So I actually ran this race but Trophy offered to guest blog since I double dipped. Its amazing how his interest level goes up if he gets to revel equally in his own glory and in my shame.
The Shandon Turkey Trot is a 4K and 8K in its 32nd year, hosted by the Shandon Neighborhood Association. It’s a pretty flat course around Shandon, run around the same area as several other races. The 8K is a double loop, and those are never much fun.
I’m not a double loop fan either. Nothing sucks like seeing the finish line to tell you you’re half done.
Surprisingly, I had never run this race. I had thought about running it for a couple weeks but figured I would wait until race day to sign up. I had nothing better to do so figured I might as well race right? Ok ok…so there were other motivating factors. I won’t lie, I wanted a turkey trophy. For those of us that have raced a lot of races over the years, we have many medals and probably a few trophies. You show up enough you are bound to get some. But to get a unique trophy is rare. I wanted a turkey! I also might need some age group points. But other than that, I just wanted to race. I was coming off an epic bonk the second half of Savannah and figured I needed to get back on the horse. This was either going to go be really good or really bad. With two other races on the same day, there was no telling who would or wouldn’t show up.
The best thing about the turkey trot is the age group trophies. First and second get big turkey ones, but third gets the shame of the small “running man”. But , hey, still a trophy.
I had been watching the weather all week long. As we got closer to race day it was getting worse and worse. I woke up Saturday morning and it was already in the 60’s and pretty humid. As I’m sure all of you know from the countless times Alex has mentioned it, I do not like hot and humid. But I sucked it up and headed to the race anyways. I got there pretty early so I could get signed up. Walk up and there is pretty much no one there. Started thinking maybe this will be a day that no one shows up and it will make things easy on me. I get signed up and turn around and Ken Vowles shows up. Ugh. He is coming back from injury but before he got injured he was beating me and training like a mad man. Of course, in my age group. Talk to him and turn around and who is it but the Blue Shoes himself. Of course he is shocked to see me. I could run 10 races in a row and he would still be shocked for some reason. 3 of us around the same pace and in the same age group. Awesome. I’m not feeling so good at this point. I am really not sure how I will feel racing and am certain the warm temps will not help things. Alex and Ken are both somewhat gimp right now, so I’m already imagining them both beating me and the ridicule. To make matters worse I look up and David Pappas is here. Y’all might know him as the “shirtless guy” from Hammer the Hills. Apparently he has shown up to seek revenge on me for stalking and passing him. Not likely. He is actually a very nice guy and probably could care less. But that wouldn’t make this as dramatic now would it???
Trophy pulls an Eeyore everytime he gets ready to race. Total Debbie Downer. “Its too hot.” “Those guys are faster than me” “I’m sick” Call the wahmbulance, Trophy.
A few other regulars show up as well. Plexico is there to make sure no one gets a lucky win. Team Allers is there. Randall Hrechko, Jennifer Lybrand, Karen Manning, Pete O’Boyle, and James Hicks.
I think the goal from the start is for Alex, Ken and I to form a pack and keep in it. Don’t think any of us want to let the others get ahead. From the start the pace is a little quick, but the three of us stick together. Unlike normal, I am actually the one setting the pace. Apparently our pace is slow since at the mile point we are lagging a good ways behind and I think we ran in the 6:30-6:40 range. Alex lets out a groan and I’m not sure why. I suspect it might be because of our pace, and indeed it was. I can hear him breathing and it feels like a large bear is right behind me. Scary, but a good sign, for me. At this point I’m feeling pretty good and sense he might be struggling a little. Ken is tucked in behind us as well. We are still a good ways behind the others though. Work to do.
I went out in my “old” 8k pace, because I can’t accept being slower. Never mind using a walker and looking like a Party City mummy 4 months ago, in my mind I’m still my usual grandiose self. But if we are giving out prizes for reckless first miles, I’d have to give one to Jen Lybrand. The girl must of pulled a 6:20 opening split, even though her PR is over 7 minute pace at this distance.
