Fredericksburg, VA Turkey Trot 5K Race Report

I’m a little late (ok, alot late) in posting this one. On Thanksgiving morning we headed to Fredericksburg, VA with 5 of our favorite running friends to run the Turkey Trot 5K hosted by the Fredericksburg Area Running Club. I used to run this and other races in the FARC series years ago…before baby (yes, I know an 8 year old is no longer a baby)…so I was very excited to be restarting an old Thanksgiving morning tradition. I have the most luxurious vehicle of our friends (a.k.a. “mini-van”) so we decided to all pile in that and make the drive together.

When we got there we were shocked to see all the people – it has been awhile since we’ve run this one and it used to be held in the old town of Fredericksburg. The location is now in the “newer” area over by the Central Park shopping area. I can honestly say I missed the once small race where we saw many familiar faces – but I’m always happy to see just how many people have joined the running movement (even if this was considered a “trot”).

Parking was pretty hectic as the race starts near a Wegman’s (which I desperately wished I had more time to go in!) and the parking is very limited around the start. We parked in a small strip mall parking lot and had a little hike to the start. The packet pickup was in the new Expo Center – the chip pickup was outside…which seemed strange because there was a ton of room inside, which was laid out nicely – but not marked as well as it could be (no signs saying “T-Shirt Pickup” or “Number Pickup” or “Registration”). Regardless, packet pickup went very smoothly – the t-shirt was long sleeve (like that) with a cute design (although I would have liked an extra small).

After we walked to the car to drop off our shirts we had just enough time to get to the start before the 9:05 gun went off. Jeff edged his way quite close to the front. I persuaded my friend Suzanne to start next to me a little ways back, but not too far. I was hoping to run with Suzanne, but lost her immediately – she said she might be a bit slower than me, but I knew she would be close. I couldn’t see Jeff at all and never did. So I ran. It was a comfortable pace and I felt like I was probably running a bit faster than my 10 mile and 1/2 marathon pace, but I didn’t look at my Garmin. The race went through the roads in the Central Park shopping area and across a highway. It was very well marked and the roads were wide enough so that I didn’t feel like I was crowded. The miles were marked, but with no clocks (I hate clocks, so this was a plus for me!).

Turkey Trot crew!

I don’t feel like I am in 5K shape right now and haven’t run enough lately to remember what I’m suppose to do. I focused on one-by-one picking off each woman that was in front of me – that’s how I always race, just not always as easy in a 5K as compared to a 1/2 marathon. I didn’t really pick it up like I probably should have…I wasn’t breathing very hard…and the time went by so very quickly. Before I knew it I could see Wegman’s and knew we were close…should I pick it up?  There was a small incline to a turnaround which allowed me to see who was ahead of me and who was behind me. As I expected, Jeff was ahead of me – I saw him running down the incline looking strong and focused – I knew he wouldn’t see me. As I rounded a corner just prior to the 3 mile mark, a young guy next to me threw up…3 times…while he was running…we were probably running a 7:00 pace I guessed, and he never slowed. I didn’t look at him, but said “You can do it, we are almost there”. He must have finished right behind me. Before I could really sprint I was on the finish line and stopped my Garmin at 22:19 . I’ll take it. Jeff was waiting for me at the finish line (as usual!) and finished with a respectable time of 20:55. We waited for the rest of our crew to finish. The drive home is not horribly far, so we were still home in time to pop the turkey in the oven just after noon. Running in the morning made it a bit easier to eat and eat and eat more at Thanksgiving dinner.

We got our results emailed at 2pm that afternoon – very impressive for a 3,000 person race! I was thrilled to see I got 1st place in my age group – yippee! And I was super-pleased when I looked at my splits: 6:54, 7:02, 7:04 – without looking at my Garmin I was pretty consistent!

To sum it up – this was a very well organized race and I hope to run it again!

And…I must say…I am very thankful that I am a runner! :)