Beginning Runners Try and 5K! – Trotting Turkeys and Flying Pigs

by on

This past Thanksgiving I participated in the Ann Arbor Turkey trot and had a wonderful time.  The race winds itself through University of Michigan’s north campus.  The course is nicely wooded and contains several hills.  It is not a flat course, but I wouldn’t call it hard.  It has enough variety to keep you interested in the scenery.

My friend Paul and I arrived an hour early to register, use the facilities, and warm up.  It was about thirty two degrees outside, so not too cold, but you certainly had to dress warm.  It was a cloudy day, but otherwise dry.  For the most part the weather was agreeable and made for good racing conditions.

Last year I ran the Turkey Trot and was eager to compare results.   In the past I ran a 31:22, which I was proud of, but I since then I had trained for most of a year.  I also wanted to get a good competitive run in so I could gate a pace to guide my training.  I planned on using the FIRST training program, and from what I could tell, your 5K results factor heavily in its training programs and paces.
We setup about three quarters into the field.  Once the start gun went off the crowd surged a bit, but we didn’t really start to run, mostly we walked.  By the time we got to the actual start line the crowd had cleared enough for us to run.  I started out slow, but was was geeked to get moving!  There were several groups of walkers to negotiate, but soon we were on a downhill course and the pace quickened.  It didn’t try to speed up, but rather let the downhill slope carry me forward.  It was nice to lengthen the stride.
I clocked a 8:14 for the first mile, which was a little fast, but I wasn’t gassed.  As we started back up hill, I shortened my stride and hunkered down for the uphill run.  The ascent was about
a quarter mile.  Once the terrain leveled out, I cruised a bit to catch my breath.  Once I felt steady, I started pushing.  I finished up mile two with a 8:43 pace.  I was really feeling good.  I was continually passing other runners.  It felt great.  Typically I run out of gas and get smoked, but today, I kept pushing, finding targets ahead of me, and taking them down!

I’m not a fast runner, but I am competitive!

I finished up the race with a time of 26:45 and was completely overjoyed.  My goal going into the race was to finish below 28 minutes.  It felt great to do so, also, it gave me a great time to use as a base for further training.  I plan on running in the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon in early May.  I figured I could use the FIRST 3+2 program during the winter months.  It would minimize the amount of outdoor running I would need to do and also force me to finally start some cross training.

The race was a success.  If you are in the Ann Arbor area over Thanksgiving, I would recommend participating in this race.  Also, as you can see dedication to training pays off!  I cut approximately 4:40 off my time.

Previous post:

Next post: