Monday, December 5, 2016

2016 PNC YMCA Turkey Trot race recap

This year marked my fifth consecutive running of the PNC YMCA Turkey Trot in Pittsburgh. It has become an annual Thanksgiving Day tradition.
Admittedly, I came close to breaking the streak this year. I didn't arrive in Pittsburgh until very late the night before. I considered not even signing up due to the quick logistical turnaround required. Then, the meteorologists predicted rain on race morning, which made me consider DNSing. However, I've always enjoyed this race and I think it sets a good tone for the day- so ultimately I followed through.

The festivities include a 1-miler, a 5K, and a 5-miler. I did the 5-miler only.

On race day, Adam and I arrived just as the 5K was getting underway. It was fun to watch. Unfortunately, I eventually had to Frogger my way through the running masses since I needed to do race-day packet pickup.
Packet pickup was a breeze, and there were no lines at the portapotties. Excellent.

As I was waiting for the 5-miler to start, I noticed the organizers were blasting fantastic 80s music over the loudspeakers. It helped energize me. When this old classic came on, I shamelessly broke into the best Wahlberg-esque moves I could muster:
Next, I got a couple of pre-race photos:
One of the ever-iconic bridges
With the Bill Mazeroski statue
Time to start. Shortly after I got underway, I saw Adam stationed at the side of the road with his phone. This was an opportunity for a jumping pose. Yeah!!!

The result wasn't horrible. But again it didn't come out quite the way I hoped:
Do I look like I'm doing Wahlberg-type moves while on the run?
Ah well.

Having run this Turkey Trot so many times, I knew the course well. I elected to run without my phone, which felt surprisingly invigorating. It enabled me to focus entirely on all the sights and sounds without thinking about photo opps, text messages, etc.

This was the first running I'd done since the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half, so I wasn't sure what the paces would feel like. At the very least, I wanted to break 50 minutes.

Within the first half-mile, my Garmin said my pace was around a 9-minute mile. The idea momentarily crossed my mind that if I kept the pace up, I could attempt a sub-45. Then, a 9:00 pacer blew by me, which immediately brought me back down to reality. He passed with so much alacrity, it reminded me of this:
Either the pacer was going way too fast, or my Garmin was off-kilter. Either way, it was an easy decision to slow down and refocus on enjoying the course atmosphere.

My favorite parts of the course, as always, were the bridges. In previous Turkey Trot renditions, I've felt the bridge inclines quite acutely. With this in mind, I braced myself each time I approached. What a pleasant surprise to find the inclines didn't bother me at all. The hill training I did earlier this year apparently had stronger staying power than anticipated, woo hoo!
This Pittsburghese, as seen on several runners' shirts, just seemed appropriate to say here.
Around Mile 3, I spotted Molly and Julie on the course and shouted a hello. I saw them a second time around 4.25, and shouted another hello. Always so uplifting to see friends on the course!

With about a half-mile to go, I saw Adam again. Time to attempt another jumping pose. Check out the action stream he captured:
Still not quite there yet, but getting much closer - especially with #3!!! =D

With less than a quarter mile to go, I saw a man ahead of me wearing a banana suit. I instantly decided I didn't want to be beaten by the banana. I turned on the jets as best as I could and did manage to pass him shortly before crossing the finish line. It's funny what kinds of random encounters end up motivating you, eh?
My official finishing time was 48:01. Had I known how close I was to 48 minutes flat, I would have pushed a little harder to break 48. Even so, my time ended up being a course record for me by exactly 30 seconds. More importantly, my legs and lungs both felt really good throughout the duration. That was a nice morale boost.

Adam and I ran into several friends afterwards, including our friend Jared (who we didn't even know was running!) It was wonderful to catch up.
L to R: Adam, me, and Jared
Jared actually finished just a few seconds after I did, but surprisingly we never saw each other on the course!
Brian, Laurel, Julie, Adam, Hudson, me, Molly, Jacob
In summary, I was very happy to run this race again. I love the festivity, the atmosphere, and the backdrop. It was a great way to close out my 2016 racing season. Let's get the streak to six next year!

With that... I now have exactly zero races on the future calendar! Let's see how long this lasts...!

--
Linking up with MarciaPatti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.

21 comments:

  1. Congrats on your race! It is funny the things that motivate you during a race. This one race I remember getting passed by a guy running with a yoda backpack, really? There was no way that was happening, so I quickly sped up. I think he eventually passed me in the end. There must have been nothing in that bag weighing him down. Great job beating your 50 min time goal.

