Race Report: Anchorage Turkey Trot

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Thankful for people who make me look average in height.

This is the third year I’ve run the Anchorage Turkey Trot, which is a small and low-key affair. I like the course and the atmosphere, and the price, and it’s totally fine that the course is always long (3.18 consistently) and that there isn’t much in the way of prizes. (This is fine because a) I’ve run Monumental  a few weeks before every year and b) no prizes means nobody fast so I can win even though I’m coming off recovery).

We have a few Thanksgiving Day options in Louisville and I’m hoping this one continues to be largely undiscovered. They offer a family entry fee and the local public school cross country team could run for free. Super cute. The course also runs past where C and I got married and then down a really nice paved trail.

 

My best friend Diane was in town for the holiday, and we’ve been running this race together since I “discovered” it in 2014 — the only real advertisement was a banner hanging by the start area that I spotted when I was running in the area. This year she also brought her mom, who I love.

Side bar: holiday races are always SO LATE. I usually hate that but this time we were out late the night before so it was probably for the best. I still had time to do a load of laundry and prep Brussels sprouts before I left. I had a little Clif Bar Z-Bar (the kids ones) since the race didn’t start until 9.

I arrived about 45 minutes before the race start because I was bored. It took 5 minutes to register. I ran a mile before Diane got there, then another mile with her. The weather was really weird — 50* but damp. At first that seemed chilly but once I got moving it mostly seemed humid. I ran the warmup in my training shoes, and started in a thermal top and pants over my race outfit. I dropped trou after the first mile, haha, and drank some Hammer Fully Charged. I switched to my NB 1400s after the warmup then ditched the long sleeve on my way to the start.

The start was so cute. A gentleman from the Civic Club kept trying to get our attention and give us unnecessary details (your choice of water or Gatorade at the finish — um, okay) but you know how runners are.

There were a few people I knew at the race, including a guy that normally runs about the same pace as me, plus my friend Brandon from the New Balance Louisville store. I did not see any girls that I thought would be a problem.

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Finishers hat.

Once the race finally started, I successfully dodged all the small human obstacles. Three girls went out ahead of me, all young, and one wearing pajama pants. Let me be clear: I don’t lose to teenagers in pajama pants. That’s not okay. Within a half mile the kids had all fallen back and I caught those three girls and moved ahead.

I was happy and maybe a bit surprised to be settling into a comfortable rhythm that early on. I felt loose and relaxed which is basically how I know how a race is going to go. This race has a small climb early, then a bigger one close to the 1 mile mark, then a big one that you hit twice on the out-and-back section.

The first two hills were no problem and I was still catching guys who had gone out too fast. A quick wave at the chapel facade where we had our wedding ceremony.

Mile 1, 6:26. Right where I wanted to be and feeling good. I remembered how short 5ks are.

At about 1.25, there’s a sharp left then a sharp right onto the trail. Also the first 200m or so are brick. It rained the night before and the bricks are generally in the shade and a little mossy — aka super-slick. I managed to not bust my face, and the photog around there said I was in 9th. It was a nice but not terribly useful stat because there were people ahead of me running the 10k, and because I was first female which was my main interest. But hey, thanks! (And maybe they’ll actually post the photos this year.)

Up the big hill, trailing a few guys. Once on the trail there were people just out walking so I made sure to not run anyone over. Down the hill, across a bridge, past two deer. This year they put up a sign at the Y split so everyone went the right way. #Thankful

Mile 2 split, 6:19, right as you come around the loop and start to head back. This is the only net downhill mile so not surprised it’s a little faster. Starting to feel the burn, though. Telling myself to focus and press, even though I’m pretty certain there aren’t any girls close. Never looked, though. My HR is in the 180s and I can maintain that for another mile. But no kicking until we come back up the hill!

Back down the hill, rolling fine, definitely pushing but not in red-line territory. And I never quite got there because the brick section was so slick that I couldn’t really kick!

Mile 3, 6:23. Faster than mile 1, and mile 2 was fastest — very unusual!

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Winner, winner, turkey dinner!

Since this race has been exactly 8/10ths long both of the past years, I went ahead and force-lapped my watch at 3.1 — 19:50. Official time 20:04. First female and maybe 7th overall — they don’t record or post results, but I think at least two guys kept going for the 10k second lap.

Diane was not far behind and we cheered for her mom, who won her age group and was super-stoked since she hasn’t raced in several years.

I received a legit finisher’s hat, a plaque and two $5 Taco Bell gift cards that my sister was delighted to have. (They let us pick from the YUM! brands — Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut. This made me laugh because the trail we raced on was built with funds from the Papa John’s founder!)

Easy mile cool down, Hammer Recoverite, warmer clothes, then home to make Brussels sprouts. The race to get the Brussels sprouts ready, shower, dry hair and put on makeup was probably every bit as hard as the race (but accomplished in 1 hour!).

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