Happy Thanksgiving! Today was the second race of my season, my second road race ever, and my first 5k Turkey Trot (Gobble Gobble Gobble)! I was entered in the elite section of the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, which was scheduled for 8am. The really nice thing about this race was where it started, about two and a half miles away from my house. It started out like so many of my races with a nice serenade from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” followed by the usual three pieces of peanut butter toast as I got ready to bring the bread.
It was a bit strange not having to drive anywhere to get to the start line, so I just stayed at my house until about 6:55, when I left to meet Jose at the main fountain on San Jose State’s campus. We did our twenty minute warmup down the Guadalupe River Trail, did some drills and just tried to mentally prepare for the race ahead. Jose has run this race multiple times in the past, so I was really happy to have someone who knew the race and how it runs.
There were about thirty elites entered into the race with guys who have run low 13:10’s and lots of 13:30 guys. So with my PR of 14:33, I was a little nervous going into this race. We got out pretty hard. There was a lot of jostling in the first 200 meters, and it got tight as we throttled down a single street lane. After the first 600 meters it started to spread out a bit more. I felt like I got out where I wanted too, not caught up with the leaders, but not too slow. My plan was to work with Jose for as long as I could and never let him get too far ahead of me. After the first lap, we settled into the race and guys who went out a bit too hard started to pay the price. Jose and I rolled through the mile around 4:35, a little slower than we wanted but not too bad. I kept keying off the guys ahead of me and working on not letting them pull further away. I rolled through the second mile at 9:25, but I didn’t feel like I had slowed down and run a 4:50, so I’m a bit skeptical that was the actual time for that mile. With one lap left, I knew I had some work to still get the finish that I wanted. I caught up to Jose with about 1000 meters left in the race, and kept going after the guys ahead of him. At this point I was off in no-mans-land, and just trying to hang on and finish the race. I was hurting a good amount, and couldn’t really feel my arms as I made the turn down the last straightaway to the finish.
I finished in 20th place, with a time of 14:39 officially, and Jose was just being me in 22nd place with 14:49. Not a PR for me or what I wanted to run today (14:15), but a time I’m pleased with. I ran a smart, gritty race, and never stopped working. Being in 8k/10k shape is a lot different than Steeplechase/5k shape, so to run within 6 seconds of my PR makes me happy. I’m definitely taking this as a learning opportunity and a great way for me to get the feel of what it’s like to run with other elite athletes. I’m really excited to see what I can do on the track this spring. With the training I’ve had this fall, the confidence I’ve built in my racing, and some big PR’s on the season, it’s going to be an amazing spring season. I can’t wait to be back on the track to write for all of you again. Until then, see you on the track.