Tuesday, November 29, 2011

4 Miler - Eugene Turkey Trot 2011

The night before the Turkey Trot 4-miler (Thanksgiving Day, 11/24/11) in Eugene, I decided that I might lace up --for fun.  I had won a free entry at a race in August. The Sunday before (11/20) I had raced a PR half marathon, but felt surprisingly good considering. Last year it had taken me almost a week for calf and quad soreness to disappear after the same HM. But free is free, and I like it.

When I found out that there was a 200M kids race, my hubby and I decided to have both older boys do that race instead of having the oldest run the 4 miler with me. Truly, I think that was a wise choice for their benefit. Maybe in a year, or two, Nathan (almost 7) will be ready for 4 miles.

I really did nothing special for food or hydration prior to this race, since I didn't know if I would even run it. Coffee with milk and sugar, and part of a cinnamon roll for breakfast.

My dad brought me about a half an hour early for the 9am race, and I registered quickly and easily, then did an easy mile to keep warm.
While warming up, I ran into Emily (who was also at the EWEB half, is training for an ultra, and also had won a free entry to this race). We finished warming up together and chatted and discussed race goals. Neither of us really was too sure about how hard to race after last weekend.

Finally it was time to line up and we headed near the front. It was a narrow start to a lollipop (with two sticks) route.

The start/finish is essentially in the same location as the Butte to Butte 10k finish, and the USTAF certified course follows a stretch of the bike path that the EWEB half uses. (Eugene has a lot of races that start and finish in the same locations, but may go in different directions on the river path.)

The RD had a few words to say and encouraged anyone faster than 5 MM to go to the front, but no one moved up. Someone dressed as a Turkey did, though. :) During this time I decided to go ahead and aim for the McMillan Calculator prediction 6:20 pace. I would know when I was running if that would be doable or not, and back off if I felt like it was too much for today.

And the gun went off. I tried (without much effort) not to make the first mile a dead sprint. Multiple tight turns and bridge crossings made this race a challenge. I tried to run the tangents, but evidently not very well!

After the first mile, a woman passed me. I knew there were at least 2 ahead of me now. She took the surge and got a good 20 yard lead.
Racers spread out and we ran over wet exposed aggregate covered in leaves. I was a bit nervous of slipping, but tried not to think about it. Finally we hit the hairpin turn right before mile two.

More leaves, more winding bike path, and past the Science Museum, and we were closer to mile three, with the other female still ahead of me by 20 yards. The first woman was too far ahead to see.
The race took us over the artistic DeFazio bike bridge twice. (Note the spiral on and off ramp.)
I wasn't sure if she knew I was getting closer to her, until we hit the wet aggregate again. And a BIG leafy, loud puddle. That was a giveaway and I had lost my chance, as she picked it up a bit from there. Up, around, and over the bike bridge heading to mile 4. Only one big turn left and an uphill and downhill to the finish.

My watch beeped at 4 miles a little before the finish line, and I headed into the shoot strong, in 25:52. Not perfect, but very good for the day, all things considered.
splits: 6:23, 6:27, 6:19, 6:20, last .07@ 5:53 (Gun time 25:51, 6:28 average (also my 10k PR pace, slightly irritating) :/ )

I congratulated the woman just ahead of me, made my way towards my dad, and looked for Emily at the finish line.

A short while later we were all in the Lamb Cottage eating cookies and hot soup or chili. It was a nice spread, perfect for a cold day.

I spotted Jon and the boys, who had just arrived for the 10am kids race. My kids were dressed ridiculously for 40F, since they had packed their own bags and had not packed jackets or long pants. (My fault for not doing a better inspection or leaving the backup clothes out for Jon.)
My kids packed their "racing clothes"- shorts and T shirts for a 200m race. :) , so we borrowed warm clothes from grandma's stash and also put on pajama tops.
Luckily there wasn't much time between their arrival and the kids race. It was just long enough for us to visit a bit.

It brought me great joy to see Nathan and Mathew run the 200m race and cross with SUPER HUGE smiles. All of the children seemed to have a great time and there were ribbons for every kid there!

The 4 mile award ceremony went quickly, as there were few people left to receive an award. (Most had left to join their families). The top male and female each won a frozen turkey, and the top 3 each got a pie, a day-glo sweatshirt and glass race medal. Age group winners (top 3) received a glass medal as well.

