I ran the Turkey 10 Miler this morning.
People tend to either love or hate this race and I happen to fall in the love it camp! It is a flat, out and back course with several turns. I like running out and back races because you can feed off of the energy of other runners. All of the runners encourage each other and it’s pretty much just the best thing ever.
The race started at 8:30 a.m. in Creola, AL, which is about a 45 minute drive. I was thankful for the later start because I didn’t have to get up until 6 a.m. (so basically I got to sleep in). When I woke up, I had a nice little surprise. My mom texted me to see what time I was leaving for the race and asked if I wanted a buddy. Daniel was working (sad face) and not many of the Eastern Shore runners were making the trek over to Creola, so I was definitely glad to have company!
We got to the race around 7:45 and I was able to register, go to the bathroom and get in a quick warm up with plenty of time to spare. It is a super low-key race and that is pretty much my favorite. Low key is the way to be!
The forecast called for mid to upper 60s and lots of wind (15 to 20 mph) during the race.
Given the winds, the pre-race plan was this:
- Mile 1 – 5: I planned to ease into it and get settled into a good rhythm during the first mile. The goal range was 6:30-6:40 for these miles (as the wind was going to be more in our face here).
- Miles 5 – 8: After the turn around, I planned to drop the pace down a little with a goal range of 6:20-6:30.
- Miles 8 – 10: I planned to drop the pace down a little bit lower (if I had anything left in the tank).
The goal was to treat the race as somewhat of a progression run in terms of pace, but the effort would feel fairly consistent throughout the race because of the way the wind direction would change as the course turned.
I felt good about my plan going into the race. I must admit, the wind was definitely a challenge! Luckily I was able to settle in with a pack of about 5 other runners for the first 4 or 5 miles. The pack helped to break some of the wind resistance, which was nice. We all knew that working together would be the best plan because you could tuck in behind someone get a little reprieve. We took turns leading.
My paces for the first five miles were pretty much right within the goal range. The splits were 6:31, 6:39, 6:37, 6:39 and 6:26.
I got a little surge of energy at the turn around point. After you make the turn, you know that you are half way there and you start to pass other runners head on. There were a lot of friendly, familiar faces out there cheering for you, which was a nice mental boost. For a minute or two it even seemed like the winds would be at our back for the second half of the race (which is what I was planning for). Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. It was more of a cross wind the entire time. There were certain points where the trees would provide some relief, but we were definitely battling wind for the majority of this race.
Our pack of 5 or 6 dissolved into a pack of 3 for miles 5 through 8. I was running with Aaron Freesmeier again (he’s become my pacing buddy!) and with a local high school runner, Ethan, who I hadn’t met before the race. Miles 6, 7 and 8 were 6:23, 6:26, 6:20. Right within the target range!
I still felt strong at mile 8 and so I decided to go ahead and work to drop the pace down a little bit more. Miles 9 and 10 were 6:15 and 6:11.
Last quarter mile!
I got outkicked by the high school kid (obviously). Not much I could’ve done about that! Young whippersnapper got me. Seriously though, it was awesome to have people to run with for the entire race! I typically get stuck in no man’s land at some point during every race that I run and I run so much stronger when I have someone to work with.
My overall time was 64:46 (not a PR, but I am super happy with the time, especially given the windy conditions) and I got a nice little negative split. The first half was 32:52 and the second half was 31:35. I got an extra 20 seconds by not running the tangents well (my total distance was 10.1). I definitely need to work on that!
The medal and shirts are really cute this year! The race starts at Dead Lake Marina (Dead Lake is a small tributary that feeds into the Mobile River). I’m assuming there are lots of gators in the lake and apparently this turkey needs to get his booty in gear!
I really enjoy the 10 mile race distance. It was a good day to race (but really any day is a good day to race IMO). I am definitely digging the Thanksgiving vibes after the run today.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!