Running a race on Thanksgiving morning has become a favorite tradition. I especially love the Subaru Thanksgiving Day Distance Classic: it’s a fast race of an unusual distance, and it’s just perfect before having to rush home to get the turkey in the oven (I’m not quite ready to take on a half marathon prior to the big feast, but maybe one day).
Racing had an added incentive this year: for the first time, there would be an actual medal for the 6K. It was a cute medal, too, and the shorter distance was almost a sellout as a result.
As it was, the staging area was pretty crowded when I arrived. I rode alone, simply because I had to leave immediately after finishing: little man wanted to run a Thanksgiving race, too, and there was one closer to home with a much later start time. I registered him for that one, instead, so that they could sleep in and not have to wait around for me; he would also get to see some of his own friends there.
The temperature was much higher than it was last year, and I was glad that I was able to wear my festive turkey tank.
I joined up with some of my friends and we hopped on the bathroom line. Even thirty minutes before the start, it was packed.
Most of them were in for the half. The race director announced that due to the crowds and the size of the course, the 6K would be starting about 10 minutes ahead of the half marathon. We wished each other good luck and said our goodbyes and Happy Thanksgivings.
I happened to stumble into these ladies in the crowd at the start, and I was so happy to see them, too!
Despite the unseasonable heat and humidity (last year, I was in long sleeves, capris and gloves), the morning was shaping up beautifully.
I’m a bit of a superstitious person, so my strategy was to run the course the way I did last year: complete the first mile without stopping, before settling into the run-walk. This year, I was going to work with my :60/:15 intervals, just to see what I could do.
Even with the crowded course, I was able to comfortably log a mile in under 10 minutes (huge for me). The humid air made it hard, but I fell into a pretty consistent pace for the remainder of the course.
In the last mile I was approached by a woman who came up behind me and started … trying to encourage (?) me. I was in a walk break, and she started hopping around me yelling “Come on! We’re almost there! You can do it!” I smiled and made some reply, thinking she was just really excited about the day, and continued on my way. However, she didn’t move on, but continued “We’re right there! Keep going! You can make it to the end!” etc. I realize I’m probably not incredibly attractive or put together when I’m running, but I’m fairly sure I was in no visible distress, so I’m not really sure what she was going on about. I finally just made eye contact, told her thank you and Happy Thanksgiving, and sprinted off to get away from her. It was really distracting and while I love camaraderie on the course and appreciate concern from fellow runners if I find myself in trouble, I get the feeling that she saw my walk breaks and thought I was having a hard time, when, in fact, I was on track for a pretty big PR and feeling great.
I didn’t have time to be too annoyed, because the finish line was, in fact, right around the corner, and I cruised through with about a two minute thirty second PR and an overall pace of under 10 minutes a mile.
I grabbed water and was just about to hustle to my car when I ran into little man’s karate instructor. I chatted with her, and then I saw Kristin and Andrea, too!
It was a great race for everyone, and I was flying high when I left.
I didn’t hit much congestion, and made it to little man’s race right before he was read to start. He was pretty surprised to see me, and I’m so glad I was able to be there. He did a fabulous job on his mile, and we were all pretty ready to get home for breakfast and the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade when it was over.
What’s an “off-distance” that you enjoy racing?
Did you ever have to hit up two races in one morning?