It wasn't Turkey Day but it was close. I drove over to Amherst,NH this morning and ran in the AJWC Amherst 5k Turkey Trot. I got there fairly early so I wanted to find a course map and run the route before the race at 10am. You would think this would be easy. 4 volunteers, the husband of the RD and finally the RD herself and I had my directions.
This was my first time running this race and it had that small town race feel to it. The directions were good and there were hand written signs Duct taped to saw horses at all of the turns. The mile marker signs were the same and surprisingly they said "One mile marker, go straight", etc.. I just found that kind of funny in an odd sort of way. I guess in my little head, a big number "1" would pretty much sum it up but whatever.
I'm glad I ran the course. The first mile was flat as a pancake and the second mile was almost all up hill (although it was gradual). After that it was a few rollers back to the finish line. It started to rain during my warm up run. Actually it was freezing rain. By the end of my run the roads were getting a little slick. Well this should be fun!
Just prior to the start I looked around for some familiar faces. I spotted Mike Wright and Bill Newsham, both fast 40+ guys. In fact, Mike usually beats me by a few seconds in most races we run in. I hate that.
Mike and I started right up front and ran mostly together for the 1st mile (5:42) and I was probably 5th or 6th by this point. As we hit the hills I passed a couple of young guys with Mike right behind me the entire 2nd mile (6:11). He passed me right at the 2nd mile and put about 5-10 seconds on me and pretty much held that gap the rest of the way. We reeled in a couple more young guys and by mile 3 (5:37) Mike was in 2nd and I was in 3rd overall. I hadn't looked at my watch since mile 1 but it felt like we were really pushing the pace, especially the 3rd mile. It just felt fast and I was hoping for a nice time. The road climbs a bit after the 3rd mile and then turns right before finishing in front of the church. As I turned the corner I saw the clock say 18-something already and I still had a ways to go. WTF??? I felt like I was running hard and fast but here I was struggling to get under 18:40!! It was not to be. I finished in 18:41 (6:02 pace). This course had some hills but it just didn't seem that slow. Very odd I thought.
That last tenth of a mile sure was long...and then I looked at my watch. My split for the last tenth was 1:11! Um, I don't think so.
After cheering on some of the other runners for a while Mike, Jim Velino and I decided to run the course for the 3rd time for a cool down run. During the run Mike and Jim mentioned the course actually IS long. In fact it is 3.25 miles, not 3.1 (it is not certified). Ah, the small town race, you gotta love it :-)
Assuming it was 3.25 miles, that would put my pace back at 5:45 avg and I would be very happy with that indeed.
For the record, I have no idea what AJWC stands for....
The results can be found here -->Amherst 5k Turkey Trot