Thanksgiving morning Glenda and I ran the Thundercloud Turkey Trot 5 miler side by side. Glenda is finishing her recovery from the San Antonio marathon, so she felt like she didn't have to race it but wanted to run it with me. I am thankful for that...I'm not at all sure I would've finished without her. I sort of hate to say it, but the race this year had plenty of problems. In the past this race has been well-run and the course has been the same each year. They have always had signs for people to line up in their approximate paces, for a more orderly start, and the runners have always been separated from the walkers. None of that happened this year, it was a zoo from start to finish. And oh my goodness the hills!! This was a new course and hillier than the old one. The uphills are hard, of course, and at least one of the downhills was so steep it really pounded my joints a little. There were 11,000 people running and walking this thing, I was never out of a crowd of people. It was almost claustrophobic, and occasionally it was impossible to pass people who were walking in the crowd. Oh, and by the time I was done (and there were at least several hundred walkers and some runners still on the course) there was water left, but that was all...no oranges, no bagels, no bananas...no food left at all.
So now that I've got my whining and complaining out of the way, I should probably talk a little about how it went. :-) I did the race with Glenda coaxing me onward. It was an overcast and humid morning, but I found the air temperature comfortable...I was more concerned about humidity. Some people were wearing long sleeves and talking about the cold, but it was in the 50's. I couldn't decide if I had just adjusted to Rhode Island weather again or if I was just out of the breeze or something. I would become extremely hot and sweaty before the race was over, and Glenda decided that it was warm and sticky, too.
We seeded ourselves as well as we could guess in the pack and the airhorn sounded...9+ minutes later we crossed the start line. It was truly a madhouse, beginning with a pretty serious bottle neck at the starting chute. The first mile had small rollers and a little nice steady downhill, a little uphill too. As usual it was my fastest mile. Mile two was significantly longer, but it also contained the start of the bigger hills. Mile 3 and 4 were even longer as pushed I through the biggest hills, with Glenda telling me I looked strong and that I had strong leg muscles that could do this....my legs felt like screaming at her...but my head knew she was right. That doesn't mean I didn't smart off at her though. :-)
The last mile was actually my second fastest. As usual I kicked it at the end, but I think this time it was because I just wanted to be done! I'd finished an unexpectedly difficult race.
You'd think as much as I complained here that I wish I hadn't done this race, but actually I am not sorry at all. I just think if I pick a Thanksgiving race next year it will be something else that weekend that is a more reasonable size. Once a race gets this big it is bound to develop some issues that will eventually need working out. I was glad to run into some people I knew, both from Rogue and from other areas of my life. I was glad to have made it through what, by my own estimation, and Glenda's (as well as a few other people we've heard from) was a really pretty challenging course. And finally I'm pretty pleased that, though my showing was not particularly impressive I had a personal record time for this particular race that was over 10 minutes faster than my previous time. Granted the last time was in 2006 and it was, I think my first 5-miler, but still...