Ann Arbor Turkey Trot Recap

We made the trek down to the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot Saturday – our first race(s) in almost six weeks. The Turkey Trot had separate 5K and 10K races, with the 10K starting about an hour after the 5K. It also had an “Iron Turkey” option to run both the 5K and the 10K. Of course we signed up for the Iron Turkey, which sounded like a fun challenge…well, it sounded fun until I started thinking about running two races with about a 40-minute break in between. The break was the most daunting part of it for me – I’d rather just race the entire 15K at once. Those distances were no problem for me, but I’ve never done anything more than a light cool down after a race, let alone run another race. But it really did sound like fun (except when I was running the 5K and remembered that I’d be running the same loop two more times less than an hour later).

I liked the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot's mascot.

There was a pretty big line getting into the race venue (Hudson Mills Metropark), but that was to be expected with us not arriving super early, there only being one entrance to the park for motor vehicles, and the requirement that vehicles stop at a booth to either display a Metroparks annual pass or buy a daily pass. Once we passed that booth, traffic flowed much more smoothly. We had no problems finding a place to park, and it was a fairly short walk to the race area. There were some Porta-Potties near the starting line, and there was also an activity building nearby with restrooms. Luckily the lines weren’t too long compared to what I’ve seen at other races, and we ended up having plenty of time to spare before the 5K started. There was about a five-minute delay in the start of the 5K to accommodate late arrivals, but the extra time went by quickly. I think the temperatures were in the 30s (F) at race time, but the cold didn’t really bother me before or during the races.

The start/finish line of the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 5K shortly before the runners lined up.

There were signs near the start line with different pace times (in 1:00 increments) for very informal corrals and it seemed like runners were pretty good about lining up accordingly, at least in the area around me. I’m not sure if it was as organized behind where I started (I hope it was), but I’m always thrilled when race starts are well organized and people line up according to pace. I was happy to see a fellow local runner, Melanie, at the start line. My wife and I have seen her at a couple of group runs – but only briefly because she’s very fast. It was nice getting to chat with her before and after the Iron Turkey races.

After a nice rendition of the national anthem, the 5K began. I really wanted to get a PR in this race, and I felt like I might be able to shave a decent amount of time off of my previous PR. I didn’t have a goal time other than to beat my previous PR of 20:23, but I hoped to break the 20-minute mark. I started out fast and hit the one-mile mark in 6:00. I didn’t think I’d be able to maintain that pace, but I felt good through the first mile and was confident hoped that my pace wouldn’t drop dramatically over the remaining 2.1 miles. My second and third miles were slower, but consistent, at about 6:21 each. The total distance on my Garmin watch was 3.13 miles, and my pace for the final 0.13 mile was 5:03. My official time was 19:18 – a new PR by 1:05! I would’ve liked to have maintained a pace closer to 6:10 for the second and third miles, but I have no complaints and was very happy with my results in the 5K. My wife also set a PR, beating her previous best 5K time by more than 30 seconds!

The Ann Arbor Turkey Trot mascot was cool.

After finishing the 5K, there was some time to kill before the start of the 10K. The 10K was supposed to start at 10:00 a.m., but it was delayed by about 15 minutes due to the late 5K start and waiting for all of the 5K participants to finish. The 10K course was basically two loops of the 5K course, but with slightly different start and finish lines. I understand why the 10K start was delayed, as the 5K finish went past the 10K start line and there would’ve been some conflicts head-on collisions between runners starting the 10K and walkers finishing the 5K. This also ensured that Iron Turkey participants would finish the 5K in time to start the 10K. We were keeping an eye out for Megan and Erika between the races – Megan was running the 10K and Erika was running the Iron Turkey. We didn’t see them before the 5K, so we were hoping to run into them before or after the 10K. We were very glad to see them and have a chance to say quick hellos. We didn’t realize it until we saw the results later in the day, but Erika and my wife had 5K times within a few seconds of each other.

Iron Turkey participants got two shirts. The yellow one has short sleeves and the brown one (Iron Turkey specific) has long sleeves.

The 10K corrals were similar to the 5K corrals, and while the 5K had a few hundred more runners than the 10K, the corral seemed more crowded to me before the 10K. I felt some tightness and soreness in my left leg after the 5K, so I didn’t want to push it too much in the 10K. I would’ve loved to have tried setting a PR in the 10K, too, but I’m not sure if I could’ve done it so soon after running a 5K all out, and I didn’t want to risk having the tightness and soreness turn into something serious. I decided to run the 10K conservatively and see how I felt after the first mile or so. I ran the first mile in 7:02 and felt pretty good, so I decided to try maintaining a consistent pace in the low 7:00s for the rest of the race. My splits for the second through fifth miles ranged from 7:05 to 7:09, I ran the sixth mile in 6:54, and the last 0.20 was at a 5:34 pace. My leg didn’t really loosen up much during the 10K, so I’m glad I didn’t try to push it too much throughout the race. My official time was 43:32 – 1:06 slower than my PR. Although I would’ve liked to have run the 10K a little harder, I’m happy with how it went and glad I was able to maintain a pretty even pace. I’m looking forward to running another 10K next weekend (not immediately preceded by a 5K), and maybe I’ll be able to set a PR in that race.

With my race medals from the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot – one for finishing the Iron Turkey and one for finishing in the top 5 of my age group in the 5K.

Results:
5K
Chip time: 19:18 (gun time: 19:18)
Pace: 6:14/mile (per Garmin: 6:11/mile)
Overall: 22/1040
Age group: 4/49
Slowest mile (per Garmin): 6:21 (miles 2 and 3)
Fastest mile (per Garmin): 6:00 (mile 1)

10K
Chip time: 43:32 (gun time: 43:37)
Pace: 7:01/mile (per Garmin: 7:01/mile)
Overall: 55/678
Age group: 10/42
Slowest mile (per Garmin): 7:09 (mile 5)
Fastest mile (per Garmin): 6:54 (mile 6)

Iron Turkey
Overall: 20/304

Questions:
Did you race this weekend? If so, at what distance(s) and how did it go?

Do you always try to get a PR when you race, or do you ever decide ahead of time to just run it slower than PR pace? If you run it slower, do you just run whatever pace feels OK or do you still try to hit a certain pace like a tempo run?

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3 Responses to Ann Arbor Turkey Trot Recap

  1. Ali Mc says:

    This was awesome. I’ll say it again – you achieved BOTH of the goals I have set for myself in the same day, with in a hour of each other! AWESOME. I don’t know that an almost 29 year old female will ever be able to be that fast since i’ve only been running 6 months…..but I hope to be fast :) lol congrats again!

    • Matt says:

      Thanks, Ali – I really appreciate it! You’ll keep getting faster over time with more mileage and training, and you should have plenty of great running years ahead of you. I didn’t start running consistently until a few years ago (I was well past 30 at the time). I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised with what you can accomplish as you become a more experienced runner. :)

  2. Pingback: Upside Down | Faster Than a Turtle

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