Thought for the Day

Monday, November 19, 2001

Santa Cruz Turkey Trot

I set a new 5k PR on Saturday, but by only 14 seconds. It was a great morning for a run, a little foggy, but not too cold. No strong wind or extreme weather of any kind.
My wife decided at the last minute that she wanted to go with me, which was nice, but she has anxiety about freeways, so we had to take an alternate route. We got there about fifteen minutes before the start of the 5K, so I had to jog from where we parked, a couple blocks away, to the registration table. There was a crowd of people registering, mainly for the 10K which started later. With 5 minutes to go until the start of the 5K, I got to step out of line and get a number so I could jog over to the start, toss my sweats by the side of the road, and start from the back of the pack.
There weren't many runners, fewer than 200, so I crossed the start line in a few seconds, and wasn't really packed in. The course is on a street by Natural Bridges State Beach, down to a paved trail that runs along next to West Cliff Drive, then back the same way. As the name implies, this trail is along a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It's a beautiful place to run or walk. The trail goes up and down slightly, but there's nothing you could really call a hill. I passed the 1 mile mark as the volunter was calling out 7:12. My watch said 7:05.
Then there were no more reliable mile splits. I hit the turn around point, halfway, at 11:30. I hit the 2 mile mark at 12:50, which was not right, and I never saw a 3 mile mark.
I was running with mostly the same people the whole race. I passed and got passed by the same guy several times. I passed him as we reached the 1 mile mark again. With about half a mile left, a little girl caught up with me from behind. She was running with two men, her father and a friend. They kept telling her what a great job she was doing, and I had to agree. They told a spectator that she was nine years old.
They got a few steps ahead of me. I decided to just try and keep a steady pace. I didn't want to pour it on and look like I was desperate to beat a nine year old girl.
Then I started to get passed by the guy who had been with me most of the race. With a few yards left to the finish, I found I still had some kick, but we were gaining on the little girl. I could see the time, and I knew I was going to get my PR. I thought I'd rather finish as far away from the nine year old as I could, so I just cruised in.
I was 53rd out of about 170 runners, 10th out of 17 in my division.
It turns out the guy who beat me at the end was also in my division, not that it matters since we were both well out of the ribbons.
So I was pretty pleased with my run. I don't know how to feel about getting my butt kicked by a little girl, though. I hope she had fun doing it. She is phenomenal.
I considered doing a double, but when they were announcing that the 10K would start in 5 minutes as I was coming out of the chute from the 5K, I decided I could do a training run at home if I still felt like it later. I really didn't have another race in me.
Even though I got a PR, I feel like the message I got from this race was, "Back to the drawing board."

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