Friday, November 23, 2012

Oyster Bay Turkey Trot

I took part in the first Oyster Bay Turkey Trot, sponsored by Citius Athletics on Thanksgiving morning.  I had become a member of The Greater Long Island Runners Club sometime after Hurricane Sandy. The storm forced cancellations of the Bayville Turkey Trot, and the Long Beach 10k. Looking for another race to keep my motivation up in the ensuing colder weather,  I ended up finally perusing GLIRC's website and found the OB Turkey Trot as a replacement. My friend Trish also signed up, even though her last race was in June - and she really had not been running much since then. But she is a true athlete, and also a certified athletic trainer.

 The race seemed well organized, parking was limited for the amount of people there, the start was crazy slow, the course was fast and scenic. The first thing Trish noticed, as did I, was that there were a lot of younger people there. I'm 52, Trish is 31, but it looked like the majority of runners there were in their teens and 20's.  I thought I'd have a better chance of placing in my age group, if that was the case! I have not been running very long, it's my first year, and this would be my fifth race. I'm assuming that a race called a 'turkey trot' would be a family oriented fun run, and that the presence of young children and teenagers would be greater than any other type of race.  I also expected to see people running in turkey outfits, but that was not the case here.  Indeed, with regard to turkeys, I saw nary.

According to the Start2FinishCorp's website, there were 510 applicants, 491 actually ran. The starting line was nestled on a narrow, tree and house lined undulating side road that was about a few thousand yards back from the main entrance to the OB High School. The parking lot was on the left, the school was on the right. I expected the road to lead to another parking lot and field behind the school. I was surprised to see it turn into a residential area. There were no corrals, but Trish, knowing how she ran, knew she needed to be at the front of the pack. I meandered through the throngs of people, trying to figure out where I belonged. When the gun finally went off, we were sardine-like, and I ended up within various groups of runners - children bounding around without structure, women deep in conversation, others walking, and I found no way to get out from within.  This, however, afforded me the time to start my devices pretty much together, and I was FORCED to start out slow. I mean, it was SLOW.

After what seemed like the first quarter mile, I was out on the main road, which became fast because of a -2% grade. Unfortunately, there were still a lot of young kids even that far ahead, some criscrossing, and some just stopping and/or slowing randomly. I realized that I still have so much more to learn about the whole sport. What are my goals and expectations for each race I run? What will the climate of each race be, and does it support my plan?

I appreciated the clocks at mile 1 and 2. I can remember seeing only one water station. I dressed warmly, without gloves, but I wore a heavy, ear warmer head band. I had forgotten to leave my jacket in the car, and opted to take a chance and left it thrust through a chain link fence at the starting line. Hopefully, it would be there on my return. By the time I passed the water station, my hands, the coldest part of my body, were warm. Only at the beginning of mile 3 did I start to sweat a bit, but not uncomfortably so that it distracted me.

I was cardiovascularly challenged, and that was before the end of mile one. I was concerned.  I was forced to start out very slowly. Why was I already exhausted? My legs felt fine, but my shoulders were tight. I had to force my arms at my sides to release the tension. I felt as if people (including the kids, - but don't get me wrong, kids are people too) were passing me left and right. As I came up on the first clock, I realized why. I had just run my fastest mile. I saw the clock read 8:30 when I was close enough to see it. It was 8:40 by the time I had passed it. I must have subconsciously picked up the pace trying to make up for lost time on the start. Indeed, my magellan clocked my 2nd quarter mile a whole minute faster than the first quarter, and then 30 seconds faster a quarter mile later.  I did start out too fast again the first mile. 

I would suffer for that the entire rest of the race. My legs were willing, but I needed to utilize mind games the rest of the way, having to talk myself out of walking on several occasions. I watched people stopping left and right, some walking to the right to get out of the way, and children stopping dead in their tracks, one directly in front of me. I ran into him, felt badly, but did not stop. I instinctively put my hand on his shoulder as I ran into him, and I realized he was still on his feet. I didn't need to look back. 
I tried my best to slow my pace instead of walking. I did not feel successful. My chest was burning, my heart pounding - I was very uncomfortable. Some of the tight turns in the park diverted my attention for a small while. I was trying to take the straightest path through the turns, trying to shave some precious seconds off my time.
By the time I made the turn back onto the road that lead to the finish, I was flummoxed. How could I feel so shitty? I told myself it was okay to slow down to a crawl so I would not expire on the course! How embarrassing would that be to drop dead right before the finish line, and on Thanksgiving morning? But Trish had finished before me, and was waiting on the sidelines telling me to get my ass in gear, and I sprinted, as well as any 52 year old, cardiovascularly challenged person could, through the finish gate. That saved me an additional 5 seconds. Thank you, Trish. 

My coat was still there, I walked/jogged straight on to the starting line to retrieve it. Trish and her husband were back at the finish line, and she had water and a banana for me. We chatted a bit, and she headed home.  I stayed, needing to see if I placed. Out of 13 in my group I placed 2nd, out of 491, #155 overall. I was tired, dazed, yet very happy. I wanted to hang around for the awards ceremony, but I had my parents back at my house preparing for the big meal, and I felt compelled to get home.

Official time: 26:31  pace 8:33 A new PR!

Magellan Data
MMR Data

Finish Line Video

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