First, last Wednesday I took the day off and thus I was able to rise at a late hour (8:00 am, oooh) and go for a nice four-mile run before heading to my hometown in Ohio for the holiday. The novel factor here was that I was not running in the predawn darkness. Daylight, how curious! What's that bright disk in the sky?
Second, the Aurora Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. I did this race last year and because I was going to be in Ohio I decided to have at it again. I looked at my time (33:16) and figured I would aim to beat that, and if I was having a really good day I would strive for a sub-32:00 finish. I wasn't expecting much because I haven't felt especially fleet of foot lately.
Thursday morning dawned clear and bitterly cold, which was a change from last year's horrible wintry mix conditions. The thermometer in the car on the way to Aurora oscillated between 20 and 25 degrees. Luckily (obviously) I had packed a bag of running clothes in every combination imaginable in preparation for any weather eventuality (it was northeast Ohio, after all) and thus I had my favorite cold-weather racing outfit on hand for the conditions.
Due to my inability to remember anything, I had forgotten to let Garmy spend the night nestled in its charging cradle and as such it was completely dead come race morning. I was going to be (gasp) running blind. I was going to be forced to pay attention to the way my body felt and run accordingly. The horror! (Have I...become too dependent on modern technology?!)
Shortly before the race, after my dad and I picked up our race packets (a bag of coupons for the outlet mall, gee, how exciting) I randomly bumped into an old friend of mine from high school. I had not seen her in several years so that was a nice surprise. To my shock and awe she was wearing the marching band-issue sweatpants from our Flag Corps days (yes, folks, I was a "flag girl" in the marching band my junior year, and yes, I was as nerdy as you may imagine, I mean, come on).
This race has the most unattractive starting area of any in which I have participated: the shipping alley behind the Aurora Premium Outlets. Hooray for Dumpsters and loading docks! (and random bits of trash...and empty cardboard boxes...)
During the first mile, we passed a group of people playing a game of touch football. I thought, Look at those nutjobs...who plays football in the snow in 20-degree weather at 8:30 am on Thanksgiving Day? On further reflection, I thought: Well, they're probably thinking the same thing about us: "Who goes and runs a road race in 20-degree weather at 8:30 am on Thanksgiving Day? What a bunch of weirdos."
I revel in my weirdness! (and nerdiness, but y'all knew that already.)
A man at mile 1 called out "7:30" as I passed. This surprised me. I knew my true mile split was probably a few seconds less because it had taken me a while to cross the starting line from my position in the pack. OK, I thought, doing better than expected. Let's go with this, then. Mile 2: 15:00 for another 7:30 mile. Mile 3: a long uphill grind, and at the top it was 22:54 (7:54 split) with one mile to go. I increased my turnover and hit my lactate threshold. It started to burn, but I was almost done. As I approached the finishing chute (yes, a finishing chute, this was a really old-school race, tearing tags off bibs and putting them on a stick and everything) I saw the timing clock in the 29:XX range! I crossed the finish line in 29:40, which blew my prerace expectations away. I waited around the finishing area until my dad was done and then I said I knew we had discussed going straight home but I thought I had a good chance of getting an age group award so could we please stay for the awards ceremony? We did, and I did. Receive an age group award, that is. I finished third in my age group and won a trophy. I had not won a trophy since some cross-country invitational in high school. It was totally awesome.
The world's ugliest race shirt ever. This color (pumpkin? burnt orange? baby poop?) does not look good on me. But the trophy looks great! Note: this shirt was instantly classified as "internal use only" where "internal" means "inside the house; never to be seen outside where its brazen hue could sear the eyeballs of unsuspecting passersby."
Following the receipt of hardware, we returned home where brunch (Dutch baby and bacon, mmmm, bacon) and coffee (lots of coffee) were waiting.
Final race stats:
3/24 age group
Incidentally, the overall winner finished in 19:28, which is a 4:52 average pace. Yow!
And speaking of fast paces, look at my last mile. I hit the 3rd mile at 22:54. I finished in 29:40. That's a 6:46 mile, which is two seconds faster than my race-winning effort in the Run for the Rolls in August. What the hell, people, what the hell?
Saturday morning I bundled up in my "if you look good you feel good" outfit and headed out for a long run. It was a runner's dream (well, this runner, anyway): about 30 degrees, nice and sunny, no wind, clear pavement. I cranked out ten miles, listening to my iPod the whole way, and finished in just under an hour and a half. It felt so good. I can't wait for my vacation later this month. Oh yeah, did I tell y'all? I GET 17 DAYS OFF IN A ROW, PEOPLE. And I am going to go running EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. In the DAYLIGHT. OMGBBQ!!!!111!!!!
THAT is why I hoard my vacation time like Scrooge all year. So I can blow my vacation wad like John Holmes all at once. Yeah.
Wow! AWESOME job on the race! All of your hardwork truly paid off.
The trophy is sweet!
17 days?!? That's awesome!
Nicely done. Congrats on the sweet time & AG award :)
You rock! What an amazing difference a year makes. I think next year you can take 1st!!!
GREAT RACE!!!! You rock and I am so inspired!
(And the shirt is not that bad!)
Nice way to return to Northeast Ohio. I miss the blistering cold weather. Lake Erie winters just made my runs worth running. I can't wait to return in March.
The shirt is fantastic and would be worn with pride but only while running.
From now on, whenever I watch a John Holmes video, all I'll be able to think of is vacation! Thanks for ruining porn for me, Sarah! Thanks for turning wholesome porn into something ... something ... tawdry.
Congrats on the super fast trot and the trophy. It seems cosmically unfair that, while I'm sidelined with TEH WORLD'S WORST KNEE INJURY 4EVAH!!1! other people are not only running, but setting PRs.
I need a John Holmes money-shot. Er, I mean, a VACATION.
Way to ROCK the trot and earn that ugly Tee with a super speedy time. Well done.
Congrats on the hardware! I'm envious of your upcoming time off and counting the days until the holiday break here.
You are SPEEDY.
Great race! Too bad they don't have a better shirt for WINNERS.
Awesome race! I don't think I will ever place in my age group - unless I'm still running in my 70s :-)
You are speedy AND hilarious! I can just hear the words coming out of your mouth. Go, you! xoxoK
The answer is yes.
Congrats on the AG trophy. I dig orange, but the shirt is still ugly. Not the ugliest I've seen, but ugly enough.
Hope you enjoyed your time back in the better state.
P.S., I go to Chesterland at least once a year for a holiday get-together. Aurora is in the same county as my home town. Cheers!
Congratulations on the age group award!
And congratulations on the John Holmes reference! Ch-ching.
TK, pouting, with droopy pigtails: I want a trophy!
Congratulations, Sarah -- one thing about your Rolls time, wasn't that after you'd just run a long training run?
I once met Ron Jeremy. (I am not bragging.)
I just found your your blog from your comment on mine (thank you!). Cool blog, looking forward to poking around!
I had to laugh about Garmy. I've done that before, and there's nothing like that "crap-I guess I'm running blind today!" feeling that comes with the discovery.
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