Fairmount Turkey Trot: Race Report

Here we are again.  It is Thanksgiving day and it is time to earn that Turkey.  Actually, I was roasting a chicken but still one of my favorite races of the fall.  Okay it is the only regular race of the fall but I love me some 5 mile Turkey Trot, the Fairmount Park Turkey Trot..  I woke up nice and early and got myself ready and made the trek all the way to Philly from Newark.  I got there and ambled my way to the registration table and I got a great surprise.  Rae who was spending the week with her grandparents ran up and tackled me with a big hug. 

Eitherway, I got registered and my kick ass tee shirt of which I was wearing last years.  Yes, that is how we show our status.  It is like wearing the shirt of th band that you are going to see.  We wear last years shirt or if your are at a marathon expo you wear some other marathon shirt.  That way people know you are no rookie.  Any who, I had decided to wear last years shirt even though I could have chosen from the previous three years last years seemed best.  Though last years shirt would have been okay to run in i decided to up the ante and put on a long sleeve technical shirt.  Not just any long sleeve technical shirt but my Goofy challenge shirt.  Yes I was feeling smug.  I may as well have been driving a hybrid. 

Well, it turns out that there was some construction on the usual route so there was a little re-route but nothing significant and it was not going to really affect the course that much.  So all of that was explained and I was getting ready.  There we were “Reluctantly Crouched at the Starting Line” and the horn is sounded and we were off and if felt good.  Okay, if felt a little tight but that is how all my races and runs go. 

I loosened up and I was moving.  Actually the weird part was I was not doing a lot of passing.  This may have been the first time in my return to running that I may have lined up just right.  I was moving and it was good.  Well, I figured I would get a pace adjustment as I passed the mile marker but for some reason I missed the clock.  I still don’t remember if there was one.  In the past there has bee but this time I just seemed to miss it.  I was just smoking past the back of the Please Touch Museum and then through the gate and turned right by the Japanese gardens and past the naked wrestlers.  Back out the gate and to the trail which had been re-paved since last year. 

I hit the home stretch turn and saw the finish line and Rae who took and awesome picture.  As I crossed the finish line I saw the clock and it said 19:20 something.  I was going to break 40 minutes again.  It would not be the first time but the first time since I got injured in ’08.  So I started to push a little harder.  I thought I would slow a little in the middle of the second lap.  It was actually starting to burn a little.  I had gotten some water that I needed and it was on.  As I passed what would have been the 3.5 mile mark I think I saw the clock that was supposed to be the 1 mile clock but it was not functioning.  I think.  Eitherway, it was really starting to burn and it felt even better.  As I rounded the Naked wrestlers again I knew this was special.  I hit the newly paved trail and though I was not really able to reel anybody in I was still kicking.

One turn to the left and home stretch it was.  I was moving and moving fast.  I saw the clock and it was just hitting 37 minutes.  Thats right.  I tried to push harder but I was already sprinting so more push was not more speed.  Then it happen I crossed the finish line and I crossed it at 37:37.  That’s right a 7:31 mile, a shattered PR and a big time negative split.

What a race and I was back.  I could not believe.  I have been going for the negative split thing but by a whole minute.  I cannot wait for next year.

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I’m Back…I hurt

It was the funniest thing.  It was like being at the start of another Marathon.  I was so nervous.  I wasn’t sure I should do it and even when I decided to do I was not sure if I would finish.  Lets face it I haven’t had the will power I used to have.  Since two successive injuries and two big lay-offs I was unsure that I could ever really get back into my groove.  My speed is gone and I am back on my old regiment of Advil.  It was weird.  The other part of the thing is that I could cheat and cut everything short.  But I did it any way.  I decided that there was no pressure just go and keep going.  LSD, baby.  I had my first 20 mile run back.

What a great feeling.  I could not believe I was nervous about this.  Well, see here, Delaware is so damn small that I am hard pressed to find a way to run a 20 miler.  I had thought about running around Wilmington till I hit the Y at about the 10 mile point and turn around but if you looked at the elevation profile I would be climbing in and out of the Brandywine River Valley at least 4 times.  I could do it but I didn’t want to.  Then is struck me.  Over the summer I was biking on Sunday’s into Fairmount Park in Philly.  The main drag around the SureKill River is about 8 and a half.  All I need to do is extend that out another 1.5 and then I got a 10 mile loop.  Plus, if I park at one point I can store fuel and water at the car for pick up at 1 lap and there is a water fountain at another point for extra hydration.  Great, I had a plan and an route I was off to a great start.

Hiccup #1.  It is winterery in Philly (and Delaware) right now and they have turned the water off to the water fountain.  The good part is that it is winter and I really don’t dehydrate much in the winter.  At least all they did was turn off the water and not turn on the sand.  That would have been embarrassing to get a mouth full of sand from the fountain.  (Think about it.  Now shake you head in annoyance.)  I moved on.  There was a nice wind and the wind chill was around 10F at best.  Even better.  I am running along the boat house row and then I see Rowers out on the water practicing.  People think know I am crazy. Either way I was so stunned I was chicked.  That was okay, I was on LSD. 

No I was not running high.  That would come later.  L.S.D =  Long Slow Distance.  And I was doing just that.  I at one point was feeling real great and was going fast.  I said to myself. “Self, slow down and conserve it is still early.”  Self said,”Awww, but the brain is saying go harder.”

“What did I tell you about that Brain”

Self submits” Brain bad, I know.  Slow down commencing.”

And I did ease up a little.  I crossed the bridge and all was going well.  Then the Hiccup #B happened.  One of the gates I was hoping to be open was closed.  So I rerouted.  It took me about an eighth of a mile out of my way.  Whats a half of a lap among friends.  Either way I got back to the car and was feeling great.  I had only almost gotten run down twice by the same woman in some suburban assault vehicle on a cell phone.  I really need to carry a paint ball gun.  Either way, I decided that I did not want to deal with the head wind on the long stretch on the other end of the river so I reversed course.  This is where the Three Way Wind came in to play.  I should have known better.

Either way all was going great.  The very next day was the Philly Marathon and I was running by the course.  I saw the Porto-Lets being set up and the First Aid Station tents up and ready.  I thought about the First Aid tents as I ran by them and realized they should be called the “Oh My Gawd, What Have I Gotten Myself Into Tents”

About this time, the best thing happened.  My knees started to hurt.  You might not think of this a bad but I measure my injury recovery by when my old injuries started to hurt again.  I did not feel my heal or my hip or the feet hurt.  My knee’s ached.  What a great feeling.

Well, I finished strong and then came the worst part.  I was describing it to Rachael yesterday as we were watching the Indy Iron-Man on Vs.  The worst part of any race, the finish.  I hate stopping.  I could have run another lap and gave it some serious thought but instead I stopped and celebrated a little before it all came crashing down.

Either way, I am back.  20 miles down and no real issues.  Oh yeah, did I mention that I hurt.  I’ll be running this evening for a shake down.  Wish me luck.