Friday, November 26, 2010

Challenging Yourself on a Day of Indulgence

23rd Annual
Arizona Road Racers Thanksgiving Day Classic
10 Miler, 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run
November 25, 2010

Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie, a glass of wine... all things most people associate with Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a day to enjoy family, friends, and good food.  Most of us watch what we eat through out the year but Thanksgiving gives us permission to forget about calories, indulge, and seems to kick off the eating season.  With shopping, parties, and holiday food there is no end in sight of the calories and delights we get to indulge in.

So what better way to kick off the "silly season" then with a good old fashioned Turkey Trot?  Many cities host them as a way to raise awareness and money for the local food pantry.  Many people participate to help said food pantry and to offset the calories they will later consume.  I thought this was a great idea and a way to challenge myself and kickoff my training for a half marathon only 9 weeks away.

The Arizona Road Racers Thanksgiving Day Classic at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona seemed like the perfect venue for my "Turkey Trot."  The event is for a good cause, close to my mom-in-law's, and my daughter could get a few hours of volunteer time.  

There are three distances, the 5K, the 10 mile, and a 1-mile fun run.  I had not decided which distance to do until about 2 weeks or so before Thanksgiving.  I was torn between the 5K , which I knew I could do well, and the 10 miler, which I knew I could do but how well I wasn't sure.  I opted for the 10 miles to challenge myself, kick off my training, and to mitigate the calories I knew were to come later in the day.  

4:20 AM, the alarm goes off.  I rolled out of bed and started getting my things together that I had mostly assembled the night before.  My darling, supportive hubby rolled over in bed to cuddle with my dog, Java, and said, "I've done and want to do some pretty crazy things, but getting up at 4:20am on Thanksgiving Day to go run 10 miles, is pretty crazy."  I kissed him on the forehead and said I'd see him later at his mom's.  

4:30 AM, woke my darling daughter up and went downstairs to make breakfast.  Coffee, oatmeal with banana for me, and a smoothie for her.  Assembled my various water containers and stuff for the day.  Hubby did come down to wish me luck and told us to have fun.  

5:10AM, we were on the road.  It takes about an hour to get from our house to the Sports Complex.  It was a nice uneventful ride and we arrived safely.

6:10AM, parked and opened the car door.  Holy WIND! Batman!  What the heck?!  Oh my gosh it was cold and freakishly windy!!!  We made our way over to the registration table where we sat for the next hour and a half handing out race numbers and t-shirts. 

7:45AM, the 15 minute warning for the 10 mile start.  Oops!  I need to get my timing chip, grab some stuff from the car and warm up.  I left the table and could barely walk I was so cold and stiff.  Went over got my timing chip and ran to the car.  Discarded a shirt and grabbed a Gatorade.  As I was walking back I couldn't open my Gatorade and a nice medical person saw my plight and helped.  Thank you! Cold fingers, gloves and a handful of things does not make it conducive to opening a bottle.  Off to the starting line I went!

8:00AM, And we are off!  The sun was shining, the crowds were excited, and I couldn't feel my feet.  They didn't feel cold, they didn't hurt, I just couldn't feel them!  Forgot my watch and I lost an earring.  Oh well, had my tunes and was running with a bunch of other 'crazy' people on a glorious morning.  

1.5 miles in, my feet finally started to warm up and feeling was coming back, thank goodness!  The crowd started to thin out and I could concentrate on my pace.  Take it easy, 10 miles is a long way.  We continued to run straight into the wind, at times it would gust a feel really cold, but mostly it was just a force to be run against.  

The route was along a canal and traversed the bottom, so a few ups and downs away from traffic.  It was nice and the ups were a little of a challenge but nothing to hard and the downs were nice to speed up the leg turn over.  

4 miles, they didn't have very many mile markers and with no watch I had no real idea of where I was, which was probably for the better.  I was forced to keep a controlled and steady pace.  

5 miles, the turn around! Yea! Now I knew what to expect on the way back and had an idea of where to push it.  I still maintained a steady pace, I mean I still had 5 miles to go!  Somewhere around 5.5 miles I came across a lady who was limping.  I asked her if she needed help and she asked if I would have someone come and get her.  Not sure what she did but apparently her knee had seized.  I picked up my pace a bit as I knew there was a water stop up a head.  Another lady had passed me and got to the water stop just before me and was already talking to them about the runner in need.  I stopped to make sure and then went on my way.

8.5-ish miles, decided now was a good time to really pick it.  Now when I say really pick it up, I'm talking about me, my fast is not your fast, nor is your fast mine or say someone like an Olympic athlete's fast.  So fast, slow, picking it up, are all relative.  I kept the next half-mile a little more conservative but faster then before.

9 miles, I thought okay here we go, I was going to really push, and then the wind pushed back!  Hard!  What happened to having a tailwind?  We had a headwind going, shouldn't we have a tailwind coming back?  Okay, no tailwind and the headwind was stronger then before.  Made it back onto the property of the sports complex and knew that I wanted to give it all I had to the finish.  There was teenager and I'm guessing mom, that I had seen through out and two other people that had obviously finished but came back to cheer the boy and mom on.  I passed them as the finishers were telling the boy and mom to get ready to sprint that the finish was just around the corner.  I picked it up and then heard the boy's feet behind me as he surged to the end.  

10 miles, I wasn't sure which clock belonged to the 10 milers as I sprinted across the finish line.  It didn't matter, I felt great, and would find my time out later.  Turns out my chip time was 1:48:02, which is great for me, remember speed is relative.  

All in all it was a great event.  We went on to have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner prepared by my mom-in-law, wonderful company, and this morning I was down a pound!  Next year I want to run 10 miles on Turkey Day again!

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