The 2014 Tacoma City Turkey Trot 5K occurred on Thanksgiving morning, at a time early enough to not interfere with turkey dinners but late enough that one can take advantage of the holiday and sleep in a bit. This was my third consecutive running of the 3rd annual Turkey Trot, which is set in one of Tacoma’s most vibrant shopping districts, Proctor. This event has become a family tradition, with my kids usually running the 1K and my husband having run the 5K in the past, and we always enjoy meeting up with our friends at the race.
This year was no different in the friend-department, although my husband didn’t run (he’s still nursing a hip flexor issue that struck him during the SeaWheeze). My daughter didn’t either, preferring instead to have a sleepover with cousins.
Aimee and I ran from her house to the race start in order to do a short, mile-long warm-up. Our friend P ran with us as well. I felt decent during the warm-up but slightly apprehensive about the race. I wanted to PR but knew the likelihood of that was slim, considering the Turkey Trot is a more challenging course than the Mustache Dache (my current PR). Oh–and it was windy as hell.
Headwinds are not my friends.
I therefore decided to just see how I felt and, if I felt good, to go for it.
Once we arrived at the race, I found my coach, Kris, and multiple friends and their kids. The weather was balmy (55 degrees at race-start) and everyone was cheerful because we were experiencing a break from the heavy rains we had been receiving.
As we lined up to start, about 30 feet back from the line, I realized I had neglected to wear my Garmin. Argh! The last time I raced without a Garmin was at the 2012 Sound to Narrows 12K, when I ran my first mile in something like 6:30 and my last in about 9:30. Ugly.
I knew at that point, waiting for the race to begin, that I was not likely to PR, because–although I’ve improved since the Sound to Narrows with running by feel–I haven’t mastered it.
The race started at 9:00 and we were off, Kris taking off like a bullet and Aimee following her. I hung back and tried to keep my pace in that place between “This is really uncomfortable” and “I think I can do this for 3 miles but….” I kept running at that pace as we left the commercial part of the Proctor District and entered residential streets, down a hill and the up a hill, and then west toward the University of Puget Sound.
As I approached UPS (as we townies call it), the headwind was battering me. Additionally, my friend M ran up alongside me and started chatting. He was obviously in a different place, comfort-wise, and smiled and talked while I struggled to spit out complete sentences to respond. He’s a super nice guy but I just could not talk. Not during a 5K, and especially not when I’m running into a headwind. I’m not in that good of shape.
M ended up taking off, probably because I was running too slowly (or being a crappy conversationalist) and I crept back into the zone. I could see Aimee in front of me but Kris wasn’t visible anymore. I kept plugging along and, as we turned west and then north, heading back towards Proctor and the finish, I began to close the gap separating me and Aimee.
Finally, I crested the last incline of the race–which was small but still an incline, and not what I like to see at the end of a 5K–and I knew the end was near. I had caught up to Aimee and started to run alongside her as we made the last turn, about 100 yards from the finish line. As I did so, she started to speed up and so did I. Next thing I knew, we were racing.
Like complete dorks.
Thanks to P’s husband, J, who took these glamour shots of Aimee and me, sprinting.
I ended up keeping that sprint until about 25 feet from the finish, when it dawned on me that I probably looked foolishness that I might faint if I kept up that pace. I was also disappointed at that point to see my gun time was nearly 24 minutes, which would be over 30 seconds slower than my usual 5K time.
Aimee and I caught up with Kris in the finish area and collected our mugs, which are handed out to the first 150 finishers, and then went to check out our times at the results tent. I ended up running 23:43 with an average pace of 7:39. Disappointing, but not surprising considering the wind and the inability to track my pace and time with a Garmin. Live and learn. Garmin: Don’t leave home without it.
Although my time was my worst in the history of my Turkey Trots, the field must have been slower in general because I still placed in my age group. And so did Kris–who won our age group–and Aimee. So of course we just had to pose with our ribbons and mugs.
You can tell how excited we are by our eyebrows.
Looped, relatively flat course with the exceptions of a 2-blocks-length hill in the first mile and a half-block-length hill right before the Mile 3 marker (net elevation gain approximately 75 feet). Not that fast for some reason, though, maybe owing to multiple turns for such a short race. Some of the residential roads on the course are pocked with potholes, which aren’t fun to dodge. Also, I’m not a big fan of 5Ks. Sorry, guys. They hurt.
Easy and flexible packet pick-up, either the day before at Fleet Feet (where the race starts and finishes) or on race morning. The Race Director allows runners to pick up bibs for other runners, too, which is very groovy. Not sure about the porta potty situation because I’ve never noticed them, which could be a bad thing.
Swag: B+ (for a 5K)
I love the mugs that are handed out to the top 150 finishers, and have started collecting them (although I dropped by 2013 mug within 10 minutes of receiving it, and still mourn that fact). I also appreciate that this race hands out a technical T, which is unusual for a 5K, but the shirt is black and the design is lame. They make good throwaway shirt for chilly race-starts, though!
This is a fun, family-friendly race with a small-town atmosphere, and it will remain a tradition for our family for years to come… even if I can’t run it quickly.