Thursday, November 22, 2007

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 10k

This was perhaps the most common race across the states, a 5k or 10k turkey trot on Thanksgiving Day, and with good reason. What better way to assuage your health conscious than to burn 900 calories before the big meal? Eat an extra slice of Pumpkin Pie, maybe an extra serving of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. The world is your oyster.

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 10k - 48:03 (7:44 pace; 221/1,445)

Coming in to this one I wasn't sure what to expect. I had been sick since Sunday night and it seemed that the cold was getting progressively worse with each day that moved towards the 10k. Was I going to have to do the 5k or, worst case scenario, not run at all? Even as late as last night before I went to bed I wasn't sure how I'd feel.

Race morning everything went my way. Granted, I wasn't feeling the best, but the cold worked itself out and broke up a little, leaving me confident enough to take on the 10k. I ate some banana bread and orange juice and set off for the 10k that was practically in my backdoor, being only 10 minutes away. When I arrived it was freezing and was second guessing wearing only a short sleeve shirt and shorts. But by race time the temp had warmed considerably to a comfortable mid sixties.

When I arrived to the start line I was floored. There were people everywhere and had the longest race day registration line I had ever seen, wrapping around and away without being able to see the end. Luckily I had signed up months ago and only had to wait as long as it took me to walk to the counter.

This was a 10k and there were thousands of people milling about. I'm used to 10ks with hundreds of people, not thousands, so this would be interesting. With a marathon or half marathon the large crowds thin out and don't really affect your time, but how would the much shorter 10k handle so many runners? We eventually moved to the start line and the announcer announced that there were 6,000 runners in both races. Amazing.

The horn went off and away we went. Uh, at least we were supposed to. I crossed the timing mat and started, but then had to stop and walk again as the congestion backed everything up. So our chips had activated our time and we were walking. Luckily this was only for a short while before we started up again, only to have spectators walking in the streets and slowing everyone down. A friend of mine that was running it this year had run the race in its first and second year and said that this was a lot more runners than both years. So suffice it to say the race director was a bit unprepared for the mass amounts of people, especially the large number of race day registrants. Back to the race, this was why there were so many spectators walking the streets because the race volunteers were not prepared.

After close to 3/4 of a mile things started spreading out, leaving me to a 7:24 first mile. Not too bad for getting over a cold where the congestion and running/stuffed nose constantly made its presence known. This was also not too bad considering the start problems, the cluster of runners and the rude spectators. So it made sense that my second mile came in at 6:54. I didn't speed up and tried to run a very steady pace. The legs felt strong and the pace was a little difficult when I weighed it with the fact that I had another 4.2 miles to go.

By this point the 5k runners had peeled off and the course slimmed some but at no point did I ever find myself all by myself. Around 2.5 was when I first felt the effects of the cold as well as the pace I had set while sick. I had one of the worst side stitches I had felt in a long time and even when I slowed my pace it didn't lessen, so I took my first walk break. Even with the walk break I still ran a 7:40 mile and felt strong, but the sore throat and running nose were starting to take their toll.

The rest of the race was a little uneventful. I had ran consistently, albeit now at a slower pace, but I still had to take some walk breaks. Miles 4 and 5 came in at 8:10 and 8:03 respectively, but I had to walk some. So with mile 6 I decided to slow the pace a little but not walk, that way I could finish feeling strong. As I finished mile 6 I came in at 8:01 and pushed through the last .2 of a mile. I felt strong, even though this wasn't my fastest 10k. When I finally stopped my cold jumped up and said hello, making me so nauseous I almost had to, uh, run to a garbage can to void my stomach. Luckily I kept it under control but didn't feel at ease until I found some water, about 2 minutes later, and calmed myself down. Looking at my watch I finished in 48 minutes.

I was very pleased with this 10k, especially in how I had ran even though I was coming off a cold. I was a little surprised about being nauseous, but wasn't surprised about the toll the cold had on my pace. But I have no complaints and it felt good to finish a 10k before 10 AM. Hopefully the after effects of the cold will be gone by the time I run the Woodside 50 on the 1st, otherwise I will be in for a long day.

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