Ray's Blog

Sunday, February 26, 2006

2003 November 27: Piedmont Turkey Trot

This is a Thanksgiving day 5K race in the little hamlet of Piedmont
(where my uncle and his family live).  Last year, lots of my
family members participated in the inaugural running of this race: my
uncle Steve; his two sons, Joel and Jonathon; and my two brothers, Dan
and Larry.  Due to minor circumstances, I didn't run last year,
but I was rarin' to go this year.  My brother Larry led the family
with some kind of pretty ridiculous time (18:40 or something) last
year, and so I was all set to take him down a few notches.  This
year, my brothers weren't around to run this race (so I wasn't really competing against Larry
directly), but my uncle and his two sons ran again.  Since the
race started kind of earlyish, I stayed with my uncle's family the
night before the race (Thanksgiving Eve).

Now, Piedmont's a hilly place, and I'm not accustomed to running on
hills.  But I figured that I could put up with anything for 20
minutes.  It turned out that I was kind of wrong-- I really should
do some more hill training, and (probably more important!) I really
should do some more speed
training.  (I don't run a lot of races, and the races that I do
run tend to be significantly longer than 5K.  Basically, I'm not
used to running fast!)

It was pretty chilly and windy at the start of the race. 
Everybody milled around, working hard to stay warm before the
start.  When the race started, it was a relief to me and (I'm
sure) lots of other folks.

I started out at a pretty good pace.  In fact, I went faster than
I should have up the very first hill, and I think I felt the results of
that for the rest of the race.  After a mile or so, I was a bit
ahead of my uncle, but then I started slowing down.  Folks started
passing me after that (it's a small race, so it's not like I got passed
by 1,000 runners!  Maybe every minute or two, someone went by me)
until the end of the race.

The last part of the course is a downhill back to Piedmont High School
(the beginning and end of the race).  I was able to speed up a bit
there, although I was worried about spending myself too quickly, since
I didn't have a good feel for how much was left.  At the finish
line, I was pretty winded, and after running like that in the cold, I
had a low-grade hacky cough for most of the day.

I ended up taking 19th place overall with a time of
20:11.  My uncle Steve won his age group and took 9th
overall at 19:13, and Jonathan and Joel came in in 23:something and
25:something, I think.  The race information page isn't up right
now, so I can't check on all this or get more details.

My aunt Carrie was waiting at the finish line to cheer all of us on.

This was a really nice way to start Thanksgiving.  It was a
pleasant suburban course, and there were lots of funny little prizes
for the top finishers in each division.  My uncle won a
subscription to the local paper and a bottle of fancy olive oil!

In comparison, on Thanksgiving of 2001, Larry and I ran the big Manchester Road Race but
I actually didn't enjoy it at all because of how many runners were
there.  It was so crowded that (unless you started near the front,
which we didn't) one could do little more than a slow jog for the first
three miles or so, and the view was for most of the race was pretty
much just a collection of jostling bodies.  (Despite this, I
somehow managed to pull a butt muscle that day, and it bothered me for
several months.)


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