Back in November, I indulged in a couple of episodes of run-tourism (the best kind of tourism). I had a cheeky weekend break in the Big Apple with friend and fellow astro-runner, Melissa, followed shortly thereafter by one of these Thanksgiving Turkey Trots I’d heard so much about. At the time, I was having a bit of a running slump, but these trips sure gave me the kick in the butt I needed!
For the NYC trip, we had two morning where we could go for a run before hitting the sights. We decided that we had to run in Central Park and along the Hudson. Melissa had been doing the latter all week before heading into NYU for work, so we decided to tackle the park first. And it was amazing! Running in Central Park has been on my bucket list for a while, and the experience lived up to my expectations!
The timing of our run was perfect for 2 reasons. Firstly, the autumn leaves were still on the trees, which made the whole park look beautiful. And, in addition to the many other runners out that day, there was also a race going on. The NYRR 60km Ultramarathon, which involves running 9 loops of the park, was in full swing by the time we arrived, and as they were running the opposite way around the park, it gave us plenty of opportunities to cheer on these brave runners (we only managed a paltry 8km in comparison!). Apparently the race was won in 4:10: 38 by Carlo Agostinetto, and there were 300 finishers overall. When we arrived, they were about 2.5 hours into the event, and most people were still looking very strong.
|The NYRR Ultra runners|
|A very wonky view in Central Park|
After we finished running, we went to a cute coffee shop and had bagels and lattes to refuel, which made us feel like pros as we were still in our running gear. Then we had some trouble getting the metro back to our apartment, which lessened the post run high a little. But we still felt great afterwards, and I think it really helped me remember why I love running. Perfect slump fix!
The next morning, we headed out along the Hudson for a quick 6km run. It was really beautiful, and we got to see the Statue of Liberty from afar. This was the first time I’d seen it, so that was pretty awesome (we saw it a bit closer up later in the day). Again, there were so many other runners out with us, which I always love to see. And they were all friendly too, so it felt like it would be a great route to run regularly.
About a week after the NYC trip, I headed down to Virginia to visit some friends for Thanksgiving. We were staying at their parents house in York Town, and decided to run the Williamsburg Turkey Trot with a friend of theirs on Thanksgiving morning. Apparently, these 5km Turkey Trots are quite the thing to do before stuffing yourself full of Turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmellows and jello-salad, which makes sense :) The race itself was hosted by the Blue Talon Bistro, and it had a much bigger turnout than I had imagined. In total, there were 1830 runners, plus a number of walkers too. Many were dressed as pilgrims or Turkeys too, getting themselves nicely in to the spirit of the day.
Our group was split between the runners and walkers. We runners decided to start fairly near the front as the three of us (me, Casey and Amanda) were hoping to get ‘good’ times (<25 minutes), while the walkers (Jackie and her Mum) started a little further back. I was hoping to get a new PB, which was technically anything under 25 minutes as, while I’ve run 5ks faster than that, they haven’t been officially recorded. I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to do though, as I had a stinking cold. But, it turns out that post marathon Michelle is much less of a softy than pre-marathon Michelle. The old me would have decided to start out slowly to see how I felt, and given up the thought of a PB at the first sign of trouble. The new me was more like ’5k isn’t far, what’s the worst that can happen if you go out to fast? Start around 4:40 per km and see how you go’.
And so that is exactly what I did. The pace felt quick but good, and I only really started to suffer in the last km or so, when some hills presented themselves (isn’t it always the way?). But I persevered and managed to cross the line in 23:34.82. A new PB! I also placed 198/1830 and 5th in my age group (out of 102)! Could not have been happier! Amanda also set a new PB with a sub 25 minute time. Casey, who had not been running since April, came in a little over 25 minutes. So great performances all round!
|Post Turkey Trot, displaying my marathon superhero vest, made by Anne|
At the end of the race, we waited for the walkers who also made good time, then headed back for breakfast and Bloody Mary's, before stuffing ourselves with Turkey and all the trimmings. Perfect! I only wish they had Christmas morning equivalents in the UK. I could definitely get behind a pre-Christmas dinner race. Then I could eat twice as much, right..? ;)