Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tacoma City Turkey Trot 5k 2015

For every Thanksgiving since college, including the past five years since I've been running, I've not only been somewhere that's not home, but schedules have worked out that I've been traveling wherever that is on Thursday morning. I've always wanted to do a Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning, but never been able to.

Finally, this year it worked out to travel to Tacoma (where we were all convening, and where my sister and aunt live) on Wednesday, leaving Thursday morning totally open. But the holiday is about being with family... so I talked my immediate family into doing a turkey trot, too! (My parents and sister - Abe's done plenty of races with me, so he went to explore to new-to-him disc golf courses instead.)

My dad used to run (and did the occasional race), but this was my mom's and sister's first race ever! They all walked; when I first talked to my mom about it I told her I'd walk with her, but since she had others to walk with her I went ahead and ran.

My parents did packet pickup for all of us Wednesday afternoon, since Abe and I got in a little later in the evening, but it sounds like it went smoothly. There were a few minor organization issues the day of: my parents had been told at packet pickup that the Fleet Feet store would be open for people to hang out in before the race, and it wasn't (at least when we went by about 45 minutes before the race start time). The people manning tables for day-of pickup seemed to be willy nilly trying to hand out bags to anyone walking by, rather than having some system to give them to people who were actually getting their bibs. The race also started about 10 minutes late, with no announcement that was audible at the back of the lineup as to why or when we would actually start. 

Things went fine once we got going, though. It was a small-ish race, just over a thousand people, so there weren't waves or corrals, but people seeded themselves decently and it was easy to get settled into a nice pace as people spread out. There were friendly volunteers at every turn directing runners and helping traffic. 

The Tacoma City Turkey Trot takes place in the North End of Tacoma, the course being a loop that starts in a small shopping area (by the host running store), and mostly goes through residential areas with pretty older homes. While cautioned to arrive at least an hour before the 9 am start to ensure close parking, we go there closer to 8:20, and quickly found a spot two blocks away; as we walked to the start we also saw more spaces even closer, including in the Safeway lots in the block behind the start. 

It was definitely chilly (right around freezing) at the start; more of a problem for running than walking (e.g., more discrepancy between number of layers needed for before and during), but we were able to go across the street a Starbucks to stay inside for a bit. We headed over the start line about 10 til 9, and then waited about 20 minutes for the race to actually start. 

I was nearer the back of the pack with my parents, but started running and didn't have to do much weaving once people spread out. Since I haven't been doing any real training since the marathon, plus have enough to worry about in trying to get pregnant without adding additional stressors like a PR-effort race (TMI: knew I was on the verge of ovulating, so didn't want to delay it if it hadn't happened yet; had I been earlier in my cycle I might have tried to see what I was currently capable of), I wasn't going all out, but just putting forth a solid, tempo, hard but not breathing that hard, kind of effort.

Mile splits: 11:26, 11:11, 10:41, 8:35

For only being a slightly hard effort, I'm pretty happy with my time, official of 34:08. Of course, as I got close to the end and saw I was just over an 11:00 average, I had to give it a final kick to bring it down. :)

Once I crossed the finish line, I ran back about a half mile on the course to see the rest of my family. My sister ended up finishing in a bit under an hour, and our parents in about 1:03. At the beginning of the race, since they started near the back and were walking, at one point they realized they were literally last - but that motivated them to walk faster! They ended up with more than 20 people finishing after them, but I also witnessed plenty of walkers cutting the course at the corner where I was watching (it was sort of easy to do accidentally, if you weren't paying attention, but obviously the volunteer there wasn't doing a great job), so they probably actually beat at least 30 or 40. 

Once I saw my parents, I ran back to the finish line, arriving just in time to hear my sister's name being announced, and then wait a few minutes for the parents. Despite the cold, my mom had fun (she routinely walks 45-ish minutes several times a week for exercise, so this was a little bit of a stretch in terms of distance/duration but not tons), and said this would be a fun Thanksgiving tradition to keep up! 

Despite the delayed start and minor disorganization, I enjoyed the race, and would definitely do it again on years when our Thanksgiving is in Tacoma. The course seems like it would be relatively PR-friendly if you were trying, some slight inclines and maybe more turns than ideal but mostly pretty flat. Parking really isn't that hard to come by, and it's near a Starbucks and a Safeway (in case you need anything last minute for Thanksgiving dinner!) After the race there were at least bananas and water bottles (wasn't paying much attention if there was more, it was basic but sufficient, I think); but there wasn't any water on the course - even though the weather was cold, with walkers being out there for over an hour I think one water stop would be nice. The shirt is cute. It's a good number of people - the course didn't feel crowded after the first couple minutes, but even nearer the end where my parents were they weren't so spread out that you couldn't see other people either. It was very friendly to all abilities, with plenty of walkers and also lots of speedy finishers.

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