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    1. Thanks Lacey!!! A Yoda backpack!?!?!?! I would have turned on the jets once I saw that, too!!! I have to imagine that backpack was just for show. Maybe that guy was trying to channel the "Force." =)

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  2. Great race! Glad you found the banana to motivate you! My neighbor is from Pittsburgh and has a license plate that says Yinzers. I had to ask him what it meant...

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    1. Thanks Wendy!!! LOL at the motivating banana, it sounds so funny. Your neighbor is clearly a true Pittsburgher, I bet Adam would love to meet him!!!

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  3. I had zero races on the calendar for about a month. When I finished Tink, there was nothing, then a month later I signed up for a 10k next year. Not close, but it's still something to aim for.

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    1. A month is a very nice stretch of having a blank slate for a race calendar!!! You must be very excited for all of the Colorado races you'll have at your fingertips soon. =)

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  4. Congrats on a strong race Em! I get the same way about costumed runners. I ran behind a pizza and a hot dog for almost the entire race at RnRSTL and at the end I just HAD to beat them. That jump shot is coming along! Soon! :p

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    1. Thank you so much, Marcia!!! LOLOLOLOLOL at the pizza and hot dog at RnR St. Louis, that cracks me up. Thanks again! I'm anxiously awaiting more details on your weekend in Florida with all the ladies! =)

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  5. You beat the banana! And congrats on the course PR! It sounds you had a fun race, I love the action photo sequence. Doing a run is such a great start to TG, I'm glad that you kept the streak alive!

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    1. Thank you so much, Kelly!!! The race is really festive since there are lots of families out there doing it together, sometimes with their pets, too. What a difference it makes to run on Thanksgiving Day, yes? It helps keep me reined in at the dinner table because I don't want to COMPLETELY undermine that morning's race. =) Thanks again!!!

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  6. Congrats on the course record! Also congrats on beating the banana! :) I agree that a good run and/or Turkey Trot sets a positive tone for the holiday. Love the action stream of your jump. Someone should make that into an animated gif! :)

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    1. Thank you, Pete!!! Hurray for running and Trotting before one of the biggest eating days of the year! I could use another race on Superbowl Sunday, LOL. Per your great suggestion, I need to learn how to make a GIF. =) Thanks again!

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  7. First of all, you're hilarious. I love your pics and I love that you had to beat the banana. Secondly, pacers suck. I'm technically a pacer, though I haven't run any gigs yet, but they really mess with me when I'm racing and they pass me! Pffft!!

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    1. You are too kind, Rachel!!! Much appreciate the kind words. =) Very interesting to hear that you are a pacer!!! I have always been curious what it's like from the other side, if you get any special training, etc. I've run with some excellent pacers and some not-so-good ones. Yes on how it messes with your head when a pacer passes you!!! At that point I just try to avoid watching myself being left in the dust, LOL.

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  8. Congratulations on meeting your goal! I love that you will not give up on your jumping pose! love the determination!

    I love the picture of you with the statue! you look so happy!!

    Sometimes I feel that you live part time in Pittsburgh !



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    1. Thank you so much, Ana!!! When we runners set our minds on achieving a goal, even if it's just to nab a jumping picture, we never stop until we make it happen, yes? =)

      Thank you - the statue picture turned out better than I anticipated. =) LOL - given that Adam's got such deep roots in Pittsburgh, I feel like I live there part time, too - even though I'm 100% a Chicago girl born and raised! Funny how marriage affects your life in so many different ways. =)

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  9. Congrats on your race and your PR! What a wonderful way to start Thanksgiving. You're making great strides in your jumping photos! I think you should sign up for cheap races (with photographers...or just make Adam come to everything haha) next year not really for the purpose of racing, but rather to perfect your photo jumping! Haha

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  10. Thanks Bethany! A course record was an unexpected plus. Too bad my actual PR is still almost 4 minutes faster - but we celebrate everything, yes? I see what you did there with the "strides in my jumping photos" language. ;-P Great idea to do lots of cheap races just to practice jumping!!!!! Note to self as I plan out 2017... =D

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  11. I'm glad you didn't skip this race! It sounds like you had a really good time. And I bet all that strength training is helping with the hills, too. Let's hope it helps me in Miami. I hear the course has got some bridges!

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  12. okay it is funny how you don't run and set a course record lol What ever you are doing - worked - high five! How nice to see friends on the course when it isn't your home town - that is a bonus.

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  13. Hello? Is this blog on? *taps microphone* ;-)

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