I was honored to place in the top three with such ladies as Jane Rudkin (23:58), and Colleen Carter-Cox (25:44). Top males were Zachary Holloway (21:57), Shane land (22:02) and Ben Harter (22:26).

A few thoughts:
  • Though I prefer to approach each race as a "goal race",  it was nice to race without any "real" expectations.
  • This is the closest together I have ever ran two races. I was surprised at how resilient I was from the half, but know I am capable of a much better 4 miler. I would like to try this some year during a 5k training period.
  • Although there were some factors that slowed the course down, I enjoy the bike path in Eugene. Skinner's Butte park and this section of path is scenic, and parking and play areas make it a great location for a race/start finish.
  • This was a GREAT cause for a race: fighting hunger through Food for Lane County. Registration fees were donated, as were other food items racers brought in.
  •  It was a very special race to have my husband and kids, and my dad, there.


  1. Something big to be said about racing for fun and without expectations. Sometimes those end up being our best races. Nicely done Raina. I can't wait to see you try another 5k or 10k for fun or for seriousness. You've definitely got some speedy legs there. So glad your whole fam was there too. You got some great pics to go along with a great race.

  2. Yes, a 5K! Would be awesome! So glad you raced it. In fact, I have a hard time picturing you running a race for fun:)
    Nice to see your kiddies run, too! Love seeing the pics. Awesome race, thrilled for how well things are coming together for you. And I completely agree, the more I race, the easier my body recovers.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful day! You sure are speedy! I think your pace is my all out 60 second sprint!! Glad your kiddos had a fun time!

  4. Sounds like a wonderful race - nice job on a 3rd place finish!! I love that bike bridge/park it's really beautiful. And who could pass up a free entry!

  5. Nice job on the race, sounds like it went great! And the conditions sounded perfect for running, great views.

  6. So great that your kids ran too. Congrats on a top 3 finish. So you got a pie? What kind?

  7. What a fun race! It's great that you could include all the kids, too.

  8. What a cool race experience! Sometimes I like going in with minimal expectations as it can take some pressure off. Nice pace too! After that HM effort, that is quite impressive, young lady!

    Looks like you are about to hit another gear-congrats! :)

  9. That is so cool your boys did the 200M race...it sure reminds me of when my kiddos were little and we'd enter them in those shorter kids' runs - they always has a blast and well, at least ONE of them turned out to be a runner because of that. And that's ok the others didn't, I love that each have their own special interests.

    Nice and speedy race, lady! Especially with all those hairpin turns and slippery leaves! Congratulations :).

  10. You are amazing. I would say, "I wish I was half as fast as you", but I don't think I can even reach that.

  11. I still say "Wicked fast you are". When are you going to run out of gears? I hope that you have countless ones.

    No pics of the kids? Nuts. Sounds like a real blast.

  12. Super run! You are so fast. I love kids races and wish there were more of them.

  13. Oh my you are so fast! I would love to have that time for a 5K let alone a 4 miler! Great job and great job placing! Sounds like it was a great day for the whole family!

  14. Great job! Sounds like a fun race and very cool to have your boys there racing too. I'm never in town for Thanksgiving... maybe next year.

  15. I think it's the hat:) Must be lucky. I've ordered one:)

    Great job Raina and another great race report. I need to take lessons from you. I HATE writing race reports! Like I mentioned before this is truly fantastic after just running that half marathon and on a course of hairpins and aggregate and slippery leaves!!!! Congrats on the pie!!

    So fun that your kiddos could race too!!!!

  16. You write great race reports--they read like stories. It's fun to read how you strategize your races. Congrats on a great finish!

  17. Great race!! I am so jealous of your speed. Love the pictures...that path looks really beautiful.

  18. Congrats on the great finishing time and great prizes, too! I like prizes that I can use/eat! Thought of you when I ran in the Grand Canyon and saw elk this week!

  19. You are very fast congrats and... congrats to all the running family and the photographer. That is another beautiful place to run through.
    I have learned only this year that I can also race for fun without any real expectation.

  20. That sounds like such a wonderful day of racing and being with the whole family. I know you are fast, but my jaw just dropped. I can't help but see finish times and wonder how I'd compare. I can't even do a 5K in the time you did that 4 miler! Heck on some days I can just eek out 2 miles. I'm just always in awe of you and those fast legs! Congrats!


Please comment! I love hearing from you!!! ♥