Thanksgiving Day 5K
Like many cities in the US, we had a 5K fund raising "Turkey Trot" on Thanksgiving morning. This one has really grown and in our small town we had over 1,300 people show up, donating a truckload of food and many thousands of dollars to our local food bank. I volunteered at packet pick up for several hours on Wednesday afternoon, then ran to the race site, only a couple of miles from our home on Thanksgiving morning.
While most runners were casual about the event and ran with family members, that was not the case for me. In planning for my Boston Marathon training, I had settled on using The Hanson's Marathon Method, which places a strong emphasis on both mileage and pace of every run. They use the finish time of a strong 5K to set speed work. So, I decided to push it and see what I could do over that distance on a cool day.
The race was straightforward. I thought I could go under 8 minutes per mile and I tried to keep it steady. And that's how it worked. Here are my final splits from my Garmin:
I was thrilled with the even splits. Since the course was short, I'm not counting this as a sub 24 5K but the 7:50/mile pace I'll take as I plan for Boston.
A good run gets a reward...see the missing pieces?? Yeah, I ate something besides turkey.
And a Thankful treat was receiving this photo of our newest grandchild on Thanksgiving morning, all of seven weeks old.
Black Friday FA 50K
The next day, a long race awaited. Along with local ultra running friends Kate and Julie, we drove to Chain O' Lakes State park where the Ignite Running Group organized a Black Friday group trail run. We could run as short or long as we wanted, all for free, all with others. Here's the collection of people who showed up.
The trails are very familiar to me; between the HUFF and the Ignite Trail series, I've done 20 some trips on the route. I ran Ignite's 40 mile race last April, have run the HUFF for all seven years it has happened at Chain O Lakes and will run HUFF again on December 29. I like these trails.
About 1/3 of the 20 mile route was single track, the rest wider. Most of it was covered in loose layers of fresh, fallen leaves. This made for some careful running, as I wasn't keen on tripping on any underlying roots or stumps.
The day was beautiful...I ran in shorts the day after Thanksgiving in Indiana...amazing.
A treat in many trail races is the "real food" spread at aid stations. You never see this at road races. The Ignite volunteers are first class and even for a free run they showed up and put three wonderful aid stations spaced over the 20 mile loop. Above you see the spread at the Rally Camp site.
And this is what I picked up at the Schoolhouse Aid station around mile 14...a hot, grilled cheese sandwich and a homemade pumpkin and chocolate chip cookie. So nice to munch on for a couple of miles through the woods.
Over the final couple of miles, I felt my right IT Band get a little tighter. So, rather than continuing on the offered 50K full run, I hung it up after a single loop of the park. Here are the stats and the map of my run.
I was disappointed it took me nearly 5 hours to navigate one circuit of the park. But when I got home, I looked up my time on the same course in April and this pace was a little faster. So, perhaps it's just a tough course.
So, it was a good running holiday. I was able to go quickly on Thursday and then relax and drink in the beauty of a wonderful park on a lovely winter's day on Friday. I'm a lucky guy.