For the third consecutive year, Mike and I participated in the Encinitas Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. This race was a big deal to me this year – and not in the race nerves, PR, see what I’m made of kind of way – it was just about finishing. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with twins, I’ve anticipated the moment I’d stop running. From my internet research, a lot of moms stopped around 20 weeks (though there isn’t much out there for me to go by). A 6.2 mile run at 19 weeks might be a stretch, but it was kind of my “goal race” for the fall. I wanted to complete it!
Surprisingly, my running has been going really well. I’m sure it has something to do with the great racing season I had right before becoming pregnant, including a 10K PR in July. I don’t have a ton of pressure on my belly despite showing about 10 weeks ahead of where I was last pregnancy at this time. Mostly, I’m just a lot slower and get out of breath easier, especially on hills, so I have to make sure I’m running nice and easy and take walk breaks when my breathing gets too heavy (particularly on hills). I haven’t actually run over 6 miles since the half marathon in October, but I’ve consistently been doing at least a 5 mile run every other week with my friend Kelley who is also pregnant (but much faster than me so when we do run together the pace is faster than I’d do on my own). When I run on my own or with other friends, I usually go 3-4.5 miles.
Since Siena has been not loving her stroller lately, we opted to take a friend up on her offer to watch her in the morning. We dropped her off at Allison’s house at 6:30 AM and then headed over to the race, which is only a 5 minute drive from there. Once we were at the race, it seemed like everywhere we turned we were running into friends! The line for bib pick up was 2 minutes long and there was no bathroom line either. Another reason I love this race! The 10K starts at 7:30 AM and the 5K (the majority of the people and families do that distance) starts at 8 AM.
We basically chatted with friends until the start of the race and in a rare occurrence, I had no nerves at the start line. I was just going out for a nice run! I set myself up next to the 10 min/mile sign and started the race nice and easy. Within a few minutes I was running with my friend from the Seaside Striders, Susan, and its as nice to catch up with her! A few minutes later we were joined by two others and ran together for a bit. The 10K is a double out and back, which I actually liked becuase I got to see all my friends running ahead of me four different times. At the first aid station I took water and my running buddies ran ahead, and I ran the rest of the race alone. I didn’t wear head phones and just soaked in the crowds!
It was a unseasonably hot morning, already in the mid to high 70s by 8 a.m., and it was interesting to be not so much in pain myself due to my easy pace and to see the heat, sweat and pain on everyone else’s faces across the line from me as they made the second turn around, the sun beating in their races. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say the run was a walk in the park. I was mildly uncomfortable – my body felt heavy, it was tempting to walk, but my breathing was always comfortable and I wasn’t in any pain, so kept running.
When I started the second loop I knew I had to pee, but the 5K runners had now started and I was being enveloped by them. The crowds were intense and I didn’t want to go to the first to bathrooms on the course that I knew only had one stall (so I guess I was a little competitive!). I was able to hold it until the 5K runners make their turnaround and I ran into the San Elijo campground bathrooms and went. I also took the opportunity to drink a ton of water since I had missed the last aid station because I was so far over on the right side of the road.
After the bathroom, I neared the turnaround and made my way back toward the finish. The 5K turnaround was ahead of the 10K one, so the crowds were really thin now as it was just us back of the pack 10K runners. Once I got to the 5K turnaround, I was enveloped in families pushing strollers and slower 5K runners. The crowd was incredibly thick but it was also entertaining to run with everyone else – I love the community of this event! There were some people dressed in costumes and people chatting and enjoying themselves. I was happy to be out there running!!! At this point I was actually passing more people than were passing me which was fun, and by the time I got to the finish line, I picked up the pace a bit just for fun. It felt good to finish!!!!
Final finish time: 1:05:26, 10:33/mile
Being pregnant truly reminds me how much I love and value running and racing. I miss racing and I look forward to the day that I’ll be able to give a race my best effort again. Now that I’m on my second pregnancy, I have the perspective that it all comes with time and that this phase of slower running, and soon not running at all, is just a phase. In the grand scheme of life, I have so many years of running left and this is the last time I’ll ever be pregnant. Even if I had to stop running tomorrow, it’d be worth it and I’d be back at it before I knew it.
American friends, did you run a Turkey Trot this year? Do you prefer to run races for “fun” like this one or to race them for time?