Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K

Date:  Thursday, November 27, 2008

Location:  Raleigh, NC
Time:  29:12 (Master’s Course Record)
Pace:  5:53
Place:  5th Overall, 1st Master
Temperature:  Low 40s
Paul wearing Zensah shin/calf sleeves and 
Bull City Running shirt (I’m BCR’s Biggest Fan!)

This is the fourth time in the past five years that I have run this race. The race begins and ends at the Ridgewood Shopping Center, conveniently located in front of two of the sponsors, Fleet Feet and Whole Foods. The course is somewhat challenging, as the first two miles are downhill, and the remainder of the race is uphill with many turns between miles two and four. I once again ran while wearing the Zensah shin/calf compression sleeves, and I absolutely love them! I also raced in the Mizuno Ronin. A sweet shoe.
I’ve just started a two-week regimen of antibiotics, and had almost talked myself out of even running the race. I also ran the Raven Rock Rumble a mere four days ago, and completed the last of three treadmills workouts for Meredith College Human Performance Lab a mere two days ago. I had many excuses not to race this morning, but what’s Thanksgiving like without a Turkey Trot?
Even though I was feeling a little under the weather and somewhat tired, I was nonetheless looking forward to this race as I knew my very good friend, Chad, and his wife, Sarah, would also be racing. Chad and I had been training together most of the Fall in preparation for his first marathon. Unfortunately, he got injured, and was not only unable to run the marathon, he has not been running much at all. I hadn’t seen him in months.
My goal was to finish the race in less than 30 minutes. This was one of my most strategically run races, and I was very pleased with my time, place, and performance.
Paul and Chad, post-race
The race started at 8:30, and Sandy Roberts, a local, young, talented, truly phenomenal runner was off and gone! He won the race, and demolished the course record by over five minutes. I only wish I could have seen him race…
The start was somewhat congested, and I did have to weave my way past some runners as we made our way down Ridge Rd. Once the crowd cleared, I was in ninth or tenth place. I saw my friend, Jonathan (last year’s winner; I placed second) running with another man, and I made my way up to them before mile 1. The three of us ran together for a while, and were then joined by another runner, whose name I later learned is Kevin. As the course was downhill, Kevin and I dropped Jonathan and the other runner, and set our sights on the next two runners, who were 200 or so meters ahead of us. We hit the mile marker, and Kevin heard my Forerunner beep, so he asked for the split: 5:41. Kevin and I traded places numerous times between mile 1 and 2 (still downhill on Ridge Rd). 
At mile 2, we took a right turn and began running through a neighborhood. There are many hills, and some of them are steep. At about mile 2.5, we finally caught the two runners we had (without saying a word to each other about it) set our sights on. One of the runners we immediately dropped, and the other stayed with us for couple of hundred meters. When he did drop, I gave him words of encouragement. Kevin asked for the split at mile 2: 5:43.
Kevin and I once again kept trading places between miles 2 and 3, with me passing him on the downhills, and him catching and passing me on the uphills. At mile 3, without waiting for him to ask, and I said, “6:08. Not bad considering the hills. By the way, you’re only running with me so I can give you your splits.” He laughed, and asked me if I was from Raleigh. I introduced myself, he introduced himself, and the conversation stopped. We were running too hard to talk for very long!
Surprise, surprise, Kevin and I kept trading places between miles 3 and 4. I truly enjoy running — racing, if truth be told — with someone, as I tend to remain focused on the race, and I generally run faster.

<- Paul, Charley, and Kevin

Charley and Kevin->


And here’s where it gets interesting…
As we took one last right turn back onto Ridgewood, I glanced behind us, and saw that there was a runner catching up with us. I don’t like to be passed, particularly not during the last miles of a race. My first thought: If it comes down to a sprint to the finish, Kevin and the other man will more than likely pass me. If I want to make a move, I had better do it soon. I waited until mile 4: 6:10. I then picked up the pace in an attempt to drop the two. I did manage to drop Kevin, but the other man (Charley) kept breathing down my neck. I ran the last mile in about 5:30. Looking at the results, Kevin came in sixth and was caught and passed by Charley. Charley finished in fifth, just four seconds behind me (as you can see by the picture). Kevin finished in 29:22, just 10 seconds behind me. Charley came in first in the 25-30 age group, and Kevin came in second.
I congratulated both Charley and Kevin as they came through the finishing corral. I got a quick drink of water, and then went to find Chad. By the time I got to him, he was about a half mile from the finish. I ran backwards while talking to him, but could tell that people thought I was showing off. I wasn’t! I was just trying to belittle Chad. It worked!
As I was changing shirts, I heard some people say my name. Lane, Kelly, and their husbands! I hadn’t seen them in years.
Lane, Paul, and Kelly

I won a $100 gift certificate for Mizuno products. Maybe a new pair of Ronins?
I broke the old Master’s Course Record set by yours truly last year. 

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