Today was the Westfield Turkey Trot 5-mile race through Tamaques Park, which was actually one of the parks that I trained in for the RU Unite half-marathon earlier this year. It’s a nice little park with a .8 mile loop so it’s good for short runs, but anything more than a few miles gets really boring.
Today was chilly and windy, not the most fun weather for standing around waiting for a race to start. Because of the high winds today, gusting up to 30 mph, it was hard to decide what to wear, but I stuck with what I would normally wear for a 39 degree run. I was freezing while waiting for the race to start, my toes even went completely numb. It was actually hard to fight the feeling that I didn’t dress warm enough, but I knew once I started running, I’d warm up. I was right. My toes didn’t thaw out until after the second mile, but by the the time I finished the first mile, the rest of me was plenty warm. By the end of the race, I was dripping sweat.
The course wasn’t too shabby. The race started with a lap and a half in the park and then continued through residential Westfield with a final half lap in the park again. The course was marked well and the race was organized, the only real complaint to be made was that the race wasn’t chipped. That means that at the end of the race, you have to run down a chute and stay in order. People grab the tag at the bottom of your bib which sometimes means that you’re standing there for a few seconds waiting for them. Unfortunately, this was another run with a dry-heaving finish for me. I nearly puked on the girl taking the tags at the end because I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Anyway, my performance…
My goal was 35 minutes and as you can see from the title, I beat that pretty decently. I started off feeling strong, but slowed a little as the race continued. Overall, my pace was 6:47 which is pretty solid for me, but I ran for a mile and a half with a side cramp that didn’t feel good at all and my legs were tired. The gusts of wind made it hard to breathe, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Even though I was slowly slowing down throughout the race, I finished strong with as much of a sprint as I could muster. 33:56 put me at 53rd overall out of 843 total runners. I was third in my age group. And best of all, since I’ve never run a 5-mile race before, automatic PR!
Even though it was windy out, it was a good race and a performance I can be happy with. I would definitely run it again.