I was really looking forward to the Encinitas Turkey Trot this year because a lot of friends were coming out to race it or walk it. This event has grown incredibly and it really feels like my hometown race. I love it! Mike and I had both planned to run the 10k, with Mike pushing the stroller, but unfortunately he hurt his back the week before the race and ended up just walking the 5k. I decided to run the 10k and race it so that I could use it as a gauge for my fitness and also compare it to my Cardiff Kook 10k time (which takes place Super Bowl Sunday on a very similar course).
Just like last year, we left our house less than an hour before the race started. We had no issues parking at Moonlight Beach and got to the race just in time for me to us to take a photo, wait in a short line for the restroom, and kiss Siena and Mike goodbye. I lined up fairly close to the front and the race started right on time at 7:30 AM.
I’ve only raced one other 10k outside of a triathlon, so I wasn’t exactly sure how to pace myself. Mike said to just “run hard” and treat it like a tempo workout. I started off a bit too fast due to the adrenaline and the crowds and once I saw a 6:xx pace on my watch I knew I needed to scale it way back. I made a goal before the race to finish with a 7:xx overall average pace and under 50 minutes which I felt was reasonable given my fitness and the fact that I am still recovering from the marathon. Soon I fell into a solid pace that felt like a tempo to me and my pace hovered in the high 7s. My legs felt OK though the first mile seemed the hardest (it’s a false flat incline for most of the first mile which probably contributed in addition to my lack of a good warm-up).
One of the first things I noticed while running is how foreign it was for me to be running fast on a road. I did 99% of my speed workouts on the treadmill or on a trail so it was interesting to just be running hard. It actually felt really good. The second mile felt great and I was enjoying the feeling of pushing my body. I wasn’t super pleased that a pace in the high 7s and sometimes low 8s felt as hard as it did considering I once ran the bulk of a marathon at this pace, but that’s just part of my journey that I’m going to have to accept, especially since I haven’t put in the work to deserve a PR race postpartum.
The course is now two loops which I enjoyed because it broke up the race into several parts. There’s one mild hill on the second portion of the loop so I basically focused on getting to the crest of the hill, then to the turn around, then back to the crest, then the next turn around, and so forth until the end of the race. At one point I ran for a few minutes with my Beachbody teammate Kelley and I saw several other friends out on the course both in the 10k and later when the 5k runners started. I was pleased that the 5k runners hadn’t started by the time I started my second loop so there wasn’t a ton of extra crowding from the two courses merging as I had feared.
As the race continued, I almost felt better and better. I knew that I would achieve my pace goal and I was happy about that. I really wanted to negative split and focused on making miles 5 and 6 as fast as I could without spiking my heart rate too high. I was in pain but it was a good kind of pain – one that I’ve missed. It truly felt like a great race.
Unfortunately the course was long by nearly 0.2 (I confirmed this with several people, including one of the people who measured it who I happen to know) and my official time was 50:29. My Garmin pace was 7:50. Either way, I feel I achieved my goal pace and that’s all that really matters to me! And even more than the pace – I was happy that I executed a race well and that I felt strong and happy during it. After a couple of disappointing races in a row, I was getting a bit discouraged about racing and running but this race inspired me to work hard so that 2017 will include some PRs!
We spent the rest of the day enjoying the holiday with family and had a fun weekend which included Mike’s cousin’s wedding on a very rainy San Diego Saturday night. I met up with the Seaside Strides Running Club for a 10 mile run along the coast in Carlsbad on Saturday morning and it felt good to be getting out there again. Oh, and I have an update on my 2017 racing schedule but it’ll have to wait for another post. Stay tuned.
Did you do a Turkey Trot? How do you gauge success in a race besides setting a PR?