Thursday, November 25, 2010

Race Recap: Turkey Trail Trot 5-Miler

A while ago I decided I wasn't going to pay for shorter distance races. Obviously I've failed at this because I've still signed up for 5ks when they are for good causes, when people ask me to run with them, and when they are cheap. Apparently I have another exception to this rule: I'll pay for short-distance races when it's a distance I haven't raced before. (I'll also apparently pay for races when my friends leave town for the holiday and I have nothing better to do.)

This morning I trotted over to the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park to run my first ever trail race: the Turkey Trail Trot 5-mile cross-country run.
I've done a few Thanksgiving Day runs in the past and I find them to be hilarious -- there's something about people running in drumstick costumes that will forever entertain me. Then put us all on a 5-mile path of loose gravel, wet grass, thin dirt trails, and lots of mud puddles, and you couldn't pay me enough to watch pilgrims and Indians slipping and sliding down the slopes.

They don't know what they're about to get into.
Go ahead and make fun of me for losing my Minnesota blood already, but it has been cold in San Francisco lately. (We don't need to talk about running in ice and snow; I'll be doing that over Christmas soon enough...) While it was sunny and perfectly clear all week, the winds have whipped, the temperatures have dropped, and the cold ocean air has soaked into my bones. I was shaking as I waited for the start.

A penguin also waiting around for the start.
I have done a fair amount of dirt trail running at the Lands End and Coastal trails, but I've never done a cross-country race through meadows. I figured 5 miles would be a good distance to warm myself up to this new world of running, especially since the race mostly looked flat. Hooooly cow, was I wrong in guessing that it would be easy! The fields were slick with frosty dew, the trails were packed with thawing mud, and my legs felt like cranberry jello within the first two miles. All of you cross-country runners out there: I salute you. This terrain was very difficult in lightweight running shoes.

The march of the turkeys -- moving from the benches to the starting line.

Mile 1 (8:16):
As usual, I pushed my way to the front of the crowd while we waited for the starting gun. I tried to keep up with the front runners once we were off, but there were so many random puddles along the track that people were hopping and skipping all over the place. (Totally fine -- I do it, too -- but I at least try to make sure I'm not jumping right in front of someone.) I think I clipped more than a couple shoes, and the sheer number of people finding their spot in the pack made for a slower mile for me.

Silly turkey hats

Mile 2 (7:55):
I don't remember this mile at all. I remember thinking like we should have been at mile 4 -- I felt that spent so early on -- when my Garmin chirped at mile 2. Running on Lindley Meadow's slippery grass was probably the hardest part of this course.

Sillier turkey hats

Mile 3 (8:14):
This mile had a few hills. While hills slow me down, they also make me feel more competitive for some reason. I'm able to gain a lot of ground (and "chick" a lot of runners) on uphills without sacrificing too much time. I also had one slip-up on this mile: I rolled my ankle. I don't know if it was the uneven terrain or the fact that I overpronate on a weak left ankle from a previous injury, but I rolled it, wobbled, and almost took a tumble. My ankle had a dull throb the rest of the race.

Silliest turkey hat. And body.
Mile 4 (8:06):
My leg muscles were feeling really unsteady and weak as we made our way through the frozen Lindley Meadow a second time -- not running on solid surface was taking a lot out of me! Road running: I miss you! During this mile I also learned why cross-country runners have spikes on their shoes. I'm surprised I didn't see any spills (or why I didn't personally take myself out) on this mile of the course.

Wrong animal, dude.
Mile 5 (7:39):
The only reason this mile was my fastest was because we were back on the flat track and I was well ahead of a lot of runners, so I didn't have to do much weaving. I recently started running to progressive house music that is mixed specifically for runners based on foot turnover rate/beats per minute, and for this race I was listening to tempo music slightly above my comfort zone. I lengthened my stride on the track and still kept with the faster beat. It ended up working out well for me. Now, if I can learn to do that all the time...

Wrong holiday, dudette.
Overall, the Turkey Trail Trot was a really fun race. They had prizes for the top three finishers in each division and I was amazed at how many people stuck around to watch the awards ceremony -- then I learned that they also do a raffle! The race was well-organized, the energy was contagious, the costumes were funny, they had a ton of post-race goodies, and if I'm around for the race next year, I would gladly do it again.

Waiting around for the awards/raffle. That teeny tiny lady in bright orange collecting her prize was the 1st-place female finisher. Who was she? Oh, none other than Magdalene Lewy-Boulet, 2008 Olympic marathoner. Of course she won this little race. She got a friggin' 2:26 at Rotterdam.
All day I've been thinking about the fact that I could maybe, MAYBE, break the 50-minute mark in the 10k (my current PR is 50:48) after seeing my results for this race. So who knows -- perhaps I'll be paying for another short distance race in the near future. ;)

Terrific Turkey Trail Trot t-shirt
Happy Thanksgiving!

5-mile splits (39:34) -- gotta love automatic PRs
1: 8:16
2: 7:55
3: 8:14
4: 8:06
5: 7:39
Air Temp: 45F

Average Pace: 7:55 min/mile (7.6 mph)
Overall Place: 127 out of 824
Age/Gender Place: 12 out of 176


  1. Sounds like fun! Love the pictures. That guy (or girl?) in the Santa getup cracked me up!

  2. Congrats on the race

    Happy Thanksgiving, Gobble Wobble!!!

  3. How cool that Magdalena was there! I love x-country races. Not enough of them around if you ask me!

  4. Hi A,
    It does look a little chilly there too! It was seven degrees yesterday at times!! Brrr!!!

    Nice job on the 5K race:) I have a feeling that you will be doing alot of PRing this next running season. You are lucky to be running outside all year long:)

    Take care Chica! I hope that you had a wonderful Thanks giving:)

    I am still checking into December races for us:)

  5. Love the turkey hats! They were really popular at a Cleveland Turkey Trot, too.

  6. Well done!!! Love all those pics of the silly hats and costumes - I'm a sucker for that sort of thing myself. :-)

  7. Star studded race! You can definitely break 50: in the 10k. THere must be a christmas 10k coming up?

  8. Nice job! I love 5 mile races. It is one of my favorite distances although there are not many races of this distance!

  9. Sounds like a great race...the picture of the chicken made me laugh!

  10. Smiles and freaking all you trooper you!

  11. You killed this race. Seriously, the footing was really difficult. Sad we didn't meet up :(