Madison turkey trot 2016

This year we were home for Thanksgiving and I decided to try a different Thanksgiving race. The Madison Turkey Trot was put on by an outside company but raised money for United Cerebral Palsy of Dane County. It was staged at Vilas Park and I figured since this is the second year for this race that it would be smaller and a bit easier to navigate than the Berbee Derby. And I was right, though unfortunately it was a bit too cold so I went by myself. The temp was 35 degrees, which was decent for running (though I got too cold before the start) but too cold to expect Doug and the kids to come wait for me when they couldn’t sit in the car. But it was very convenient to park at Edgewood High School and walk over to the start.

After a surprise fast 5K in August, I had set a goal in the last part of this year to beat my 5K PR. My August result was 32:04. I didn’t end up having any other opportunity after August other than Thanksgiving because I got sick in September so had to skip the Zoo Run Run and I was still sick in the beginning of October and then too busy at the end. So my last opportunity for this year to break that PR came on Thanksgiving.

Well, this race was a bit bigger than I expected. And in spite of announcements and signs, many many walkers lined up ahead of runners. But I guess that’s to be expected at a turkey trot! So between getting a tad too cold before the start and dodging walkers, I knew this wasn’t going to be a PR race. But it was still good!

The first 3/4 mile was on a narrow road and then a narrow bike path. And even once we got up to the road, the marked course area was too narrow for the number of runners and many of us were running on the other side of the cones. I was weaving around and dodging walkers for almost the first full mile. My first mile split was 10:49.

Mile 2 had a long and steep hill… luckily down the hill! That hill going up was on the May Madison half route and I was cursing the whole way. Down that hill was great, though I had to be careful not to go down too fast! The second mile went by pretty fast. The crown had thinned out by this point and aside from the big down hill it was mostly flat. I logged 10:28 for that mile.

So I get to the third mile and I’m getting pretty winded, but trying to decide if I had a chance of breaking my PR. I actually had to take a brief walk break up a hill just after the second mile marker. When I made the last turn and I could see the finish I was alternating between wanting to stop and wanting to go faster. I didn’t stop but I felt like I couldn’t make myself run any faster. But I must have been pushing myself more than I realized because even with my walk break I ran the third mile in 10:17!

I know I pushed myself to my limit that day because I felt like I was going to puke when I finished. My final result was 31:56! So a few seconds better than my 32:04 from August. I got only 23 seconds from my PR! I am sure if I hadn’t been zig zagging to dodge walkers I could have made up those 23 seconds. But my time on Thanksgiving improves on my time from August and is now my post-kids PR.

A draw of this race was the fleece race shirt and cinnamon rolls. Those were two very good perks! The fleece is really nice and soft. And the cinnamon roll was really good, though considering I felt like I was going to puke when I finished running I probably should have eaten it a bit slower.

This was a good race, though some aspects didn’t seem well thought out, like the fact that I managed to walk right past the water and then it wasn’t clear where the food was located. I got in a line I thought was for food but was really for checking results. I tried to eat a basically frozen banana, but it was 35 degrees. Food and water placement could improve! The course measured short on my Garmin, even though I probably added a bit with all my weaving at the beginning. I saw lots of people taking more than one cinnamon roll per person. I hope everyone got one! That was one thing that always bugged me about the Berbee Derby because as a slower 10K runner, there was never any food left by the time I finished. But overall, this was a good race and I will consider doing it again.

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