“Struggling a little” meant gasping for air and wanting to crawl in the fetal position.
Around a mile and a half in I start to pull away. At least I think I am. I am trying to keep my pace consistent and the bear noises seem to be fading. I dare not look back…I just keep pushing on as hard as I can. I leave them and head out in search of roadkill. After 2 miles in there are still plenty ahead of me. After the first loop I have managed to catch a couple, and now my eyes are set on Tigs, Pete and David. I can see them not too far ahead, but I’m not sure if I can catch them. Surprisingly I feel pretty good and I seem to be gaining on them all. I catch up with David around the 3 mile mark and can tell he is fading. I pull up next to him and he says good job or something and I continue on. I am first in age group at this point, just have to hold it. I push on and manage to catch Tigs a little bit farther up and then Pete not long after her. I am managing to run a smart race again. This feels weird.
Trophy apparently is astounded by the fact he is having a good race. I’m watching him pull away and since I came in like a wrecking ball in mile 1, there’s nothing I can do about it. Fortunately the toe and knee are feeling fine. Its that whole oxygen exchange thing thats letting me down. He was right about never looking back – he knows thats blood in the water for a blue shoes kick.
Once I pass them there is only Randy up ahead. He is a good ways ahead but it’s just us two now. I take a quick look back on the last turn and as long as I don’t completely fade I should be good. No bear in sight. In the back of my mind the entire time was the thought of being Blue Shoe’d. That would surely do me in. About a half mile to go and I’m getting closer to Randy. I don’t think he is catchable, but I’m gaining?? I’m hurting a little but am able to speed up some and have him in my sights. The last half mile or so is a long straightaway and you can see up ahead. Randy is like 7 feet tall so he is easy to see. I give it all I got and come up just a little short, but at least I scared him a little bit.
I had no chance at Trophy. He dropped me like a bad habit a la Gov Cup 2009 or Richmond 2010. I chased that damn Vowles kid the whole race with his neon yellow shirt. I swear I had him with a mile to go but the legs decided to take a lactic acid bath and I couldnt do it. I was going back and forth with this one girl (later identified as Ashley Smoak) who was like 5 feet tall but was breathing like Geary McAlister on cocaine. She had her sights on chicking me but I saved an ounce of pride and “smoaked” her at the finish.
I managed 5th overall behind Plex, Eric Allers, Heather Costello, and then Randy. Very happy with that. 33:42 and a PR by a couple seconds I think. No Blue Shoes epic comeback today. Guess that will have to wait for another day. He did have a good race considering though. He experienced a Trophy moment. Finished 10th overall but failed to get an age group award. Been there done that, many times. Tigs, David, Pete, Ken, and then Alex rounded out the top ten. They only went one deep overall so that went to Plex and Heather. I managed to get a large turkey! So happy. All of the above managed age group glory except Alex, even though they did large age groups. Maybe there will be an epic Blue Shoe/Trophy showdown soon. Would make for a good blog wouldn’t it? Until then, Trophy is out, and still on top.
Epic Blue Shoe/Trophy showdown? I seem to remember one from earlier this year…
Other notable age groupers are..Umm, what the hell? For a race thats been around for 32 years, there’s no excuse for this. I’m sure our over 50 crowd loves being lumped together all in one group. Looks like all the other adults were in weird nine year groups. Marie Demetriades started her triple dip with a win in the 2-14. Jen finished 2nd in her AG behind Smoak and had a big PR at 35:23. Ken took third in my AG and took my “running man” away from me. I did win the prize as first loser not to get a trophy. Eric Allers and Randy Hrechko went 1-2 in the 41-50. Karen Manning and Barb Brandenburg finished 1st and 3rd in the female 41-50. In the “51-98” Tigs won 1st with Catherine Addison 3rd. Pete O’ Boyle and Lorand Battern took the same positions among the males. Looks like Wes Spratt, John Gasque, Mike Compton ,Henry Holt and Jesse Smarr were a few of the shafted would-be age groupers. Marie, John, Henry and Crystal Cordoba all completed triple dips by the end of the day.