Low-key fun on Thanksgiving

23 Nov

After 10 months of pretty serious training, I was ready for a low-key event. The 33rd Annual Turkey Trot in Quincy, Ill., on Thanksgiving Day was just what the doctor ordered.

Laura, Barb, Kristi Stein and I all took part in the 33rd Annual Turkey Trot sponsored by the Quincy, Ill., YMCA. More than 2,000 people took part, which is a great turnout in a town of only 40,000.

Last year, DW Barb and I took part in the local Turkey Trot, which was sponsored by the women’s basketball team at the community college. This year, Barb checked if the trot was still scheduled and was told it was on.

Apparently, Barb thought a Turkey Trot wasn’t crazy enough on its own, so she felt compelled to order four very special turkey hats for her and I, plus our friend Kristi Stein and DD Laura.

Well, the week of the Turkey Trot, we found out that the local race wasn’t being held. But $50 of turkey hats is a powerful motivator, so Barb got busy and found the Quincy “race.” And it was a great find — other than the fact that we now had to drive 45 miles to trot.

The Quincy race was organized very well; 32 years’ experience will do that for a race, I guess. There were lots of walkers and lots of families, but everyone seemed to be having fun.

And there’s nothing like running a 10K with a turkey on your head to lighten the mood. We all got lots of compliments and our hats.

After the Des Moines marathon in mid-October, my training has been spotty. I’ve taken a few days off, and we took a week-long vacation to New York City. But the time off has been good for me. I was pretty serious about my training for 10 months. And after a disappointing finish in Des Moines, a few days off and a light-hearted approach has been welcome.

Turkey hat.

If the hat isn’t goofy enough, the look on this guy’s face tops it off.

Barb, Laura and Kristi hung together for the 5K, while I took off on my own for the 10K. All I wanted to do was have a nice run and enjoy the day.

The temperature was great, the course was good and the race was just a lot of fun. I did have one mishap when I stepped on a small branch and rolled my ankle pretty bad at about the 2-mile mark. But I’ve done this often enough, I’ve learned to just keep going, before the ankle has a chance to stiffen. (I really didn’t even feel any discomfort during the run, but as soon as I crossed the finish line and stopped moving, it stiffened up. I had to hobble to the car, but a day later, it feels pretty good.)

Des Moines really shook my confidence. With those results, I have doubted my training, and I knew my execution was worse. And even though the Turkey Trot was just for a good time, I felt good about my run.

In Des Moines, I had been aiming for an average of slightly less than 10-minute miles for the marathon. In Quincy, I was able to average about 8:30 miles.  Now, you can’t make a direct correlation between a 6-mile average and a 26-mile average, but I was still pleased with the run in Quincy.

I’ve been debating my next goal. In less than two months, I’ll turn 50. I’ve had a goal in the back of my mind for that milestone, but I just don’t know if I’ve been able to log enough miles lately to make that goal happen. But my confidence is on the upswing and the fun is returning to the training, so who knows?

If nothing else, I’ve learned that sometimes you need to blow off a little steam, so you can start to build your fire back up from the beginning.

What have you done to stoke your training fires? How do you lighten up your training?

If you want a really cool turkey hat for your next race, you can find them here.

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