Thursday, November 27, 2008

2008 turkey trot 5k: 22:48

me attempting to finish strong
caleb horton finishing strong
jacob horton finishing strong
the horton boys and the griffith girls post-race scott and i post-race the boys and i sporting our new race shirts

today was the 14th annual thanksgiving day turkey trot 5k. the event set a record with over 5,000 registered participants, making it officially the largest 5k event in the state of missouri. this event was my first event of my second advent as a runner (my last race was in 1991). i returned to running on 9.21.2008 - and logged 67 days of training prior to today. my boys, caleb and jacob, have joined me on a few of my training runs and wanted to participate in this event as their first ever. needless to say, as this day approached i experienced a little bit of nervousness. we made sure that we had all our clothes lined up a day ahead of time, we walked the course together a week ago, and we attempted to arrive at the event location an hour before the start. i remember some of the nervousness back in the first advent of my running life, but it brought new dimensions having children along and wanting to make sure their needs were also addressed. the boys decided to line up with the griffith girls, and i set out on my own to find a place in the starting area.

i opted to start near the back of the seven minute milers, close to the eight minute milers sign. the start of the race was delayed a good ten minutes to give late comers a chance to get in line. that was a bit of a negative, because i was feeling properly warmed up and ready to go, but got a bit cooled down because of the delay. prior to the gun going off, i was encouraged by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law who came to watch and cheer. that was a real positive.

when the gun went off, i attempted to trust my timing chip and not be in too much of a rush to get out of the gate. i immediately was aware that many people did not seem to honor the mile pace signs and i spent the first half mile weaving through slower runners and even getting boxed in on a couple of occasions. i finally got loose after about a half mile and attempted to find my gear. i had recently read an article about 5k strategy and was attempting to apply what i read, which included the first mile being a touch faster than the second, and the second a touch faster than the third. with about 3/4 of a mile down i noticed an intriguing sight in front of me. it was a runner with a gait just like my primary training partner scott griffith. i quickly realized that the runner was scott. i knew scott was attempting to crush his 5k personal record of 24:57 and was attempting to stay on his watch pace of close to seven minutes a mile. i made a decision to tuck in about 20 yards behind him and stick with him (even day dreaming that i might have to step up and out kick him at the finish).

the first mile went by and i was disappointed to realize that nobody had marked the mile. i concluded that i would not be marking my splits, and was a little bummed about that. mile two felt good and i continued to stay about 20 yards behind scott.

we turned the corner on south street, which is the two mile location (no marker though). and this was when i started to go a bit anaerobic. with that anaerobic feeling i let go of my strategy of keeping scott in sight and shifted to willing myself to hang on for one more mile. a good number of people passed me during the next mile, i attempted to encourage myself by framing it that i was providing them with a service (runners often get a good boost by passing another runner).

i feel like i did a fair job of holding on for the rest of the race and i got a bit of a second wind for about the last 600 yards of the race. there is a pretty steep hill prior to the finish and one guy passed me on that, but i returned the favor before we got into the finishing chute.

scott shattered his old 24:57 personal record with a time of 22:25 and i finished 23 seconds behind him with a time of 22:48. i was very satisfied with my time and i felt like i gave 100% of what i had today. just a month ago i timed myself in a full out mile at 7:11, so to average 7:22 for 3.1 miles feels like improvement to me.

my boys set their 5k personal records today: caleb 33:24 (10:47 mile pace) and jacob 36:56 (11:55 mile pace).

i am looking forward to two events in december: the christmas mile on 12.20.2008 and the run for the ranch 10k.
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