Monday, November 26, 2012

Race Report: HCC Turkey Trot 5k

Well lookie there! A race report!  I can hardly believe I'm writing one.

At the beginning of the month my physical therapist Steve gave me the ok to run/walk the annual Hagerstown Community College Turkey Trot 5k. I did the race last year with BFF - after sticking with her for one mile I set out on my own for the final 2 and ended up with a time of 27:47. It was a nice way to start Thanksgiving, and since I was again in Hagerstown this year, I was anxious to do it again.

But I was also pretty nervous about doing this race. Even though one of the things I want to do most in the world is just go out and run like I used to, part of me is still afraid to do it. I think that's what I hate the most about this broken foot - a nagging voice in my brain will forever be there wondering if what I'm doing will cause the bone to break again. Every time I run it is in the back of my mind, and I'm afraid it will never go away. This being my first "race" since the break, I couldn't stop wondering if I was pushing it, if I was going to re-break myself somehow, or if it was really going to hurt.

Anyhow, Thanksgiving morning in Hagerstown was cold and cloudy. I stalled at my parents' house for as long as possible because standing outside in the cold was not appealing to me. After scraping off my frosted windshield, Husband and I headed to the community college.

Once again, I was meeting BFF, her husband, and her mother. BFF was running late, so I went into the gymnasium to pick up our packets. I then sat on the floor for at least 20 minutes trying to figure out how to attach my timing chip to my shoe.

Seriously... I hate these things.
  Once I finally figured out how to attach the timing chip (duh, plastic cables that I didn't realize were in the baggie), I talked Husband into taking a pre race photo for me.

 We hung out in the gymnasium waiting for BFF and her husband (BFFH)) to arrive. Finally I spotted BFFH and BFF wasn't far behind. They were much quicker about getting their bibs and timing chips on, so we had enough time to take a pre-race photo.

Yep, that's BFF. She's cooking herself a turkey, so she wasn't going to run.

After photos, announcements asked us all to move outside so we did (begrudgingly). Husband went to get a seat on the bleachers next to the finish line, which was inside of the gymnasium. We lined up at the back of the pack of about 1400 runners and accidentally talked through 3/4 of the national anthem.

My plan was to do my run 1 minute-walk 1 minute routine for the entire 5k, barring any pain or unforseen circumstances. After the test run with Greg on the vita course, I figured it would take me around 40 minutes to complete the course, so that was my goal.

Somehow I managed to convince BFFH that he should come along on the run/walk with me. Mind you, he has not run like... ever. But he was a good sport and said he'd try to stay with me. After the starting gun, it took us a while to actually cross the line and when we did, BFFH and I started off with a running minute. Because we had started way in the back we were not able to move very quickly - the course was extremely crowded with lots of walkers, people with dogs, and people with children and strollers. I tested my foot big time, dodging in and out and running on the grass alongside the road to pass people.

Once we got past the main group of walkers we were able to maintain a pretty decent average pace of ~11:00 minute miles. When we were running I'd estimate we were moving along at about a 9 minute pace, and when we walked we were booking it.

BFFH held up very well during the first mile and a half and then I could tell he was getting tired. I tried to keep him talking during the running minute and had some fun playing personal running coach to him (come on, just 10 more seconds then we can walk!). When more room started to free up around us we started doing games during the running minute. BFFH really was a good sport - I know it was hard for him but having someone doing the run/walk routine with me was immensely helpful.

As we came within sight of the gymnasium, I decided I was going to go all out and haul a$$ to the finish no matter what. I was feeling great. There was no pain and I wasn't even breathing hard (at all). So I opened the throttle and took off. I wish that I had a fancy Garmin that could tell me exactly how fast I ran during the last .25 mile because it felt like the speed of light to me.

I flew past people left and right and sped over the finish line. It felt awesome. My Garmin moving time was 33:09 (total time, 33:38... I'm guessing the discrepency happened when I stopped to tie my shoe). This is a PR for SLOWEST 5K TIME EVER. Yay?!

Even though I hate run/walk, I do love the crazy pace chart it creates.

Husband's main purpose in coming was to provide moral support and also to take photos and/or video of my finish. Unfortunately, he failed on that count. Instead we took some post race photos while we waiting for BFF and her momma to finish.

Personally, I couldn't have been happier with my performance. Despite the run/walk routine, it only took me 6 more minutes to complete the race over last year. I had no pain whatsoever throughout the course. Even though it made me nervous to do so, changing directions, darting in between other runners, and going "off road" felt fine. My breathing remained calm and steady throughout the race too... giving me hope that I didn't lose as much cardio during my time off as I feared.

Now I'm looking forward to this Saturday's Jingle Bell Run 5k , the second race in my "Back in the Saddle Series." Marcey (aka HMR) and I are going to run it together and I picked up some fun surprise accessories for us.


  1. It made me very happy to read this! So glad you are back to running.

    1. Aw, thanks Allison. I was so sorry to read about your experience in Richmond. =( I hope that someday you come back and show it who is boss!!

      AND I must say I love your new hair. How brave of you - I don't have the guts to do it!