Sunday, November 11, 2012

the 5k challenge: #5 the iron turkey

i'll preface this race recap with the following two things:

1) there are few things worse in the running world than a disorganized race

2) the human body in an amazing thing

saturday, november 10th, was the day of the veteran's day turkey trot. the turkey trot had two races to pick from; a 5k and a 10k. if you chose to do both the 5k and the 10k, you would be competing in the "iron turkey" and be awarded with a special t-shirt and medal. as soon as brandon and i read the words "iron turkey" on the race website, it was a no brainer that we would try and do the 5k + 10k race. at the time, we were running pretty consistently and had ample time to train for such an event.

oh, did i mention this was my first 10k race EVER? yeah, i barely believed it myself, but i've never actually done or entered in a 10k race during my entire 12 years of running. pretty amazing!

race day came pretty quickly, and if you happened to see my previous blog post, you'll know that due to various reasons, we hadn't run in three weeks when race day finally came. yikes. but brandon and i are pretty spirited and determined people. we knew we could do the 5k easily. it was the 10k after that might be the problem. so we agreed to take both races nice and slow. our goal for the 5k was around a 10 minute/mile pace. our goal for the 10k was just to finish.

the morning of race day was an unseasonably warm 50 degrees in michigan, but still a cold chill that could get inside your bones. i went with layers for both races; thin running tights, shorts, dry fit long sleeve and a dry fit t-shirt. i also brought a change of dry fit long sleeve shirt and socks for the 10k race, knowing all too well i would be sweaty after the 5k and get chilled very quickly. nothing worse than having the sweat-chills before you even begin another run!

since i didn't have anything turkey themed or veteran's day themed to wear for the race, i opted to support my alma matter, michigan state. i went all out with my green and white and i'm pretty sure my spartan toughness helped get me through both races!

fear the spartans!

brandon and i also tried to be smart about our hydration and fuel for both races. we had endrolyte tabs at home, before we left for the race, followed by a gel in the car as we pulled into the race parking lot. normally i would never have a gel (or much of anything) before a 5k race, but because we were fueling for both the 5k and 10k, any amount of caloric energy we could get into our bodies was really important. not enough calories = not enough energy to run! we also prepped energy for the in between time after the 5k and before the 10k; i made a bottle of accelerade and brandon made a bottle of the protein drink from our gym. lastly, i made a bottle of endurox protein drink for post-race. it's a protein powder designed by the same folks at accelerade that's specifically for post-activity recovery. (we ended up having only 10 minutes in between races, which was not enough time to finish the accelerade i had prepped)

okay, onto race specifics. the 5k was one loop around a nicely wooden and scenic park. the 10k was two loops of the same course. all together, we'd be running the same course three times, which is a little mind numbing, especially by the time you get into that last lap. the race had a pretty large attendance, both for the 5k and the 10k. i was impressed at the number of people doing both - lots of iron turkeys out there! given this was a public park course, the running path was pretty narrow. this meant the first part of the race was pretty crowded until racers started to thin out as they got into their race paces. the course also had three subtle, rolling hills which wouldn't seem daunting but they added up over the length of the course. by the time i hit the third hill on my third lap i'd about had enough of hills and glute muscles and turkeys.

the race start and end was also very narrow and extremely crowded. however, once you got up to the start line and the chip activator, you could run right away, so there wasn't too much lag from that perspective. navigating the crowd was the worst part, especially as you are trying to move away from the finish line to somewhere less crowded where you could breathe.

i mentioned earlier that the human body is an amazing thing. this is because, despite having not run in three weeks prior to this race, my body was resilient. it picked back up my running stride with ease and powered through both races, even when i struggled to get across the finish line of the 10k. i'm always impressed by what the human body can do (even though a lot of what it can do grosses me out) and this was certainly one of those times where i was more than thankful for the body i have and how hard it works for me. that being said, i wasn't without problems during the race. about 2.5 miles into the 10k, i started to have knee pressure and an incredibly weird sensation in my foot. my foot felt like it was somewhat numb, but at the same time my toes felt like they were going to explode. it almost seemed like there was a warm liquid around my toes and in my socks, like blood, though i knew there wasn't. the smart thing would've been to stop running and check things out, but this has happened before after i get into higher mileage and i was too stubborn to stop and i was hell bent on finishing the 10k without stopping. after i finished and could get to some open grass, i flung my shoe off to investigate and didn't see anything alarming going on with my feet. we (brandon, my mother and i) suspect my shoes may be too tight (shoe laces and the overall shoe), so i sat for a good long time after the race with my feet above my head, trying to drain my blood. fun, eh?

the biggest let down of the day, and the disorganization i spoke about earlier, was that the race ran out of both the t-shirts and the medals for the iron turkey participants. i'm sure this may sound like a petty thing to whine about, but when a racer preregisters for a race, there is no excuse to not have enough shirts and medals for those racers. ways to solve this problem include having both the t-shirt and medal in a designated spot to be picked up after the race, handed out by checking bib numbers or setting aside the t-shirts and medals for preregistered people and having a separate line for those folks. it can't be that hard to get this part right. brandon and i didn't get the t-shirts at the beginning of the race, but we still held that medal in our minds as a carrot in front of horse motivation tactic to get us through the 10k. and when we finished a tough 6.2 miles and found we had no medals to collect, our hearts sank and we wondered why we even signed up for the iron turkey in the first place. we quickly changed our mindset and recognized we were proud of our race, medal or not, but it is very disappointing to not have that shiny badge of honor around your neck when you were anticipating the feel of victory.

since i have no medal or t-shirt, i don't have a lot of fun pictures to share, but i will post some if brandon and i ever do get our race schwag. fingers crossed.

our times for the day were just about where we wanted them. i have an unofficial time of 30:25 for the 5k, and 1 hour and 4 minutes for the 10k. pretty solid pacing and sticking to our goals - can't complain about that! plus, i completed my first 10k race ever, with a time i know i can smash if i ever want to race this distance again. 

overall, would i do this race again? maybe just the 5k, but definitely not the iron turkey or the 10k. the loops were too redundant for me and i could deal without the crowds on a narrow path. plus, the lack of medals and t-shirts left an overall sour note in my mouth and i would rather avoid races where the organization isn't top notch. 

1 comment:

  1. I hope you get your race swag, that's a total bummer. I love getting the medals at the end and the sense of accomplishment. It's still awesome that you did great in the race of course, but I get it. :) Sometimes my foot/toes feel numb if my calf muscles are really tight, that's the issue I was having in the beginning of my 20 this weekend. Great job on the races!


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