Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 2013 10k Race Recap

This was my fifth Lincolnwood Turkey Trot since 2008. Traditionally, I run the 10k and my dad runs the 5k which was also the plan for today. Today's version was, according to the mayor of Lincolnwood, the coldest it has ever been for the race. It was around 15 degrees at the start. Last year, I set a course PR in speedier conditions and brought home a sweet turkey trophy.

Luckily, I had picked up our bibs yesterday, so it was a perfect setup for us to arrive just before the race start and wait in the car with the heat blasting. No need to park far away, wait in line to get the packets, and then run all the way back to the car to put on the bibs and drop off our stuff. So, after parking and waiting on a residential street a few blocks from the start, we made our way to the start line at about 8:40 for the 8:45 start. After stopping at a porta-potty, I ducked into the start corral. The mayor of Lincolnwood gave a speech and then without a countdown, blasted the horn to begin the race. NO. ONE. MOVED. He kept yelling for people to go, yet no one did. He then said that people weren't paying attention, but maybe everyone had dozed off during his speech?! Anyway, after some yelling from runners in the back, the people up front finally heard that the race was underway and we were off!

The Race
Mile 1: As per usual, the 5k and 10k started at the same time, so as I did last year, I spent the first part of the first mile weaving in and around 5k runners who had darted out in front of me and who got gassed early and had to slow way down. These runners seem to be a majority of headphone wearing kids who can't hear how hard they are breathing and don't realize that a 5k is actually not won in the first mile! Oh well, it's not the Olympics. Anyway, I was trying to hold back, but it was tough when you start with 5kers. Pace 6:37/mile.

Mile 2: We wended our way into the suburban houses of Lincolnwood. This is also where we 10kers split from the 5kers (at least until mile 6). I was still telling myself to hold back: 6:38/mile.

Mile 3: It was about this point that I realize that despite holding back early, my course PR was not attainable. It's not like I was struggling to keep the pace, but I was not feeling like I could ramp up too much either. I blame my lack of mileage since the Chicago Marathon (i.e. my endurance is low). 6:32/mile.

Mile 4: Since I knew I wouldn't be putting on a speed clinic today, I stopped looking at my Garmin completely and I started to play the "reel-em-in" game. That is, I started spotting runners ahead of me and tried to reel them in. There was a hairpin turnaround which made it nice so I could see who was ahead of me and who was lurking behind me.  I passed about five runners this mile. 6:29/mile.

Mile 5: As a side-note, sometimes during the early miles of a race, I see runners way out ahead of me and then eventually some (not all) come back to me as I accelerate and they fade. Sometimes early in a race I catch myself saying "Look at the guy/gal, they have awesome form, they look more athletic/stronger than me and they are so far in front, I will never catch them by the end of the race." The fact that they are way ahead of me, gives them some kind of aura of awesomeness. Then, sure enough, a mile or two later, I pass them. However, even when I pass them, I brace myself mentally for a "duel" as I think I am going to piss off this "super athlete" so much they will accelerate. However, this "duel" hardly ever happens. Most of the time they are fading ever so slightly as they are gassed. They don't have the energy to stage a comeback. Note to self: I need to relax a little more when I pass people - there likely won't be a speed fight! Anyway, I pass a few more runners. 6:34/mile.

Mile 6: I know that if I have any reserves, I need to use them here. The only problem is, is that we rejoined the 5k walkers. Many of them walk three abreast and don't create a lane for the 10k runners who are barreling through. Also, the aid station had ice in front of it, as water that hit the ground was freezing. I nearly slipped and fell on an ice patch of spilled water. I pass a few more runners. As we near the 6 mile marker, I start running on fumes. 6:09/mile.

Mile 6.27: Near the end, I saw a guy ahead of me who looked like he would be in my age group, (turns out he was), so my final "reel-em-in" mission was to pass him and hope that I would finish 3rd in my age group and snag a turkey trophy. After weaving around a few more walkers, I passed him in the last 200 yards and sprinted past the finish line while my dad cheered me on. Coincidentally, this is the same exact pace I ran the same last split last year.  5:49/mile.

