Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot

I know this is very late but I had such a good time on this run, I wanted to share.

More detail on this run can be found at:

For Thanksgiving, Jason and I went to Wisconsin, near Madison (we met at UW-Madison, where we both went to school). His family lives on a dairy farm in Belleville, WI, 30 minutes south of Madison.

We changed planes in Minnesota and, as if on cue, it started flurrying. We had to wait on the ground as they de-iced the plane. De-ice? I'm from San Diego, folks. Please. De-ice! De-ice! I didn't mind the wait. I just hoped the snow wouldn't be too bad.

By the time we got to his parents, the snow was accumulating on the roads, and it was dark. Luckily, his brother, accustomed to snow, drove us from the airport to his parents. I could see large, wet flakes falling from the sky (see pic to right). Thrilling.

The next morning, a white blanket of snow covered the ground. The farm was a beautiful sight (see below). I had forgotten how still, quiet, and muffled everything became with snow. Very peaceful. I put all my winter running clothes on. All of them. Long underwear under my running tights, thermal, long-sleeved running shirt, biking jacket, gloves, scarf, ear muffs, thick socks. Then, I ran out of clothes. We drove to the race start.

I saw an outdoor thermometer on a bank sign. We had to stop and take a pic. 24 degrees, baby. Oh, yeah.

I had thought the jog over to the bank thermometer would be a good warm-up but we quickly realized warming up was not going to happen. Plus, there was a ton of ice on the streets and sidewalks (see pic), reducing us to the penguin shuffle. Yipee.

After picking up our race packets, we convinced someone to take our pic. We huddled together to stay warm. Luckily, even though I'm a wimp from San Diego, this was the first major cold snap of the season so everyone, even the hardened Wisconsintes, was suffering.

We all huddled together at the start, sharing body heat. Maybe this is why people from Wisconsin are so nice? They cuddle a lot! The gun went off, and I took off. I wanted to get warm. Luckily, there wasn't much ice on the roads but I was concerned about the trails coming up. I managed a pretty aggressive pace, running at a slightly uncomfortable RPE. My breathing was sharp, every 2 steps, and it would have been possible to talk in short phrases.

When we hit the trails, I was pleasantly surprised to see there were only a few patches of ice here and there to avoid but I could still run. The crowds had thinned out, and I had plenty of room. I settled in nicely, enjoying the bare, winter trees and brown grass. I had forgotten how dormancy takes over the land in winter.

I remembered this one, final, killer hill at the very end of this race (we ran it a few years ago) that had almost done me in. As we left the trail and turned up the road, I felt the adrenaline surge. I knew the finish was close. All that was between me and the line was that last hill. I attacked. Expecting it to be tough, I gave it all I got. All of a sudden, I was at the top. I actually felt disappointed. That was it? That's all you got? C'mon! Bring it! Without needing any recovery, I increased the tempo, beginning my final surge toward the finish.

I glanced at my watch (which matched my chip time). 54:25 total time (8:46 min/mi). Not a PR, but not bad either. I am salivating to get some speed back. I know I can beat this! However, I'm not disappointed, considering I haven't been working on speed at all.

Jason and I ran back to the car and cranked the heat. Cooling off in cold weather is not fun! Here we are, red-faced, and happy we got our Turkey Trot in. Where's the closest Starbucks? Time for hot chocolate!

We did our long run that Saturday on the Badger State Trail. It was cold, windy, and isolated but a very enjoyable experience. Note to self--for a PR, run in cold weather, during hunting season. If gunshots don't get your feet moving, nothing will! More detail on this run can be found at the link below:


Cliff said...

hey Rachel...

U are strong to brave the cold..when u start training for IM.k.eep in mind that you did a 10 k run in 24*F. Your time is great.

:)...btw have a Merry Christmas ;)

Ryan Denner said...

mmmm snow! gotta love that!