Race Report: North Shore 5K Turkey Trot

I had a personal goal for today. Actually, I have two goals for this weekend. First, not to gain any weight at my next Weight Watchers 'post-Turkey Day' weigh-in on Sunday. Second, to shoot for a sub-30 minute finish time at one of the two 5K races that I have scheduled for Thursday and Saturday. Why sub-30 minutes? Mostly because my fastest 5K so far was 30:44 and I just can't allow those pesky 44 seconds to stand. I want to get beyond that 30-minute milepost before the end of 2011, and I only have two more 5K races left in the year.

So at 5am, the alarm goes off and it is time to get ready. I laid everything out the night before so I could get a good night's sleep. I got myself dressed, had my pre-race breakfast (no banana today so applesauce served as a substitute), and left for the race. I got there around 7:15am for an 8:00am start time.

There were 3000 participants in the races today -- a 5K and a 10K -- and 1,668 of those were running the 5K along with me. The weather was good for running, albeit cold due to a 12mph wind that wouldn't quit. I was glad that I brought along my headband, gloves, and the running jacket I got from the Hot Chocolate 15K I ran a few weeks ago. I ended up deciding to run with the jacket to protect me from that wind.

On a side note: I went to Packet Pick-up yesterday to get my bib and the fleece jacket 'goodie'. The jacket is very nice! But the wait was ridiculous! It took me 50 MINUTES to get my packet! I have never really had to wait at a pick-up before so this was unexpected. It made me late for work but thankfully not much was going on that day. That was just crazy. Hey Ram Racing! You need to improve that process for next year!

So the race started on time! It was basically a course through the neighborhood surrounding the local commuter rail station. I started out at a 9:45 pace and maintained that until I reached the water station at the halfway mark. Then I sped up to a 9:20am pace. I was happy that I could maintain that new pace for over a mile. Can you say 'negative split'? (My first one!)

At Mile 2, the race clock showed 19:20! That was exciting because I was definitely on pace to go 'sub-30'. So I kept up the pace! Then I noticed that my bib hard torn at one of the corners so I slowed down to try to deal with it. I ended up just holding the corner of the bib with my right hand as I continued to run. No way was I going to let it fall off!

At Mile 3, the race clock showed 29:10! Well, there was no way I was going to mess this chance up! So I forgot about the stupid bib and started running hard to the finish! I crossed that finish line with gusto! And when I looked down at my watch, I was so pumped! Sub-30 minutes Baby!!

The official finish time was 29:30! That is 1:44 minutes faster than my previous 5K record! Gotta love the new Personal Record! This has been a goal of mine since I started running 5Ks back in May, and after so many months of training and hard effort, I finally reached it! And I felt good afterwards! No pains, no aches, just the stupid big grin on my face. LOL

They served a post-race hot breakfast of pancakes, french toast, sausages, and bananas along with water and/or Gatorade. Yes Please! All of the above! I deserved a good, hot meal after burning off 513 calories, right? I sat and chatted with a couple of other runners, sharing stories of previous races. I totally felt like a runner today!

I haven't decided what I am going to do about Saturday's 5K Turkey Trot race in Schaumburg. Do I just run it for the fun and not worry about pacing, or should I try to beat this new finish time? My coach would probably tell me to take it easy, no point in inviting potential injury with the Disney Half only 7 weeks away. She is probably right. But can I contain my competitive nature? This is the question... LOL

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