Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lovers Key Turtle Trot 5k

May's 5k was a little different than the last two I've done. Not only did I not really "train up" for it, but I knew going in I'd enjoy it for another reason. The Turtle Trot takes a route through a beautiful state park, over leaf-shaded trails, and ends at the beach. I decided not to aim for a PR. The purpose of this race was to remind myself that races are fun. It also helped remove the mental block inflicted by the past couple weeks' worth of setbacks.

Case in point: I almost purposely overslept for this one, because of my self-doubt.

M and I met K at 7:30 for packet pickup. She has about 7 1/2 weeks left on her pregnancy, and is seriously a superhero. I had to laugh at all the incredulous looks and questions she received. "Did you run today?!" Why yes, yes she did. My running buddy is unstoppable!

Anyway, I've never run a trail race before, and the last time I ran a trail was while camping two years ago. This was the main reason I decided not to stress about my time. The race started in a parking lot, went over some soft sand, and then into a shaded area where the trails are mostly packed sand, some shell, and some dirt/grass. I did turn my ankle a few times on some soft shoulders (nothing serious), and the biggest problem was that slower runners were difficult to get around because of the narrow and tree-lined trail.

Can I just mention that I think races should email, along with your signup receipt, some basic race etiquette reminders? Like: If you're running intervals, plan to walk, have a slower pace, or are pushing a stroller, start in the back of the group. Also, if you're running in pairs or keep a slower pace, be considerate to those trying to pass you - move over. I never start right at the line because my pace is barely under 10:00! I know people will overtake me, and I don't want to be a nuisance. This is common courtesy.

The race included a few small bridges (did I mention this state park is a beach park?), which I actually killed! I don't have a lot of hills to practice on, but for some reason I always seem to be able to pick up my pace on short bridges, and that's where I do a lot of my passing. The humidity took a bit of a toll and left me wishing I'd worn a Breathe Right strip. M, K, and I all ran separately, but I caught up with M at the end and we finished the last 1.5k together. The day was very sunny and warm, and the last half mile wasn't shaded, so that was brutal. Longest last km of a race EVER. But we ended on the beach and didn't do too badly.

K, me, and M at the end! Nice beach view!
My final stats were consistent with how I usually do. I seem to always fall just inside the first half of finishers for all categories. (Although here I just missed that by 5 people in the "overall" section.)

Time: 30:35 (Very pleased with this. I wasn't aiming for a specific goal, and the run was so beautiful, I was in no rush. This is consistent with my daily running pace.)

Ranking: 74/200 women, 198/386 overall, 13/28 in my age group.

Pace: 9:51

Now to look up some IT band stretches, because although my feet and legs mostly feel great, my right knee is giving me trouble as usual. I'm so glad for this race...and only a week and a half left of the school year! Summer brings a new goal: learn to become a morning runner. Florida heat in the evenings - even when totally dark out - is killing me!



  1. You did AWESOME girl...way to go! Congratulations on your finish time, very respectable! Glad you decided to just enjoy the race...I too raced today (5miler) with my 16yr old son, we had a blast and did well!

    1. Thanks! It was definitely a different type of race than the usual. That's nice that you and your son get to run together...I'm sure it makes your races a lot more enjoyable!