Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkeys Trottin’ All Over This Place!

Have I mentioned (a million times) I was cooking my first Thanksgiving this year?

Last year I cooked the junior varsity version—it was a big meal for an exclusive family group the day after turkey day—but had the big meal for 12 at my house on Thursday.

But the real challenge? Standing all day Wednesday as I prepped for the big day.

By Wednesday night I was whipped—lower back hurting, knees aching, brain throbbing from standing locked while I whipped, chopped, diced, stirred, grated, crumbled, cut, sliced, simmered, blended, folded, whisked and dipped anything in eyeshot—and asked my mom how she managed all this every year. With kids no less? Geez!

First wisdom had it that I shouldn’t, couldn’t race on Thursday morning. I collapsed into bed (visions of fig-and-proscuitto flatbread and sugar plums dancing in my head; check out the full menu), resigned to running a slow personal Turkey Trot near home. No way I could have the time or energy to do the real thing.

Then came Thursday morning. B-E-AUTIFUL! It was a little brisk, but so clear, bright and sunny. It was one of those mornings when you just couldn’t stay in bed or just couldn’t not run a turkey trot.

So, I rolled some dough, cut potatoes and threw on running tights before I flew out the door. I made it downtown pretty quickly, registered and hit Lakeside a minute before the race started.

But who would have thought a few thousand people show up to these things? The start was really crowded and the first mile was chock full of waddling and bottlenecks and the strategic weaving, skipping, squeezing and jumping more commonly associated with trail-running than urban turkey running. But all the strategy did make it seem like we were all running toward something, chasing something. Like a big, fat turkey. Or, in my case, a vat of pumpkin-gingersnap tiramisu.

Despite the slow going at the outset, I ran comfortably through mile 1 to hit the marker at 7:48. Not bad for little miss sore leg, eh? So, I settled into my pace, rode some downhills and easily hit mile two at 15:00 (7:12 split), which really surprised me because the effort didn’t feel that great.

Then I hit the heavenly water stop at 2.5. It may have been cold Thursday morning, but I was incredibly parched. Perhaps it was the dinner nerves or all the standing. I walked the stop to chug as much as possible, continued on my way and (you guessed it) ended up with the world’s worst stitch. I stopped to walk (What? Walk in a 5-miler?) it off and kind of lost my rhythm.

Yet not too bad: I crossed mile 3 around 24:00 (9:00 split) and just tried to run with stitch remnants at a healthy pace, passing the mile-four marker at 31:30 (8:30 split).

Why is it, though, that Cleveland 5-milers seem to end on never-ending uphills? There’s St. Malachi with the dreadful finish and now the trot with the West 3rd climb? Argh! I felt like I was cruising backward on a treadmill trekking up the last hill until I started hearing the race caller announcing the time, the finish, the end. Somewhere (in earshot) I was a quarter mile from the finish.

Now, I set out to just run this race. No real time goals, although I did just want to match my last 5-miler, which was a little under 43:00. And considering the way my back and knees already felt, I was aiming too high. Plus, with the season of pretty slow going, I just wanted to enjoy my turkey morning.

Imagine my surprise, then, as I barreled toward the finish with 40 minutes just crossing the clock. I used whatever I had left to hit a PR at 40:20 (8:04/mile). Sure, that I might have broken 40 had I not walked or chugged or stitched crossed my mind. But there’s always St. Malachi and there was a wonderful dinner to cook.


Landon said...

To paraphrase the inimitable poet Coolio, "There's no feeling like a like a PR feeling because a PR feeling won't stop."

triguyjt said...

hey gina...I bet the meal was fabulous...and it looks like the race result turned out very well despite the stretch where Mr. Stitch paid a visit.
Congrats on ripping off the 40:20..

you smoking there G!!!
sure the turkey turned out well

JenC said...

Great job G! Sorry I missed you out there. Your dinner sounds wonderful and hope it went well!

Neil said...

Wonder Woman!

Thanksgiving was fabulous. I love you.

TrainingtoTri said...

Congrats on a great race and cooking your first full blown turkey day! If you'd like to get together for walk sometime soon let me know! I'm much too slow to run with you right now :)

Charlie said...

Well Done!

Nevenka said...

Gina truly is a superwoman. That was one hell of a Thanksgiving dinner my precious child. You are the very best. Mama loves you.