Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Not just because I get to eat a lot, but because of the Turkey Trot that helps justify the eating! I think this is the 4th or 5th Turkey Trot I've done in Long Beach and I love this one so much because all funds go to charity and the local community. This year's race was extra special because my dad ran it and I got to run a few miles with him!
I came in 2nd overall female in last year's race, and I set out to win this year's. I wasn't feeling that great going into the race though. My marathon was just a short 9 days away and I felt conflicted about going all out and racing it. I wanted to use it as one last speed workout before the marathon. This was going to be my dad's first race in his marathon training for the Zion Half Marathon in March, so it was going to be an exciting day and I was so happy to experience that with him.
I picked up both my dad's and my friend, Peter's bibs on Wednesday afternoon so they wouldn't have to make the drive twice. I woke up early on Thursday because Daddio and Peter, were meeting at my house, which is just a short 10 minute walk to the start line - another reason why I love this race. They arrived at 6am! Way to early to brace the cold 45° weather that morning, so we stayed in my house which allowed time to chat and stretch, drink more water, and use the restroom countless times. We finally departed at 6:45am.
We walked up to the start line on the boardwalk next to the beach. This is a nice out and back course all along the water. Once we got to the start, we wished each other luck and my dad and Peter went into the crowd so I could find a position in the front. Both the 10k and the 5k follow the same path with their respective turnaround points. There are 3 race times to choose from (7am, 8:30am and 10am). I always do the first race time because there's less people on the course and you don't risk the backup of walkers from the previous races.
They don't use timing chips in this race - it saves on costs and allows more money to go to charity. They just use a large clock to tell you your time, so I was pretty reliant on my Garmin. As soon as the gun went off, about 8-10 men took off in front of me, but I stayed pretty resilient the first mile. I clocked in at 6:14. I was worried that a woman would come up next to me, so I stuck with what I could manage and mile 2 came in at 6:34. I had just finished mile 2 when I got the most insane cramp right below my chest that crossed from rib to rib. It was brutal. I slowed down heavily in my third mile, and even stopped to walk. I looked behind me and couldn't see a single woman in sight, so I just kept running and figured I would wait for it to go away.
We finally made the turn around and the first woman behind me was almost a half mile away. We all shouted "Great Job" at each other for encouragement. The cramp finally went away around mile 3.5, thank goodness. I finally crossed paths with Peter and my dad at this point too, which was awesome! We gave each other some high fives and I knew I had it in the bank if I could just keep myself at a sub-7. Right before the finish, I ran by Keri and Liz who were doing the 5k! Tons of GRVL runners were out there and that is always nice to see familiar faces. And then. I GOT TO BREAK THE TAPE AGAIN! I never thought I'd have this experience even once in my life, let a lone twice. So grateful...
Once I crossed the finish line, I got a pie and the organizers were awesome and gave me a gift card and a 1st place ribbon. I wanted to go back and find my dad so I could run in with him. I made it about a mile out from the finish and I found him. He was doing great, so I turned and ran in the last mile with him. He even sprinted when he saw the finish line which was so inspiring!
Overall, I couldn't be more happy with this race. Only a few more days until CIM, so my head and heart are with the marathon distance right now and how crazy I'm going from tapering. I'm hoping that race goes as well as this one did, but we all know anything can happen in a marathon.