Race Summary: 
  • Official time: 40:36. Average pace: 6:32/mile
  • Overall Place: 26th out of 561
  • Age Place: 6th out of 72 (these are 10 year age groups).
  • No turkey trophy this year. Boo! I am now three for six getting turkey trophies.
  • Note: Except in the first mile, I did not get passed at all in the race, which is always a confidence boost. 
  • Other note: My dad placed fourth in his age group in the 5k.

My dad and I went over to the finish line and found Anne and Kim waiting for Bob and Erin to finish. Erin's husband (the unofficial course photographer) took this pic of the group:
Bloggers and Runners (src: Erin's husband)

Race Takeaway:
Not as fast as last year, but a solid, steady pace with negative splits. I'll take it considering how few miles I've put in since the Chicago Marathon and the extra chilly race temps. The race proved to me that I have a little bit of leg speed and combining this with being injury free, I am in a good spot heading into spring marathon training.

Next up:
Possibly another 10k in December if I get the itch to go sub-40 before my spring marathon training starts in earnest.


  1. Congrats on a speedy race! I didn't even realize the race didn't start when it was supposed to. Anne and I decided to start at the very end and weren't too concerned with starting on time.

    I mentioned to her on course that it must be a bit frustrating for the speedy 10Kers to come back and pass all the 5K walkers! I am happy that didn't slow you down too much, and that you didn't slip on the ice!

    1. Oh! I wanted to say, too, it was great to meet him and congrats to him on doing so well! :)

    2. Thanks. Yeah, I think there needs to be a countdown or something, not just a "go!" from the starter. Anyway, yeah it is kinda frustrating running with the 5k walkers, but I guess there is no other alternative except for staggered starts which would probably not be too popular. Thanks, he did well and would have won his AG if they were 5 year and not 10 year! :)

  2. Congrats to you and your dad! How odd the runners did not start when the gun sounded. Ha! Wow it was cold out there so early in the season!

    1. Thanks. Yeah it was funny that no one moved. Yes, very cold. It will probably be 75 degrees in January to make up for it!

  3. I wish I could have picked up our packets before today too - that would have made the morning even easier! Thankfully, Kim got there early and got ours. But still :)

    I was headed to the bathroom when the race officially started, and kind of noticed no one going right away. I couldn't wait to start running, just to warm up a little!

    That's cool that you and your dad both placed so high! I guess speediness runs in the family :) And good job reeling in so many runners! Kim and I passed a ton of walkers, which was pretty fun. I'm sure it would have been even more so if they had actually been running.

    1. Glad Kim was able to get yours early. Yes, it was not a day to stand around, not bad if you were running and keeping the blood pumping! I'll have to coach you on reeling in runners in our track session! :)

  4. Awesome job on the negative splits! Which 10K are you looking at doing in December?

    1. Thanks. Negative splits are something I strive for, but don't always hit. Easier to do in shorter races if I can focus on relaxing the first mile or two. Anyway, thinking about the Jingle Bell 5k/10k for my 10k,

  5. way to rock it, man! look at that fancy negative split and mile 6 & .2! that's really fantastic. I really like your 'reel 'em in' race strategy; I'll definitely have to put that one to use here very soon :) great read, Pete. congrats to you and your dad! (love it when running is a family affair) :)

    1. Thanks Erin! I am always happy when I can run negative splits and yes, it is fun to "drop the hammer down" for the last 1.2 of a 10k! :) Thanks again!

  6. Awesome run! Love that you ran with you dad. There are so many families running this race & it's really sweet! You're speedy!!!!!!!
    I couldn't take pics, as it was too darn cold, however how ironic that both of us ran the same pace as last year- crazy!

  7. Congrats on your awesome run!! And to your Dad as well!