IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Turkey Trot

For the first time in over 12 years, I only had one place to go for Thanksgiving dinner. This meant I had a little bit of free time in the morning, so I signed up for the local Turkey Trot. This little 4 mile run has become quite popular in the short time it has been in existence.

Although the weather reports bragged of the beautiful, unseasonably warm weather we would have this Thanksgiving Day, the temperature was a mere 32 degrees when I left my house. You know, I am really getting tired of this cold weather and we really haven't even hit the cold stuff yet here in Chicago! I have a serious problem of trying to keep my fingers and toes warm, so I need to wear 2 pairs of socks and 2 sets of gloves on a day like today.

Seeing as I had already picked up my packet earlier in the week, we arrived with less than 30 minutes before the race's start. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of friends who had also shown up to race. Every time I turned around, I ran into someone else I knew. We gathered quickly to try and get a photo taken, only my digital camera was dead. What a bummer! Just after that, it was suggested that we get in a short warm-up. Well, I ususally don't do any type of warm up, however, I was extremely chilly and I thought the warm up may do me well.

We weaved our way around the crowd and headed out for a quick jaunt. Almost immediately, my face was frozen. It wasn't very windy, but the cold, brisk air was biting at every piece of exposed skin on my body (just really my face and wrists). I pulled my sleeves lower and yanked my gloves on up as far as I could. Unfortunately, I had nothing to cover my face with, so I just hoped that I'd warm up quickly. My toes, double layer of socks and all, were numb. With every step, I felt like I was going to trip over my own feet because I couldn't tell where they ended and the pavement began.

The warm up ended abruptly as we really didn't know which way was best to go, so we all headed back to the starting line so we wouldn't be late. I asked around where the starting line was. There was a white line painted on the street, but there were so many people standing in front of it, I figured that couldn't be right. I tried to maneuver my way to the front of the crowd and found someone I knew. I asked what pace he planned to run and I immediately knew I had gone too far. I now had to move my way back further into the pack of runners.

Just as I found a spot that looked like I wouldn't be in anyone's way, I turned around to face the direction the race was to start. Before I could even look for anyone I knew, the gun went off. WAIT, I'm not ready! I fumbled for my watch (stuffed deeply underneath one of my gloves that I had pulled up as far as I could on my wrist) and hit the start button. Off we went!

That arctic air was once again stinging my face and making my lungs hurt just a little. I did a little weaving around some slower runners, but given the small size of the crowd, it was quite easy to find a space to run in that was comfortable. Several young guys weaved around me (oops) and I tried to find a comfortable pace. These days, I don't even know what that pace is, other than by feel. I haven't worn a heart rate monitor in months and my times seem to jump all over the place. The main thing I was worried about was the hamstring I pulled earlier in the week.

We rounded the first corner and were faced with a pretty steep hill. It looked deceivingly easy and as I panted up that hill, I felt my heart rate rise very quickly. My breath was labored and I felt out of control and figured I'd better slow down. Almost immediately, I felt that pull in my hamstring again. It's not a drop-down-on-the-ground-and-writh-in-pain injury. It's nagging, letting you know it's there. I'm less than one mile into this race and I have no idea how many more hills there are like this on this course! And I'm not about to ruin my upcoming marathon by trashing my hamstring on a Turkey Trot! Other men were regularly passing me and I tried to stick with each one as they went by. It wasn't working.

I saw the mile 2 marker coming up ahead and I still wasn't ready to take off my headband. I was no longer cold, however, I wasn't hot enough to remove the headband NOR the second set of gloves I was wearing. The one thing I FORGOT to take off before the race started was the windbreaker I was wearing. Oops. And it wasn't a throw-away. I hoped I would see a familiar face along the course somewhere that I could just rip off the jacket and throw it and ask they give it to me at the end of the race, but that never happened. Everyone I knew was running!

Ah well, who cares how hot I get, it's only 4 miles, right? Mile 3 came up very quickly and by the split time on my watch, it was my fastest mile of the race. Home stretch, I thought. I was still very aware of the pain eminating from my left hamstring, but I really didn't want to stop. It wasn't getting worse. Let's just see if I could keep it going. Unfortunately, those nasty hills from the first mile were the same nasty hills that the race ended with. I was breathing so hard, I thought everyone around me was wondering if I was going to pass out or not. I felt like my heart was going to explode right out of my chest. But I kept pounding up the hill knowing that I would recover very quickly once I hit the downhill portion.

With just about 200 meters to go, Mel, the race director, was out there cheering for all the runners, telling us we looked great and the finish was just ahead. It was a special little touch and I smiled at him as I ran by. I definitely had no breath available to talk at this time! As I neared the finish line, several men sprinted past me. I had no sprint. I was done. Step by step, the music was getting louder and I could see the finish clock more clearly. I knew I was getting slower and tried my best to hold it together until I crossed that finishline. I saw several people I knew already finished and cheering others on. I couldn't even smile to them at this point.

And just as quickly as the race started for me, it was over as I heaved myself over the finish line and heaved a big sigh of relief. It was over. I was still standing. My hamstring was throbbing a bit, and I hoped I hadn't done any serious damage. I reunited with my friends, shared race stories, stuck around for the raffle (I didn't win anything) and awards, we wished each other Happy Thanksgiving and left. Another race for the books.

It's happiness to run on Thanksgiving morning!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Artic?

kk said...

I'd say you won something....a trophy and 2nd place in your age group, as well as an amazing fnishing time. How could you forget that in your race report!?!

Anonymous said...

Artic?

Anonymous said...

At least you raced while most people just sat and pigged out all day!!