Monday, November 11, 2013


NOTE:  When you view this post on the original website the word "man" has a strike-through, but apparently it doesn't show up in some feed readers.  Sorry.  Use your imagination.  It should look like this:  I am IRON MAN TURKEY!!!

Yesterday was the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot at Hudson Mills Metropark.  The "Hudson Mills" part is necessary, because there is another Ann Arbor Turkey Trot (in Ann Arbor) on Thanksgiving Day.  Confusing.  Personally, I think a race that's held in Dexter, MI nearly 3 weeks before Thanksgiving has no business calling itself the "Ann Arbor Turkey Trot", but nobody asked my opinion.

Yesterday's race had the option of a 5K, a 10K, or both.  Doing both races is called the "Iron Turkey" and gets you a long-sleeved (instead of short-sleeved) shirt, as well as a finisher's medal.

I have done this race several times before.  In fact, I have considered it my "Fall Benchmarking Race", as it is one that I have done year after year, so it is great for comparison purposes.  However, I have only ever done the 5K.   Here are my times from previous years:

And here is my race report from last year: 2012 Turkey Trot Race Report

I have wanted to do the Iron Turkey for awhile, but have always had some reason that I couldn't, or at least thought better of it.  Well, this year was my year!  And it was even more useful than usual as far as benchmarking goes, since it was my first race since my knee pain resolved.

Let me apologize right now for not taking pictures at the race.  I ran into lots of running peeps while I was out there, and the course is beautiful (it is on a paved metropark path), but I didn't carry my phone or a camera.  Honestly it kinda ruins the race experience for me to be so focused on documenting it.  So I didn't bother.

I had major wardrobe problems at the race.  The weather said it was to be in the low 40s with 20 mph winds.  Tricky weather to dress for.  That damn wind messes everything up.  So I played it safe and packed a variety of things to choose from after I got there.  I wore a long-sleeved tech tee under a short-sleeved tech tee, and packed a windblocking running vest and jacket, as well as some race belts.
This isn't actually a race day photo, but I wanted to show off my new running vest.  I got it on ebay last week and I love it!  
The problem with layering clothes is that your bib can only be pinned to one layer.  A race belt can fix that problem, since it is easily moveable over clothes, without worrying about pinning and unpinning.

My plan for this race....kept changing.  I wanted to do 12 miles total yesterday (the 10K+5K is only 9.3 miles), and didn't necessarily want to "race" at all.  But on the other hand, it's not much of a benchmark if I don't put in 100% effort!  Ultimately, I decided to do a 2.6 mile warm up jog before either of the races, do the 5K hard for benchmarking, and then use whatever was left in the tank on the 10K, with the knowledge that the 10K wouldn't be a good indicator of 10K capability since I would be going in tired.

When I went out for my 2.6 mile warm up jog, I wore the jacket, the long-sleeved shirt, and the t-shirt and pretty much roasted.  And the race belt caused all my shirts to ride up.  So that was a no-go.  Glad I tried it out first!  I ended up wearing just the T-shirt and capris as I lined up at the start of the 5k.

The start of the race really ticked me off this year!  One of my favorite things about this race in previous years was that they had pace signs at the start so that we could line up appropriately.  They worked really well.  I even told people about them before the race yesterday.  And....the race organizers made a liar out of me.  No pace signs this year.  I really hope they bring them back.  It was a little less crowded than usual this year, but with the race being on such a narrow path, lining up appropriately really does help a ton.

Anyway, the crowding really wasn't too terrible at the start.  It was only slow for probably less than a minute.  I mostly ran by feel but did glance at my watch once after I settled into a pace at the beginning, and then at the mile markers, so I knew I wasn't going to PR.  Next time I race I'm definitely leaving the watch behind.  My splits were pretty nice at this 5K: 8:09, 8:00, 8:09.  That's much better than my usual 7:40, 8:00, 8:40 type of pacing!  My 5K time was 25:21, so not a PR (course PR or distance PR) but about the same as last year (actually a smidge faster!) so given all my down time from injury this year, and the fact that I did a 2.6 mile warm up jog, I'm very happy with that result.

