More of a workout than a race, but I had on a number, paid money and started behind a line with a horde of people, so I suppose it gets a special post. There are other “Turkey Trots” in the area, but I picked this one because a few of my new teamies from Bull City Running were there too.
It was a cool but dry morning, which didn’t suit the toddler very well. Gary said he was pretty cranky until after I finished the race. I attribute the foul disposition to the cool temperatures combined with Remy’s patent unwillingness to wear coats, hats and mittens. More about Remy’s adventures after the race later.
There were lots and lots of fast runner looking types milling around before the race. You know, those lanky folks wearing tiny singlets, racing flats and a distinct air of confidence. Those people. This was interesting to observe, but it had zero impact on my race plan, which was to run tempo for 3 miles then pick it up and finish strong for the final 2. I figured this should get me under 35 minutes, but not by a whole lot. Especially since I had done a 3 hour trail run the prior day.
I wore my Garmin so I had pace information, which, if you are familiar with my proclivity to race data-less, is further evidence that this is a training event. Unfortunately, my Garmin went to sleep right before we started and didn’t get a signal until about ummm 10 seconds or so into the race. Whatever.
In run only races, I’ve often had the tendency to take things out a little fast in the beginning. I suppose that’s what happens when I don’t have a bike to wear me down first. Anyway, I made a specific effort to start further back and keep a calm mind about feeling stuck behind people that I knew I could pass. I did a good job staying relaxed and comfortable, so when we passed the one mile mark and I asked the fellow next to me what split he got, I was suprised to hear a number under 6:30. Uh, really?
Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, I refrain from overanalyzing the numbers and stick with the tempo effort I had going. The next two miles rolled by in around 6:30 each. I had gradually caught up to a female runner just as I approached the 3 mile mark, which is when my plan was to accelerate. It was an uphill acceleration, so my speed wasn’t any faster, but it suddenly felt like race pace effort. I saw another female just ahead and tried to catch up to her, but couldn’t close the gap even though my pace had increased by then.
In the end, I ran a bit over 32 minutes, although I’m not by how much due to my Garmin malfunction at the beginning. This was a pleasantly surprising result for me. The woman just ahead of me was Kim Certain, who has a history of outrunning me more often than not. The other master’s female further ahead was prior Olympian runner Joan Nesbit Mabe, not that I would consider her to be competition for me (or vice versa).
The results don’t have times yet due to a problem with the timing system, but here’s what they have posted thus far. The level of competition, especially on the men’s side, is evident by the absence of certain names of really fast runners that regularly win overall races elsewhere. Ridonkulously fast team mate Liam was third overall, but notoriously quick Jason Page and Tim Surface are nowhere to be seen. If they can fix the results, it will be interesting to how fast the field really was.
So back to Remy, the more interesting part of the post. In my estimation anyway.
First, Remy demonstrated his intrepid leadership skills by climbing the 7 foot tall ladder the race organizers left standing next to the start / finish area. There were lots of other toddlers at the race, so once one saw Remy do it, then another is climbing too. This leads to another toddler seeing that toddler and so on until at least 5-6 have tried their hand at the unofficial “ladder climb activity.” You may wonder where all the parents were. They were right there preventing their toddlers from falling commenting on how much the race organizers must be loving the liability, knowing that this course of action is preferable to full on toddler meltdowns.
Shortly thereafter were the official kiddie race activities. Age groups started at 2-3 and went all the way up to 5-6 or so, I’m not really sure. As soon as I mentioned racing to Remy, he took off running down the street. I guess that was his warm up, since he had pointed himself in the opposite direction of the actual race. I eventually got him turned around after half the 2-3 year olds got a head start and he wove through the crowd running and giggling with glee. When the other kids stopped, so did he, looking ever so pleased with himself.
Although they handed out little blue ribbons to all finishers, he had little interest in his award. Instead, upon hearing them readying the next age group to start, he sprints off back towards the start just as a horde of faster moving 4-5 year olds barrel forward. I sprint after Remy and swoop him out of the way, allowing the bigger kids to pass and let him chase after them. Again, he comes to a flourished stop at the finish carrying an expression awash in the glory of success. Remy is racing like Mommy does!
So they line up the 6-7 year olds and, again, he flies back towards the start, I whisk him out of danger’s way then let him run it in again. He just loved it. Now, he doesn’t seem to have any concept of trying to “beat” other kids or go faster than his legs just happen to carry him. It’s about the enjoyment of doing what you love among like-minded others. I suppose that he will figure out the racing element some day, but I’m in no rush to get him there. I’m just glad he’s having a good time.