Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Thanksgiving Tradition Continues and Grows: Race with Grace 10k 2013

Written the day after Thanksgiving...just got late in posting this
I have a very tiny memory of doing a Turkey Trot in 5th or 6th grade at my elementary school. I have no idea how far (my guess is a mile or so) it was or how well I did. That was about 1996 or 1997...and had no desire to trot again for well over a decade. In 2009, I did my first Race with Grace 10k, and a tradition began. My parents always came to watch me, and last year, my dad cheered both me and my mom on. This year, all 3 of us signed up - this would be my dad's longest race ever (he did a 5 mile race last spring). Last year, it was 40, sunny, pretty nice for Rochester in November.
This year, we had over 6 inches of snow on the ground already and it was 20 degrees with a windchill of 6. Chilly! At least the sun was out. It looked absolutely picturesque. We picked up my mom's running partner, Sue, who is absolutely hilarious, and had a full car of 10k runners. Pretty funny since 6 years ago it would’ve meant a morning of parade-watching and that was it. How things change.I
I had no huge goals for a few reasons:
My racing season is over
I’ve slowly started to up my mileage (50 miles per week). Last year, this was a failed experiment when I tried to consistently run 60-70 mpw for 2 months. This year, I am being more conservative.  So no point in taking out this race too hard. My best time on this course was last year in 40:22 – I didn’t foresee that being a reasonable goal.
It was so cold! This was not a day for PRs, no matter what. So, why not just go out and have fun, and celebrate my 5th consecutive time doing this.
Me and my parents before the race

Me and my mom after
I blew through the first mile way too fast in 6:20 – I was rather astounded that right now the legs could go that fast. A spectator said I was in 4th, and the next pink hat in front of me was way too far away from me. I was just happy with my position, happy to have a good pace going, and just happy to be out there. I ran through the first 5k in 20:05 – much faster than when I did the 10k a couple of weeks ago. At this part, I started to let up in terms of pace and totally okay with it. I was choosing to slow down, not because I was tired, but because I just preferred to maintain a comfortable pace – no need to be grueling. And while it was cold, I did have all black on and the sun was out.  I wasn’t freezing – the sun was glistening off of the snow banks that lined the sleepy town that was waking up. It was so quiet – there were few enough runners at this pace that it was just peaceful. I was in control, I was having fun, this was great. I finished in 41:30 – not a PR, not a season or course best, but just a good time. It turned out I was the 5th woman (was there a woman that that spectator did not see…or thought were men?), 2nd in my age group, good enough for a $10 gift certificate to a local restaurant, and 64/1068 overall. I did a short cool down to bring my day’s mileage to 8.4 miles, and headed back to the finish to watch my mom come in. I don’t often spectate, but it was fun to watch her and I was proud to see her finish in 57:02. Not a PR for her either, but still a solid time, and she still ran strong. We met up with her friend (who ran 54:xx), and then waited for my dad – it was like a Taylor relay of us coming in at staggered intervals. It hadn’t felt too cold until I realized how long I had been standing still after having finished – the gloves were back on, the jacket was zipped and hood up, but I was just frozen. We were happy to see my dad come in way ahead of his time goal of 1:15 – he ran 1:12:45 – pretty impressive for a late entry 10k debut! He had only really been training since late October for this race, and under cold conditions, did a great job. We milled around a little longer – a reunion with many people from my hometown, and then headed home, to get ready for the arrival of my brother and his girlfriend. We Taylors trotted well, and it was a fun way to kick off the Thanksgiving holiday – much to be thankful for.

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