So at this point it was 9:30 and the 10K didn't start until 10 am.  My sweat was evaporating so I was getting chilly.  Since I figured I would just run the 10K easy and wouldn't get hot, I went back to my car and put on my long-sleeved shirt for the 2nd race.  I also checked the results board to see if I placed. There were awards 5-deep in 5-year age groups, so I had a chance, in theory, but I was 7th out of the 78 in my age group in the 5K, so no dice on the award, but still respectable in my book!

I found a group of girls I know from my running group at the start of the 10K, and after the start, one of them kinda ran ahead with me and we talked almost the whole way through the 10K.  It was a nice distraction, because the 10K was the same as the 5K route, but twice, so I might've gotten sick of the course otherwise, especially since I had done most of it before the 5K on my warmup, so I was really going on 4 loops!  She was running easy because she's doing the Philly Marathon next week.  I was struggling a little to keep up because my legs were so tired from racing the 5K (she had run that one easy too).  I'm glad she was there!  I probably would have gone even slower without her!  Towards the end of the 10K I did slow down quite a bit (10K splits available here), and then she went ahead for a strong finish while I just focused on not walking!  My final 10K time was 57:03, good for 10th out of 48 on that one.  My total Iron Turkey combined time was 1:22:25, or 8:51 min/mile overall average pace.  Not counting the 30 minute rest after the 5K.  :P

One of my friends got this awesome picture of me after the race.  :)  

There was plenty of great food after the race:  cookies, bagels, bananas, apples, muffins, etc.  They had so much that they actually encouraged us to come back through and take some home!  Nice!

Here are some shots of the Iron Turkey finisher's medal:

And this is me trying to show off the shirt.  It looks like I'm showcasing the thermostat and/or the light switch, but I am actually trying to highlight the sleeve print.  I love me some sleeve print.  :)

The shirt is orange.  Some people have said it looks pink in the photo. 
I had some major dilemmas in logging this day in my training log.  First, there's the basic issue of using Garmin distance or official distance.  Normally I always go with "official", but in this case I was going for 12 miles today, and had factored in extra distance run by not running the tangents, ending at like 12.04 miles for the day (pretty darn good!)  But if I use the official course distances I only get 3.1+6.2+2.6 = 11.9.  I'm short. :(   Okay, I know I'm being ridiculous.  The other question was whether to log the 10K as a "race" since I didn't really have a fair 10K "race" after a balls-out 5K.  It looks bad in my race history.  I had actually considered logging it as a 15K based on a friend's advice (then it would be a PR...Whooo!)  but I ultimately went back to logging them individually.  Ignoring that 30 minute rest is cheating.  :)  However, I also wanted to log my total Iron Turkey time, in case I do that event again and want to compare.  But if I log the miles it looks like I ran 30K instead of 15K because they would be double counted. Anyway, this is what I came up with: 

I logged it as a race so it would show up in my race history, and just left the distance blank so it wouldn't affect my monthly totals or anything.  Good enough I guess.  It probably won't matter, because while I do enjoy this race, I think I know the course too well, to the point where it hinders my performance.   Sometimes it's better to not know how far you have left, or where the hill is, you know?


  1. I agree. I like NOT knowing the course apposed to knowing it. I love the medal! Not too many people can call themselves an "Iron Turkey" :)

  2. Iron Turkey! I love it!!!! We need an Iron Turkey race in Texas. Great recap. Also, you look skinny in your pictures. I am very jealous.

  3. That post race picture is priceless.

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  5. The one thing I've always wanted to know with these 5K/10K duos is, why is the 5K always first? Get the big one out of the way first!.....race planning jerks. Anyway, mad respect for doing both. I've done one of these and it's pretty exhausting, but doing it in the cold weather like this with all that time in between for freezing and muscles to tighten up sounds pretty tough to me.

    Also, like you, I think it's way too early for Turkey races. Not too early for pumpkin pie latte races, though. Get it done, race coordinators!


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