from being ridiculously close to the three-mile marker, as it might be a little jarring for a 10k runner to think they went a tenth-of-a-mile in 12 seconds.

Anyhow, I pushed it as far into the ground as I could, leaning it somewhat against a tree. I'd done my good deed for the day, so I jogged back to the start to do my other good deed--making the dreams come true for 10k runners wanting to break 47 minutes.

Unfortunately, I failed at that good deed. At mile three I stopped my Garmin instead of hitting "lap," and didn't notice until mile four. I had a good time chatting with Dave and with a lady who is running Boston in April, and though my pace was consistent, I didn't account for the long course, and finished in 47:30. I did have several runners thank me, and also got to see a guy named Peter. We work out at the same two YMCAs, and this year he ran every marathon in Minnesota. I also did of lot of thanking of volunteers--highly appropriate for Thanksgiving.

The post-race food was also pretty awesome--banana, candy, chocolate milk, and chips, but I didn't want to fill up because Laura, our good friend Brittany, and I, had a big Thanksgiving feast to eat later.

I'd definitely do this race again. Though the course is the same as several other races, the gear was nice and there was lots of room for people who wanted to race the 10k. Plus I got a sweet turkey hat (which I left at pacer area... whoops), and the Fitsoks were pretty awesome too. Also, they didn't have my shirt size, but simply had my write down my name and address and offered to mail me one. Podium Sports, the company that puts on the event, is quality in my book.

Thanks to all my readers. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to count all the many blessings in your life. I feel pretty blessed to have such wonderful friends, family, and everything else.

Happy Running!

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